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Manning V Perraud Who Is The Better Left Back
Tuesday, 10th Oct 2023 10:46

Ryan Manning has been the whipping boy of a section of Southampton supporters this season and it is not unusual to hear the phrase "We should never have got rid of Perraud", but what is the reality of the situation.

Sometimes the perception of a player is different from reality, despite never really being the first choice left back at St Mary's over his two seasons in the Saints squad, this season has seen Romain Perraud take on almost club legend status with some fans, who pin the blame squarely at the feet of Ryan Manning as the reason we are not in the top six.

Buts is that really fair on Manning has been comparing the two and also looking at how Perraud has been faring for OCG Nice in France.

Footballfancast have been using sofascore for their data and the results that they have found do not back up the claims of those Southampton supporters who feel that if Perraud was still at St Mary's this season then things would be a lot better.

In his first season at St Mary's in 2021/22 he played 20 games in the Premier League, 18 of them starts and 2 off the bench, for around half of the season when both Kyle Walker Peters and Tino Livramento were fit he was an unused sub.

Of those 20 games, Saints would win just 4 of them, he averaged a poor Sofascore rating of 6.58 across , which was the 20th-highest score within the squad.

He did not register a goal and only averaged 0.4 key passes per game, with one 'big chance' created in total. 12 of his teammates managed more key passes per game than the left-back, which Footballfancast suggest that he lacked creative quality.

Perraud also only made 2.5 tackles and interceptions per match and lost 54% of his duels, showing that opposition players got the better of him more often than not, which made him a liability from a physical perspective.

In 2022/23 with Tino Livramento out for all but the final handful of games, his opportunities were more frequent, he started 21 games and came off the bench 7 times, but his improvement was minimal, he made 0.5 key passes per game, just 0.1 more than the previous season.

He made 2.6 tackles and interceptions per outing, another improvement of 0.1, but also lost 56% of his physical battles with the opposition as per Sofascore, again showing that when it came to defending he wasn't the strongest.

In his favour he did score twice and and added two assists.

Footballfancast's verdict on his two seasons is not positive, they say it proves that he unable to provide quality as a defender or an attacker for the Saints.

So how does Ryan Manning's stats compare for Southampton this season and it should be noted that this is the Championship and not the Premier League

Again from the stats Footballfancast suggest that although he has not been faultless, he has only one direct error that has lead to a goal, again this is their opinion and not necessarily mine.

He has averaged a Sofascore rating of 7.08 across 11 Championship appearances this season and contributed from an attacking perspective with two assists and 1.8 key passes per game.

Will Smallbone is the only Southampton player who has averaged more.

From a defensive perspective Manning is slightly better than Perraud, he has won 57% of his duals, but this improvement is only slightly more than the Frenchman and i would say that there is little difference between either.

Perraud's time with Nice has not seen him have much success either, since he joined them Nice have played 5 matches, he has yet to make the starting line up and has been on the bench for each of these games, he has come on in 3 of those, managing just 30 minutes of football.

Footballfancast's article suggests that Romain Perraud has been a poor signing for Southampton, his transfer fee back in 2021 was around £10.5 million, but they claim that it has now dropped to less than half of that.

So who is the better left back, Ryan Manning or Romain Perraud ? That is a difficult question to answer, the comparisons are not on a level playing field.

One thing that that the stats do reveal though is that Perraud was not a great success in his two seasons at the club, he wasn't the first choice left back in his first season and in his second he only played more games because of the injury to Tino Livramento.

He did nothing to suggest that he would be a major player this season, from this perspective Ryan Manning was proven at Championship level, when considering whether to sign Manning or stick with Perraud, it was perhaps a simple task, last term Manning scored 5 goals and had 10 assists in 43 Championship matches, although a different level when comparing to Perraud in the Premier League, he had a proven record doing the job that we needed him to do at the level we needed him to do it in.

So who is the better left back is perhaps a hard question to answer, but from looking at the stats and from watching both in most of their games played, I would say that Ryan Manning is the better option for how Russell Martin wants to play and in the division we are playing in.

Some have taken a dislike to Ryan Manning a little unfairly in my opinion, I am not saying he has showed us all why the club bought him, at least not yet, but he has contributed this season and has not been as bad as some would have you believe, given he has been playing in a side that has been in transition and adapting to a new style of play with half the team not here last season.

Manning suffers from being seen as Russell Martin's man, Perraud is held up as the answer to our problems as he is not Ryan Manning, not really based on anything he did for us in the last two season's, after all in those two seasons, he was part of the second worst defence in the Premier League and not much better the season before.

So Ryan Manning is here at the moment and Romain Perraud isn't, from this perspective we can either back Manning and hopefully his confidence will be restored and he will prove to be the right man and help us to promotion, or we can keep on harking back to Romain Perraud, which will help no one.

Photo: Action Images

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Block8 added 11:30 - Oct 10
Don't like stats never have, never will, we have been buying players based on stats for the last few seasons, look how successful that has been. Stats only ever tell part of the story and are therefore unreliable. Anyway back to the question, It's difficult to compare players from different divisions as standards vary by so much & I personally think Manning is unfortunately the current fall guy from a fans perspective, which stats or no stats is probably not justified. Fans (well me anyway) liked Perraud because he was committed and always seemed up for the fight, a bit like Franny Benali, not the greatest defender but always 100% effort. Manning is more a wing back but is playing against weaker opposition and in terms of standard for the level they play, better players around him. So it's hard to compare like for like unless they are both playing at the same level within the same team, stats are meaningless in this instance.
And most if you ask me!

AgrellaSFC added 12:09 - Oct 10
Simple one really. Perraud is miles clear. Mannings defending every time I have watched him has been shocking bar the Rotherham game. I would rather the potential for a goal outlet in Perraud than Manning who struggles to do both. Perraud was average in the Prem and Mannings is below average in the championship, quite easy to compare.

WestSussexSaint added 12:59 - Oct 10
It is like comparing chalk and cheese. The current style of possession based football clearly didn’t suit Perraud otherwise he probably would still have been here.

SaintPaulVW added 13:37 - Oct 10
I always liked Perraud. However if you were comparing each player at the same point of each of their first seasons, you wouldn't have much to compare, as Perraud barely played.

Manning is having to learn how to fit in to a new defence on the job, whereas Perraud had a big chunk of his first season to settle in.

It's a difficult comparison to make but imo there is no point in looking back. I'm sure Manning will get better and that, hopefully, will then opinions will turn.

markytd added 13:47 - Oct 10
It’s pretty clear to me. We have lost out on a good full back and replaced him with a slow, ineffective left sided player (not sure where he would be best suited - left back in the changing room as we used to say in pe). Martin’s vanity signing is invariably trailing the oppositions right sided attackers and all teams know to attack down our left. It also amazes me when Kammy is blamed for not doing Mannings job when his role is to terrorise the opposition.

ItchenNorth added 13:49 - Oct 10
It's all irrelevant. Perraud is not here Manning is.

Support the player wearing the shirt.

underweststand added 15:21 - Oct 10
In seeking to compare these two players, I had to ask myself what do we really expect from a full back, at a time when FB's are expected to be wing backs - as well as good defenders.
I can think back over the 60 years when names like Denis Hollywood and Mark Dennis - and not forgetting Franny Benali had the motto - none shall pass - and those who tried either ended up in the crowd, or went off on a stretcher.
The more versatile; Holmes and Peach played anywhere on the left and scored goals too. In later generations ; Wayne Bridge went from Saints youth football to Chelsea and later England, and Gareth Bale began as LB , then successfully moved upfield later in his career.

Luke Shaw, and Matt Targett became bigger names, but some other candidates lost their way whilst Ryan Bertrand made the LB shirt his for several seasons in a row.

BUT back to the question: neither of these men are anywhere near the class of those named above. Like others on here I liked Perraud a lot. His enthusiasm and aggression was obvious to all, and those few goals he scored would be a credit to any Prem. striker, but he was far from suitable at LB and was often slow or beaten by his winger.
Perraud drew the short straw when RM played him at CB, in the inglorious Cup defeat at Gilllingham which did little to convince that he, or anyone else looked good on the night.
Sadly , I don't see him returning after his " loan " to Nice , but we can see.

Ryan Manning is RM's man. A reliable team player at Championship level - and seemingly DAJF Martin at Swansea, but has surely peaked and it looks tough to try and " teach an old dog " at this stage of his career.
In RM's defence, with only a few weeks at his disposal before the season began, it has been difficult cobbling together a regular start side, and the bench still has one or two names who should likely move on in January and be replaced.

Whilst we are discussing these two, I noted that Jake Voklns was back in a recent U21 squad - a side at LB in which he was often M.o.M ... even as a 15 year old. His previous loans did little to improve his career prospects, but I still think he is " one for the future ".


Jesus_02 added 19:38 - Oct 10
Perraud it just a better player. Probably didnt want to play russell martins way after playing Jones's way last season. probably a better tactician than both as well

SanMarco added 21:30 - Oct 10
Statistics have their place but in football observation is more important. When I watch Manning I watch a player who doesn't appear to be very good. Perraud was not perfect by any means but the fact that most of us think he was a lot better surely has to mean something. If not why don't we just say feck watching the football and just look at the (carefully selected) stats. You have to also remember that Perraud was playing against better players than Manning ever will.

ElSanto added 10:34 - Oct 11
DAJF - can someone let me know what this means? Bugging the excrement out of me.

onetowatch added 10:53 - Oct 11
Sorry Nick, but that is a desperate article trying to use stats to defend the undefendable...the language you use supports that. No one has claimed that Perraud deserves 'legend' status, it's just that in ability, pace and , importantly, attitude, Perraud is by far the better left back who would have been a major asset in this league.
I understand you will do all, including risking your credibility, to protect RM, but find a topic which gives you some chance.....

wibbersda added 15:54 - Oct 11
Did A Job For

Flamingbankers added 13:11 - Oct 12
DAJF means 'did a job for' but what job? Helped achieve modest mid-table status. That shouldn't be part of a recommendation for purchasing any player.
As someone else said, it's like comparing chalk with cheese with stats as a spice for the argument. Perraud played in a division of much higher quality than the Championship. And many fans think he was hard done-by, by the numerous managers that failed to play him with any consistency which seemed highly unfair, unreasonable and illogical on many occasions.
How can you use stats when a players is in and out of the team whilst not played with any consistency - how can that player truly live up to his/her potential? They can't and so those statistics may represent that. One does not know how Perraud is played or regarded in France - the manager's decisions, style and perception has a massive influence on player stats.
Manning on the other hand has played under the same manager consistently for several years. The bias is surely plain for everyone to see. Potential is the knub here because a lot of Saints fans could see the potential in Perraud who actually showed Premiership qualities that so far Manning has not shown.
Also I would say he has made a lot more glaring and costly mistakes than Perraud made in his small numbers of appearances. The nature of mistakes hasn't or can't be quantified but fans can see this and do remember with their own eyes. Nick should have more faith in what fans see rather than pandering to other influences.

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