Their struggles up top to score goals have heavily increased since the departure of striker Danny Ings in the summer to Aston Villa. Young English forward Adam Armstrong, has been brought in as a replacement, but he has not got himself accustomed to the style of the league quite yet, failing to be among the goals.
This has left Southampton at the lower end of the table in 14th position with just 11 points in 10 matches. With just nine goals scored and two wins to show for so far, their problems have been wide open under the broad daylight.
In midst of their attacking problems, Hasenhuttl had to look towards other options to score goals. Among them, one of the players who has emerged is Che Adams. The Scottish international has never been a proper target man, but rather a supporting striker, who has played as a second fiddle to Ings before. Since Armstrong has been misfiring, the 25-year-old has to step up as the more experienced player in the league to help the Saints deal with their attacking woes.
We look at his stats from the season.
Adams has only featured in seven matches so far. One of the biggest advantages of playing him up front is the amount of area he covers in the attacking third. Even though he plays as the second striker in the 4-4-2 system, he is present almost everywhere on the pitch, be it dropping into the midfield to receiving the ball deep or helping out the defense, The Scot drifts towards both the wings almost regularly, taking up places centrally outside the box too – the red and orange areas in the above image show exactly that these are the places where he has spent most of his time, mostly on the right wing. This makes it hard to mark him, and even when he is not directly involved in attacks, he keeps the opponent defenders busy.
He has not been on the ball quite a lot, given that Southampton do not dominate possession that often. Adams has made a total of 104 passes averaging 19 passes per 90 while having 36 touches on the ball. Most of his passes have been short and near the final third of the pitch. He likes to play smart passes by picking out players making runs into dangerous areas, therefore being involved in the attack. The forward has registered an assist so far, but his passing accuracy of 57% has not been that great.
Most of his shots have been from the left side of the pitch, inside the box. From a total of 10 shots attempted, he has scored twice, both times from the edge of the box. With 50% accuracy, his precision in front of the goal has not been prolific. Given the fact that he is not a target man, he has not positioned himself near the goal often, which accounts for his lesser shots and goals, yet he has been Saints’ top-scorer this season.
Adams is not a lethal finisher, so most of the metric rankings lay below the league average. Still, he has ranked 89th percentile in the league for shots on target percentage. He is not a very tall man but ranks 82nd percentile in attempted headers per 90.
Che Adams is certainly a very creative and intelligent player who is important to Southampton in their attacking build-up. However, he lacks the lethal finishing and instinct of a striker, on whom the Saints can rely to bring them nearly 20 goals a season. With a better finisher upfront like Ings was, Adams can become much more efficient with supplying balls and chipping in with goals when required. While he can certainly be a vital part of quality support, he might not be able to change their goal-scoring problems alone.