Having started the season against Burnley with a five-man defence and lone striker, Southampton manager Mark Hughes has changed things up in recent weeks with two players up top, and it appears to have paid dividends.
It was Charlie Austin and new boy Danny Ings that got the nod for the trip to Everton last month with the latter getting on the score-sheet, but with the former struggling a little Shane Long replaced him against Leicester City at St Mary’s and then again against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park last weekend.
The inclusion of another striker in the starting line-up has certainly increased Saints’ threat in the final third, and the ability of both Ings and Long to press from the front was especially effective against the Eagles in a 2-0 win.
While Long has been getting regular game time in the previous couple of matches, it has been something of a different story for Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini, who earns £80,000-a-week according to Spotrac, with the latter not even making the matchday squad against either the Foxes or Roy Hodgson’s men.
Meanwhile, Austin did replace the injured Long in the 62nd minute in south London, and while he won a penalty when his goal-bound effort was hand-balled by Aaron Wan-Bissaka, his poor spot-kick was easily saved by Wayne Hennessey.
Long is certainly effective at causing problems for defenders but his goalscoring record is an issue, which suggests a duo of Ings and Gabbiadini may well be the best moving forward – especially for matches at St Mary’s.
Ings has already shown he has a creative eye, and he may be the player that finally finds the Italian’s clever runs that he has often made in vain over the course of the last year or so.
So, Saints fans, what do you think is the club’s best strike partnership? Let us know by voting below…