Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points in Matchweek 32.
The hardworking 33-year-old, who recently signed a new two-year contract, produced a lively substitute appearance against Arsenal on Thursday that should secure his starting place on Sunday.
His two Premier League goals have come at a lowly 7.7 per cent strike-rate. However, he improves his team in other ways.
Quick and willing to run into the wide channels, he stretches opponents and creates space for others, while helping Saints’ leading scorer Ings reserve his energy for work in the penalty box.
Long also regularly gets into dangerous positions. He just needs to become more ruthless.
|Per 90 mins||Ings||Long||Obafemi||Adams|
|Touches in opp. box||5.52||4.63||4.57||4.18|
|Shots on target||1.24||0.91||0.59||0.25|
Watford held a surprisingly high defensive line in their last match at Burnley.
If Watford adopt the same tactics on Sunday, Long’s lung-busting runs into the channels may well be rewarded.
|2019/20||Sprints/90||Top speed (km/hr)|
In addition to his other qualities, Long gives Southampton a valuable aerial outlet.
Whether he is flicking on long passes or attacking crosses, his presence up front usually adds an extra layer to Saints' tactical framework.
Meanwhile, Watford have been struggling to defend crosses.
They have conceded a number of goals this season from wide deliveries, both in open play and from set-pieces, including the only goal in their 1-0 midweek loss at Burnley.
|Aerial duels/90||Aerial duels won/90|
|Shane Long||15.4||Shane Long||7.4|
|Che Adams||9.5||Che Adams||3.3|
|Michael Obafemi||6.2||Danny Ings||1.5|
|Danny Ings||5.5||Michael Obafemi||1.3|
Long definitely has the all-round game to unsettle the Hornets.