March 29, 2013 by backofthenetjl
In Southampton’s first season back in the top flight, there have been many highs and lows, notably the wins over Manchester City and Liverpool along with the controversial sacking of Nigel Adkins, who has now of course been appointed manager of Reading. A real positive for Southampton this season has been the tremendous form of Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, with the Frenchman conjuring up a series of impressive displays and performances.
Schneiderlin spent his youth career at French outfit RC Strasbourg and then progressed into the first-team with the French side, before making the move across the channel to Southampton in 2008. Upon his arrival at St Mary’s, he was virtually unknown and it seemed a bit strange to spend £1.2 Million on a player whom not many were familiar with, but that purchase has proved to be a wise one and his displays this season are clear evidence of that.
Many other clubs had expressed an interest in Schneiderlin, with well-established clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal monitoring the youngster’s situation. But it was the Saints who acted swiftly in bringing the French prodigy to England; he made his debut in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Cardiff City and ever since he has been a regular in the defensive midfield area of the Southampton side. Even when the club were struggling in League One, the midfielder remained with the club and his desire to do so has earned the respect and admiration of the vast majority of Southampton fans.
Southampton remained in League One for two seasons, before Nigel Adkins guided the club to back to back promotions. Promotion to the Championship was closely followed by promotion to the top flight and in both campaigns; Schneiderlin well and truly played his part. Last season, I began to notice Schneiderlin a little more and as soon as I saw him, I admired the way he played. He liked to get on the ball and dictate play from deep, but despite being a defensive-midfielder by trade, he surged forward on many occasions; something he has continued to do so throughout his spell with Saints. He also possesses a real eye for a pass and can also score goals, particularly from long-range.
After that magnificent season with Southampton in the Championship, some may had predicted that he would find it difficult to make the step-up to such a competitive and difficult league, but in fact he has done the exact opposite. He has perfectly adapted to life in the Premier League and has found his feet with ease. He registered his first Premier League goal in the defeat against Manchester United and ever since then, more goals have followed, with strikes against Newcastle, Swansea and Liverpool examples of his goal-scoring abilities.
Now let’s take a further look into the Frenchman’s exceptional debut season in the Premier League, with some stats.
In total, Schneiderlin has made 29 appearances this season, scoring 5 goals in the process; for a defensive-midfielder I’m sure you’ll agree that is very impressive. He has an average shot accuracy of 32%, but he has still managed to pop up now and again with a goal. He boasts excellent vision and is always looking to make that forward pass to enhance and take attacks to the next level, this can be seen in a stat which shows he has created 24 chances this season; something I deem to be exceptional.
He has won 59% of his average duels; this being an indication of his respectable reading of the game. The 23-year-old has an average pass accuracy of 85% which is very good for a midfielder, but the stat that intrigues me the most is that he has a performance score of 1174, meaning he is at the very top of all the Southampton players, thus proving that he has been the stand-out performer for Saints this season.
Schneiderlin really has earned many admirers after his displays this season and many are tipping him to make the Team of the Season; he’s certainly got to be on the shortlist. Southampton are still a few points off survival in my view, but if they can stay up, I honestly think they’ll be in the league for years to come and I expect big clubs to come in for Schneiderlin, so it will be a difficult task to keep hold of him. He will only go on to improve and is still only young, so if he is this good in his firsts season in the Premier League, then I have no doubts he will become a top player over the next few years.
All Stats via Squawka.