Danny Ings departed from Southampton to Aston Villa over the summer. The English striker was one of Southampton’s major threats in front of the opposition box till the time he played for them. He has an impressive tally of 41 goals in 91 appearances for the Saints in the Premier League. Last season he scored 12 goals and added a further four assists in 29 appearances.
His departure from the Saints has highlighted their inability to find the back of the net, a problem that has become even more evident as the Premier League season has progressed. Southampton are placed 17 in the league just one point above the relegation zone and remain one of the four teams that are yet to register a win. Their goal difference of negative five further elaborates their goal scoring issues.
In comes Adam Armstrong, the £15million striker signed from Blackburn Rovers to fill in the gigantic goal scoring shoes of Danny Ings. Armstrong made his move to the South Coast after scoring 28 goals in the EFL Championship last season, a feat which placed him second-highest among top goal scorers. The 24-year-old marked his Southampton debut with a goal in the opening fixture defeat at Everton but since then has been unable to find the back of the net while his new club remain winless. Although Hasenhuttl’s faith in Armstrong has remained unshaken. The Austrian manager is pleased with the striker’s overall impact and believes patience is needed for him to fulfil his potential and become a prolific goal scorer.
Let’s take a look at his stats from last season and the current in order to see if he has the necessary ingredients required to succeed at the highest level.
Armstrong’s passing map indicates his heavy involvement on the field. He has played wide variety of passes from multiple areas of the pitch. His passes into the opposition penalty area carry high expected threat. Armstrong excels with players around him to link up with and who can supply him with the service.
Armstrong has a short frame and he utilizes his low centre of gravity with great effect. He is also capable of playing out wide and in deeper roles if required. He uses his impressive pace to get behind and in between the defenders. His heat map shows the areas of the pitch where he is most active. Armstrong covers almost the entirety of the opponent half and also drops deep in his own half and near the centre to receive the ball.
Only a handful of players can boast a shot map as impressive as Armstrong’s last season. Armstrong scored the majority of his goals from inside the opposition box area. His xG per 90, shots on target and shots per 90 were highest among the top ten goal scorers. His finishing ability is top tier, as indicated by his shot map.
The above chart further indicates Armstrong’s output in attacking and creativity this season. Despite his low goal-scoring output in the recent games, he has already surpassed the median league value in terms of most of the attacking metrics.
Armstrong is dynamic and can influence the intensity of his team, provided the players around him can create changes and play in an intense attacking manner. In addition, he contributes heavily with his passing and progression, as indicated by the above visual. He surpasses median league value in terms of the majority of the passing and progression metrics.
Armstrong is not shy in firing his shots at the opponent goal. So far, he ranks 10th in the league in terms of shots.
Only time will tell if Armstrong can emulate Danny Ings in front of the goal. He is still a young striker who is adapting to the demands of the Premier League. Hasenhutl is certainly satisfied with his progress. He is a dynamic striker whose speed makes him adept at counter-attacking and possession-based style of play, although he might need a partner with an imposing physique with him to win aerial duels. Armstrong might need to step up sooner rather than later if he is to solve his side’s goal drought.