Southampton travel away from St. Mary’s to face Middlesbrough this afternoon as they look to end a run of three straight defeats in the Championship.
Russell Martin’s side have lost to Ipswich Town, Sunderland, and Leicester City in their last three league outings by an aggregate score of 10-1.
What’s the latest Southampton team news?
The Saints head coach has confirmed that Flynn Downes is back fit and available for selection against Boro after he missed out on the most recent loss to Ipswich.
He has also revealed that central defender Jan Bednarek is in contention to feature after his return to training, whilst summer signing Ross Stewart is not expected to be back in action until after the international break.
With the return of Downes in mind, Martin must now ruthlessly ditch central midfielder Joe Aribo from the starting XI after his struggles against the Tractor Boys.
How well did Joe Aribo perform against Ipswich?
The Nigeria international recorded a dismal Sofascore rating of 6.1 for his performance against Kieran McKenna’s side and was worse than Adam Armstrong in midfield.
Whilst the striker, who has been converted into a midfielder, struggled and lost five of his eight duels, Aribo stood out ahead of the English dynamo, for the wrong reasons.
The former Rangers star, whose style was once described as “languid” by former teammate Ezri Konsa, lost six of his seven ground duels and three of his four aerial battles throughout his 56 minutes on the pitch, which shows that he failed to deal with the opposition’s physicality and was dominated by the other team.
He also failed to deliver much quality in possession as the ex-Charlton man endured a 0% success rate across three dribble attempts, in comparison to Armstrong’s 50% over two attempts, which suggests that the former Blackburn ace delivered a better performance in the middle of the park as he used the ball better and offered more physicality.
Aribo has averaged a poor Sofascore rating of 6.55 across six Championship appearances this season. He is yet to contribute with a goal or a ‘big chance’ created and has lost a staggering 72% of his duels, as per Sofascore.
Downes, on the other hand, has averaged a Sofascore rating of 7.12 over three league outings for Southampton so far and has created one ‘big chance’ to go along with a duel success rate of 57% and 3.3 tackles and interceptions per game.
The West Ham United loanee, who has completed an eye-catching 98% of his attempted passes, has offered a creative threat and produced impressive defensive displays with his ability to win the majority of his battles to regain possession for his side.
Therefore, Martin must ruthlessly ditch Aribo from the starting XI in order to bring Downes back into the team, and Armstrong should keep his place after offering more than the £60k-per-week flop against Ipswich.
The 27-year-old dud, who scored two goals in 21 Premier League games last season, is yet to make his mark in a Southampton shirt since his move from Ibrox last summer and his most recent display does not suggest that he is going to find his form on the south coast any time soon.