After falling to a 3-1 defeat against Chelsea before the international break, Southampton are back in Premier League action this weekend with a clash against Leeds United at St Mary’s to try and secure their first top-flight win of the campaign.
In his latest press conference ahead of the match against the Yorkshire club, Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl revealed that Southampton will be without Che Adams and Jack Stephens through injury, while James Ward-Prowse is ruled out after he picked up a red card and a three-game ban from the game against Chelsea.
Jan Bednarek also featured against the Blues and will be available for the match against Leeds, and we feel he should definitely be in the starting XI today.
Since then, the 25-year-old, who is currently valued at £22.5m by Transfermarkt, has made a total of 122 appearances for the Saints across all competitions, chipping in with three goals and four assists along the way.
So far this season, he has played in four of Southampton’s seven Premier League games, completing 90 minutes in each of their three previous league outings.
Looking at the Chelsea game in particular, despite conceding three goals, Bednarek still made four clearances, three tackles and three interceptions, won three ground duels and racked up a passing accuracy percentage of 83% according to SofaScore, which shows that he is capable of being an active defensive unit for the team.
Additionally, the fact that Bednarek has racked up more interceptions (two) and clearances per game (3.8) than any other Southampton player in the league so far this season says to us just how useful he has been at the back, and that explains why he should be in the starting XI to face Leeds as a potential game-changer if he can help the Saints to keep a clean sheet this afternoon. That could certainly be the case if the in-form Raphinha does return in time to feature for the visitors today.
Whether or not Hasenhuttl decides to go with the 25-year-old in his starting XI against the Whites, we feel that this is a must-win game for Southampton not only because of their poor start to the season but also with Leeds winning just one of their league games so far this season whilst conceding 14 goals in the process, making this a very winnable game for the Saints in our view.