Southampton head to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday in search of their first win in the Premier League this season at the fifth attempt.
The Saints have picked up three points from their opening four league matches, drawing with Newcastle, West Ham and Manchester United after a 3-1 defeat to Everton on the opening day of the campaign.
Ralph Hasenhuttl now faces the unenviable task of trying to pick up a result away to Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side have won their last four games in all competitions, scoring 17 goals in the process.
Southampton’s last match ended in a 0-0 draw against the Hammers and Hasenhuttl made a bold call ahead of kick-off, dropping Che Adams from the starting line-up. The Scotland international ended up being an unused substitute as the Saints failed to score, with Armando Broja replacing Adam Armstrong up front in the second half.
It is now time for the Austrian to unleash Adams and bring him back into the starting XI against Manchester City this weekend. Whether that means partnering him with Armstrong in a front two or going with the Scot as the sole number nine remains to be seen, but he should be in the side come 2pm on Saturday as he has the quality to be a game-changer for the Saints.
Earlier this year, Adams was the recipient of a contender for manager quote of the season from Hasenhuttl, who called him a ‘ketchup bottle phenomenon’ for his feast-or-famine goalscoring pattern.
The Austrian said: “Maybe again we have the ketchup bottle phenomenon. A long time nothing, but then maybe everything comes at once. So let’s see.”
The £52k-per-week beast produced nine goals and five assists for Southampton in the Premier League last season, showing that he has the ability to score and create goals at this level. He has also plundered decisive goals against City in the past, scoring a sensational 40-yard screamer against Guardiola’s side in a 1-0 win at St Mary’s in 2020.
This is why he should be reintroduced into the starting XI for the match on Saturday. Adams has proven that he can score goals in the Premier League, and indeed against City, which means that he has the potential to be a game-changer for Hasenhuttl’s side. It’s time to squeeze the ketchup bottle to see what comes out…