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Will Obafemi Be Hughes Saviour ?
Tuesday, 6th Nov 2018 12:46

If there is one area that Saints have been truly lacking in this season it is the goalscoring department, but could a youngster be the man to save Mark Hughes from the sack.

If Mark Hughes finds himself on the dole in the coming weeks, he will be able to put most of the blame on his strikers.

Danny Ings has been a good signing for Saints, 4 goals in only 9 starts plus another as sub has been a good return and when you add to that a goal in his only other appearance in the League cup then he is doing the job.

However none of our other recognised strikers has scored, indeed only three players have scored in the Premier League, Ings is joined by Pierre Emile Hojbjerg who has two goals with Ryan Bertrand with a soilitary strike.

That is damning and although it has to be said that Saints attempts on goal ratio is high, many of these chances are long range efforts that fly well wide or tame efforts, although it has to be said that we have missed a few sitters as well, with at least one good chance missed in the games against Bournemouth and Newcastle.

The problem with Hughes is his team are nervous they are fearful and too many times the wrong decisions are being made, extra touches are taken instead of hitting the ball first time and the longer the problem persists the worse it gets.

On Sunday at Manchester City Hughes tried something different he brought on Michael Obafemi for only his 2nd Premier League appearance, his debut being in the home game against Spurs when he played the last 8 minutes at St Mary's last season, making him the second youngest player to play in the Premier League for Saints with only Luke Shaw younger.

Certainly Obafemi has something about him, but perhaps the thing that might just save Hughes is that with nothing to lose and everything to gain Obafemi will play without fear, he could be the one player on the pitch against Watford who won't feel the crowd on his back, indeed the opposite he will have the crowd behind him.

Having only just turned 18 in July Obafemi can go out there and run at players and this could be a key point, he could be the focal point for the Saints support and that in turn will take the pressure off his team mates.

The Saints support need a hero at the moment, they need some light at the end of the tunnel and they need to see something different and this could be Obafemi who although being brought up in London to Nigerian parents was born in Dublin and has this week been selected for their full squad.

Mark Hughes certainly likes what he has seen.

“It was something I wanted to have a look at. Clearly at the top end of the pitch we’ve been struggling for someone to give us a spark to set us off to score more goals and create more chances,”

“He’s got unbelievable pace. It was important that I had a look at him in the Premier League environment because he could very well be someone we can use. "

“Bringing on Michael late on in games as an impact sub could be something that will help us. I was pleased with what he did, he didn’t look phased by the stage he was on so that bodes well as something we can work on."

“We’ll see how he progresses. He’s been playing well in the Under-23s and getting goals so he’s deserved his chance.”

So Hughes dilemma is whether to use Obafemi from the off on Saturday against Watford or as he has inferred just use him as an impact player from the bench.

The latter is the most likely although Hughes mention of him in that role could well be to take the pressure off the youngster before the game and not raise the fans hopes too high and build him up as something he is not quite ready for yet.

Certainly Hughes has to do something different otherwise he might just be reading about Obafemi's progress this season rather than watching from close range.

Photo: Action Images

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SanMarco added 13:11 - Nov 6
'Play the youngsters' is an unsurprising refrain when the senior players are not performing but if Obafemi is the answer why wasn't he in the league cup side vs Everton? The Leicester cup match might be a better option - it will come round soon enough.

HythePeer added 13:37 - Nov 6

LoisDeem added 13:48 - Nov 6
HP -your young player criteria must also allow for form and morale, too, so Bednarek if fit to come in for Hoedt -everytime! (Priceless mixture of youth and experience.

SaintBrock added 14:18 - Nov 6
Marcus Barnes is the one more likely to score goals from what I have seen watching the U23's. Obafemi seems a bit too one dimensional.

Right now 'though it wouldn't be fair for either of these kids to be thrust into the PL spotlight with high expectations placed on their shoulders which they could not possibly meet thus probably stalling their progress and careers.

Make the buggers who got us into this mess get us out of it!

1970 added 18:39 - Nov 6
We need a playing identity a style that everyone can grasp, the dross we have been serving up for the last two seasons is a joke, if you have players that are shall we say pass there best then we need at very least to have a manager that specialises in moving the ball quickly or playing high press football make no mistake we will still struggle against decent teams because quite frankly we are awful , but we will give ourselves a fighting chance if our manager had an idea, we missed another trick when Bielsa went to Leeds, losing 6-1 to anyone is a concern it says you cannot compete even if they are in the same league,
I wonder if the cheque book will come out in Jan, I bet not gao is still trying to pretend he is doing good things by adding a few new pie shops, but really getting ready to offload the few assets we have left at the end of the season,
when we go down we can use our youth team all day long but the here and now means these bums need to get us out of this mess,
we should also be putting pressure or make it known how bad we feel about the hierarchy and the ruining of our club coyr

underweststand added 11:23 - Nov 7
Once again ..." Saviour" is a bit of a strong word, Nick...but what we need is a "super-sub" (type Tony Funnell - if you were a fan in the late 1970's) who can come on and take the game by the scruff of the neck, and not just replace someone who tiring - and who will need 10 minutes to find out which way we are kicking.

I watched many of the U23's games Michael Obafemi has played and even allowing for his goal tally, he has terrifying pace that frightens defenders - as well as a an eye for goal.

The idea of him coming on at 70 minutes and getting a few runs on goal sounds exciting but he's not ready for a full 90 minute game in the Prem, where he will be fouled/injured several times by tough CB's before he can even get going. Putting him on late against tiring defenders is a v.good option and I hope Hughes has the courage to do it -and soon.

underweststand added 11:48 - Nov 7
NOTE to Hythe Peer.
I might go along with some of your suggestions, but apparantly Sam Gallagher is now out with a longer term imjury, and Josh Sims is sitting on the bench at Reading as a loan player.

aceofthebase added 12:46 - Nov 7
For goodness sake let's start with Obafemi, starting with the usual non scorers has done us no good, let them come on as subs when we are three up. On second thoughts bring on or also start with Marcus Barnes

aceofthebase added 12:46 - Nov 7
For goodness sake let's start with Obafemi, starting with the usual non scorers has done us no good, let them come on as subs when we are three up. On second thoughts bring on or also start with Marcus Barnes

sausageofsaints added 18:34 - Nov 8
Ok so he’s going to be used as an impact sub maybe get 15/20 minutes when the rest of them are knackered and about 30 yards behind him,if MH don’t get the rest of them fit what’s the point.
This is without doubt the most unfittest saints side for a very very long time and I believe that is our biggest problem,shocking really considering the amount of money they get.Get them in for double training and make sure they can run for at least 95 mins.Its an absolute joke how they all seem to be flagging after 70 mins.Get them fit and you would see a major difference!!!!!!

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