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Southampton 1 v 2 Cardiff City
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 9th February 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Hasenhuttl Likely To Stick With Stephens
Friday, 8th Feb 2019 17:00

Ralph Hasenhuttl has indicated that he is likely to stick with Jack Stephens ahead of the returning Yoshida for the visit of Cardiff.

Many thought that Maya Yoshida would be walking back into the Saints team for the visit of Cardiff City after Jack Stephens followed up disappointing game against Crystal Palace with the error that handed Burnley an injury time equaliser, but Ralph Hasnehuttl is not one to do things just for the sake of it and he is relatively happy with the defending since Yoshida has been away.

Ironically Yoshida's last game was the 0-0 draw at Chelsea and although that is the only clean sheet in Hasenhuttl's time at St Mary's it was the game that saw the most chances on Saints goal and it took some smart saves from Angus Gunn and a linesman's flag to keep the scores level.

In the games since although we have conceded a single goal in each game, we have been fairly tight at the back apart from the obligatory lapses such as on Saturday at Burnley.

Hasenhuttl spoke of his dilemma

"I have a problem now. Maya Yoshida is back and when he left the last game he played was a zero-zero against Chelsea, the only clean sheet since I’ve been here.

"It’s a good signal for the team if a player comes back and the team works very good that he’s not automatically back in the team. "

"Maya knows at the moment I don’t want to change the back five as Jack [Stephens] did a fantastic job last week so it’s normal he will play now. But I’m happy Maya’s back as you know."

A vote of confidence for Jack Stephens and that is Ralph Hasenhuttl's way of doing things, instilling confidence not destroying it, but there will be changes on against Cardiff, there has to be with Danny Ings injured, but it is likely the defence will stay the same but I am not sure that the keeper will.

Photo: Action Images

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codge added 17:24 - Feb 8
Hope he Is correct but I'm not convinced, think this will come back to haunt us but hope not.

1970 added 18:09 - Feb 8
If you check Yoshidas last game it was the Asian cup final with Japan who were looking for a record 5th win but Maya's handball gifted Qatar the win, so wow what choices RH has with these two handballing defenders.
just hope we win coyr

schatfield added 20:19 - Feb 8
Aside from the pen (that I still think was more the fault of Crouch and dubious referring), Stephens played very well in the Burnley game so to say he played disappointing is not why not stick with those that played well. Ralph even says himself he was excellent....

straight_pass added 21:59 - Feb 8
I just want to win the match, and if Maya returning from playing international matches cannot get in the first 11, the defence must be performing well!

SaintNick added 22:21 - Feb 8
Schatfield, I based my view of disappointing in looking at the three big chances Burnley had, the first came from a poor clearance from Stephens, the second when he gave their player a yard or so and the ball was volleyed against the bar and the third when he handballed it.

These were key moment in the game that could have cost us goals, two didnt and two did, thats the story of Yoshida and Stepens they have an ability to stay tight for long periods bt the lose concentration.

This is not bias, look at most of our goals and they will be due to lapses in concentration too often its these two players who have them.

Mistakes are always made, its about whether they cost goals or not, an example s Targett, he gets a lot of criticism, but he rarely makes mistakes that cost goals an he is the leading creator of goals in the team

underweststand added 08:49 - Feb 9
Agree Nick that mistakes that result... in nothing... often go unnoticed whereas those that lead to goals stay in the memory forever. I watched the match highlights several times and it does seem that Stephens is being " crowded " by Crouch and when the ball comes in - it appears to hit Jack's face (?) .then bounce onto his arm. With benefit of VAR the ref. might have been more generous, but it's not the first time we've lost points in the 94th minute.

Jack Stephens is not a bad player and DAJFU on a regular basis , but one doesn't know how much such an accident /error might affext his confidence. Ralph will make a last-minute decision and the more experienced Yoshida may well come in instead.
Either way this really is a game we must win, given the results from the Palace and Burnley games.

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