Premier League crisis club of the week: Southampton

While a 4-0 away defeat to Manchester City is never usually reason enough to be named crisis club of the week - City are very, very good, and Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa are still Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa - in this case, an exception must be made given all the quiet turmoil that's bubbling up beneath the surface on England's south coast.

Drumroll please. Everyone, say hello to the current hottest mess in the Premier League, a division packed full of hot messes. That's right, it's Southampton, AKA The Saints, AKA James Ward-Prowse's Set Piece Delivery FC.

What's the crisis?

There are many different kinds of crises.

1) Existential crises, the kind where you question if life has any inherent meaning - unusually common among supporters of bottom-half Premier League teams, particularly Aston Villa.

2) Financial crises, the kind where you live in a country inexplicably run by Liz Truss.

3) Technological crises, like when Arsene Wenger got his zip stuck on that massive Arsenal puffer coat he used to wear in the winter, the one that went right from his neck to his ankles.

It's difficult to put your finger on exactly what kind of crisis Southampton are experiencing at this moment in time but what we do know is this: they are the current footballing equivalent of the 'this is fine' meme, the one with the placid little dog in the bowler hat having a cup of tea as flames roar up around him and he slowly succumbs to smoke inhalation. That one. You know the one I'm talking about. Even if you're 45 years old and going through a midlife crisis. Hey look, there's another kind, one Ralph Hasenhuttl and his consistent roadman attire wouldn't know about at all.

To be more precise, Southampton have lost four on the trot, won only twice in the league this season and there are consistent reports, as in almost every week, that the manager has lost the dressing room. In other words, Ralph's doomed.

Why are they in crisis?

A myriad of reasons, Clive.

Captain leader legend Ward-Prowse looks knackered and is playing the kind of crab football (short, back and sideways) that would make Harry Winks blush.

They don't have a goalscorer. Che Adams is a handful and leads the line well but he isn't a natural finisher. Adam Armstrong appears to firmly belong in the Dwight Gayle, Anthony Knockaert and Matej Vydra category of being too good for the Championship but overwhelmingly ineffective in the Premier League.

Moussa Djenepo is Moussa Djenepo, and therefore not very good at all.

After almost four years in charge, Hasenhuttl seems to have run out of ways to get a squad of relatively average talent playing slightly better-than-average football. But boy oh boy, what a journey it's been.

What can they do to rectify it?

I can't believe I'm writing these words but these are strange times we're living in. Hire Sean Dyche. Hire him now. Especially given the fact that Steve Bruce has lost his job and the vultures that are West Bromwich Albion are circling.

Why Dyche? Imagine the defensive fortress he could create with Gavin Bazunu in goal and Armel Bella-Kotchap and Mohammed Salisu at centre-back. A nice flat four across midfield with Joe Aribo and Stuart Armstrong as narrow wingers. Romeo Lavia learning to shuttle across like he's never shuttled across before. You can just picture it, can't you?

Whether the infamous worm-chewer is the right man for the job or not, Southampton have a history of making smart appointments and might want to go for a slightly more enticing option (Kjetil Knutsen, anyone?). It does, however, seem inevitable that Ralph Hasenhuttl will depart the club at some point this season and probably sooner rather than later.

A breath of fresh air in the dressing room could be all it takes to get this club back to being a solid mid-table side somehow still capable of losing 9-0 on any given weekend. Unless they appoint Sean Dyche of course, given that the man would instantly retire out of shame the moment he ever conceded nine goals in a game.

Source : 90min