Southampton fans heavily criticised attacker Mohamed Elyonuoussi for his display in his side’s FA Cup third round replay defeat on penalties to Derby County at St Mary’s on Wednesday night, but his stats prove that he wasn’t actually as bad as they made out.
The summer signing from Basel has struggled to hit the ground running with Saints under Mark Hughes or Ralph Hasenhuttl, and he is yet to register a single goal or assist in 15 appearances in all competitions, despite regularly providing both for the Swiss club previously.
The 24-year-old has visibly struggled with adapting to the English style of football and the large majority of his game time under the Austrian so far has come in the FA Cup, and he got another 120 minutes under his belt against the Rams, although Saints supporters on Twitter weren’t impressed with what they saw as you can see below.
Elyounoussi is absolute trash. I’ll drive him to his next club #SaintsFC
— adam (@ad_kissane) January 16, 2019
I wouldn't wish Elyounoussi on my worst enemy. Absolutely awful. #SaintsFC
— Robert Molnar (@LWOSRobMolnar) January 16, 2019
Elyounoussi is the 2019 Ali Dia #saintsfc
— Joe (@joesethfox) January 16, 2019
Elyounoussi is the worst footballer I have ever seen #SaintsFC
— Aaron Murray (@aaronmurray95) January 16, 2019
Elyounoussi is a fraud. Absolutely stealing a living as a professional footballer. Some horrific signings over the past few seasons. Need to question who is/was sanctioning these? Hoedt. Boufal. Carillo. Elyounoussi. #saintsfc
— Ashley Charles (@Mr_A_Smith) January 16, 2019
While the Norway international may have come up short in some particular aspects of his game, he also showed improvement and potential for the future in others.
Of course, while this is will be an argument that stats pale into insignificance when it comes to an actual contribution on the pitch, the fact that WhoScored awarded him the second-highest rating (7.66/10) on his side surely needs to be taken into consideration and respected.
Elyounoussi had more shots (4) than any of his teammates, while he was unlucky that his one key pass wasn’t an assist as Shane Long’s header was eventually scrambled in by Stuart Armstrong after an initial save.
The 24-year-old has been called out on his strength and his defensive work too, but on this occasion against Frank Lampard’s men he won two aerial duels, one tackle and made three interceptions and two clearances, while he made five successful dribbles (three more than anyone else in a Saints shirt).
Don’t get us wrong, the performance certainly didn’t come without his negatives. Of the four shots only one was on target, and he was dispossessed on six occasions, but however small they may be, there was some glimpses that he can still bring something to Southampton with time.
Some players need more time than others to adapt to the rigours of English football, and the Norwegian showed against Derby that Hasenhuttl and Saints fans shouldn’t give up on him just yet.
Check out the video below for Emma Conybeare’s rundown of which clubs need what in the January transfer window…