Saints’ European chance built on solid defensive foundations!

Had you asked me at the end of last season where Southampton’s weaknesses were I would probably have suggested that the back four could do with some improvement, and certainly some added depth.

Then Saints lost both Luke Shaw and Dejan Lovren and were left with a situation where they were no longer looking for a replacement to partner Lovren so as not to rely on Jose Fonte and Maya Yoshida but for someone to replace him.

It looked pretty bleak if I’m honest. Fonte was commonly thought of as the weaker link in the partnership with Lovren, and Maya Yoshida was not considered strong enough backup by most, myself included.

Ryan Bertrand, a player considered ‘not particularly good’ by Aston Villa fans, was bought in to replace Shaw and Toby Alderweireld and Florin Gardos, two unknown quantities in the Premier League came in as centre-halves. Six months later and…

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