Southampton’s search for a first Premier League victory of the season continues with the daunting prospect of facing Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Optimists among Southampton’s contingent may point to the encouraging fact that the Saints have scored in 16 of their last 17 away league games against their upcoming hosts. Less reassuringly, the weekend’s visitors have only won three of those meetings and haven’t claimed all the spoils in this top-flight fixture for more than a decade and a half.
Here’s how Ralph Hasenhuttl may line up to break that sequence and build upon three consecutive Premier League draws…
Alex McCarthy (GK) – Of the 42 goalkeepers that featured in last season’s Premier League, McCarthy finished dead last based on his underlying shot-stopping numbers, conceding a whopping eight goals more than the average goalkeeper according to StatsBomb. Nevertheless, he remain’s Southampton’s number one.
Tino Livramento (RB) – An early-season revelation, the fleet-footed former Chelsea youngster has rapidly settled into his south coast surroundings.
Jack Stephens (CB) – With his former, frequent centre-back partner Jan Bednarek relegated to the bench to begin the current campaign, Stephens has retained his spot in Southampton’s front-footed back four.
Mohammed Salisu (CB) – Following a transitional debut season in England, Salisu has now started six league games on the spin, doubling his previous best.
Romain Perraud (LB) – Yet to begin his attempt at bettering an impressive tally of seven assists in France’s top flight last season, Perraud has big shoes (figuratively) to fill as the long-serving Ryan Bertrand’s replacement.
Moussa Djenepo (RM) – Just four games into the season, the selfless Mali international has already accrued chances of better quality than the (in truth, paltry) efforts he racked up last season. A continuation of this form won’t see his wait for a goal last much longer.
James Ward-Prowse (CM) – As the epicentre of this team, the former Portsmouth season ticket holder scarcely misses a minute as captain of his one-time rivals.
Oriol Romeu (CM) – In the absence of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, the former Barcelona and Chelsea man has slotted into the role as the side’s destroyer-in-chief.
Nathan Redmond (LM) – Once the subject of a Pep Guardiola praise assault, Redmond earned his first league start of the season last weekend and may well retain it to face his feverish admirer.
Adam Armstrong (ST) – After the bright start of a goalscoring debut, Armstrong has had (and squandered) the chances to add to his tally – regrettably, Southampton‘s number nine has taken as many throw-ins as he has goals so far this season (one).
Armando Broja (ST) – Following a lax approach to training upon arrival from Chelsea, there’s been nothing half-hearted about the electric cameo appearances from the loanee against Newcastle and, in particular, West Ham that may have earned him a starting berth.