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Southampton Opinion: Can James Ward-Prowse save Southampton from relegation?

Up against a rampant Tottenham unit and down 1-0 at half time, Southampton were very much staring down the barrel, and with Cardiff City tormenting West Ham at home, the Saints looked set to finish the week in the relegation zone.

Even the staunchest of Southampton fans at St.Mary’s might not have anticipated a turnaround of fortunes in the second half, but as unpredictable as football can sometimes be, the Saints sparked a remarkable comeback to stun Mauricio Pochettino’s men 2-1 to finish the week a couple of points clear of the drop zone.

Southampton looked like they had rescued a point when Stuart Armstrong’s low drive from the left was turned in by Yan Valery. However, James Ward-Prowse had other ideas.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, the 24-year-old curled the ball over the Tottenham wall to beat Hugo Lloris at his top left corner, giving Southampton the lead with just about 10 minutes to go. Ward-Prowse sealed Southampton’s second triumph of the season over a north London side, with the Saints having already beaten Arsenal back in December.

In all honesty, Southampton haven’t endured the best of campaigns in the Premier League this term. The Saints looked down and out under former manager Mark Hughes before Ralph Hasenhuttl took over the reins and turned their fortunes around to some extent.

As an evidence of their upturn of form, the Saints have managed four wins and three draws from their last 10 Premier League outings since the turn of the year. However, the relegation worries continue to haunt them despite pinching points against the likes of Leicester City, Spurs, Chelsea and Everton.

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While the Saints have struggled for lack of creativity and firepower up front, James Ward-Prowse has been the standout figure and one of the key driving forces behind their recent resurgence in the Premier League.

The 24-year-old has started each of Southampton’s last 11 games in the Premier League and has contributed with 6 goals, all of them coming since the turn of the year.

Despite finding the net with a stunning free-kick against Man United last week, he wasn’t able to prevent his team from going down 3-2 but he will be a much happier man after propelling his boyhood club to a crucial victory over Spurs.

Well, Ward-Prowse has certainly played a massive role for the Saints in recent weeks but the man behind his success is none other than the charismatic tactician, Ralph Hasenhuttl.

The Austrian has not only reinstated him in the first-team as a regular starter but he has also made the most of his versatility, switching him between No.8 and No.10 roles in the midfield.

The one-cap England international has established himself as the vital link between the midfield and the forward line, showing his ability to pick out the right passes and improve cohesion in the final third.

Southampton have lacked the services of Danny Ings up front for a few games but Ward-Prowse has made up for his absence with his creativity and eye for goal.

The fact that he has managed to find the net with some sensational free-kicks shows that he is currently brimming with confidence and 24-year-old remains Southampton’s key weapon in their battle to beat the drop.

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Although Ward-Prowse has long been tipped to be one of the stars of English football, he hasn’t yet realized his full potential as a playmaker.

However, that looks likely to change very soon, with the 24-year-old currently enjoying his most productive season in the Premier League. Southampton might as well live to fight another season in the top flight if their academy product continues to deliver the goods.

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