Southampton have struggled for goals in recent weeks, with Danny Ings’ winner against Liverpool their only goal in the top-flight in their last four fixtures. Part of the problem could be due to Che Adams’ drop in form.
However, with Ings set to return to action against Arsenal this weekend after a brief period out with the current viral outbreak, his partnership with the former Birmingham City man in attack could be the catalyst for an upturn in form.
Adams started the season in an excellent fashion for the Saints, managing four goals and four assists in his opening 14 fixtures which led Ralph Hasenhuttl to suggest that:
“He’s a role model for the time we went through – from zero to hero at the moment,” following his goal in the 2-0 win against Newcastle United earlier this season that sent Southampton to the top of the Premier League.
However, he has struggled in each of his last five appearances for the South Coast club, failing to score or assist and producing disappointing all-round displays.
Whilst this is already an improvement of his goals and assist tally from last season, the young striker will be hoping that he doesn’t slip into his habits from last season, where he struggled to find the back of the net for so long.
Although he only featured as a substitute against Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup last time out, his lack of confidence in front of goal was evident when he rounded the ‘keeper late on, before switching the ball to his right foot instead of shooting into the open net, which allowed the Shrews defender to get back and block his shot.
He has looked at his most dangerous when paired with a fully-fit Ings, so with the England international expected to feature against Arsenal on Saturday, Hasenhuttl will be hoping that the 24-year-old can rediscover his best form.
Therefore, whilst the majority of Southampton fans will be excited for Ings’ return to action, it could be the impact he has on Adams’ performances that will be the most crucial improvement in Hasenhuttl’s side.
After some disappointing results in recent weeks, the Austrian manager will be hoping that now he has both of his first-choice strikers back available, the Saints will start to pick up better results, starting with the FA Cup fourth-round tie against Arsenal on Saturday.