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Should Virgil Van Dijk Start Against Manchester United
Tuesday, 19th Sep 2017 08:00

The big question between now and 3pm on Saturday is whether Virgil Van Dijk should be in the starting XI against Manchester United at St Mary's.

Maurico Pellegrino has some tough thinking to do ahead of the visit of Manchester United, he has to decide whether Virgil Van Dijk is ready to start the game or should again be on the bench.

The options available to the manager are firstly to leave the back four as it started against Palace at the weekend, the case for would be that Yoshida has put in 100% effort in recent weeks including the trip to Palace and has done nothing wrong, he does not deserve to be dropped. Add to that the fact that Van Dijk will still be short of match fitness and it could make sense.

But alternatively it cannot be denied that Van Dijk is a much better player than the Japanese defender, is a 90% match sharp Van Dijk better than a 100% Yoshida ? There are many that would say yes and to take emotion out of it, if Van Dijk had not had the issues of the past few months and was back in the frame after injury then this could well have been the vote for most Saints fans, so from this pount of view if we take the emotion out of the decision, then Van Dijk should start if the manager is satisfied that his fitness and attitude are right.

A third option would be to start with a back three as Pellegrino finished the game with on Saturday with Van Dijk slotting in the middle between Yoshida and Hoedt, again this has its merits, but perhaps the biggest arguement against is that it is relatively untried by the personel that would be asked to play it, only 13 minutes against a Palace side who by that side were a spent force is a lot different to facing United.

These three options would perhaps be the choices that most Saints fans would think that the manager might make, however he also has Jack Stephens in the mix and there are those that although would not pick Stephens before either Yoshida or Hoedt in a back four might prefer him to start in a back three before Van Dijk.

So what is your choice, cast your vote in our online poll using the link below and give your opinion in the comments box.

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CraftyBarrel1 added 08:49 - Sep 19
If we were to go with the back 3 you suggest,then Jack would be on the bench.
This would use all of our 4 available CB's. Assuming Jan is still not ready, and best not to mention Florin.
Any injury or suspension to one of these 4 would leave us using Jan or Florin as a sub in a back 3 team.
Why start using a back 3 when it is likely you will have to revert to a back 2.
So I would go with a back 2 as at the start of the Palace game, and stick with Yoshi for now.

LordDZLucan added 08:54 - Sep 19
I think Pellegrino wants to use a back 3 and the game against United is as good a game as any to try it out.

LondonSaint added 08:55 - Sep 19
Gut says stick with a winning team - Yoshida and Hoedt to start.

saintpp added 09:00 - Sep 19
Yes definatley hes fit just not fully match sharp but he hasnt forgotten how to play Im sure.
Im not in favour of switching formations howver it is Utd and they are on looking pretty good.
So id play forster cedric vvd hoedt yoshi bertrand lemina romue tadic/jwp/davis long gabbi
Shane is not a striker and shoudnt be used as one but alongside Gabbi he could cause some damage.

underweststand added 09:11 - Sep 19
A difficult one this. If we've accepted that bygones are bygones then we must field our strongest side on Saturday v.MU. Which leads to the question..why no Charlie Austin ?
True....VvD looked in a class by himself against Stoke's second string who were outplayed from the start, but how would VvD weather against the likes of Lukaku ?

One thing for certain ..if he plays and does well (regardless of the result) then he will retain his high valuation and boost his chances of a big Money move in January. IF NOT.. maybe his "would-be suitors" would think twice about forking out Saints' fee demands.

I think he will get SOME game time, but it will need a lot more than his presence in the team to take even a point from MU on their current form.

SonicBoom added 09:28 - Sep 19
I wouldn't fancy our chances with Yoshida and Stephens up against Lukaku.

SaintPaulVW added 09:32 - Sep 19
Tricky one. I think he's too much of a distraction at the moment particularly with our first genuine test this season. Plus need to be sure he's 100% match fit to start, which I'm not sure he is.

Would like to see him subbed on at some point, because we'd probably be winning!, but happy to leave this up to Pellegrino (that's big of me) if he doesn't think this is the right time.

If he is fit though you cannot have that amount of talent sat on the bench just to give him a 'punishment beating'.

steve73 added 09:42 - Sep 19
Back 3. Hoedt and the other Dutch guy with Stephens between the two. Stephens with instructions to bring the ball out of defence whenever possible. He does this really well and his defensive shortcomings will be protected. If we're brave Cedric and Bertrand could have a real go at them. Harsh on Yoshida tho.

patred added 09:42 - Sep 19
still needs a couple of weeks yet. So perhaps a place on the bench.
Unless Pellegrino is desperate to play 3 center backs.

michaeljoycetf added 09:49 - Sep 19
Play him. he's fit & capable, He cruised through the Stoke game last night, I have a good feeling about the Dutch defensive pairing, in fact after watching the Palace game on Sat I am more confident than ever that we have the makings of a very good team. We might begin with a point on Saturday. I admire Yoshida and in any other circumstances he would play.

Santos added 10:04 - Sep 19
Has to face the music at some point and i don't see the point in everyone getting on his back will not help him or us. Would take a result against MU any day of the week and feel that is more likely with VVD in the team keeping Lukaku quiet. That will also add to ££££ when the enevitable happens and loads of frustrated Scousers on social media!!! Win win really, might even take that over a Euro lottery win for this forecast of a perfect weekend.

Jesus_02 added 10:15 - Sep 19
Yes... otherwise what was the point of keeping him.
He is one of our best players, and pretty much first rule is play your best players
I’m not tactician but I would consider putting him in front of Hoet and Yoshida and dominate midfield rather than play a back 3


Keesie66 added 10:16 - Sep 19
VVD is the kind of player who will rise to the challenge and needs the challenge to give / show his best side.... what better opportunity than Man U/Lukaku ..... he will star and then be back in the fold..... its just his character .....

SanMarco added 11:21 - Sep 19
I think the answer is yes. A great performance in a win against Manure is all I ask of the guy.

the_saint added 11:56 - Sep 19
Totally agree with jesus02 defensively soud with good counter attacking players

sambat added 12:24 - Sep 19
I cannot see why Yoshida should be dropped for the united game. If we play the Sulker away at Stoke he gets a chance to try and appease the fans.
Saints should be getting a bid ready for Stefan de Vri either as a replacement or to fortify the defence.

bstokesaint added 12:36 - Sep 19
It's definitely a tricky one for the manager. Part of me refuses to accept a formation of 5-3-2 as anything less than negative. But then we are playing Man U and they are on form. I'd still like us to see us have a go at home and play a back four of Cedric, VVD, Hoedt and Bertrand, stick Romeu in front of the defence to protect them and then give Lemina more of a free role. I'd also like to see Long partner Gabbi unfront. I'm not sure who to play in the vacant roles but would probably opt for Davis and Tadic, as both played well at the weekend. It's an open and attacking team I appreciate, but with our record against them not the greatest anyway, what do we have to lose from having a go. My biggest fear is actually that we'll get another set of crud officials that'll bottle the big decisions..

TeamCortese added 12:38 - Sep 19
Yes. Providing we play a back three.

Otherwise Yoshi and Hoedt. Might be worth letting him come off the bench if things aren't going well.

Team for next match:

GK: McCarthy

Defence: Cedric. Hoedt, Yoshi, Bertrand

Midfield: Tadic, Romeu, Lemina,

Upfront: Long, Gabbiadini, Boufal/Davis (playing behind)


bstokesaint added 12:42 - Sep 19
On the pure question about VVD, you don't leave a world class defender on the bench, even if they're not at 100%. We've said before many times in the past that a not-totally-fit VVD is better than most defenders in the PL. I stand by that. A player like just raises their game in the big matches and I'm sure he'd do just that. He can't afford not to given he'll be in the limelight. I still think he's a total **** and have not ounce of respect for him as a person, like I do someone like Yoshi or Jack, but whilst he's on our payroll we need to use him.

bstokesaint added 12:46 - Sep 19
Cortese, if you're not going to drop Fraser after he's had some bad games, it would send out a little bit of a mixed message to drop him after making a couple of match-winning stops for a clean sheet. Also bringing in McCarthy against Man U might not do his confidence much good either! I agree we need to look at the keep situation more seriously going forward and not accept Fraser as a shoe-in, but I think he's earned the chance this weekend..

luffy22 added 13:14 - Sep 19
Being realistic, we can’t score, manu can’t stop scoring, their midfield is European champions league standard and ours is mid table prem league. We may get a result but unlikely. So now the scean is set in my mind.

Play VVD, get his match fitness up against an opposition who will make him work, and nothing lost.

BoondockSaint added 13:26 - Sep 19
i think Pellegrino will start him for two reasons:

1) Against with the form ManU is in, you have to have the best talent you have on the pitch.

2) Starting him lets any fans that want to let him know how they feel will do it as his name is announced-then the next player's name is announced and they will then move on and start cheering for that player. Bringing VVD on as a sub only puts the spotlight on him and the booing could go on for a long time. I'm not saying he doesn't deserve it-but it would distract from the game.

I just hope he puts in a proper effort, rather than playing at 3/4 speed figuring he's off at the next window.

SanMarco added 15:24 - Sep 19
sambat: Why is it VVD's job to 'appease the fans'? His job is to give of his best and play as well as he possibly can. The fans have a choice - they can react in the interests of the team they support or they can behave in a way that makes us less likely to win - easy choice in my view. Yes the guy's behaved like a complete tw*t and will be gone soon but he is still a world class player and I would rather beat Manure than receive a totally insincere 'apology'....

HoustonSaint added 16:03 - Sep 19
He is under contract, and if he is the best option for the team then you play him. The coaches need to decide if VVD or Yoshida is the better option to get a result based on the match ups against Utd.

halftimeorange added 17:08 - Sep 19
How many realistically think we can win this game, with or without VVD? How many think we stand a better chance with him in the side? I do and it will still be difficult. If we want anything from this game he has to start.

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