Southampton supporters have been relatively frustrated in the Transfer Tavern in recent times after seeing their side only muster a 1-1 draw with fellow Premier League strugglers Brighton on Wednesday night, thus keeping the Saints in the division’s bottom three.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s men went into their clash with the Seagulls having failed to win any of their preceding 11 league matches, a run of form which has seen them fall alarmingly down the table, and ultimately into the relegation places. And the South Coast outfit remain there after only managing a draw on Wednesday night, with a Jack Stephens effort preserving a point for Pellegrino’s side following Glenn Murray’s opener for Chris Hughton’s men.
Consequently, there have been many despondent Saints fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are turning their attentions towards another crucial Premier League clash on Saturday away at bottom side West Brom.
And Wednesday’s flat performance has stimulated quite a debate among our resident Southampton fans about team selection for the trip to the Hawthorns, and many feel that new signing Guido Carrillo has to start against Alan Pardew’s side on Saturday.
Ultimately, the South Coast outfit spent big money on the Argentine to come in and solve their goal-scoring woes, with just 25 goals in their 25 Premier League games simply not good enough and in need of improvement if they are to avoid the drop.
And having broken their transfer record to bring him to St Mary’s, they now need the 26-year-old to produce the goods, especially in games against those sides around them in the division.
Shane Long simply isn’t going to get the goals required to keep the club in the top-flight, while Manolo Gabbiadini is going through something of a barren spell having failed to net in the league since the middle of October – Pellegrino surely cannot keep backing these guys when the goals just simply aren’t coming.
And Carrillo’s short cameo against Brighton on Wednesday night would have given the Saints chief and the club’s supporters some hope, with the 26-year-old showing glimpses of promise in a bright second half display.
Pellegrino has spoken recently of his record signing’s need to adapt to the English game – that was always going to be a concern given that Carrillo has not played in the Premier League before, and hasn’t played much football this term either.
But Southampton simply haven’t got time for that adaptation to happen. They need the Argentine forward to hit the ground running, and there is arguably no better way for him to begin adapting than minutes on the pitch – Pellegrino has got to take a risk because the Saints need a win, and fast.
Ultimately, Saturday is a huge game. Lose, and Southampton could be bottom of the division come 5pm. And then the pressure turns up even more on under-fire Pellegrino.
And that is why he needs his big players and record signings to perform at the Hawthorns. While Long and Gabbiadini might be the safer options to play upfront on Saturday, neither look like winning the game for the Saints, whereas the bright Carrillo may well be able to do that. And for £19 million, Saints fans will be hoping that he can.
Thus, Pellegrino simply has to be bold and start the 26-year-old against West Brom this weekend.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!