Southampton once again failed to pick up a win in the Premier League at St. Mary’s this season following their 3-0 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.
By no means was it the worst performance the Saints have put in this campaign; it was a game that could have easily ended differently if Danny Ings had his shooting boots on on the day.
The 26-year-old, however, has still made a good start to life as a Southampton player and looks to be the only centre-forward that manager Mark Hughes trusts right now.
The likes of Charlie Austin and Shane Long, though, could still have big parts to play as months progress.
When fit, Austin has been one of the first names on the team-sheet since his arrival at St. Mary’s back in 2016.
However, the addition of Ings and Hughes’ experiments with different formations has left the 29-year-old in an unfavourable position.
Austin, though, if he can stay injury free, still has plenty to offer to Hughes and Southampton. The former Queens Park Rangers striker is a very clever finisher in the box and has come up with some big goals for the club.
In this moment of time, it is hard to imagine how Austin gets back into the team considering Ings’ form and the current formation being used by Hughes.
But going forward, he is still a solid option to have be it from the start or the bench.
TT Grade: B-
Like Austin, Long has had his periods where has been an important figure for Southampton.
The 31-year-old was able to reach double figures for the Saints back in the 2015/16 Premier League season, but it has been all downhill since then.
Long has really struggled in front of goal over the last couple of years and has shown no signs that he is on the road to improving in that area.
His ability to run in behind defenders and his overall pace makes him still a useful asset to have off the bench to try exploit tiring opponents towards the end of games.
Other than that, though, Long is not offering much else and should be at the bottom of the striker pecking order behind Ings, Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini.
TT Grade: D-
For now, it does not look like either one of Austin or Long will be able to dislodge Ings as Southampton’s first-choice striker.
That being said, there will be games where one of the two or Gabbiadini will have to step in for the former Burnley man, who is currently on loan from Liverpool, be it for a short or extended period.
And when so, Austin should be the individual Hughes looks to if it is a straight toss between him and Long.
Despite his injuries, Austin has done so much more than Long as far as productivity in the box goes and has been the overall better signing.
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