Friday 28 April 2017

Gabbiadini lets his boots do the talking

Gabbiadini might just be a short-term success, although the way he scored his two goals in the Saints’ 4-0 win against Sunderland at the stadium of Light suggest he could be around for a while. Photo: Reuters / Lee Smith
Gabbiadini might just be a short-term success, although the way he scored his two goals in the Saints’ 4-0 win against Sunderland at the stadium of Light suggest he could be around for a while. Photo: Reuters / Lee Smith

Luke Edwards

Manolo Gabbiadini does not speak much English, but Southampton's January signing looks a fluent goalscorer, whose actions, rather than words, suggest the Saints have made another astute signing.

Goals define strikers; it is what they are judged on. And, with three goals in his first two games for Southampton following a £14m move from Napoli, Gabbiadini has made an impressive start.

Gabbiadini might just be a short-term success, although the way he scored his two goals in the Saints' 4-0 win against Sunderland at the stadium of Light suggest he could be around for a while.

His first goal was down to anticipation, speed and the instinct to be where a ball is heading.

Darting to the near post, he was just a fraction too quick for centre-back Lamine Koné, which meant Ryan Bertrand's cross went in off his arm. A lucky finish, perhaps, but had he not made the run, Southampton would not have taken the lead. It crushed Sunderland.

His second was a thing of beauty. Receiving the ball into his feet, with his back to goal, Gabbiadini spun away from Koné, wriggled under John O'Shea and rolled the ball beyond goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

"He's got a lot of quality," said Saints midfielder Steven Davis. "Today he's turned on a sixpence and stuck it in. His movement's really good and he offer a good attacking outlet. At the minute, he's finding it difficult to communicate because we don't really have any Italian speakers and he doesn't speak English, but he's settled in well judging by his performances."

It was an own goal from Jason Denayer and another from Shane Long that completed the scoring and means Sunderland head to New York for a team-building trip this week with supporters questioning whether they should be allowed to board the plane.

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