SAINTS have their best chance yet to end their ongoing troubles in front of goal at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The struggling Eagles are without a goal or a clean sheet in the top flight this term and could well be a soft target for Saints, who are in desperate need of scoring confidence after netting once from open play in five games in all competitions.

The reason for Saints' woeful form in front of goal is hard to pinpoint exactly.

But the statistics offer a little insight in to what is going wrong for Mauricio Pellegrino's side.

In all Saints have hit on average 14.5 shots per game, the seventh most in the Premier League.

The intent to attack is clearly there, then.

But, in a damming verdict of Saints' capacity to finish a move with actual end product, they have mustered just nine shots on target from open play in four games.

In total, Pellegrino's misfiring men have hit 11 shots on target, but two of those were penalties in the 3-2 win at St Mary's against West Ham.

Meaning, away from the penalty spot, Saints have averaged a pitiful 2.3 shots on target per league game.

That is among the lowest totals in the top-flight, with only Everton and Swansea having recorded fewer.

It remains that Manolo Gabbiadini's strike against West Ham is the only goal from open play in five games in all competitions for Saints this term - and four of those matches were at home!

With Saints well-stocked in defensive areas and having already recorded two clean sheets, Pellegrino knows that his main priority is to now get his team firing in attack.

It is a problem that he has inherited from last season and one that Claude Puel was unable to rectify - something that partly contributed to his departure from the club.

In the last 18 hours of football, Saints have scored five goals from open play, and have failed to score in nine of their last 12 league games.

Pellegrino is clearly trying to remedy the scoring problems by bringing a more attacking style to St Mary's.

But shaking off this scoring issue has not been straightforward for the Argentine so far.

He has options in attack but is yet to find the right blend or balance to make Saints tick.

Perhaps, there is a theory that Pellegrino has too many options, meaning this process of experimenting with the right attacking line up will be a drawn out process as he figures out what works best.

Gabbiadini has been Pellegrino's go-to lone striker in the opening weeks of the campaign, with Charlie Austin and Shane Long mainly used as substitutes.

The attacking midfield three behind the striker has also been played around with but to little success at this point.

It was often away trips last season that yielded the best results in front of goal, with the record at St Mary's stretching to five games without a strike coming in to this term for Saints.

But they managed ten goals on the road in their final six away games of 2016/17.

Perhaps then a trip to stuttering Palace, who have hired former England boss Roy Hodgson as manager this week to replaced the sacked Frank de Boer, will be just the tonic Saints need to finally open the floodgates.