Let’s face it, Southampton aren’t exactly scoring goals in abundance.
Of the three goals scored by Southampton so far as we are three games deep into the embryonic stages of the 2017/18 Premier League season, only one came from open play. The other two were penalties.
The problem of Saints’ profligacy in front of goal dogged the doomed tenure of former manager Claude Puel, and those issues are seemingly present in today’s squad under new boss Mauricio Pellegrino after the club failed to sign any additional attacking talents in the 2017 summer transfer window.
Southampton did, however, sign Mario Lemina of Juventus over the summer months, with the Gabonese midfielder signing a five-year deal at the club upon Saints paying a club record fee in the region of £15.4m.
Given Southampton’s striking problems, Pellegrino will be hoping his team can chip in goals from all areas of the pitch. Saints’ central midfielders’ exhausted efforts yielded just six league goals in combined appearances of 148 (including as a substitute) last season.
A dynamic box-to-box midfielder, Lemina isn’t exactly known for his prolific goalscoring. But with three goals in 11 appearances for Gabon and five goals in 85 appearances since turning professional in 2012, Lemina could provide a new threat for Southampton’s opponents to deal with.
Lemina’s performance for Gabon on Tuesday will certainly fill Saints fans with hope. His country fell 3-0 at home to African mainstay Ivory Coast last week, before playing the return fixture days later.
Lemina and his Gabonese teammates took home three valuable points towards their World Cup qualification hopes on Tuesday with a 2-1 win—Lemina scoring the winner with a sensational strike from distance.
Let’s hope Lemina can replicate that against Watford on Saturday.