Southampton supporters have been reasonably downbeat in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their team concede a late equaliser to end up drawing 1-1 with Arsenal at St Mary’s on Sunday, thus failing to register a fifth Premier League victory of the season.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s men went into their clash with the Gunners off the back of improved performances against Everton, Manchester City, and Bournemouth in the preceding week, even if the three matches did only yield four points. Yet they looked set to get back to winning ways when Charlie Austin’s third minute opener went unanswered deep into the second half on Sunday, only for Olivier Giroud to pop up two minutes from time with a great header to preserve a point for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Consequently, there have been several frustrated Saints fans in the Tavern this week, many of whom felt that their side should have seen the game out on Sunday, and thus held on to what would have been an excellent victory.
In the meantime though, there has been plenty for our resident Southampton fans to get their teeth into, not least recent comments from Leicester City boss Claude Puel that he tried to sign Foxes winger Demarai Gray while he was in charge on the South Coast.
And given that Puel’s men travel to St Mary’s this evening, and given the form Gray has been in this term, the 21-year-old could well show the Saints faithful exactly what they missed out on this evening.
Ultimately, things haven’t always worked out for the young winger at the King Power Stadium, having struggled to regularly force his way into Craig Shakespeare’s plans in the second half of last season, and Claudio Ranieri’s in the years prior to that.
But under former Saints chief Puel, Gray has been a revelation, netting three goals in the seven league games of which the Frenchman has taken charge, two of which coming in his last two games in victories over Burnley and Newcastle United.
His performance against Everton back on October 29 was particularly impressive given how little fear the winger had when driving at the opposition backline, with that ultimately setting up the first Foxes goal on the day, before he himself got a slightly fortunate second, yet it was made through his willingness and directness down the flanks.
And when one looks at Southampton’s struggles in the final third of the pitch this season, having bagged just 16 goals in their 16 league games, one wonders how much more creative they would be if they had Gray in their side.
And it will be up Pellegrino and his Saints defenders to try and stop the Leicester attack this evening, most notably Gray, who is coming into today’s clash off the back of goals against both Burnley and Newcastle, and sterling performances to boot.
And were he to continue in that vain, the £9 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) could well show the Southampton faithful exactly what they missed out on at St Mary’s this evening.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!