Premier League

Hughes can resurrect Southampton’s season by restoring £13.5m-rated star to the starting XI

The Southampton fans are looking forward to a new beginning under their recently appointed manager Mark Hughes, and they are desperately hoping he can kick-start his career with The Saints by recording a victory over Wigan Athletic on Sunday afternoon. 

It’s been a whirlwind week for Southampton FC and they are set to end it with a tricky looking fixture against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium in the 6th round of the FA Cup. On paper, it should be a routine victory for The Saints, but Wigan have shown they are no mugs this year by seeing off the challenge of Manchester City, West Ham United and Bournemouth already in this competition.

Considering Southampton’s run of form in recent months, The Latics will fancy their chances of taking another Premier League scalp tomorrow, but the arrival of Mark Hughes could result in a markedly improved performance from the south-coast outfit.

It will be interesting to see what team Hughes selects in a tricky first fixture for the Welshman, as it’s difficult to argue that any of Southampton’s first-team players deserve their place in the starting line-up right now. However, one player who should definitely be recalled to the starting line-up against Wigan is Manolo Gabbiadini (valued at £13.5 million by Transfermarkt), as his poacher’s instincts could be the difference between victory and defeat today.

The dynamic between Gabbiadini and Pellegrino has certainly not proven to be a fruitful one this season, as the impressive performances that characterised the Italian’s beginning to life in English football vanished under the Argentine’s leadership. Gabbiadini has made just 10 starts for the club in all-competitions as the vast majority of his appearances have been made as a substitute.

However, Hughes is a manager with a strong history of getting the best out of his attacking players, so Gabbiadini should be able to emulate his form from last season during the final stages of the current campaign under his new manager. Since signing from Monaco, Guido Carrillo has been impressive in patches, but it’s clear he’s not a clinical goal-scorer like Gabbiadini.

Hughes needs to stimulate some attacking inspiration into a side which has been devoid of spark for far too long in recent weeks, and restoring Gabbiadini to the starting eleven tomorrow is a sure fire way in which he can achieve that.

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