Why Danny Ings and Charlie Austin could form the perfect strike partnership for Southampton
Southampton are now winless in two games and the pressure is starting to mount on manager Mark Hughes, who has failed to deliver so far. The Saints played out a goalless draw at St. Mary’s on the opening weekend and lost 2-1 to Everton this weekend.
Against the Clarets, Mark Hughes’ men looked quite blank and toothless going forward, even with Charlie Austin leading the line. The Saints barely threatened Joe Hart’s goal, who ultimately kept a clean sheet on the night. But in the fixture against the Toffees, Southampton looked a lot more venomous and fluid going forward.
They were creating greater opportunities and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. This is mainly because of Southampton’s goalscorer on the night, Danny Ings. The Liverpool loanee provided the Saints with the cutting-edge they lacked in the final third.
Ings was fielded alongside Charlie Austin as his striker partner in a 4-4-2 formation that seemed to work better. Against Sean Dyche’s Burnley, Hughes had resorted to a 3-4-2-1 system which failed to make the mark. With Austin and Ings partnered up front, the manager can expect more goals.
Although Southampton lost the game against Everton, Hughes should be happy to have witnessed a positive performance from the squad. The Saints are currently facing trouble while shutting out teams but with Ings and Austin up front, they should be able to work wonders.
Ings was constantly on the move against Everton, timing his runs into the box splendidly. Doing so allowed him to stretch defenders out of their positions, providing Austin with more freedom to play his game. It was a similar situation when the Toffees’ defenders focused on Austin. The former Queens Park Rangers man’s brilliant positional play ensured Ings received adequate freedom and time in the final third.
Ings averaged 4.5 shots in his first start for the team, while Austin mustered a total of 2. It’s clear that these two are capable of threatening any goalkeeper throughout the game. After all, both of them are brilliant and intelligent finishers, possessing a poacher’s knack in the final third.
As Southampton gear up for their next game against Claude Puel’s Leicester City, Hughes must once again pair the two English strikers up front. Jamie Vardy was sent off this weekend and will miss the game against the Saints, which will definitely reduce the Foxes’ threat while going forward. This presents Hughes with the perfect opportunity to wrap up the three points and get his first win of the season.