Southampton surprised a few people last season with the ambitious and often entertaining brand of football on display at St Mary's under both Nigel Adkins and his replacement Mauricio Pochettino. They made themselves all but safe going into the last few games and, after a wobble nearly saw them dragged back into the mix, ended the season in 14th. The south coast club look to have big plans for the future and the signings of Victor Wanyama and Dejan Lovren look like real coups. Whether they can assist the Saints in pushing for the European spot Pochettino claimed was a genuine possibility remains to be seen.
|Tackles - PL 2012/13|
For all the praise the Saints received for their attacking play, they were not afraid to put a foot in when necessary and actually topped the charts for the number of tackles made over the course of the season. The pressing game favoured by their Argentinian manager will certainly have helped them in this regard as they tried to win the ball quickly and high up the pitch. A whole season under the former Espanyol manager could see this number improve even further in 2013-14 although he may hope they can keep possession for long enough that they don't need to be putting in as many challenges to win the ball back.
Leading the Saints efforts to recover the ball was French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin. He managed more interceptions than any other top-flight player; Aston Villa's Matthew Lowton was closest to matching Schneiderlin's total but was still some way off the 139 achieved by the Southampton ball winner.
|Interceptions - PL 2012/13|
|Matthew Lowton||Aston Villa||111|
Once the ball had been won, more often than not the ball found its way to striker Rickie Lambert. The former Stockport and Bristol Rovers front man hit the headlines for his impressive goal return, 15 in his debut Premier League season, but his creativity was largely overlooked. However, the 31-year-old created the third most chances from open play in the league with only David Silva and Luis Suarez making more. Bigger name players such as Juan Mata and Gareth Bale were left trailing in his wake in this area and if Lambert can avoid 'second season syndrome' continue to score and create as well as he did in the previous campaign then the Saints will be confident they can push on again this time around.
|Chances created - PL 2012/13|
|Player||Team||Chances created (open play)|
|David Silva||Man City||81|