After seven rounds of Premier League action, Southampton remain winless and sit just above the relegation zone with four points.
However, there have been encouraging performances against Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, while it’s also worth noting that they have played four of the division’s current top five.
Now, with fixtures easing, what comes next for Saints will be crucial, but for Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers, are their players worth investing in ahead of Gameweek 8, and if so, who?
In this, our latest Fantasy Football Scout Premium Members article, we’ll attempt to answer those questions.
Firstly, Southampton will be without their captain James Ward-Prowse (£6.4m) for the next two Premier League fixtures, with the midfielder having been sent off at Stamford Bridge last weekend. The third match of his suspension conveniently arrives in the Carabao Cup fourth round, which means that he should be back for Watford (a) in Gameweek 10.
The expectation amongst supporters is that Ibrahima Diallo (£4.5m) will step in, having impressed at Chelsea. In fact, it was his pass that found Tino Livramento (£4.2m) who then won their second-half penalty.
“Ibra is a fantastic player, I must say that. He should really play more games.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl
However, it’s the return of Stuart Armstrong (£5.8m) which could be key to unlocking Southampton’s attacking potential. The Scottish international has been sidelined with a calf injury, but is expected to make his first start of the season in Gameweek 8.
The fact that Saints have not won a Premier League match without him in the side since December 2019 highlights his importance to the group, something Ward-Prowse touched on in a recent interview:
“His quality going forwards and the way that he can shift from a slow pace dribble to fast pace really worries defenders and gives us a new dimension – and variety. This will be really important for us now.
He’s an incredibly important player for us, with his quality on the ball. His decision-making in the final third is incredibly important. He gives us a really good balance in the team. We have a lot of competition for places in that area but I am sure that he will come back in and have a really positive impact.”
Armstrong is the Saints’ best ball carrier, who has the ability to drive forward and link play between midfield and attack. He will enable his team to play through the lines with more structure and could add the spark that gets the strikers firing.
Going forward, Southampton have struggled in the opening weeks, scoring just three goals from open-play, plus two Ward-Prowse penalties.
However, fixtures have of course played their part (see below), and the underlying numbers do suggest that they have perhaps been a little unfortunate not to score more.
Southampton’s Gameweek 1 to 7 fixtures