I’ll be honest, this idea would be a lot more fun if Southampton were actually winning games. But we will soldier on regardless with another ugly edition of Saints’ extended player ratings…

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

Daily Echo: Brentford celebrate their first goal.Brentford celebrate their first goal.

Fraser Forster: C-

It’s hard to be overly positive about any goalkeeper after his team loses 3-0 and Forster was not blameless. But it’s also hard to be overly critical of a goalkeeper playing behind this current Saints defence.

Exposed time and time again, Forster won’t be satisfied with his performance but he also wasn’t really given a chance. For Brentford’s first, Pontus Jansson was just one of multiple players waiting to tap home inside Saints’ six-yard box. But the disaster in front of him was best summed up by Brentford’s second goal, just over a minute after their first.

A calamity between Jan Bednarek and Mohammed Salisu 30 yards from goal (more on that to come) left Yoane Wissa with time and space to curl into the bottom corner. Was Forster too far off his line? The question is a fair one but Wissa should have never been allowed into such a position.

Daily Echo:

The Saints keeper was once again left in an incredibly diffuciult position for Brentford’s third as Kristoffer Ajer walked past Salisu before slotting underneath his former Celtic teammate.

It’s another Forster won’t be delighted with but another where he was left for dead by the defending in front of him.

Kyle Walker-Peters: C

Walker-Peters’ season has tailed off a bit in the past four weeks but his all-action role in this oft-stretched Saints team isn’t helping him. When his side had the ball, Walker-Peters was often asked to press all the way up the pitch as his team’s primary right winger with Stuart Armstrong tucked inside as an extra central midfielder.

Here’s an example of that from the 2nd minute…

Daily Echo:

Of course, with Brentford ripping Saints to shreds on the counter, Walker-Peters was left with the tough task of getting forward while still having to help bail out the flustered defence.

In the 9th minute, Saints pressed forward with the ball at the feet of Brentford’s goalkeeper. But one long kick forward and Southampton were undone.

Toney beats Bednarek in the air and with the Polish centre-back left on the floor, Walker-Peters is forced to chase back and cover.

Daily Echo:

Salisu ends up going to the immediate threat of Wissa on the ball, while the right-back goes across to cover Toney in the middle. Wissa end up cutting inside and shooting straight at Forster but it was a warning sign of things to come.

Daily Echo:

Walker-Peters put in his usual all-action display, racking up 68 touches - third-most of any Saints player - and his touch map below shows just how much work went into those touches.

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

Walker-Peters is being asked to do a lot as one of Saints’ primary attacking outlets while still getting back to cover the defensive frailties. Naturally, holes have started to form.

Jan Bednarek: D-

Well...there’s not much to say about Bednarek after Saturday. It certainly wasn’t all on him - this was a team implosion. But Bednarek didn’t help his side’s cause.

Virtually from the opening whistle, he was dominated in his physical battle with Ivan Toney.

Time and time again, Bednarek stepped out of defence to engage with the Brentford striker and frequently it ended in disaster. We’ve already seen one example above, but here’s another from first half stoppage time.

Bednarek steps forward to press Toney and the striker easily pushes him aside as he moves past.

Daily Echo:

With Brentford set to run at Saints’ depleted defence, Bednarek pulls Toney back and takes the foul - a good decision in all honesty.

Daily Echo:

Unfortunately, Bednarek’s chaotic assaults forward didn’t always end harmlessly. Shortly after Brentford notched their first, they played a long ball in the direction of Wissa.

Bednarek pushes out towards him, gets nowhere close and leaves a huge amount of space for Toney and Eriksen to run into.

Daily Echo:

It falls to the latter and although Bednarek and Salisu both get back quickly enough to force the ball away from Eriksen, Wissa picks up the pieces in all the space vacated by the two centre-backs. 

Daily Echo:

Quite simply, it appeared Bednarek lost his head early on and by the time he found it again, the damage was already done. It’s not good enough from someone who has played 130 Premier League games.

Mohammed Salisu: D-

In fairness to Bednarek, his centre-back partner was hardly better. In the chaos of a game in which Brentford countered quickly and frequently, Salisu struggled desperately to get to grips.

In theory, Salisu was supposed to drop deeper as Bednarek pushed up to battle Toney but as seen in the previous section, that clearly didn’t work. Part of that was due to Bednarek’s failing, but Salisu doesn’t get off free.

Just take a look at Brentford’s second goal. The gap between the two centre-backs is ridiculous and naturally leaves Salisu chasing to make up the ground.

Daily Echo:

He ends up on the ground alongside Bednarek as Wissa gratefully gobbles up the gift left for him.

That was bad but it was just one example of many from a thoroughly disastrous first half. Here’s another from the 15th minute.

Brentford play the ball into the feet of Bryan Mbeumo on the right wing and for whatever reason, Salisu is there to press him - a full 35 yards from Bednarek. With space all over the place for Brentford to exploit, Mbeumo finds Eriksen and Brentford really should be through to a goalscoring chance.

Daily Echo:

Fortunately, on this occasion, the pass from Eriksen is under-hit and Saints come away with the ball. But this escape was due to the West Londoners’ error, not anything positive from Saints.

Daily Echo:

Of course, speaking of Salisu we must mention his role in Brentford’s third goal. Perhaps fearing he would concede a penalty, Salisu allowed fellow centre-back Kristoffer Ajer to waltz past him and score. A moment that summed up his entire team’s afternoon.

Romain Perraud: C+

The left back was one of few players who actually looked like he might make something happen, getting forward well without actually doing too much once he got forward. He had an early shot in a situation where he should have probably passed but it’s hard to fault him for trying to take matters into his own hands.

Daily Echo:

Perraud led his team with nine crosses and as with Walker-Peters was asked to get up and down the pitch all afternoon.

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

The 24-year-old struggled desperately at set-pieces and that would be his biggest mark against.

Ibrahima Diallo: C-

After failing to appear in each of Saints’ last four matches, this was a mighty tough return for Diallo against a Brentford side who dominated the intensity of the match.

In possession, Diallo kept things tidy but he didn’t have a huge impact on the game with th ball at his feet. Unfortunately, a rather mediocre outing will be remembered for a terrible moment in the build up to Brentford’s first goal when he let Toney free to cross for Jansson’s opener. Why Diallo was marking Toney is anyone’s guess but he couldn’t get the job done.

Daily Echo:

Daily Echo:

A more controlled game would likely suit Diallo who seems to disappear slightly when things get stretched and chaotic. That much was clear at Leeds when he struggled in the open first half before finding things much easier in the calmer second period.

James Ward-Prowse: C+

Saints captain Ward-Prowse wasn’t at his very best at Brentford as the entire team were overrun on the break but he was still the closest to a solid performer.

His 97 touches were by far the most of any Saints player while he comfortably led his side in terms of passes into the final third with 18 as he tried to make something happen, ultimately unsuccessfully.

He did have two free-kick opportunities but connected with the wall both times and tried a curling shot in the first half that Raya was able to catch.

Defensively Ward-Prowse was far from perfect rushing in to press on multiple occasions when it may have been better for his side if he’d dropped off a few yards and helped try and quell Brentford’s direct counter-attacking.

Here's an example of that. Ward-Prowse presses towards Mbeumo and Eriksen who gets the ball has all the space he wants to run into.

Daily Echo:

Nathan Redmond: C-

Redmond was asked to come inside and helping support the attack while Perraud took up the space he vacated out wide.

His five attempted dribbles were joint-most amongst Saints players but he completed just two of them which tells much of the story of his performance. Huff and puff but not much end quality to speak of. He ballooned his one shot high over the bar.

Redmond may keep his place due to the general toilings of the club’s wingers but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Saints need to address their lack of threat out wide.

Stuart Armstrong: C-

As with Redmond, Armstrong was almost asked to play as an extra central midfielder with Walker-Peters operating as Saints’ primary right winger.

Armstrong worked hard as per usual and at least tried to make something happen with three key passes and two shots. Unfortunately, his shots were from distance and once again, like all of Saints’ attacking players he flattered to deceive.

Armstrong is no doubt a good player who has played a major role in some of his side’s best moments this season. But he’s out of form with the rest of his team and unable to come up with the kind of magic Saints need to drag themselves out of the trouble they keep finding themselves in. 

Adam Armstrong: C

The good: Adam Armstrong played the full game at Brentford and even put the ball in the back of the net.

The bad: He managed just 34 touches - the least of any Saints player - and his goal was ruled out for offside.

Making just his second Premier League start in 2022, Armstrong showed flashes of the player he could be with more regular football as he chased the Brentford defence and made a number of good runs in behind. Unfortunately, we saw what happens when a player doesn’t get the chance to play regularly with his teammates as the vast majority of his runs were ignored. 

Early on he cast a frustrated figure as Bednarek chose to reverse and play backwards instead of looking for the striker’s run over the top and it was a theme throughout.

He took his (offside) goal well and was unlucky not to get on the end of a Brentford mix-up in the second half. It’s probably more of a reflection on Armstrong’s difficult season than his performance on Saturday but this was a step in the right direction. Let’s see if he gets a run of games to finish the season.

Armando Broja: C+

This may be an unpopular grade but Broja did what we could with what he was given - which wasn’t much. Saints struggled desperately to get the ball to their attacking players in dangerous positions and when they did, they frequently made the wrong decisions.

Here’s one example from the fourth minute - as seen in our Perraud discussion. The left-back breaks into the box with the ball and Broja makes a run with him, calling for the ball in space…

Daily Echo:

Instead of picking him out, Perraud cuts back on his defender. Once again, Broja is free and calling for the ball.

Daily Echo:

But once again, Perraud opts to go on his own, missing the target with his shot.

When Broja was found by one of his teammates, he still had a huge amount to do. Take this example from late in the first half. Diallo plays the ball into the feet of Broja with two Brentford defenders around him.

Daily Echo:

Daily Echo:

He breaks onto his left foot and leaves both defenders for dead before firing his shot straight at Raya.

Daily Echo:

Broja’s form has certainly declined since he burst onto the scene but at the same time, this team is not supporting their strikers - the same could be said for Armstrong.

Moi Elyounoussi: C-

On for the final half an hour with the game already out of reach, Elyounoussi did his usual job for the team, getting up and down the wing while helping out inside. But created very little. He completed just nine passes, managed one shot, zero crosses, zero dribbles and zero touches in the box.

Saints need more from all their attackers, Elyounoussi certainly included.

Oriol Romeu: N/A