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Southampton: Ralph must start Mohammed Salisu against Aston Villa

After securing their second Premier League win of the season at the weekend with a 1-0 victory over Watford at Vicarage Road thanks to a first half goal from Che Adams, Southampton are back in action on Friday with a showdown against Aston Villa, who are currently one place and one point behind the Saints in the table.

One Southampton player who featured in the win at Watford and who we think deserves a place in the starting XI to face Villa is Mohammed Salisu.

Why Salisu must start

At the weekend, the centre-back started and played the full 90 minutes of the match alongside Jan Bednarek, who managed to keep a clean sheet on this occasion.

During the match at Vicarage Road, the Ghanaian had 92 touches of the ball, made six clearances, four tackles and three interceptions, won 11 out of his 15 duels and recorded a passing accuracy percentage of 81%, ultimately earning himself a superb overall match rating of 7.6/10 according to SofaScore.

This shows how much of a defensive asset he is for the Saints and is a prime example of why Hasenhuttl described Salisu as “strong” back in September with regard to his defensive abilities.

The Ghanaian joined the south coast club in August 2020 from Real Valladolid in a deal worth a reported fee of £10.8m. Since then, the 22-year-old – who is currently earning a weekly wage of just over £23k-per-week according to Spotrac – has made 27 appearances for the Saints across all competitions.

Salisu is currently listed as Southampton’s highest-rated player with an overall season rating of 7.08/10 based on his performances in the Premier League so far this season according to WhoScored. This proves just how important he has been for Hasenhuttl’s side in recent weeks, especially in the absence of Jack Stephens, who unfortunately sustained a serious knee injury during the 0-0 draw against Manchester City in September.

Dean Smith’s Aston Villa have scored 14 goals so far this season, five more than Southampton, so we feel that Salisu has what it takes to frustrate and potentially even bully some of Villa’s attacking players if he can put in a similar performance to his dominant one against Watford. That is is why we think he should be in the starting XI on Friday.

In other news: Get rid: Ralph must let go of £18k-p/w forgotten Saints figure, his time is running out

Article title: Southampton: Ralph must start Mohammed Salisu against Aston Villa

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