Southampton welcome Brentford to St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon in a worrying run of form.
Winless in their last six Premier League matches, Southampton’s three top flight victories this season came in a four week glut between October and early November. Yet to keep a clean sheet since inflicting the defeat that cost Dean Smith his job at Aston Villa, the Saints are skirting on the cusp of the relegation mire.
Here’s the lineup Ralph Hasenhuttl may select to restore his side to winning ways.
Willy Caballero (GK) – The division’s oldest player may have conceded five goals across his two outings since an emergency arrival, but fared competently enough against Crystal Palace to suggest the continued absence of Southampton’s primary keepers isn’t an unmitigated disaster.
Tino Livramento (RB) – The only player to have started or even featured in every Southampton match this season isn’t set to relinquish that status in the immediate future.
Jack Stephens (CB) – Dropped for the midweek trip to the capital, Hasenhuttl confirmed his centre back was only missing through ‘rotation’, suggesting a route back into the side is utterly possible.
Mohammed Salisu (CB) – Three of the five yellow cards Salisu accrued to earn him a suspension last weekend were dished out in second half stoppage time. On his return in midweek the 22-year-old was swiftly booked again, though with ten minutes of the allotted 90 left.
Kyle Walker-Peters (LB) – Following the emergence of Livramento this term, Walker-Peters has scrapped his way back into the side on his unnatural flank.
James Ward-Prowse (DM) – The first midfielder in the Premier League era to record consecutive seasons as an ever-present has already had that streak spoiled by a red card in October – though is unlikely to be deliberately left out by Hasenhuttl any time soon.
Oriol Romeu (DM) – Having captained the side in his skipper’s absence earlier in the campaign, only suspension has sidelined Romeu this term.
Nathan Redmond (AM) – With four assists in his last seven Premier League starts, Redmond has created twice as many goals as the next most prolific Saints provider in the current campaign.
Nathan Tella (AM) – The former Arsenal youth player deputised through the middle in the absence of Southampton’s chief strikers in midweek but has slowly forged a starting berth for himself in his favoured wide role this December.
Adam Armstrong (ST) – The discomfort in Armstrong’s leg was too debilitating to risk him in midweek but, with Che Adams also a doubt, the former Blackburn Rovers forward may push through the pain barrier to provide a second natural striking option.
Armando Broja (ST) – Southampton’s top scorer this term has netted four times in just six Premier League starts.