Struggling Southampton need to switch Steven Davis

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Southampton have been struggling of late and have failed to win in their last four games. The most disappointing of these results was probably last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

The Saints have struggled to score during this winless streak. They’ve only netted three goals whilst conceding 11.

This isn’t through a lack of trying, but they just haven't been clinical enough.


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Southampton have had 60 attempts on goal in their last three Premier League games, but only 12 of them forcing the opposition keeper to make a save, according to WhoScored.

What’s up with the Saints?

Southampton manager, Ronald Koeman, tends to employ variations of a five-man midfield formation, often using 4-2-3-1. During this winless streak, the game against Manchester City was the only occasion which saw the Dutchman stray to 4-1-4-1.

The manager has also been using almost the exact same personnel in the: right wing, left wing, attacking midfield and striking roles.

Excluding the match against Manchester City; Graziano Pelle has started all three, as have Dusan Tadic and Steven Davis. Sadio Mane has also featured in all three, but was replaced in the starting eleven by Shane Long against Stoke.

It seems strange that Koeman hasn’t rotated his attackers during this hard spell. They only made significant changes against Man City, who they weren’t expected to beat anyway.

Davis is the odd one out of this set of attackers as he just isn't a big enough goal threat. He is a good passer of the ball and can link up the play, but he won’t cause any problems for the opposing keeper.

Who Scored shows that the 30-year-old has only had one shot in Southampton’s last three Prem games. Why not put him in one of the deeper roles in the formation?

Put him next to Victor Wanyama in central midfield, and then bring in the more flamboyant Juanmi to bolster the attack.

What can Juanmi bring to the team?

The 22-year-old Spanish talent has been subbed on in each of the last three league games with the intention of making an impact and creating a goal. It will come as little surprise that his five, 13, and 27-minute cameos have not yielded any goals during this poor spell of results.

Juanmi is a pure team player; he works hard and uses his speed and skill to turn possession into goal scoring opportunities. His footwork is incredible, as is his vision and ability to pick out key passes.

The youngest scorer of a brace in La Liga history predominantly plays behind the main striker, but can also operate on the wing. At Malaga, he scored on his debut when he was just 16-years-old. He finished the Malaguista part of his career on 21 goals and six assists in 99 games.

Juanmi may not be the most goal hungry forward, but he has the technical skills and mentality to give life to a dull or flailing attack.

If played in the attacking midfield role, between Mane and Tadic, he would be able to set up attacks for his teammates and pose a goal threat himself - something that Davis doesn’t provide very often.

Davis would be better off in the central midfield role, where there’s less impetus on scoring goals. He’d still be able to control the play and spray the ball around, but moving him deeper will allow for a more effective attacking option to join the team.

Can Saints fans expect to see the Spanish star soon?

Probably not - much like his compatriot Louis van Gaal - Koeman is very shrewd and stubborn with his team tactics and line up choices. Juanmi does seem to be in his plans, though.

He’s been given regular substitute appearances recently, but has not been allowed enough time to make much of an impact.

When a team like Southampton are going through a rough patch, someone who possesses flair and the ability to score from nothing can release some of the pressure on them - freeing them up to get back to their usual attacking ways.

Something needs to be done to revitalise the Saints frontline, and the introduction of Juanmi just behind the striker looks to be their most viable option.

Premier League
Steven Davis

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