This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
If you were in charge of Southampton right now, one would presume you’d be tempted to just go back to the drawing board and start again.
Many first-team regulars such as James Ward-Prowse, Jan Bednarek, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oriol Romeu started the humiliating 9-0 defeat to Leicester recently, while there are many others who simply aren’t deserving of a starting place right now.
On the flip side, here are four players who do deserve to keep their place following the 2-1 loss to Everton…
The goalkeeping situation at St Mary’s does feel very much like a situation of whether you’d rather step in dog mess or cow mess – both Alex McCarthy and Angus Gunn aren’t great, to say the least.
However, McCarthy couldn’t do much about either goal against the Toffees and deserves his chance, especially after Gunn conceded 25 goals in his ten Premier League appearances before being dropped.
Perhaps the only real shining light in Southampton’s season so far, £15m summer signing Moussa Djenepo has scored two goals in five Premier League appearances this term, and seems to be one of few actual match-winners in the Saints squad.
The electric Malian won the Goal of the Month award for his vital strike in the 1-0 win over Sheffield United, and has done nothing to warrant being dropped.
The 25-year-old has recently made his way back into the starting XI, and scored against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup defeat a few weeks ago.
Stephens impressed the supporters on Twitter with his showing against City in the Premier League, and appears to be Southampton’s best-performing centre-back right now.
Southampton’s top-scorer this season with seven goals, the former Liverpool striker has been holding the torch for his side so far this term – without his efforts, who knows where Hasenhuttl’s side would be.
Ings’ effort levels have been commendable, as he has been forced to feed off scraps for the most part of the campaign – the England international’s strikes against Liverpool, Wolves and Tottenham came as a result of him pressing hard and forcing errors.
Even if he hadn’t scored his seven goals, there isn’t much quality to compete with him – Shane Long and Michael Obafemi, as well as the goalless Che Adams, have shown little to suggest they’d do better.