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Does Hughes Have A Selection Dilemma For The Chelsea Game ?
Wednesday, 3rd Oct 2018 10:42

The win albeit on penalties up at Goodison Park has raised questions as whether the changes Mark Hughes made will make him think about his line up on Sunday against Chelsea, here we take a look.

Speaking after the win on Merseyside Hughes said.

“We restricted a good Everton team to very few chances and kept the crowd quiet, which is always important when you come here. That was a consequence of retaining good control of a game that if you allow Everton a head of steam then it’s difficult to stop them, as we found at the end of the game."

“For the most part there was real determination to what we were trying to do.

“A number of guys came into the team having been out for the start of the season and hadn’t had much game time, certainly the guys at the back, and credit to them.

“It is important to keep your focus and be engaged in what the team’s doing and what information is being given out and be focused on what we are trying to achieve and if you do that you can come in and make an impact and do well for the team.

“Everyone who came in tonight did that.”

“I always have had options. I have always known that but it’s always about getting the options right on the pitch.


“There were a number of things I wanted to look at, giving game time to good players and players who hadn’t done anything wrong but by virtue of the squad being fit and healthy have had to sit in the stands when they didn’t deserve that.

“I needed to give good time to good professionals but also be able to look at a number of things that I think might help us. We have been able to tick a lot of boxes, the main one being that we have progressed in the competition.”

Now Hughes has to look at those who came in and question whether they can offer more than those they replaced at Goodison, he also has to take into account that this was also not a full strength Everton side and playing Chelsea will be a lot tougher.

So lets take a look at those who came in and whether they should play on Sunday.

Angus Gunn. Possibly man of the match as he made several smart stops during the game and followed that up with a penalty save in the shoot out, didn't do anything wrong but Alex McCarthy had a good game against Wolves as well, Gunn I think will be first choice sometime this season I don't think it will be just yet, but the competition is good.

Jack Stephens. Nearly scored and this was a game that suited him, however I think he is too down in the pecking order to be picked on Sunday.

Yoshida. This was his chance to show that he can step into the central defence, I don't think he took it, although he was tight for most of the game, he made a poor challenge that led to the Everton goal and also hit a short back pass that Gunn did well to get off his line and clear, an older slower keeper might not have saved Yoshida's blushes, so all in all didn't suggest that he would be better than Hoedt or Vestergaard apart from perhaps in his enthusiasm.

Jan Bednarek. Again like Yoshida this was his chance, for the goal when Everton played the ball he was caught napping and like the poor attempted header the goal had all the hallmarks of our usual sloppily conceded goals, in fairness he is inexperienced and suddenly asked to play alongside those who are not leaders, like Yoshida unless we revert to a back three on Sunday which we might I don't think he will get in, if we do then interesting to see if it will be him or Yoshida get the nod.

Matt Targett. Again showed he has the composure needed at Premier league level and that he can pass a ball, but I think he will be on the bench again on Sunday.

Manolo Gabbiadini. He works hard, but truthfully he is not suited to our style of play, he needs someone to lay balls into the channels for him from the centre of midfield, but we have no one who can do that so he is reliant on scraps in the goalmouth. Those who say Long is not worth a game because as a striker he has scored only twice in the last year conveniently forget that since last October Gabbi has only netted twice himself, the difference is that Long is suited to our style and can battle and hold up balls.

So In conclusion I would not expect much change in the side from the six players who came in last night, I think though that Hughes may consider playing three at the back in which case there will be an opportunity for either Yoshida or Bednarek.

That being the case then we may see a more condensed line up with Lemina, Romeu & Hojbjerg forming a central three flanked by Bertrand and Cedric as Wing backs and an attacking pair of Redmond and Ings.

Hughes is right he has got plenty of options, his problem is that although he has often got the starting line up right, his changes have means that the tempo has changed and that has meant we have conceded late goals, that was the case last night when we took off a striker and brought on a midfielder and lost momentum allowing Everton to push on.

Hard for Hughes in that on paper he is making the sensible substitutions, but it just not working out yet.

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REEDYREEDOREEDZ added 10:58 - Oct 3
The thing about Gabbiadini is it's not as if he's missing tons of chances. He just doesn't any. As said in the article, he needs a smart number 10 to pick out his runs. That's his style. We don't have anyone in the style of Sigurdsson, David Silva, Christian Eriksen etc who can pick a pass and split a defence. I honestly think if you put Gabbi into the City or Liverpool side then he'd score 25+ goals a season.

And the thing about Long is he misses tons of chances.....
6

dirk_doone added 11:24 - Oct 3
If he plays Yoshida and Bednarek against Chelsea we have a chance of a draw; if he plays Vestergaard and Hoedt, we will lose easily. That was also true at Wolves and Everton.
4

Jesus_02 added 11:35 - Oct 3
There is clearly an issue in defense.

Its a bit tought to expect a defender to be thrown in and be expected to have a completly error free game. Yoshida has only really had one consistant run of games and that was with Jack Stephens.

With regard to Jack... is it acceptable to right him off as simply "too far down the pecking order"... the questionis should he be.

For me we need to find a partner for Vestigard... Hoedt has had his opertunity.
4

SanMarco added 11:38 - Oct 3
Bit of a danger of 'damned by faint praise' comparisons here. Long vs Gabbi is hardly Firmino vs Salah, To advocate playing Long because Gabbi hasn't scored more would be healthy if it was 20 goals but 2? Also the whole Yoshi debate centres on how bad the alternatives are rather than how good he is. Given where we were a couple of years ago we shouldn't be debating things like this.
9

helpineedsomebody added 12:14 - Oct 3
from last night showing i certainly would not play yoshi, yet again another mistake in the last minute nearly cost us, & as for jack all they will do is wait until he is out of position again then strike, & as for bendy he has learnt how to play 2 metres off the attacking player just out side the box & let them pick a pass or shoot he is surposed to stop that he is the last line of attack, or he is waiting for some one else to help him out. i know this is radical but during the pre seasons i saw orial play as a sweeper he looked very comfortable there why not play him there on saturday. as im in the radical mode today why not play cedric in midfield plenty of pace & can pass the ball
-6

bstokesaint added 12:19 - Oct 3
Nick you’re massively overlooking one big fact with your Yoshi summary. When he was given a run of games he got the defensive player of the season award. I know you desperately need to highlight any failings in his game to justify leaving him out in favour of Hoedt, but I think you’re backing the wrong man here. Give me Yoshida any day. Preferably with a new signing to partner because the rest of them really aren’t up to scratch. Hoedt and Vesty are so slow. Neither seem capable of keeping us safe at set pieces and they don’t score much either, which would at least nullify some of their defensive failings. Sometimes you just have to admit that after 3-4 world class defensive signings we have not got it right since.
12

dirk_doone added 12:43 - Oct 3
I agree with you, bstokesaint, and looking at the player ratings for the Everton match, so do most Saints fans. Yoshida was our man of the match. If Vestergaard or Hoedt had played instead of him, we'd have lost. Nobody is 100% perfect but for every mistake Yoshida makes Vestergaard or Hoedt make 4 or 5.
9

SaintBrock added 14:03 - Oct 3
Probably not Nick. I was hoping for emphatic performances from one for two of the squad players but apart from brief moments of inspiration from Yoshida & Targett, it is doubtful either of them did enough to elbow out their current first team competitors.

Sunday's game is one of those we fans will just have to grin and bear. The last thing we want is wholesale changes to a squad that if nothing else is fairly settled even if playing poorly. This is not the game for experiments and for taking chances on individuals. At the end of the season we may need to rely on goal difference to keep us up; a 3-0 spanking will be a far better outcome on Sunday than a 6-0 thrashing.
0

BoondockSaint added 14:58 - Oct 3
Nick, you are "conveniently" forgetting all of last season!
You just use the time frame of "since October" to tilt the stats against Gabbi.

As I posted on 3 Sept.:

https://www.whoscored.com/Teams/18/Archive/England-Southampton

In all of last season, Gabbi had 5 goals in 1076 minutes of playing time, while Long had only 2 in 1580 minutes.

Gabbiadini deserves more playing time, not just the rare start or sub in the last minutes. Let's see what he and Elyounoussi can do working together for a few games.

As for "...the difference is that Long is suited to our style..." If you mean our style is to not score against even the weakest teams, well, i concede, you are absolutely correct..
8

underweststand added 16:40 - Oct 3
I do think that giving Hoedt a rest for afew games might not do any harm.
Yoshida looked a giant at the back in comparison but right now we can't afford to have one of "Hoedt's Howlers" every other game.

I wouldn't think twice about puttting Targett in - if Bertie were absent and (despite some poor results)... Redmond and Ings would be the first two names on my team sheet.

Tactically...playing 3 at the back might be a good short term solution, the "proof of the pudding" on Sunday might not be the final result, but the way we take to the task.
On present form it looks like Chelsea haven't even moved into top gear yet.
8

freq1 added 17:27 - Oct 3
Is it me or does Hughes repeat the same old stuff? I can hear him saying it.
0

Ali_Diarea added 18:47 - Oct 3
I don’t expect many to agree with me but I’d set the team up like this:

McCarthy
Bertrand, Hoedt, Yoshida
Redmond, Hojbjerg, Armstrong, Lemina, ward-prowse
Ings, Gabi
1

SanMarco added 18:52 - Oct 3
"Yoshida looked a giant at the back in comparison but right now we can't afford to have one of "Hoedt's Howlers" every other game." Did you see that back pass last night underweststand???
0

halftimeorange added 20:51 - Oct 3
The answer to our problems is coaches. Saints need one to get the team fit and focused and Chelsea's to break down en route to St Marys. I have to say I'm not looking forward to Sunday. I doubt this weekend will reveal that glimmer of on-pitch hope.
5

FrankSaint added 18:47 - Oct 4
The Gabbiadini Conundrum... why don't the team play through balls to Gabbi? Because if he makes the runs that means the pass is on and Gabbi thinks whoever has the ball also has the ability to play the required pass which they probably do in training. Otherwise why waste his breath. Italians generally prefer working smart to working hard. (I'm 100% Italian btw :-). Is it that the team is too frightened to lose possession so if they play a through ball they prefer to do it into the wings which is less risk? Or do they think Gabbi will get outpaced by the time he gets to the penalty area? Any suggestions? But please dont waste energy to say the team dont have the sthe skill to play a pass... FFS.
3

KriSaint added 13:54 - Oct 6
I think 3 at the back should be preferred vs Chelsea. We did it last time out vs Chelsea and narrowly lost 3-2 after having lead 2-0 with 20 minutes to go.
So who to start? Here is my team:

McCarthy
Stephens, Vestergaard, Hoedt
Cedric, Højbjerg, Lemina, Romeu, Bertrand
Redmond, Ings
1

SaintBrock added 18:16 - Oct 6
Perhaps FrankSaint, it is because he isn't very good. Gabbi is always presented as the victim perhaps because he looks nice and is Italian but maybe we've all got him wrong.
2

FrankSaint added 23:57 - Oct 6
That's entirely possible. After all, he can't even sort out his haircut...
0


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