Arsenal Game May Be Too Soon For Injured Four
Wednesday, 20th Feb 2019 10:38
Saints currently have four key players injured, they are said to be back in training and could be in contention for the trip to Arsenal, but will it be soon and would Ralph Hasenhuttl be better saving them for the following game.
Saints travel to Arsenal on Sunday with four players missing who if fit could be reasonably expected to take some part in the game had they been fit, but although they could potentially make a comeback at the Emirates Stadium, perhaps it would be better for Ralph Hasenhuttl to hold them back for the most important fixture of the month, the visit of Fulham a few days later.
Danny Ings is probably the player that Saints most want back, but the striker has been injury hit all season and since playing in all but one of the Premier League fixtures up to and including West Ham United at Xmas has struggled to stay fit and has had a stop start run culminating in his injury at Burnley 3 weeks ago.
Then it was said he would be out for 3 weeks with the injury and that will have elapsed when we travel to London on Sunday, but would it be worth Ralph taking the risk in playing him and gamble he would come through the game ok or would he be better giving him a few more days to recover and get 100% fit ready for Fulham when we are truly going to need his guile and goal scoring power.
I think it likely that at best Ings will be on the bench for the trip to Arsenal.
Likewise Mario Lemina, the midfielder hasn't played at all with his stomach injury since coming off at half time against Manchester City almost two months ago and will be lacking match fitness, I would be very surprised if he was ready forthe trip to the Gunners and even if he was the good form of Romeu, Hojbjerg and Ward Prowse would see him on the bench at least but I think even that unlikely.
Stuart Armstrong's injury is a little more straight forward in that it is a calf strain, they are usually not the problems that hamstrings are, I would not expect him to start at Arsenal but perhaps on the bench, indeed with the plethora of options we have in the midfield he is another who could be held back for Fulham where his eye for a goal could be useful.
The real puzzle though is Michael Obafemi, he has not played a minute of football since the trip to Huddersfield in December two months ago and Hasenhuttl has hinted that his omission from the squad might have a little more in it than just a hamstring injury and could be as much down to the players attitude in what he needs to do to get fit and stay fit, there are many ways you can read that but he seems to have spent more time out than would be normal for a hamstring.
That being the case Obafemi could be fit and raring to go and would be a good option off the bench but he again like Ings is needed far more in the upcoming games than he perhaps might be on Sunday.
So in summary although all four could be fit, the good news is more about going forward with particular eye on the visit of Fulham next week than the tough trip to Arsenal, yes we could do with both Ings and Obafemi for this game, especially Obafemi for his pace on the break, but this season will be more about the games against Fulham, Brighton, Newcastle, West Ham, Bournemouth and Huddersfield than it will Arsenal.
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