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Southampton: Ralph Hasenhuttl must unleash Adam Armstrong

Southampton will be aiming to maintain their three-game unbeaten run in all competitions when they travel to Vicarage Road this afternoon to take on Watford in the Premier League.

The Saints held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw in the last 16 of the Carabao Cup in midweek before being beaten in the penalty shootout after Theo Walcott and Will Smallbone failed to hit the target with their efforts. Despite the team’s lack of fortune from 18 yards, Ralph Hasenhuttl will certainly have taken plenty of positives from the trip to the capital in midweek.

One of the major pluses will have been the performance of struggling striker Adam Armstrong. The £16.2m-rated ace arrived on the south coast over the summer as Danny Ings’ replacement, but so far he has been unable to replicate his predecessor’s form.

Should Armstrong start against Watford?

Yes, definitely!

Yes, definitely!

No way!

No way!

Just one goal in his first seven Premier League starts saw the 24-year-old drop to the bench against Leeds United, and he was consigned to watching on from the sidelines once again when Southampton took on Burnley last week.

Albania international Armando Broja shone in his stead, scoring the winner against Leeds before following it up with a crucial strike in the draw at St Mary’s when the Clarets came to visit. However, the 20-year-old loanee has now been ruled out of action with an ankle injury, handing Armstrong the ideal opportunity to reclaim a place in the starting XI.

The former England under-21 international was in devastating form for Blackburn Rovers prior to his move to the top flight, netting 44 Championship goals over the previous two seasons and earning praise from his former manager Tony Mowbray, and the diminutive forward will be desperate to get back to his best over the coming weeks.

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“Adam does (make a difference) as he has done all season. I think Adam has matured and he’s only 23,” Mowbray said back in 2020.

“He’s a boy really, but his explosive pace at the top end of the pitch allows you to play both ways, to not be overly concerned if you’re pinned back around the edge of your box because one pass releases pressure to someone like (Harvey) Elliott to play the pass that he can hit just leaving it in the space for the speed and dynamic movement of Armstrong – it’s a devastating effect for the team.”

With Broja’s enforced absence giving Hasenhuttl a selection headache, the Austrian must be brave and reinstate Armstrong from the first whistle; he could just prove to be Southampton’s game-changer this afternoon.

In other news… Southampton dealt massive injury blow ahead of Watford clash, fans will be absolutely gutted 

Article title: Southampton: Ralph Hasenhuttl must unleash Adam Armstrong

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