Southampton passed up the opportunity to climb up to fifth as Fulham frustrated the visitors on the day. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side had only failed to score on two occasions this season prior to this clash but only managed to carve out three shots throughout the whole 90 minutes, a joint record low for Saints in the Premier League.
Following another lacklustre performance, the three key absent players have been judged to being a factor in the blunt display. Southampton’s talisman, Danny Ings proved to be a costly miss with the attack lacking any sort of fluidity to break the stubborn Fulham defence down. Ings is debatably the only man that can create something out of nothing, as seen so often last season. It begged the question of whether anyone could fill the missing piece Ings had left in the side. On this occasion, it wasn’t to be Southampton’s day.
The result left the Southampton faithful in a gloomy state, with the negatives easier to outline than the positives. Hasenhuttl will take the positives, however, and evaluate exactly what went wrong against Fulham, seeking to put things right again against West Ham on Tuesday.
Another unbeaten game saw the Saints break a club record of seven games unbeaten away from home in the Premier League, an unthinkable statistic a year ago, showcasing incredible development under Hasenhuttl’s tenure.
Promising full debut for Diallo
Southampton’s summer acquisition, Ibrahima Diallo had the supporters excited to see what the young prospect could bring to the side. Brought in as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's successor, Diallo has been keen to impress since the start of the season. The French international’s chances within the squad have been limited so far due to the upturn in form of teammate Oriol Romeu who has become irreplaceable in the side, contributing to the most tackles in the Premier League. With the Spaniard suspended for the game, after picking up five yellow cards, an opportunity arose for Diallo to showcase the ability he attains.
Diallo produced a stellar performance in the middle, showing his worth to the side. At only the age of 21, Diallo is a raw talent that Hasenhuttl can develop in the coming seasons. The French midfielder showcased his potential with a composed nature on the ball, proving to be a handful for Fulham midfielder André-Frank Anguissa and former Saint Harrison Reed.
The summer acquisition produced an 85% passing accuracy, the second-highest in the side as well as winning the possession back a total of nine times, making Diallo an exciting box to box midfielder in the making. This shrewd performance will give the manager something to think about when picking the starting 11 in the coming weeks. Diallo has been compared to the likes of N’Golo Kante, with similarities clear to distinguish; only time will tell if Diallo can fulfil his potential. Diallo has made quite the impression so far and will look to continue his development further along the season.
Walker-Peters shines again
Young English full-back, Kyle Walker-Peters is becoming a revelation and a fan’s favourite with his consistent performances. Amongst the average performers from the majority of Hasenhuttl’s side on Saturday, Walker-Peters begged to differ yet again with a phenomenal defensive display at the back.
The Englishman contributed to 11 tackles, the most out of any player in the Premier League in a single game this season. Southampton were rewarded with their sixth clean sheet, courtesy of another scintillating Walker-Peters’ performance. The full-back has become one of the first names on Hasenhuttl’s teamsheet after becoming the most consistent performer since his arrival from Tottenham Hotspur in January.
Walker-Peters’ development under manager Hasenhuttl is impressive, to say the least, in the time span of only a year. The young prospect seems to only get better by each week, begging the question, how far can the young fullback develop? The potential is through the roof and Hasenhuttl will continue developing him step by step with the aim to help Walker-Peters reach the heights we all know he can reach.