Southampton face a tough away trip in the Premier League on Saturday evening as they face high-flying Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes currently sit fourth in the t0p-flight, with the Saints in seventh, but three points against Brendan Rodgers’s side could see the South Coast club move above them in the Premier League table.
Whilst Jamie Vardy will be an obvious threat for the Foxes, Hasenhuttl must ensure that his side are wary of Leicester midfielder James Maddison, whose excellent form so far this season marks him out as a danger man in Rodgers’ side.
In 15 top-flight appearances, the former Norwich City man has contributed four goals and two assists, which has seen him average a strong 7.02 rating.
This puts him well on track to surpass his tally from last season when he managed just six goals and three assists in the Premier League across 31 appearances.
The attacking-midfielder has also averaged 1.9 key passes per game so far this campaign, which is more than any Southampton player, with James Ward-Prowse leading the way in Hasenhuttl’s side with 1.6 key passes per game.
A prime example of the threat that Maddison can pose was in Leicester’s 2-1 win against Sheffield United earlier in the season when in added time at the end of the match, the England international robbed John Fleck of possession and played an inch-perfect through ball to Vardy, who scored the winner.
If the Saints are missing Oriol Romeu again on Saturday, then the job of marking Maddison will surely fall on the shoulders of Ibrahima Diallo. Whilst he impressed against Fulham and Liverpool, he will have to be at his best to keep the 24-year-old, who earns £110k per week, quiet at the King Power.
Whereas Southampton’s defence could keep Vardy quiet by sitting deep to prevent counter-attacks and balls over the top, this could leave them vulnerable to Maddison’s long-range shooting, with the midfielder having scored eight goals from outside of the box between the beginning of 2018/19 and January 2020, which was more than any other player.
He also earned the praise of manager Brendan Rodgers last season, with the former Liverpool boss saying:
“If you look at his numbers this season, in terms of the goals he has scored and created, he has shown he is a big-game player.”
He has certainly continued that theme this season, with a superb strike against Manchester City earlier in the season perhaps the pick of the bunch, so Southampton must be wary of the threat he poses on Saturday.