Oriel Romeu and Mario Lemina were both instrumental in Southampton’s 1-0 victory away to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The talented duo’s excellent performance in central midfield gave the Saints the platform they needed to dominate the game for large parts. In the first-half especially the pair bossed proceedings in the centre of the park, barely allowing experienced Premier League pair Yohan Cabaye and James MacArthur any time to settle on the ball. When in possession the Saints duo passed accurately and efficiently, with Lemina in particular spreading the ball wide beautifully on several occasions.
Romeu is building on a accomplished first-season on the South Coast. He was magnificent last term; providing first-class tactical awareness, solid ball-winning skills and tidy distribution from his holding-midfield role.
Lemina put in a imposing man of the match performance at Selhurst Park. The Gabon international oozed class at times showing all the pace, power and technique required to thrive in the Premier League. Saints boss Mauricio Pelligrino will no doubt also be just as happy that his £15 million summer signing showed plenty of appetite for the defensive side of the game; he won possession more times than any other player on the pitch and on several occasions he made crucial clearances from inside his own box.
Both players obviously come with some serious pedigree; Romeu is a graduate of Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy and Lemina has just arrived after winning two Serie A titles with Juventus.
If both players stay fit and continue to build on their already impressive partnership, it’s hard to think of a better centre-midfield outside of the top-six. Saints Director of Football Les Reed, again deserves massive credit for putting together such a classy duo for a combined fee of just £20 million – a pittance in todays inflated transfer market.
As always for Southampton however, both players ability will hardly go unnoticed, and they may soon find themselves locked in a battle to keep the pair out of the clutches of bigger clubs.
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