Once the current international break comes to an end, Southampton will be back in Premier League action at the weekend with an away clash against Norwich City next up for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
In regards to which players Hasenhuttl could select to start the game against the Canaries at the weekend, one Saints figure that started in Southampton’s previous league game in their 1-0 win over Aston Villa that should not be in the starting XI against Norwich is Mohamed Elyounoussi.
Elyounoussi has not managed to score a goal or provide an assist for the team in the league since he netted in their 2-2 draw against Newcastle United back in August, despite playing the full 90 minutes in all but three of their league games since then. The winger also showed in the game against Villa why he shouldn’t be a starting fixture in the side.
Before being replaced in the 76th minute by Ibrahima Diallo, Elyounoussi failed to make one key pass, or even have one shot on target against the Villans. To make matter worse, he lost possession on 19 occasions, showing that he wasn’t much of a threat going forward against a team that have managed to concede a whopping 20 goals in 11 league outings.
From a defensive point of view, the 27-year-old, who has been described as being a “nice guy” by teammate Nathan Tella, failed to have much of an impact, losing 13 of the 16 duels he was involved in and not even producing one tackle in the process.
That ultimately earned the winger an overall match rating of 6.1/10, making him Southampton’s lowest-rated player on the day according to SofaScore, showing that he was their weak link in the encounter.
With this performance and his lack of goals and assists in recent weeks in mind, this should give Hasenhuttl something to think about when it comes to potentially including Elyounoussi, who is currently earning a weekly wage of £60k-per-week according to Spotrac, in his starting XI to face Norwich.
Moving forward, whether Hasenhuttl chooses to stick with Elyounoussi in his starting XI or not, the Saints will undoubtedly be looking to continue the good run of form they were on prior to the international break. They have won three out of their four previous league games and will look to begin Dean Smith’s reign at Norwich in the same way they ended his time at Villa – with a defeat.