For just about as long as people have been writing about football, player ratings have been a staple of matchday coverage. 

We wanted to try and do things slightly differently so instead of rating each Saint in the immediate and emotional aftermath of full-time, we’re going to try and take a more relaxed and in-depth approach.

The rules:

- The day after each game, we will rewatch the match in order to review each player’s performance as well as pick out any potentially interesting tactical tidbits

- Each player will receive a grade on a sliding scale of A+ to F

- It’s important to note that we don't know the specific tactical instructions given to each player so we will attempt to grade purely based on what we can see

- Each week we’ll choose a few players for our ‘standouts’ section to focus on

- Only players who play 15+ minutes in each game will receive a grade so late substitutes will almost always get a N/A

We'll play with the formula over the coming weeks and update accordingly but without further adieu, here goes the first extended player ratings:

The Standouts:


It’s getting tough to continue finding new superlatives for Kyle Walker-Peters. Coming off his maiden England call-up not only was Walker-Peters largely solid defensively - as per usual - but he was the bright spark in attack the seemed to galvanise his whole team. 

After a fairly quiet first half, Walker-Peters came alive in the second with a number of mazy weaving runs. No matter how many players Leeds threw at him, he somehow emerged with the ball each time.

Just take a look at the run that led to the free-kick from which Ward-Prowse equalised. Walker-Peters starts with the ball ten yards inside his own half. 

Daily Echo:

After turning towards goal, he starts running at a line of four Leeds defenders with one chasing him from behind. Walker-Peters doesn’t mind. He might even prefer it that way.

Daily Echo:

He beats the first pack before exchanging passes with Ibrahima Diallo. When the full-back gets the ball for the second time, he once again has a mini-army of Leeds defenders ahead of him. Again though, he ploughs through them and eventually, Ayling has to foul him.

Daily Echo:

In total, Walker-Peters attempted 13 dribbles on Saturday and the most memorable of them, highlighted above, says much about the player he’s becoming. Walker-Peters plays with absolutely no fear. He wants the ball, he wants to make something happen and more and more he is succeeding. 

Particularly against a side that presses with the speed and persistence of Leeds, Walker-Peters calm responsibility on the ball was crucial to Saints’ ability to flip the momentum when things started to go against them.

He plays with a level of joy that is a lot of fun to watch and statistically it’s showing up as well.

Here’s how Walker-Peters ranked amongst his Saints teammates in a variety of categories:

Touches: 1st

Dribbles: 1st

Shots: Joint-1st

Fouls won: 1st

Tackles: Joint-1st

Sceptics will say he should have done better to stop the crossing opportunity that led to Leeds’ goal, but any sceptic would surely have beeen won around by the time the game came to an end. Right-back or left-back, Walker-Peters simply must be one of the first names on the teamsheet and he’s making a case for Saints Player of the Season.


The second of Saints’ A-level performers is hardly a surprise. Ignore the free-kick for a second - I know the blasphemy - but let's ignored it for a moment. Even without that particular piece of magic, Ward-Prowse once again stands out.

On the ball, he helped Saints gain some semblance of control in a fragmented game with 42 passes - the most of any visiting player. And while he has occasionally been criticised for not being ambitious enough with the ball at his feet, he hit more passes forward than backwards or sideways on Saturday.

Off the ball, he was the energetic livewire that embodies so much of how this team can play at their best. It was a game that wasn’t suited to him in some ways - in that it wasn’t the kind of game where either side really had prolonged periods of possession. But it was a perfect game for him in other ways as he was able to showcase his ridiculous engine and ability to just keep going and going.

As previously discussed, he was happy to do his part on the right of the diamond before being equally assured and helping Southampton batten down the hatches when he moved more centrally in the second half.

It wasn’t Ward-Prowse’s best game but that says more about the standards of his season than this performance itself. Oh yeah, and before we move on, can we talk about the free-kick? CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE FREE-KICK? Jesse Marsch compared it to a penalty. It’s getting ridiculous at this point.


After a number of rocky performances following his recent return from injury, Salisu was back to his best - or at least near it - in Yorkshire. His tenacious approach set the tone from the second minute.

With Leeds breaking at pace, Dan James seemed to have a yard on Salisu. That was until the Ghanaian went to ground and pulled off a completely legal sliding challenge to deny the close-range effort.

Daily Echo:

Daily Echo:

Late on he made another full-stretch diving tackle/block to deny Joe Gelhardt after the Leeds substitute got way too much room in the box. Salisu plays with an element of reckless abandonment that can sometimes get him and his team into trouble - just look at the penalty he conceded against Manchester City prior to the international break.

The relative element of chaos comes with its downsides, but at his best, Salisu is a physical tone-setter for the entire team’s defensive display and if he wasn’t quite at his best on Saturday, he was fairly close.

Against Leeds, Salisu’s recovery pace was needed in abundance as Southampton frequently found themselves stretched on the break. His 11 interceptions - the third-most he’s managed in one game this season - speaks volumes about how frequently he broke up the hosts’ play.

Still just 22 years old, Salisu is going to have his inconsistent patches like any other young player. But seeing him bounce back - in a pretty big way - is just what everyone associated with the club wanted to see.

The Rest:


Discussed in-depth here in our three tactical notes, Diallo did himself no harm at Elland Road. He should get more minutes through the final eight games of the season.


Forster marshalled his near post well to keep out early shots from Raphinha and James but will be disappointed in how he pushed the cross back into danger that allowed Harrison to tap home. Still, another calm and assured performance in a string of them for Forster.

Coming for set-pieces and taking control with the ball at his feet as well, Forster clearly has the confidence of the players in front of him.


After a pretty rough few weeks prior to the international break, Bednarek wasn't perfect but he was significantly improved on Saturday. Helped by the aggressiveness of Salisu alongside him, Bednarek remained calm in the moments he needed to and carried the ball well out of defence.


It wasn't totally his fault, but Romeu struggled in the first half as Leeds overran the Saints midfield at times. Improved after the break, he had a number of crucial interventions on both sides of the ball.

No game ever passes without Romeu making his presence felt with a big tackle or crucial interception and Saturday was no different. Carried the ball forward purposefully but improved after he started to play a more disciplined role.


Tasked with playing as the floater behind the two strikers, Elyounoussi was extremely busy as he went pretty much everywhere on the pitch. Pressed extremely well alongside Che Adams and Armando Broja but couldn't quite make the difference with the ball and failed to take his only real chance when he slipped as he struck Adams' lay-off. Always makes an impact even when he's not at his best.


Another Saint who always makes his presence felt regardless of end-product, Adams was close to a very big day. His smart little touch to Elyounoussi early on could have easily resulted in the opening goal while he carved open a massive chance for himself later on in the first half when he brilliantly turned away from his marker before seeing a toe-poked effort saved. It's one of those moments that he'll no doubt have been seeing when he closed his eyes to go to sleep on Saturday night. But Adams worked as hard as anyone on the pitch and made things thoroughly uncomfortable for the Leeds' defenders.


Not Livramento's best game. He was heavily involved as Southampton endeavoured to spread the ball to both full-backs but it just didn't quite come together for the 19-year old. He had a few mishit clearances that weren't quite punished and couldn't take advantage of a late chance at the back post. He also slipped multiple times on the Elland Road pitch - as did more than one of his teammates as well.

In fairness, it might be a reflection of the incredibly highs standards Livramento earned that this performance gets such a relatively low score. He has played a huge amount of football since returning from injury so perhaps he could use a rest.


Probably the toughest player to grade, Broja can't be faulted for a lack of effort. He threw himself about and was not afraid to initiate physical battle after physical battle. But it's just not quite clicking for him at the moment. A loose touch saw a Diallo cross in the first half run away from him before he couldn't finish from Livramento's cross shortly after Ward-Prowse's goal.

Broja has now scored just once in his last ten league matches. Every young striker goes through barren patches and it's about how - and if - they overcome it. There's really no reason to doubt his talent. Let's see what Broja is made of.



Southampton had already largely committed to a defensive approach when Armstrong replaced Romeu but he was solid if not spectacular. Did his defensive work well and tried. to make something happen in attack but found himself with limited space the few times he did get the ball in potentially dangerous areas. 


Replaced Che Adams in the 87th minute.


Replaced Armando Broja in the 90th minute.