Is There A Pochettino Effect Already?

The man from WhoScored.com knows it's a bit early to be looking for patterns but he claims the stats v Everton show the high-pressing game Pochettino has favoured before...

Last Updated: 22/01/13 at 13:58 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Football Folk On TV: Robbie Savage

28 comments

He's the driver of the banter bus who's the most likely man in football to tell you the price of his watch. But is Robbie Savage actually just a vulnerable puppy in a harsh world?

All Articles

The arrival of a new manager is often enough to galvanise a failing side, but in the case of Southampton, Mauricio Pochettino had come to St Mary's with the club unbeaten in five Premier League games and on their way up the table. On the back of an impressive draw at Stamford Bridge after being two goals down, it wouldn't have been unreasonable for the fans to hope for, or even expect, a similar result at home to an Everton side that had drawn ten of their 22 games so far this season.

With Southampton's games having seen 70 goals this season - more than 16 of the 20 teams in the English top flight - and Everton both scoring and conceding in a Premier League record of 16 consecutive matches prior to their goalless draw against Swansea last week, it was perhaps fair to say that another 0-0 draw was relatively unexpected.

Now, while some home fans may have been disappointed by the blank drawn by the Saints, they will have been buoyed by their team's overall performance, particularly in the first half when Everton were restricted to only three attempts on goal, only one of which hit the target. Much of this was to do with the high, aggressive pressing game that Pochettino became advocated during his time at Espanyol.

With the second half more evenly balanced, Southampton pegged back the Toffees in the first half, with 32% of the play taking place in Everton's defensive third of the pitch and 47% in the middle third. Everton are not used to being put on the back foot to such an extent, but Pochettino clearly had his players in the mindset to press high up the pitch and they did so effectively.

Everton could only manage a pass completion rate of 69.5% in the Southampton game, which was by far their lowest of the season. Furthermore, Everton completed only 77.2% of their passes in their own half; also the worst they have had in a Premier League game this season, just behind their rate of 78.4% against league leaders Manchester United. It was also the 12th worst by any team this term, with only QPR (20th in the table), Reading (18th), Southampton (15th), West Ham (12th) and Stoke (10th) having recorded lower values.

A look at the WhoScored match page backs up these suggestions, with Southampton reported as having stolen the ball from the opposition often. Also reported here as the Saints' other two strengths in this match are that they attacked effectively from long shots and set-pieces. That is, eight of Southampton's 16 attempts on goal - including Rickie Lambert hitting the post - came from set-pieces, and seven of their 16 came from long range.

While this is not to say that Southampton played badly and did not attack with the fluidity that we have come to expect, it is interesting to note that the closest they came to scoring was from such situations. Having scored twice from open play against Chelsea, with all six of their goal attempts also coming from normal play, they are not a team that rely on set-pieces. Could it have been that there was such emphasis on a high pressing game that they tired by the time they won the ball and their thoughts turned to attack?

Gaston Ramirez and Guly Do Prado, selected in attacking midfield, each made a total of seven tackles and interceptions against Everton, despite respective averages before that game of 3.1 and 1.3. Clearly, they were told to make inroads into the Everton defence in this way, and clearly, the message got through, but just as obvious was the fact that they tired, as they were withdrawn after 71 and 62 minutes. Pochettino himself admitted that fatigue started to kick in after the break, whilst David Moyes stated that his team became 'frustrated' in the first half, only to settle in during the second - once the pressing became less intense.

Of course, one game is not enough to be able to draw strong conclusions on the effect of an incoming manager and the tactics he looks to implement on his new squad. Nonetheless, Pochettino was expected to change the style of play at St Mary's and it looks, from first viewing, as if he is going to do just that.

All stats courtesy of www.whoscored.com

Alistair Tweedale - @alitweedale on Twitter

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

t's why Mourinho is so successful. He gives players a specific, limited set of functions to perform. They are but a cog in a machine. Do no more, do no less. I assume he learnt it from LvG :)

red_devil83
Fellaini Has Politely Become Undroppable

I

really hope that someone in the mainstream media spots that the Bayern manager played for and managed Barcelona quite well, and thinks to mention it in the build up. That would be really interesting.

megabrow (cufc)
Barcelona to face Bayern

Y

our gob says one thing, Brendan, the results say something else.

balls-to-monty
Rodgers bullish over Anfield future

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Eden Hazard lands PFA Player of the Year award

Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard has been named the PFA Player of the Year.

Harry Kane lands PFA Young Player of the Year award

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has been named the PFA Young Player of the Year.

Arsene Wenger says it is impossible for Chelsea to lose title

Arsene Wenger believes it is just a matter of time before Chelsea are crowned champions after their 0-0 draw at Arsenal.

Mail Box

Chelsea Millions Should Buy Better...

For the money they have spent, Chelsea should be playing like the Harlem Globetrotters rather than Atletico. We have mails on Cesc, Brendan Rodgers and...

Brendan Rodgers Is David Cameron...

Rodgers is compared to the Prime Minister, insomuch as he has a right to peddle bulls**t, apparently. Plus why comparing Arsene Wenger to Diego Simeone is a mug's game...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company