Southampton were in fantastic form against Leicester City on Saturday.
Going into the match, the Foxes were firm favourites. After all, they are second in the table this season, whilst the Saints have spent much of the campaign in the bottom quarter of it.
However, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men were in the superiority for much of the match. They had 10 shots on target to their opponents’ five, and that helped them pick up a memorable victory against Brendan Rodgers’s and co.
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Stuart Armstrong scored the equaliser for his team, cancelling out Dennis Praet’s opener, and he had a fantastic day at the office. Going forward, the former Celtic man was one of his side’s most creative forces, managing two key passes, whilst also completing both of the take-ons he attempted. Add on to that a 91% pass accuracy, and that is enough to confirm he put in a good display.
What made him stand out, though, was that his defensive play was arguably just as good, if not better. He won three tackles, had two clearances and one interception, whilst he was not even dribbled past once. He also prevailed in six out of the nine ground duels he was involved in.
After a disappointing start to the season – they were 19th going in to December – Southampton are having something of a resurgence. They have won six of their last nine games, and three of those wins have been against Chelsea, Tottenham and now Leicester.
Much like his team, £7.2m-valued Armstrong – as per Transfermarkt – has also improved of late. He actually didn’t start a league game this season until the loss against Manchester City, but in the past few weeks, he has started to improve. Against Chelsea, for example, he picked up a WhoScored rating of 7.37, a score he has only bettered once – on Saturday – all season.
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Hasenhuttl was clearly in need of desperate improvement, and that is exactly he has got from his players. Armstrong was a symbol of that this weekend. Now the challenge is to continue to perform like this on a weekly basis.
In other news, Southampton miss out on this January target.