Football

Graziano Pelle & Shane Long can be a form a deadly partnership

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Ronald Koeman deployed a 3-5-2 formation on Saturday to allow him to overcome the suspensions of Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama.

However, it was a change that saw the Saints start with Graziano Pelle and Shane Long as a strike partnership for the first time.

The decision worked wonders as the pair caused an experienced Everton defence problems, culminating in Pelle turning home from Long's knock-down.

Aerial presence

With Pelle, the Saints have the option to go long when under pressure, such is the Italian's ability with his head and chest.

Long is also armed with a strong leap and it means that no matter who the ball is aimed at in the air, both strikers will look to flick the ball on.

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Workrate key

One of the main reasons Southampton brought Shane Long to the club this summer was for his knowledge of the Premier League and his work rate.

The Irishman is renowned for his work ethic and combined with his frame, his running power is second to none at speed.

It is not just Long that had to work on Saturday, as Pelle also put a shift in for his team, closing down the Everton defence and not allowing them to settle as they like to at any point.

Promising partnership

Ronald Koeman will have been suitably impressed by the partnership that he may want to continue with them against Crystal Palace.

With Pelle holding up the ball and Long playing on the shoulder of the defence , it makes the duo an extremely difficult opponent.

That combination paid dividends in the second half against Everton, with Long nodding down Nathaniel Clyne's cross for striker partner Pelle to sweep home.

With the decision to play with two forwards rewarding Koeman instantly, the chance to give the duo another game against Crystal Palace, even with Schneiderlin and Wanyama returning, might to be too good for the Saints boss to ignore.

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Topics:
Shane Long
Southampton
Premier League
Ronaldo Koeman
Football

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