Guly Do Prado was one of the few Southampton first-team player to play.
Southampton bowed out of the Capital One Cup Tuesday night with a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Leeds United. It was a disappointing result for the Saints, who were hoping to get a result ahead of their Premier League match Saturday against West Bromwich Albion. Instead, it was a fifth straight game without a win, with a draw with Fulham being the only positive result in the stretch.
Southampton have a few days to lick their wounds and dissect what went wrong. Here are five lessons learned from the defeat.
Ben Reeves (left) was one of the few players to play against Tottenham that saw action against Leeds.
It's hard to draw any other conclusion after NIgel Adkins trotted out an entirely new starting 11 from Southampton's 2-1 defeat against Tottenham. In Adkins' defense, the Capital One Cup match was barely more than 48 hours after the defeat (nice scheduling, FA), with significant travel involved to get to Leeds from the South Coast.
Guly Do Prado, Ben Reeves and Emmanuel Mayuka all started after making substitute appearances on Sunday. The rest of the lineup could have been playing in a midweek reserve match though. Daniel Seaborne, Danny Butterfield, Richard Chaplow, Steve De Ridder and Tadanari Lee all received starts. Chaplow is the only player in that group to have even made a Premier League appearance so far.
The bench was made up entirely of academy players except for Paulo Gazzaniga, so there was no opportunity to rescue a result by throwing on Rickie Lambert or Adam Lallana for 20 minutes at the end.
Playing the reserves isn't a deviation from the normal for Adkins.
In every Capital One Cup match this season, Adkins chose to give bench players a run out. In the past, it has worked out fine. But considering the run of form Southampton have been on and the opportunity to reach the quarterfinals of a cup competition, it would have been nice to field a bit of a stronger side
Leeds took the match very seriously, with a lineup featuring a number of first-team regulars. It showed as Leeds had a sharpness to them and controlled the game throughout.
Jos Hooiveld can't seem to stop being on the wrong end of goals.
In the Premier League, Nigel Adkins seems content to trot out the same back four unless there is an injury: Nathaniel Clyne, Jose Fonte, Maya Yoshida and Danny Fox. Given their habit for conceding goals, one might wonder why they kept getting the call.
Well, the answer was revealed with the substitute lineup played Tuesday. There just aren't any better options on the bench.
Jos Hooiveld has had plenty of opportunities to prove himself at the Premier League level and has failed on almost every occasion with bad clearances, needless fouls and crazy own goals. Danny Butterfield almost created the opening goal for Leeds with a terrible back pass that left Kelvin Davis stranded. Dan Seaborne had a terrible game that was capped by conceding a penalty in stoppage time. Ben Reeves had an OK game, but it still too young to be counted on consistently.
Sure, the injuries to Fox and Frazer Richardson haven't helped much. But Southampton have to open the wallet the minute the transfer window opens in January to get some defensive help in order to have any chance of surviving the drop.
Kelvin Davis got the call Tuesday; who will get it Monday?
With Kelvin Davis getting the start Tuesday, Saints fans still aren't any closer to figuring out who their top-choice keeper should be.
Paulo Gazzaniga had gotten the call in each of Southampton's previous cup victories, as well as the Premier League victory against Aston Villa and the draw against Fulham.
Artur Boruc has gotten the start in the past two Premier League games (both losses) and has gotten into a bit of hot water after allegedly throwing a water bottle into the stands during the first half against Tottenham.
By results, Gazzaniga should clearly be the first choice. But he seems to be the third choice at the moment. Is Adkins purely choosing his starting keeper based on training performances at this point? Is he trying to keep all three sharp somehow?
If you know who is starting in goal Monday against West Bromwich Albion, please let me know. I don't have a clue.
While he has a promising future, James Ward-Prowse is not a force in the Southampton attack.
With Gaston Ramirez still on the shelf due to a leg injury and Adam Lallana being rested, the Southampton attack was especially stale.
Emmanuel Mayuka's shot in the 70th minute was the first attempt on goal in the entire match. That lack of pressure wouldn't win games in League One, let alone the Premier League.
A midfield of James Ward-Prowse, Richard Chaplow, Steve De Ridder and Guly Do Prado just doesn't have the creativity and skill needed to put an opposing defense under threat. Mayuka and Tadanari Lee just didn't get the service to put the Leeds back line under pressure.
While the Southampton midfield has plenty of hard-working options like Steven Davis and Morgan Schneiderlin, the offense stalls without Lallana, Ramirez or even Jason Puncheon.
Tadanari Lee got 65 minutes of action, but didn't make much of an impact.
While the lack of possession and service, it's easy to give the strikers a bit of a break for a lackluster performance. Tadanari Lee also deserves a break for that match being his first match back from injury. But Lee's performance also proved that he has a long way to go before he should be considered for a starting spot with the first team.
Playing only 65 minutes before being taken off, Lee still needs to get match-fit—something that has been a problem for him. The Japanese international has spent more time in the training room than on the pitch since arriving on the South Coast. To date, Lee only has one first-team goal for the club.
While Lee was on the pitch, Southampton failed to register a shot. In the 25 minutes after he was replaced, Saints got three shots on target. Even when Lee gets to full fitness, it doesn't look like he will be causing Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez any worry about playing time.