Let’s talk about Shane Long, shall we?
The Irish striker was once again a starter for Southampton in their game against Brighton this evening, playing alongside Danny Ings in their attack.
In fact, he was given the nod ahead of cultured Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini for the big south coast clash, while he gets in ahead of Charlie Austin on occasion too (who was not fit for the match this evening, it seems).
But for someone who’s only scored twice in his last 40-odd appearances, it’s pretty mad that he continues to get game-time, isn’t it?
Barren spells are part of his game, it seems, as he went 1,320 minutes without a goal before netting against Palace back in January, while his strike against Arsenal back in April remains the only goal he’s scored since then.
But let’s ignore all of that for a moment, because in the game against Brighton tonight, he did a lot of good things – but just didn’t score.
He made space, he played in his teammates, and overall complimented his more technically gifted strike-partner Danny Ings.
Ings is a huge fan of Long, in fact, singing his praises after their win over Crystal Palace last time out.
Ings said: “The last couple of games he’s almost been like a battering ram at times.
“He’s been fighting with defenders, he’s crazy in the air, winning headers, and his work rate is exceptional.
“I haven’t seen his stats but I’m sure they’re through the roof the way he’s been running around winning headers.”
On the flip side, he should be scoring more, shouldn’t he?
Many fans have been unsympathetic to his goal-drought, and some of them continue to question why he gets picked in the team.
Harsh, maybe, but on a couple of occasions against Brighton – who, lets face it, aren’t exactly boasting Juventus’ defence – he had chances to score, including an instance where he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper and completely missed the target.
If he’d netted that or a couple of the other half-chances he had, then the Saints probably would’ve won the game – they certainly deserved to.
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