Southampton supporters have been reasonably cheerful in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing the Saints twice come from behind to draw 2-2 with Newcastle United last Sunday, in what was just their second Premier League game this term that they have scored on more than one occasion.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s men went into their clash at St Mary’s having lost each of their previous three home matches in all competitions, and the Magpies threatened to inflict a fourth as goals from Isaac Hayden and Ayoze Perez twice gave them the lead. However, Saints striker Manolo Gabbiadini netted a brace, the second from the penalty spot after Shane Long was needlessly bundled over by Florian Lejeune, to preserve a point for the South Coast outfit, who in turn remain two points Newcastle in the Premier League table.
Ultimately, the point was well received by our resident Saints fans, who may also be interested by a recent report from Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness), which includes some intriguing comments from Southampton striker Gabbiadini.
The Italy international made the move to St Mary’s back in January and hit the ground running with six goals in his first four matches, but has since then managed just three in his succeeding 17 appearances, two of which came in the draw with Newcastle last time out.
However, that was the 25-year-old’s first Premier League start since the defeat to Watford back on September 9, and the forward is hoping that he has done enough to warrant more regular football, with Gabbiadini having one particular goal in mind.
He said: ‘I hope they allow me to be more present. A footballer trains and gives the best of himself during the week with this goal: playing the game.
‘The World Cup is my goal. The blue jersey is really something special.’
These comments are sure to intrigue Saints fans, as the chance to make a World Cup squad could bring the best out of the Italian, although his country haven’t yet booked their place in Russia having finished runners-up in their qualification group – they face Sweden in a two-legged play-off next month.
Nonetheless, having that goal could indeed see Southampton reap the rewards this season.
Landlord’s verdict: Manolo Gabbiadini started incredibly when he moved to Southampton back in January, with six goals in his first four games suggesting that the Saints have once again found a hidden gem.
However, things have gone somewhat flat since then for the 25-year-old, but a brace in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle United last weekend may just be what he needs to get back to his best.
And the striker himself hopes that he did enough in that match to earn more regular football at St Mary’s, as not only does he want to play every week, but he may need to and at a high level to make the World Cup next summer, should Italy qualify.
And a fit and firing Gabbiadini is certainly going to benefit Mauricio Pellegrino and Southampton as the season wears on.
Southampton fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know!