Opening their 2021/22 campaign with a loss at Everton last weekend, Southampton needed a bounce back performance. That was just what the Saints did as they earned a 1-1 draw at home against Manchester United. While the club once again dropped points from a winning position, they did manage to hold on and secure a draw in their home opener.
At times, Southampton even showed some top quality. However, the biggest takeaway from this match could be how well the Saints fought back after allowing Manchester United to equalize early in the second half. Showing their attacking teeth throughout, Southampton shook off their past demons and earned their first point of the campaign.
Getting a little more in depth, here are five takeaways from Southampton’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United.
Southampton: Five Takeaways from the Draw Against Manchester United
Adam Armstrong Proves Premier League Quality
When Southampton moved on from Danny Ings a few weeks ago, questions were rightly asked. Just who could the club find to replace the star forward? Was it even possible for a club of Southampton’s financial stature? So far, the answer to both these questions has been a resounding yes. All thanks to the quality that has been shown by Adam Armstrong.
A target for the majority of the summer, Armstrong was finally signed by the Saints following Ings’ departure to Aston Villa. A star in the Championship, Armstrong has quickly adapted to the Premier League game.
Scoring on debut last week at Everton, Armstrong looked right at home in his home debut. Pressing the United backline throughout, Armstrong produced a number of chances. While the English forward failed to add to his goal tally, the form and quality he has shown proved that Southampton have found another top quality forward.
Tino Livramento: Potential Bargain of the Summer
Talk about a steal! In need of defensive reinforcements this summer, Southampton made the Premier League’s signing of the summer when they added Tino Livramento from Chelsea. Costing the club just £5 million, the 18-year-old full-back has quickly become a star for this Saints squad. More so, Livramento has only shown a fraction of his true talent.
Making his Premier League debut last weekend against Everton, Livramento has become a sensation for the South Coast club. A quality defender, he also possesses the attacking qualities of a much more experienced star. Already unseating Kyle Walker-Peters as the club’s starting right-back, the sky is the limit for this young defender.
Signing of the summer? Arguably, yes. A Southampton star in the making? Absolutely.
Questions Multiply Over Alex McCarthy
Starting the first two matches of the season for Southampton, Alex McCarthy has done little to quite his critics. If anything, McCarthy’s form has had the opposite effect. The English keeper’s questionable decision making and slow reactions once again headlined his performance in this match.
In fact, if not for some quality defending and extreme luck, it’s likely McCarthy’s performance would have led to a defeat. Unfortunately, such form has been the norm for the shot stopper as the starting goalkeeper for Southampton. With his form is yet to cost Southampton going forward, one has to wonder just how much longer McCarthy can hold onto his starting role.
With Fraser Forster right behind him, that question could be answered sooner rather than later.
Jack Stephens Leads with Consistency for Southampton
Of all the Southampton defenders, the last one many thought they’d be praising at this point is Jack Stephens. Struggling to perform consistently in the Premier League in recent seasons, Stephens has been often criticized by supporters. However, those quality and consistency issues have disappeared thus far this season.
Starting both of the Saints’ opening Premier League matches, Jack Stephens has proven to be a defensive leader. Showing both quality and consistency, Stephens has so far been a revelation this season. While he could still revert to his old ways, the Englishman’s early season form proves that he has truly earned his starting role.
Theo Walcott Starting for Southampton is Questionable
A former academy star come home, Theo Walcott has been a great addition for Southampton. His veteran status and leadership ability are qualities this Saints side needs. However, questions have to be asked over Walcott starting each of the club’s first two matches.
Picked over Stuart Armstrong, Nathan Redmond, and Nathan Tella, Walcott has failed to impress this season. While the former England international’s off-ball ability has been strong, Walcott has failed to really make an impact in his two starts. Given the Saints’ quality at the position, questions need to be asked over the former Arsenal man’s starting role for the club.
While it’s possible his inclusion in the starting 11 could be because of fitness concerns, this is a question that needs answering. Otherwise, Walcott’s continued presence as a starter could be a sign of bigger issues for the club.
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