Although they have lost three of their last four games, including a couple of disappointing 1-0 losses to Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Ralph Hasenhuttl did mastermind a 2-1 win over Chelsea that should suggest they are capable of pulling good results out of the bag.
They will see this as an opportunity to extend that run, but the Austrian manager could spring some surprises to prevent that from happening.
One decision he must make is to start Che Adams, who is the kind of busy and relentless striker that could spring the likes of James Tarkowski into making mistakes.
This season he is averaging 1.3 key passes per game, but more importantly, to trouble the defenders, he is winning 50% of his ground duels. He will never beat Conor Coady or Tarkowski in the air due to their immense size and presence, but on the ground he could certainly dazzle them.
Hasenhuttl even praised the 5 foot 9 machine following a spurned opportunity after his side lost to the Old Gold, claiming:
“He is doing a fantastic job up front and we need him.”
He will certainly need him today if he is to stand a chance of breaching the opposition’s defence.
Tarkowski ranks in the top 1% for clearances, blocks, and aerials won, so to trouble him the Saints must play in behind him and make him turn.
Adams’ willingness to run the channels could be incredibly fruitful for Hasenhuttl, as he aims to terrorise the former Burnley defender with a busy hive of attackers.
It could be the perfect tactical tweak to defeat the Toffees.