The understandable reality is that most Saints fans would probably prefer to just forget Saturday’s capitulation to Chelsea.

3-0 down after 22 minutes and 4-0 after just over half an hour, the game was virtually decided from the moment it kicked off.

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Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl tried to shake things up after starting with his typical 4-2-2-2 system.

In the 36th-minute he brought off Oriol Romeu for Yan Valery to slot in as a third centre-back before Ibrahima Diallo replaced Adam Armstrong at the break to add a bit of extra bite in the middle of the park.

Whether it was too late (it was) or there were just too many other issues (there were), nothing worked as Saints only got some respite when Chelsea took their foot off the gas at 6-0.

If not..the score could have been…well we don’t need to go there.

After a day that will naturally raise questions about another season petering out, here are three tactical points that led to Saints’ epic surrender…

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High press, more like high mess

It’s no secret that Saints’ typically impressive high-pressing system was torn to shreds. It got so bad that Ralph Hasenhuttl hinted at a change in philosophy going forward.

Speaking after the heavy defeat, the Austrian said: "It does ring the alarm and this is what we need to see.

"We have to find a better way of defending - and if it’s not a high-press way because we’re not convinced about this at the moment - it’s on us, on me, to find the right solutions. And you can be sure that next weekend you see a team that’s defending differently."

Despite showcasing more adaptability this season than in the past, you know things are getting serious when Hasenhuttl talks about moving away from what has almost always been so central to his style of play.

But whether it’s tiredness from the long season or the players not being “convinced” about it, Hasenhuttl is right to consider a move away from the all-out press.

We already discussed the problems Saints ran into at Leeds when their midfielders pressed too high and against Chelsea, the same issues were ruthlessly punished.

Ironically, Saints actually started the game fairly well and showed off the best of their press in the second minute when they forced Chelsea into playing it straight out for a corner.

When Chelsea get the ball, Saints are in an organised shape with the two strikers in position to press and the four midfielders behind them all in sync with each other.

Rudiger on the ball has virtually no options with Mateo Kovacic blocked off by Adams' press and Chelsea's attacking players covered by the four midfielders.

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The centre-back chooses to go short into Alonso - facing the Chelsea goal - and it acts as a trigger for the Saints players to make their move.

Stuart Armstrong presses high against Alonso and Ward-Prowse goes towards the ball to help. Meanwhile, Romeu tucks in to fill the space vacated by Ward-Prowse.

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What works so well about this is that the Saints press isn't flat or stagnant; all the players have found different levels of depth within the press.

Ward-Prowse and Armstrong are staggered and moving towards the ball while Romeu is arriving deeper to help clean up while Elyounoussi moves in from a higher position to cut out as many different passing angles as possible.

This is how the Saints press should look. And this is how it shouldn’t…

As Thiago Silva prepares to pass the ball, there are four Saints players ‘pressing’ and about to be taken out of the game. The two strikers are far too close to each other and the two midfielders supporting them - Oriol Romeu and Stuart Armstrong - are completely static.

Granted the two Chelsea central midfielders are removed from the equation by this attempted Saints press but the acres and acres of space available out wide is so obvious that Rudiger is quite literally screaming for it with his arms outstretched.

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As opposed to the example above where the Saints players are staggered in different positions and levels of depths, in this case, they are all far too regimented and inflexible, cutting off a few of the passing options but not nearly enough of them.

Are four Saints really needed to mark two Chelsea players?

There is no reason for both Romeu and Stuart Armstrong to be so close to each other - essentially doing the same job.

With Elyounoussi arriving from the right and the two strikers already doing most of the work needed to block off Kante and Kovacic, Romeu should be able to handle the covering press on his own while Armstrong pulls out wide to at least stop the impending marauding run up the pitch from Rudiger even if he can't cut out the pass itself.

Instead though, the Saints midfield is taken out of the game and when Rudiger eventually releases the ball 40 yards up the pitch he has Mason Mount free in yet more space between Saints' midfield and defence.

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The attack eventually came to nothing after Mount failed to find Werner but the ease in which Chelsea bypassed the entire Saints midfield was a terrifying theme that continued throughout.

Here’s another striking example from early on in the second half.

With Thiago Silva on the ball - and facing his own goal - the entire Saints midfield - minus James Ward-Prowse who’s incredibly deep - press.

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They aren’t close enough to actually win the ball back and once again the press is far too flat to actually cut out the requisite passing lanes. Meanwhile, they’ve given up huge amounts of space behind them and on the left-wing…

…where the ball eventually ends up at the feet of Marcos Alonso.

It’s not even a great pass to Alonso in the end, but it really doesn’t need to be thus is the space he has to work with.

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Alonso then found Kante storming through the heart of Saint's absent midfield before his attempted chip was pushed out to Werner who tapped home for Chelsea’s fifth of the afternoon.

Disastrous High Line

It would be unfair to solely pick on the midfield and attack for Saturday’s defeat because the truth is that every single player struggled - minus Fraser Forster perhaps. 

Defensively, Saints seemed to lack any sort of organisation and any plan they did - failed in the extreme.

It led to a ridiculous and high line that was constantly abused by Chelsea. 

Timo Werner, who has largely played on the wing for Chelsea this season, started through the middle with a clear intention to attack Saints’ high defensive line. It worked.

Below was a warning from the 11th minute. Mateo Kovacic gets the ball and immediately looks to find Werner in behind - where the German has plenty of space to run into.

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On this occasion, the pass was too heavy and Forster was able to come out and clear. But the warning was not heeded.

When they were punished 15 minutes later there was some misfortune to it with James Ward-Prowse making a rare error but the set-up allowed the mistake to quickly turn into the latest catastrophe on a catastrophic day.

As the ball comes out of the sky and drops onto Ward-Prowse’s head, Saints’ last defenders - Jan Bednarek and Kyle Walker-Peters - are high up the pitch, ten yards inside Chelsea’s half.

There’s just no need for it. Bednarek is far too tight to Werner and Walker-Peters is essentially parallel to him rather than behind as a covering defender.

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It’s a bizarre set-up against someone with the pace of Werner and even Ward-Prowse seems to be expecting his defenders to have dropped off further.

Instead, the header loops over Bednarek and from that point it really is game over.

The Polish centre-back is easily outpaced and Walker-Peters is in no position to cover - thanks to being lateral rather than behind his fellow defender.

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Speaking after his side's cruise of a victory, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel explained that Saints played just as the West Londoners “expected” them to. That kind of predictability is never a good thing. 

Tuchel set out to attack and destroy Saints’ high press and aggressive defensive line and the visitors succeeded time and time again in both areas.

Missing Build Up

So much of the game was spent with Saints attempting to cling on to some sort of life that it’s easy to forget they also had the ball as well.

Not a lot of it of course. Saints had 29% possession and managed just 292 passes compared to 748 for Chelsea.

Last weekend at Elland Road, Hasenhuttl’s side went into the break 1-0 down after Jack Harrison’s opening goal and they deserved to be behind.

But they were notably improved in possession after the break and amongst a number of slight alterations, Hasenhuttl put the added threat down to his team utilising their full-backs more.

“I think we played more and found our full-backs more often, we could switch the game and then attack on the other side,” he explained.

On Saturday, as Chelsea ran riot, Saints got nothing going with the ball. 

Admittedly, at some point, it became a damage limitation exercise, but still, the passing map below tells a story of a disjointed side.
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The gap between the two starting centre-backs is extremely noticeable - Saints totally avoiding any kind of switch of play across the backline.

Instead, everything going to the left side came from the left side and everything to the right side came from the right side. 

It was almost as if there were two Saints teams on show against Chelsea: the left team playing on the left flank and the right team playing on the opposite wing.

The chart below illustrates how many passes each combination of Saints players made with each other.

On the left side is the player passing the ball and on the top is the number of the player receiving the ball.

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The main passing combinations were Kyle Walker-Peters to Mohamed Salisu (7 passes), Yan Valery to Stuart Armstrong (7 passes), Salisu to Fraser Forster (6 passes), Tino Livramento to Adam Armstrong (6 passes) and Stuart Armstrong to Valery (6 passes).

What do all of these combinations have in common? They’re all between players on the same side of the pitch as each other.

Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse and Ibrahima Diallo are all missing from that list of frequent passing combinations. Nothing went going through the middle.

In fact, Ward-Prowse received just 17 passes on the day - third-least of all outfield players who played 90 minutes - only more than Moi Elyounoussi and Jan Bednarek. The latter somehow only received three passes, just further showing the extent to which Saints avoided the middle of the pitch.

Romeu and Diallo each also only received ten passes as Saints did all their (limited attacking) either on the right side or on the left side but not through the middle - avoiding the central areas even as a vehicle to switch play from one side to the other.

Saints only real chance after Chelsea’s first goal came at 5-0 down when Che Adams saw his close-range effort saved after a sweeping move in which Hasenhuttl’s side started with the ball at Tino Livramento’s feet before switching play to Walker-Peters through the midfield.

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Livramento touches it on for Stuart Armstrong who finds Che Adams checking in and after working the ball to Diallo in space, the midfielder is able to play to Walker-Peters streaking in behind.

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It didn't count for anything in the end, but the blueprint of the attack is something Saints have found joy with this season but almost entirely missing on Saturday.

Ultimately, the third point in this tactical debrief - the issues with the ball - was not the reason Saints were positively thrashed on Saturday.

The first two problems were far more impactful and they will need to be fixed immediately if Saints are to avoid any more embarrassments this season and end the campaign on a somewhat positive note.