Portsmouth headed into their Carabao Cup tie against bitter south coast rivals Southampton in poor form, with Kenny Jackett’s side having picked up just six points from a possible 21 available in the league, after registering one win and three draws in their first seven games so far this season.
Whereas Premier League Southampton came into the game at Fratton Park with themselves having endured a tough run of results, with the Saints having mustered just two wins from their first six league games this season, with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side only having registered seven points from a possible 18 available so far.
Naturally with this game being a long established historical rivalry, many were expecting a well fought contest between two sides who could both do with a win, however it was anything but that as a far superior Southampton side dismantled their rivals by notching a unanimous 4-0 victory at Fratton Park, with goals coming from a double by Danny Ings plus further strikes by Cedric Soares and Nathan Redmond rounding off a profitable evening for the Saints.
Here, we take a look at THREE things that we learnt about Portsmouth in their defeat to Southampton…
Pompey need to score when on top
Pompey were well on top for the first 20 minutes of the contest, with the lowly League One side having glorious chances to take the lead through veteran frontman Brett Pitman, who had two good chances in the opening section of the game, but unluckily for Portsmouth he was unable to find his scoring touch.
One thing that perhaps limited Pompey in their pursuit of taking the lead was perhaps the lack of link up between Pitman and Marquis up top, who rarely received a good quality of service in a game that Portsmouth only enjoyed 38% of the possession against their rivals, thus suffocating their chances of gaining some headway in the game.
Overrun in midfield
The Pompey midfield two of Tom Naylor and Ben Close was regularly overrun by Southampton’s midfield three of James Ward-Prowse, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oriol Romeu who quickly took control of possession and dominated proceedings throughout long periods of the game.
It may have been more wise for Jackett to have employed a midfield three to match up their Premier League counterparts, as this would have helped Pompey to disrupt Southampton’s style of play which focuses on attacking through the middle of the field by attempting a high volume of a long shots.
By matching them up in midfield, Pompey would have also forced Southampton to attack more from out wide, thus making the play more predictable and easier to defend against.
Didn’t press the Southampton defence enough
Lastly, Portsmouth seemed reluctant to press the Southampton defence high, particularly from goal kicks, with Jackett instead asking his players to sit deep and conserve their defensive positions rather than being drawn out.
It may have proved to have been more beneficial if Jackett had chosen for his players to play with a higher line, as this would allow his forward players such as Marquis and Curtis to prevent Southampton from playing short out from the back, thus forcing them to long instead.
Which would in theory gift the ball back to Pompey more often, thus allowing the Fratton Park outfit to control the game more in the opposition’s half, which is a big feature of their style of play.