Keeping Faith With Che Could Pay Dividends In Final Games
Tuesday, 7th Jul 2020 09:29
With Che Adams finally breaking his duck with the winner against Manchester City, could he now go on a scoring run in the final five games that propels Saints to a top 10 finish and justifies Ralph Hasenhuttl's faith in him.
Just under a year ago Che Adams was scoring for fun in pre season, but once the season got under way for real he couldn't buy a goal.
But the truth of the situation in the early part of the season was that although he wasn't scoring he wasn't playing badly and he was just having one of those spells in front og goal that all strikers have, when the harder they try the more it just won't go in.
Danny Ings will certainly sympathise, after scoring 7 times in his first 13 Premier League games for Saints last season, injury stopped his momentum and he never really got it back, in a reversal of Adams situation he was not playing badly but he just couldn't get the ball in the net, in the 11 matches he played in the second half of the season he didn't score one.
Some football fans judge strikers only on the amount of goals they score, but sometimes that is not a good barometer, Ings is a very clever player, he contributes even when he is not scoring and I think Che Adams is also in that mould.
Despite his lack of goals he played his part in several games this season, early on he did well at Sheffield United in a 1-0 win and at Chelsea on Boxing Day Michael Obafemi took all the plaudits, but it was Adams who lead the line and was the better player on the day.
Many of his games have come off the bench and against Aston Villa at home he played a vital part in the dying minutes as Villa chased an equaliser and were bombarding our box, Adams chased a clearance down, won the ball, held it and then knowing exactly where Stuart Armstrong was played a slide rule pass for our second goal that killed the game off.
Ralph Hasenhuttl clearly sees something in Adams and it is rumoured that when the board considered selling the player in January and recouping our outlay, he put his foot down and said no.
Ralph has refrained from making big statements about Adams and putting pressure on him, but has slowly nurtured him, both before and after the break and slowly increased his game time, he nearly broke his duck at Watford, he did everything right, the keeper knew nothing but it his the underside of his bod and deflected wide, it emphasised the luck Adams was having and you felt that a goal was not far away, he was still getting in the positions, not afraid to take the chance on and would get his rewards.
His first goal was always going t be one of two things, either in off his shin or even his arse or it would be spectacular, it was the latter, some might say it was easy that Ederson was way off his line, but chipping the ball over the keeper from that distance is difficult in the heat of the moment and more than often a goal is not the end result.
But on Sunday it was and you could see the team spirit and delight for Adams from the Saints players, at the end of the game Shane Long ran over to Adams still in the stands after coming off in the closing stages and hugged him, whats different about that you may ask ? well Long is the man who stands to miss out most if Adams is a success and scores goals, yet the spirit in this team is now overriding individual ambitions and that is producing results.
They say that when a striker is on a bad run it is like opening a bottle of tomato sauce for the first time, you tip it upside down and nothing comes out, you bang it and bang it and still nothing happens, but then suddenly some comes our and you can't stop it, if flows freely.
That is what we must now hope for Che Adams, we have five games left and there is a top 10 place in our sights thanks to the unlikely victory over City.
It will be a hard task, I think Arsenal's victory over us an Spurs over Everton last night has put the top 8 out of sight, but we could still catch Sheffield United as we have to play them and we have enough to overhaul Everton, Newcastle & Burnley the three clubs between us and a top 10 finish.
But we are going to have to do it the hard way, the defensive display against Manchester City was magnificent, but that was because of our fight and we cannot raise it to that levels game after game, under the great battling performance we should not overlook that the same issues were still present, we still failed to clear the ball on too many times, still left players unmarked and we need to address this once the season ends.
If we are to have a storming end to the season then Che Adams could well play a big part, we are going to have to outscore the opposition and if we have both Adams and Ings scoring freely then we have a good chance of winning games that earlier in the season we were losing.
The real test comes at Everton on Thursday night, we haven't won in the League at Goodison Park in nearly 23 years, indeed only on one other occasion since our relegation from the top flight in 1974.
They are our bogey team when it comes to visiting them and it is about time that we put that one to bed.
Beat the Toffee's and we overtake them and a top 10 spot is a realistic target, another Che Adams winner would be just the job.
Photo: Action Images
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