ANALYSIS: Alpine Klopp must learn from the original

Alan O’Brien 

Ralph Hasenhüttl has performed miracles before. In under three years, the gregarious Austrian transformed lowly Ingolstadt from second-tier relegation fodder to a mid-table Bundesliga force; no mean feat by any man’s standards. But even Hasenhüttl must have been shocked by the speed with which he reinvigorated Southampton in Mark Hughes’ grumbling wake. Two wins in his first three games, claiming Arsenal’s 22-game unbeaten scalp in the process, suggested the Saints had taken to his high-pressing doctrine like ducks to water. Who could blame him for getting carried away? Continue reading

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Stephens shines as compact Southampton deny moribund Manchester United

Alan O’Brien 

Bereft of confidence, and showered in sarcastic cheers on departure, Henrikh Mkhitaryan lasted only 65 minutes here. Hung out to dry, on his first Premier League start since November 5, the Armenian’s Old Trafford career looks totally unsalvageable. Continue reading

Premier League: Three tactical talking points from Matchday 16

Alan O’Brien 

1) Hard-running Hammers consign sluggish Slaven days to memory

If Slaven Bilic’s West Ham United had greeted the champions in this manner, claret (and blue) would surely have spilled. Continue reading

Premier League: Five tactical talking points from Matchweek 9

Alan O’Brien 

1) Klopp suffers the fate of his former employers

Wembley has witnessed Mauricio Pochettino’s counter-attacking 5-3-1-1 system before. On September 13 of this year, Tottenham Hotspur, configured in that very shape, absolutely destroyed Peter Bosz’s gung-ho Borussia Dortmund in the channels. On Sunday, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, once of the Dortmund parish, met the very same fate. Continue reading

Manchester United 0-1 Southampton: Groundhog Day At Old Trafford

Phil Connors, the character played by Bill Murray in the 1993 film Groundhog Day, enjoyed more variety in his life than a Manchester United supporter. Saturday afternoon’s performance against Southampton can be safely filed under “more of the same”, with any excitement only briefly provided by the appearance of another rodent – a mouse – on the field of play. Continue reading