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Here Come The Armstrongs !
Tuesday, 11th Jan 2022 11:56

The first half of 2021/22 season promised a lot from namesakes Stuart & Adam Armstrong, but for different reasons it didn't work out quite as expected, however if both can start firing on all cylinders it could be an exciting second half of the season for Saints.

Stuart Armstrong was one of the more vital players over the past couple of seasons, indeed it is an amazing statistic that when he came on in the final minutes of the victory against West Ham United on Boxing Day, he maintained a record that meant that the club have not won a Premier league game without him playing some part in the match since Saints beat Norwich City 2-1 on 4th December 2019, although ironically that was the second time in four days that the team had won without him as he had also missed the home win against Watford a few days earlier.

Since then Saints have failed to win a Premier League game without the Scot in the side and that shows that although he would not be the first name fans of other clubs would come out with if asked to list Saints squad, he has become a vital cog in the machine and something of a lucky talisman.

This season he has managed to start just 2 Premier league games and come on as a sub on another 4 occasions, but amazingly they include the 4 games that we have won in the Premier League and the other two games were draws, so when Stuart Armstrong plays we don't lose and usually win, no wonder Ralph Hasenhuttl used him as an 89th minute sub at West Ham, he was almost guaranteeing that we wouldn't collapse in injury time.

But Stuart wasn't an instant success at St Mary's, in his first season 2018/19 he started just 16 Premier League games plus another 13 off the bench, the following season he fared slightly better, 19 starts plus 11 off the bench, but in the first half of the season he was sub as often as he started.

But in that second half he burst into life and suddenly became a vital player in the side, he scored his first goal of the season on this very day two years ago in a 2-1 win at Leicester City and he was perhaps our best player in the lead up to the suspension due to covid and after the restart. His position as talisman of the side had already started, we just didn't realise that at the time.

In 2020/21 he finally became a first choice starter starting 32 game plus only 1 as sub and we all hoped that he would continue that this term.

Sadly injury put a stop to that and he has had few chances to shine, but hopefully having now played a part in all of the last 3 matches he can stay injury free and get back to his best and help Saints move up the League table.

Adam Armstrong arrived in the summer with big hopes that he would be the man to replace Danny Ings and although he scored 22 minutes in to his debut as Everton, it has not quite worked out for him so far.

But he can take hope from the time that it took his namesake to settle in to life on the South Coast and prove his worth, despite a lack of goals Adam has still contributed to the team and put in some decent performances, there is more than just goals to his game and with a little more luck he could easily have been the leading scorer at the club instead of just the two goals to his name.

Some strikers make instant impacts, some take a little more time, James Beattie was hardly prolific in his first two seasons at Saints, likewise Jay Rodriguez who took 8 Premier League games to notch his first league goal for the club and at this stage of that season had scored just twice in the Premier League.

But he blossomed in the second half of the season and scored 4 times in the last 15 games and the following season he took over from Rickie Lambert as the main Saints goalscoring threat notching 15 in 33 Premier League games before having his season cut short with a cruel injury at Manchester City.

So Adam Armstrong could yet become the key player in the second half of the season, he doesn't lack confidence and in the main hasn't been missing sitters and has been close on a number of occasions to adding to his tally, strikers often score in burst's he is yet to have done that yet, if he does then he could really become an asset to the club.

So could the second half of the this season become a Tale Of Two Armstrong's, can Stuart start to play regularly and add those surging runs that we have so sorely missed to our armoury and in doing so add both goals for himself and others, if he can stay fit then the answer is yes.

If he does then that will surely benefit not just the rest of the team, but his namesake Adam in particular, it can only help his game to have someone who can make surging runs and then slip the ball through to the strikers, this is what Adam's game is all about, too often this season we have had to rely on using wingers who cross the ball, this doesn't suit Adam, he is better when getting the ball and running at the opposition, rather than trying to get on the end of crosses, Stuart Armstrong back in the team will add a subtle difference to the way we have had to play for most of this season and that will be a great help.

So the second half of 2021/22 starts with the cry of Here Come The Armstrongs, as I have said before, the first half of the season wasn't great with only 4 wins, but we have become a side that has been hard to beat, if we just repeat the 2nd half of the season then we will finish on 42 points, not great but more than enough to keep us out of relegation trouble.

But we know we can do much better than that and if we can just up our game a little, then a top 10 place is well within our grasp, with new owners on board the future is brighter than it has been for a few years, let's enjoy it.

Photo: Action Images

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Colburn added 12:21 - Jan 11
I agree! I might be wrong but I thought superkev Phillips scored just the one goal in the first half of the season when he arrived with us, also the first game of the season at Leicester. I still think Adam A can come good. Stueys driving runs became a feature of our attacking play last year or so, can't wait to see him back fully rolling.

darkangelv2 added 13:14 - Jan 11
Loved watching Stuart Armstrong against West Ham, drive with the ball into spaces, as he does, like no one else in the squad. He's one of those few players we possess who creates dangerous situations by doing something other than sideways passes - his priority is moving us up the pitch. Fingers crossed we see plenty more of him.

I'm still very hopeful for Adam Armstrong too - my one worry, that i hope he allays soon, is he looks like another player that may shoot 'at the goal' rather than at the open part of the goal. Again, we have very few players who seem to be capable of aiming around the goal keeper (Broja, Prowse & S. Armstrong being the only 3 who currently spring to mind!) - most just opt for power in the direction of goal with a big lump of hope! Fingers crossed!

darkangelv2 added 13:17 - Jan 11
PS. Realised it was the Swansea I was thinking of for Stu, not West Ham.

Block8 added 15:36 - Jan 11
Stuart Armstrong needs a few games to get his mojo back, as Swansea showed but he offers us something different and it improves us immensely. Adam Armstrong has been forced in recent games to play a different role to that he was purchased for and has done well. He is not missing sitters, we don't create many chances like we did at Swansea, most of his chances have been snapshots. Hopefully he'll come good and strike up a good understanding with his namesake! We appear to be playing in a less rigid system at times which seems to suit us going forward, lets see what tonight brings.

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