Why this Southampton star's recent form has become a major concern

St Marys Southampton

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle has struggled to impress more recently.

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle's form is starting to become a major worry for the side, as they enter a crucial stage of the season.

The Saints have maintained a top-four challenge so far and, as they enter the business end of the campaign, they will be looking towards their key players to hit their optimum performance levels.

However, while most of their first-team players are in full flow, Pelle is playing far below his capabilities. 

The Italian made a blistering start to life in England after joining from Feyenoord in the summer of 2014, scoring nine goals in his first 13 appearances for the South Coast club.

However, things have started to unravel more recently, and the 29-year-old looks short of the quality required to lead the line for a team chasing a top-four spot. 

Pelle has netted just three times in his last 17 matches and that record simply won't be good enough if the Saints are to make it into the Champions League places.

And, arguably more worrying than his lack of goals is the fact that he is not getting into positions to score. 

Strikers can often be forgiven for going through droughts if they are still getting into the right areas, but Pelle has been virtually anonymous in his last few appearances. 

  PositionTeamGoalsGoal AssistShots on targetChances createdAppearancesMins Played
Graziano Pellè FW Southampton 0 0 2 3 6 522

In Southampton's last five games, Pelle has created just three chances for his teammates and only mustered up two shots on target. 

It is a worrying dip in standards, which mean that his place in the team must be coming under scrutiny and manager Ronald Koeman faces a big test coaxing him back to his best.

If Southampton can get Pelle back to the sort of form that made him such a revelation upon his arrival in the Premier League, then their top-four chances look good, but with Pelle delivering these sort of disappointing performances at the moment, they will surely fall away from the Champions League-chasing pack. 

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