Joe Thomlinson, who works as a presenter for both Football Daily and Sky Sports, shared his thoughts on how the first half of the Premier League season went for Southampton in a recent video for the Football Daily YouTube channel.
After playing 19 league games – the midway point of the Premier League season – Southampton accumulated 29 points, winning eight games, drawing five and losing six.
That’s eight more points than they’d earned after 19 games last season, which indicates that the Saints are making progress under Hasenhuttl, as does the fact that the Austrian manager helped the club to finish five places higher on the table last season (11th) than they did in the previous season (16th).
With all of this in mind, it may be understandable why Thomlinson was full of praise for the job that Hasenhuttl is doing at St. Mary’s during this YouTube video, with the presenter stating that he feels Hasenhuttl’s achievements with Southampton are made even more impressive by the fact that, in his view, the Saints’ squad is “bog-standard” at Premier League level.
He said: “It’s been a really solid half of a season for Southampton. I think Hasenhuttl is doing a really good job with a squad that doesn’t necessarily have any stars in it. It’s quite a bog-standard Premier League squad with the inclusions of maybe a Danny Ings, James Ward-Prowse, [Jannik] Vestergaard – the rest of the players, I wouldn’t say are exceptional.”
Who is better?
TIF Thoughts on what Thomlinson had to say about Southampton…
While Thomlinson said that Southampton’s squad “doesn’t necessarily have any stars in it,” you could argue that Vestergaard (7.27), Ward-Prowse (7.25) and Ings (7,15), who are the Saints’ three highest-rated players in the top flight this season, per WhoScored, and who Thomlinson did name as being standout performers, are their star players.
However, if market value is an indicator of the overall quality of a squad, then perhaps you could argue that Southampton’s squad is of average-below average quality for the Premier League, with as many as 13 Premier League squads rated as being more valuable than Hasenhuttl’s set of players, per Transfermarkt.
Hasenhuttl has certainly got his side in contention for a top-half finish this term and if they can achieve that, as Saints legend Matt Le Tissier tipped them to do back in the summer, then perhaps the manager will deserve a lot of credit for that, as Thomlinson would also seem to think.