For just about as long as people have been writing about football, player ratings have followed each and every game. Whether it’s letters, numbers, decimals or otherwise a raft of player ratings from a variety of publications seem to follow almost every game.

At Saintsplus we want to do things slightly differently so instead of rating each Saint in the immediate and emotional aftermath of full-time and rushing them up online, we’re taking a more relaxed and in-depth approach.

The rules:

Saintsplus will rewatch the recent game as many times as necessary in order to review each player’s performance as well as pick out any interesting tactical tidbits

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

- It’s important to note that we do not know the specific tactical instructions given to each player so we will attempt to grade with what we can see

- Each week we’ll choose a few players for our ‘standouts’ section (why may not exist every week depending on the quality of the performance)

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

This may not be pretty, but without further ado...

Daily Echo: Hasenhuttl casts a frustrated figure during Saints' defeat. Image by Sean RyanHasenhuttl casts a frustrated figure during Saints' defeat. Image by Sean Ryan

Fraser Forster: C+

After a run of terrific performances through April, the goalkeeper has recently starting succumbing to the disease of inconsistency plaguing his entire team. He won’t have been happy with the first goal conceded at Brighton after he ended up tangled on the floor with Mohammed Salisu and Crystal Palace’s equaliser didn’t cover him in glory either.

Admittedly, his side’s defending in the buil-up to Eberechi Eze’s goal was shambolic - to put it kindly - but the attacker’s strike was fairly tame and straight at Forster.

As the cross was floated to the back post, Eze is in acres of space…

Daily Echo:

Forster’s immediately at a disadvantage but Eze scuffs his shot and it slowly bounces towards Forster. It should be saved but the keeper can’t get down quick enough to stop it with his foot…

Daily Echo:

It’s harsh to be overly critical of Forster considering the defending in front of him and he still made two excellent first half saves - denying Jean Philippe Mateta with his feet in te 25th minute before diving at full-stretch to keep out a Jordan Ayew header just before half-time.

The reality is no goalkeeper will be perfect behind a defensive structure that leaves them so exposed. There’s no real reason this should shift the needle in terms of the shot-stopper's future but it wasn’t the flawless Forster we’ve seen in recent weeks.

Romain Perraud: C-

Starting in place of Tino Livramento, Perraud offered a mixed bag of a performance against Crystal Palace. Early on it appeared the South Londonders were targeting his side, looking to spring Ayew in behind the Frenchman.

Here’s one example from the sixth minute. Saints’ defensive line is an absolute mess with three of their four defenders cohesively set and Perraud totally out on his own…

Daily Echo:

He reacts too late and by the time Joachim Andersen plays the ball over the top, Perraud is on his heels coming forward while Ayew is making the run into the free space in behind...

Daily Echo:

If the ball is right, there’s nothing Perraud can do but fortunately in this case it’s played too heavy and goes straight through to Forster.

Palace’s equaliser also came down Perraud’s side but it’s hard to place too much blame solely on his shoulders as Nathan Tella’s lack of defensive awareness meant he was isolated against two attackers.

Daily Echo:

With Ayew racking up 63 touches - most of any Palace attacker - Perraud was forced back for much of the game and didn’t offer anything significant to Saints’ attacking display.

That much is summed up by his touch-map below, none of his 48 touches occurring close to the opposition goal…

Daily Echo: Perraud's touch map vs Crystal Palace. Image by: WhoscoredPerraud's touch map vs Crystal Palace. Image by: Whoscored

On a day to forget, Perraud was far from the worst of Saints’ performers but he also was far from his own best.

Jan Bednarek: D

In a 90-minute period where it truly felt like Crystal Palace had more determination and drive, the Polish centre-back’s weak physical performance set the tone for the home side’s struggles in handling the energy of their opposition.

We might as well start with the winning goal. Bednarek has been tasked with marking Wilfried Zaha one-on-one. Trouble is brewing as soon as the Ivorian is able to back into Bednarek.

Daily Echo:

Zaha pins him, turns with ease and fires a decent finish off the post. 92nd minute, everyone knows Palace’s danger-man and everyone knows Zaha is going to try and shoot. For him to be able to turn so easily at such a critical stage of the game really isn’t a great indictment of the player marking him.

Bednarek also struggled to physically hold Mateta when tasked with marking the striker.

Here’s an example from the first half.

With the ball bouncing in the direction of Mateta, he backs into Bednarek and immediately has the upper hand.

Daily Echo:

Instead of holding him there or overpowering him, Bednarek makes an unsuccessful attempt to hook himself around the striker and get in front, leading him to the wrong side where he eventually has to foul Mateta as the ball runs free.

Daily Echo:

In total, Bednarek won just six of his 16 duels - including just one of four against Zaha - as he struggled all afternoon against an attack that seemed to have a step on him in pace and power. At 26, Bednarek should be a leader for this team but it’s just not shaping up that way.

Mohammed Salisu: C

Physically, Salisu did better than his partner, winning 21 of his 24 duels but as a duo the two struggled desperately to get on the same page. Both defenders have streaks of erraticism in them and therefore could benefit from a calm and settled presence next to them. But in Bednarek - and in Salisu - each centre-back has a partner who wanders and leaves space exposed.

Take this example from the build-up to Palace’s equaliser.

The ball is played into the feet of Mateta and Salisu isn’t remotely close enough to the striker to do anything about it. That’s fine, it’s not as if Mateta is particularly close to goal anyways. But Salisu bombs forward in a desperate attempt to get near him, and by the time Mateta shifts the ball out wide, the centre-back is stranded in no man’s land leaving huge amount of space in behind.

Daily Echo:

Ideally, this is the kind of decision-making an experienced and communicative partner would encourage against but it feels as if Saints' defenders are acting on a whim rather than any coherent plan.

Kyle Walker-Peters: C+

If we’re judging Walker-Peters on a scale of his own performances this season, this one would rank quite low. He wasn’t awful by any means, we’ve just come to expect a certain standard and Walker-Peters didn't hit that.

His 56 touches ranked second amongst his teammates and his touch-map below shows just how active he was.

Daily Echo: Walker-Peters' touch map vs Crystal Palace. Image by: WhoscoredWalker-Peters' touch map vs Crystal Palace. Image by: Whoscored

He also attempted four dribbles - more than anyone else in red and white.

Going forward he lacked end product as displayed in a passage of play early on when he ran forward with the ball, beat a pair of Palace players before smashing his intended pass for Tella well off target.

One of Saints’ better performers on the day, but not at his spectacular best.

Oriol Romeu: C-

A relatively tough player to rate on the day, Romeu opened the scoring with a towering header in the 9th minute before Crystal Palace spent the rest of the afternoon pulling Saints’ midfield all over the place.

It’s not fully Romeu’s fault as clearly it’s part of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s tactical game-plan, but he’s frequently the player who leads the press and it often results in huge amounts of space opening up behind him.

Here’s a perfect example from the opening stages of Saturday’s defeat. Romeu sprints over to the ball on the Saints’ right side and with one simple pass backwards Palace open up a ridiculous amount of space where there Saints midfield really should be.

Daily Echo:

Romeu’s had an excellent season, but it’s fair to wonder if Saints need a more mobile player next to James Ward-Prowse going forward.

James Ward-Prowse: C

Speaking of Ward-Prowse, this was not the midfielder’s best game. Don’t get me wrong, he was still decent, whipping in a terrific set-piece for Romeu’s goal while making anumber of crucial defensive interventions inside or on the edge of his own box.

39 passes still led his side, but Ward-Prowse was inconsistent with the ball at his feet. A number of touches were sloppy by his standards with passes not hitting their man or forcing the target to take extra touches.

He also struggled with the late suring runs from Conor Gallagher.

One of few that can always be relied upon, Ward-Prowse was far from disastrous but like Walker-Peters, failed to hit the standard he’s set for himself.


After playing a starring role in Saints’ 2-2 draw with Brighton, Tella showed the inconsistency that could well be keeping him from a regular starting berth against Palace.

He flashed a few nice touches including a terrific run midway through the first half although his shot from distance was not great. As addressed in the discussion of Perraud above, he didn’t provide enough cover for his full-back but buzzed about energetically before getting taken off with ten minutes to go.

Daily Echo: Nathan Tella reacts to Romeu's goal. Image by: Sean RyanNathan Tella reacts to Romeu's goal. Image by: Sean Ryan

Tella managed 35 touches and just 14 passes - the least of any Saints player - as he struggled to link up with his teammates on a day when everyone in red seemed disjointed going forward.


Far more involved than any of Saints’ other attackers - Redmond actually received more than double the amount of passes compared to the other three forwards - but what he did with the ball was…not much. 

Just 13 of Saints’ 38 attacks came down Redmond’s side and he completed only one of four attempted dribbles. He was by no means bad, doing his defensive work diligently and supporting his side’s rare forays forward but he never really looked like making the crucial difference.

Played the final 25 minutes as the furthest forward striker which was certainly odd - and not particularly effective.


Having not scored since Febuary, it’s safe to say it’s just not clicking for Che Adams, no matter how hard he works - which in fairness, is very hard.

Only Shane Long played less passes than Adams’ nine and while it is always going to be difficult for a striker when his side only has 38% of the ball, Adams is in a pattern of wrong decision-making - seemingly shooting when he should pass and passing when he should shoot.

Here’s an example from the first half. Perraud plays the ball over the top to the on-running Che Adams and he has a step on the Palace defence.

Daily Echo:

The angle is undoubtedly tight, but with no support a striker has to go for goal in this situation.

Instead he takes a few extra touches before attempting a cross back along the six-yard box where there are three waiting defenders and no waiting attackers.

Daily Echo:

Let’s take a look at the reverse from the frist-half stoppage time. After Long flicks the ball on to his strike partner, Adams attracts the entire focus of the Palace defence as he takes it down with his back to goal.

Daily Echo:

With Nathan Redmond in acres of space on the edge of the box, Adams chooses to swivel and shoot - ending with a tame effort straight at Vicente Guaita - much to Redmond’s obvious frustration.

Daily Echo:

Adams’ work-rate will mean there is usually a place for him in the team - especially with all forwards under-performing. But unless he ends with a flurry of goals, he’s going to fail to hit double-figures for the third-straight season and quite simply that’s just not enough from a starting Premier League striker.


Speaking of a lack of goals, that brings us to Shane Long. I know this rating will be greeted with significant skepticism from Saints fans but in reality, Long did exactly what can be expected or asked from him.

He chased all over the pitch, harassed Palace defenders and forced them into mistakes - as was seen with the free-kick he won that eventually led to Romeu’s goal.

What Shane Long isn’t is a goalscorer and now 35 years old, there can’t be any expectation that he’ll suddenly become one again. But he continues to offer exactly what he’s always offered - a willing runner and constant worker. Should that be enough to earn a starting spot? Probably not. But the decision to play him rests on the shoulders of Ralph Hasenhuttl not the player himself. 

Ire directed at Long seems mis-targeted. That being said, it’s probably not a great thing when you’re relying on a striker in their mid-30s whose contract is set to expire in a matter of weeks.


Stuart Armstrong: B-

While he may still be lacking end product - two Premier League goals and no assists would say as much - Saints are a better team with Armstrong on the pitch and that was clear again on Saturday.

He improves those around him and is clearly trusted by each member of the squad. He did try to force the issue with a shot from distance that was not remotely close but certainly added something when he came on. Would expect him to regain his starting role when Saints head to Brentford this weekend.

Armando Broja: C-

Following the defeat, Hasenhuttl chose to single out the striker saying “Broja is not the same like he has been a few months ago.”

Whether or not it was right to provide such a public scathing, he’s not wrong - Broja looks a shadow of himself from the first half of the season. On Saturday he played a strange hybrid striker-winger role, dropping deep and frequently occupying the left flank while Redmond remained furthest-forward.

Daily Echo: Armando Broja's heat map vs Crystal Palace. Image by: WhoscoredArmando Broja's heat map vs Crystal Palace. Image by: Whoscored

Were these really the instructions he was given? It seems incredibly bizarre.

Broja is still working hard and attempting to use his physicality, but last week Hasenhuttl suggested that Premier League defences have figured him out and perhaps he needs to add a few more weapons to his arsenal in order to take the next step.

Moi Elyounoussi - N/A