Normally when we put the spotlight on a team or player like this we end up debunking some of the hype that has built up around them. This is not out of choice, believe us! We like the good news as much as the bad news, it's just folks do tend to get hyped up about good things easier than the bad. In the case of Southampton's defence though, the hype is very much real. Read on as we assess their results so to date and see just how good they've been.
The Saints success so far is hardly fantasy football's best kept secret. After a successful campaign last year their team seemed ripped apart over the summer and many fantasy managers were wary to invest in pre-season. The potential was still there however, and once Koeman's new crop of players showed they had gelled on the pitch fantasy investment followed. This was no doubt helped along by goals from defenders Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand - goals tend to do that.
We were wondering just how good Southampton have been though. They had one of the kinder starts to the Premier League, fixture-wise, maybe they have just had an easy ride? Or maybe they've been fortunate to pick up an extra clean sheet or two? In this article we pick apart both these questions and try to reveal what lies behind the results
Performance Stats & Opponent Adjusted Ratings
To assess Southampton's performances more completely we look at not only the number of goals they've conceded but also the number of chances they've conceded and the quality of these chances using our Expected Goals model. To further evaluate this within the context of the Saints opposition we've then rated each performance against the average of their opponents, i.e.. we've adjusted the rating based on how good or bad their opponents have been.
The results are impressive. Defensively, so far at least, Southampton are the very best team in the division, at least as far as not conceding goals or high quality chances is concerned. Which is pretty much what defending is about, right. They are also yet to concede a single defensive error that allowed their opposition a shot on goal. Mighty impressive.
There's not much else to say really. They've got some amazing fixtures coming up and their defence are all still well-priced that we're highly recommending a Saints defender or 'keeper as a signing for your team.
The visualisation below charts the Saints 'opponent adjusted defensive form' from the start of the season. Southampton are the purple line and the blue line represents the league average (*). Use the filters to add/remove more teams to see how they compare.