Southampton have struggled immensely with injuries so far this campaign and the latest setback to Danny Ings is yet another frustrating blow for Ralph Hasenhuttl as we approach the culmination of the Premier League season.
The 28-year-old striker was forced off injured in the 2-1 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur in midweek having scored earlier in the game, with Southampton collapsing after his substitution.
Although he hasn’t reached the heights of last season, when he finished joint-second top scorer in the Premier League with 22 goals, he is still the top scorer for the Saints so far this term, with 10 goals to his name in the top flight.
His 6.89/10 average WhoScored rating also sees him ranked as the Saints’ joint-fifth best performer in the Premier League this season, so it is clear to see how important he is to Hasenhuttl’s side.
After the match, the manager confirmed he didn’t know the full extent of Ings’ injury, but the fact that he was holding his hamstring/groin as he limped off suggests that the 28-year-old could miss a significant portion of Southampton’s remaining Premier League programme.
Although the Saints are currently nine points clear of 18th-placed Fulham, having also played a game less, the absence of Ings could leave Hasenhuttl fearing the worst this season, as their awful form in 2021 would certainly mark them out as relegation candidates if it were not for the similarly terrible performances from Sheffield United, West Brom and Fulham this season.
Last season saw Ings earn huge praise for his performances, with former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe particularly complimentary of the striker, saying: “The most impressive thing about Danny is, of course, he’s an outstanding player.”
Given that Southampton have really struggled to score goals at times this season, losing a player who can turn a game on its head such as Ings, evidenced by his superb display in the 3-2 comeback win against Burnley recently, is a huge blow for Hasenhuttl, and he will be desperately hoping that the Saints can do enough to stay up this season without him.