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English Premier League

Analysing Mario Lemina’s complete midfield performance for Southampton against Crystal Palace

Mario Lemina was regarded as a great signing for Southampton during the summer and he delivered his best performance to date against Crystal Palace. He has been brought in to add energy and technical skill to the midfield. Both were on show during the victory and supporters will be excited at what he will offer the team over the course of this season. To play for Juventus, you have to have talent and it is clear that the Gabon international possesses that in abundance.

The 24-year-old contributed in both halves of the pitch and was the best performer during the 1-0 victory. He is already starting to build a good relationship with Oriol Romeu and they could emerge as one of the best midfield partnerships outside of the top six. Lemina finished the game with 90% pass success rate and made one key pass. The former Juventus player can create chances and this is a part of his game that will improve with experience. He was incredibly composed in possession and that bodes well for the future.

Lemina can bring the ball forward and push his side into a more threatening position. In the transition phase, he will be key for Southampton this season and that was evident against Palace as he completed three dribbles at a 100% success rate. His power is what makes him so dangerous as he can push past opposition players and move into open space. The Premier League is a physical league, but the midfielder has adapted quickly and his one successful aerial duel shows that he can compete in the air.

Oriol Romeu is the ball-winning midfielder in the team, but Lemina hugely impressed out of possession and showed an aggressive streak that will serve the team well. He completed five tackles and three interceptions, which ranked him as the player with the most ball retrievals in the match. Now they have him next to Romeu, Saints can play a high-pressing system and that could make them more dangerous in attack, as this has been their most problematic area.

There have been a number of exciting signings outside of the top six. The focus has been on Renato Sanches to Swansea City, but Lemina could be the better signing from a top European club. He featured and impressed for Juventus, but couldn’t become a first-team regular. It was a coup for Southampton to bring him to the South Coast and his performance against Palace suggests that he will be worth every penny.