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Central Defensive Positions Will Become Clear This Weekend !
Monday, 25th Sep 2017 15:53

This weekend may well see the pecking order for the centre of defence become far clearer when theside is picked for the trip to Stoke City.

Wesley Hoedt has already made himself a first choice pick for Mauricio Pellegrino with the weekend seeing him again start next to Yoshida with Virgil Van Dijk on the bench, however there was no room for Jack Stephens and although the club claimed after the match that the player had missed the match through a slight groin injury, you suspected that it was more a case of being kind to a player who had been thrown into a difficult situation and was now surplus to requirement being let down easily and with dignity.

It would have been seen as very negative to have had two central defenders on the bench in a home game even though Stephens can also play at full back he is not an attacking player.

So on Saturday it will be interesting to see what selections the manager makes, if he sticks with four at the back then will be feel Virgil Van Dijk is now ready assuming that he comes through another U23 game this evening, if he does then Yoshida would surely drop to the bench and again as he can play either in the centre of defence or as a full back, it would be difficult to see Stephens joining him on the bench.

But Pellegrino could opt to play three central defenders which would mean a reprieve for Yoshida and possibly one for Stephens who would then come into the reckoning to provide back up on the bench.

The key though will be how fit Van Dijk is, Pellegrino did not feel that he was ready to start against Manchester United and with Saints dominating the second half and needing to chase the game, it was not the time to bring him on to further aid his recovery and the manager may feel that he is not quite ready to start yet.

But one thing is for sure, in the next week or so he will be ready to return to the starting line up and when he is he will form a very good partnership with Hoedt, this could leave both Yoshida and Stephens out in the cold, but that is the harsh reality of football, there is no room for sentiment, Mauricio Pellegrino has to pick the right men for the positions and do so on merit not emotion.

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highfield49 added 16:31 - Sep 25
As far as I'm concerned the goal scoring issue has to be addressed as a priority so why not take the game too Stoke? Play Hoedt, VVD and Yoshi as a back three, as you suggested, use the wing backs to get the ball forward quicker, Gabbi up front with Long, Redmond dropping to the bench. I've seen very little of Stoke on tv this season but their defence didn't look solid against the pressure from Chelsea. As long as Crouch doesn't get marked by our smallest player on the pitch, again, why shouldn't we get all three points?

aceofthebase added 16:39 - Sep 25
Highfield49 Crouch will hang around at the far post and with no jump he will 'outjump!' little Cedric as many have done before.

wibbersda added 18:43 - Sep 25
"Yoshida and Stephens out in the cold, but that is the harsh reality of football" and I bet you could not be more pleased SaintNick, could you!

Markl2057 added 20:08 - Sep 25
Yet another article featuring van greedy!!! People might suggest that the ugly is desperate for this guy to play??
Defensively were sound this season, hoedt has started well and been an asset to the squad so why do we repeatedly discuss van greedy????
Going forward and creating is the problem so unless van greedy has learnt to run 50yards with the ball beat 7 players and score 20 goals a season try harping on about something else and stop giving him all the attention because come December he will turn this club into a media circus and not be in the right frame of mind to be considered for selection !!!

brownk added 20:56 - Sep 25
No room for sentiment! If that is the case why is everyone criticising VVD, coz if the manager can drop you when you have given everything for the team and played well, it's everyone man for himself! Forget loyalty, team spirit etc etc when a player who wants to leave takes your place. If that's how things work every player should just look after themselves exactly as VVD was trying to do this summer. I know I would if I were Stephen my view he has hardly put a foot wrong when he has played this season and I am sure there wouldn't be a shortage of admirers and who could blame him if he asked to leave!

dovif added 22:07 - Sep 25
I completely agree that we should start van dijk. We need to ensure his value remains high so we can ship him away for 50mil. Then we can buy a few excellent striker and attack midfielder like we should have done so at the start of the season. If we keep sitting him. We might not get 20m for him in january

SaintPaulVW added 07:45 - Sep 26
Complete distraction from the key issue facing the team. Namely, an inability to create and convert high percentage attempts on goal at the other end.

Even if you play with a back 3 there still needs to be an attacking threat to convert the wingback assists.

LordDZLucan added 08:50 - Sep 26
Yoshi has to play....end of

GeordieSaint added 10:15 - Sep 26
I reckon both Stephens and Yoshida would pick Van Dyke over themselves if they were the manager. I am also surprised people think he is going in January, he is here for the year.

bstokesaint added 12:27 - Sep 26
Geordie, from what I've heard (and believe) there is currently a legal issue to settle regarding VVD and the player still believes he will get his move in January when the clubs have resolved it. I'd love to believe he'll stay longer, as I agree it seems pointless after all this noise and bold statements to let him go before the season ends. We'll see.

That said VVD is our best player and also one of our strongest players and against a team like Stoke you need your hardest personnel. Ordinarily I would see a point away to Stoke as a good result, but given the points we've dropped against Watford, Swansea and Huddersfield I think if we're going to get the season back on-track then we need to go for a maximum.

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