Nigeria's Aribo endures nightmare Premier League debut for Southampton as fans slam Ghana's Salisu

Joe Aribo Southampton 2022-23Getty Images

Nigeria midfielder Joe Aribo endured a nightmare Premier League debut for his new club Southampton as he played a peripheral role in the Saints’ 4-1 hammering by Tottenham Hotspur in London on Saturday.

Aribo played in a two-man attack alongside Adam Armstrong as Southampton coach Ralph Hasenhuttl sought to have him influence the game with goals and assists in his 5-3-2 formation.

However, the former Rangers man had little influence in the 90 minutes he was on the pitch as he provided no assists and managed only one shot which came in the 73rd minute when he drew a good save from Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris after being put through on goal.

Aribo was a largely frustrated figure as he remained isolated up front with Southampton struggling to bypass Spurs' two-man midfield and back three.

The Nigerian won only one tackle, two aerial duels and dribbled past his opponents once with his 76 per cent pass completing rate among the lowest in the game.

Aribo, who joined Southampton for £10 million after three years with Rangers, also struggled to hold onto the ball as he was disposed three times.

Meanwhile, Aribo’s team-mate and Ghana defender Mohammed Salisu also had a game to forget as he was not only part of a backline that conceded four but also scored an own goal.

With Spurs leading 2-1, they launched a counterattack involving Son Heung-Min and the lively Dejan Kulusevski on the hour mark.

The ball found Emerson Royal whose cross beat the goalkeeper but as Salisu attempted to block it, he sent it inside the left post of his own goal.

Salisu, who confirmed his availability for Black Stars duty last month, was also at fault for Southampton’s fourth goal three minutes later as he failed to mark Kulusevski at the back-post before he slammed the ball in the back of the net.

Those incidents left a section of fans, especially in Ghana, unimpressed given the Ghana Football Association had been on a charm offensive to get him to commit his international future to the country ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Some fans hope not to see those mistakes at the World Cup where Ghana are in the same group with Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea.

The Ghana defender came under heavy criticism at the end of last season when Southampton only won one match in nine, while conceding 21 goals, with the defender scoring a couple of own goals over that period.

Aribo's Premier League debut

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