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Big Decisions For Hasenhuttl Ahead Of Everton Game
Wednesday, 21st Oct 2020 09:35

Ralph Hasenhuttl has some thinking to do ahead of the visit of Everton on Sunday, some enforced and some tactical, as he plots to end the table topping Toffee's unbeaten start to the season.

One thing that Ralph won't have to worry about on Sunday though is being dazzled by the happy beaming smiling face of Richarlison as the Brazilian will be missing after being suspended for a late tackle in last Saturday's Merseyside derby game.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford should also have been missing after his horror tackle on Van Dijk, but he seems to get away with dangerous play time and time again as we remember from our trip to Goodison two years ago when he almost cut Danny Ings in half ripping the shirt from his back with his studs.

Another Everton player who will miss the game though is Theo Walcott who due to being on loan to Saints from Goodison will be unable to play.

This is the first headache for the Saints boss, Walcott made a very good second debut for the club and was prominent in the injury time equaliser at Stamford Bridge, but it could be a simple decision, Walcott replaced Stuart Armstrong who has only finished a 10 day spell of self isolation the day before the Chelsea game, that short spell should not have affected his fitness too much and having had a week back at Staplewood he should be fit and raring to go and so is the most likely choice to replace Walcott, however for the following week's trip to Aston Villa Hasenhuttl is likely to have a tougher call for this position.

On the right side I think even if Djenepo is fit, it will be the bench at best for him, Nathan Redmond offers a more experienced option on the right, his positional sense will be better against a side in such good form as Everton.

Another thought in Ralph's mind will be whether to give a full debut to Ibrahima Diallo after his short cameo at Stamford Bridge, but it would be harsh to drop Oriol Romeu or for that matter James Ward Prowse and if brought Diallo in it would mean a reshuffle, perhaps moving JWP to the right of the midfield and I think that we need to keep things simple, we are Ok in the centre of midfield and it has been at the heart of our unbeaten run, it doesn't need change, but I would expect Diallo to get a longer run out in the second half.

At the back it has been suggested in the media that this might be the first sighting of Mohammed Salisu, the summer signing has been notable by his absence since joining the club in August, that is not surprising, he almost immediately had to go into quarantine when he arrived in the country and that meant when he came out he was joining up with team mates who had almost a month of training behind them, given the central defender had not played or trained since early July, he had to start from scratch and that meant six weeks of pre season training to get him up to scratch fitness wise.

That period ended last week and although he has been pictured in full training aside from a brief comment from Ralph a week or so ago he has barely been seen.

Certainly it is strange there has been no real unveiling, not has he appeared to have got any game time, the B team game against Blackburn would have been an ideal opportunity but strangely there was no sign of him.

So although Ralph may be a little concerned in the manner that Chelsea waltzed through our defence three times on Saturday, he may feel that he has no option to stick with Bednarek & Vestergaard for this one, certainly although Richarlison is missing, Everton are a more direct team than Chelsea and still have an aerial threat in the in form Calvert-Lewin.

This being the case I would be surprised to see either Salisu or for that matter Jack Stephens in the starting line up, although it may be interesting to see the substitute bench.

Given Ralph's penchant for keeping things fresh and resting players, I think that if we had not been so reliant on their goals then we would have seen one of the front two rested, but both Ings and Adams are in such good form and are beginning to form a lethal partnership that Ralph will leave it as it is up front for this game, although it would not surprise me to see a change at Villa or in the following game against Newcastle, Ralph will be concerned they burn themselves out if used all the time.

Other than this though it is likely to be business as usual, although given the Toffee's power going forward that in itself is worrying.

Photo: Action Images

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erick added 09:58 - Oct 21
Salisu and vestergaard are both left sided central defenders and vestergaard is playing really well. Diallo will be given time to show his class though romeu also is still playing really well. Armstrong the only change as he comes in for Walcott. Though hasenhuttle may consider Stephens for bednarek. Last season we deserved a draw in the first game against Everton and the return leg we deserved a convincing win, this is the time to put it right by getting that win

Also of note; Josh Sims has 3 assists and won a penalty in less than 105 minutes of football. Hope him and Elyonoussi get game time next season. I really think sims will make it in the big leagues

Farlow added 10:57 - Oct 21
I was interested to see Sam Mcqueen named in the 25 man squad for the premiership.
Does this mean he is near to full fitness.If he is he would be good competition for Ryan Bertrand

SaintNick added 11:12 - Oct 21
erick, some good points made, I agree with you I think ultimately the only change will be Armstrong in for Walcott, but Ralph does throw in surprises every now and then.

It is good to see Sims having a good start at Doncaster, like you I thought he would have a career at Saints, but he is out of contract here next summer and I think that maybe his chance here has passed, I was surprised that no Championship club wanted him.

There is a big gap though between League one and the Premier League, but it is good to see him doing well

WestSussexSaint added 12:39 - Oct 21
Armstrong for Walcott is the obvious change. Diallo hasn’t shown enough yet to start ahead of Romeu. Same goes for Salisu but if Ralph were to change one defender to accommodate Salisu, based on the Chelsea game Bednarek would be dropped. I realise that would mean having 2 left footed centre backs but Ralph has played with two right footed ones plenty of times.

redwight added 12:51 - Oct 21
Nick, you talk about the risk of burn out to Ings and Adams, but with no League cup or European matches to play, we are talking about one game per week. I'm not sure what the likes of Channon/ Boyer/ Macdougall/Moran would have made of that. Perhaps I'm just showing my age.

underweststand added 16:18 - Oct 21
Armstrong is the one really creative midfielder we have, it will be good to see him back.

I agree that Redmond has been " disappointing " this season, but Ralph has taken him away from his left wing role and tried to make him a no.10, but it doesn't seem to be working yet. It will take a few games to see who's really up for it, but Walcott will surely look to get a start in many games, and unless Redmond starts to improve he may find himself on the bench.
Clearly Ryan Bertrand is slowing up a bit, and the idea of (maybe) seeing Sam McQueen as a likely replacement looks encouraging. Sam is the last of the Ward-Prowse / Stephens / Reed generation to show up for the first team and he always DAJFU when called upon in the past. He would certainly save the club a big fee if he fits the bill at LB.

We still haven't solved the CB problem properly. Despite the joy over the Chelsea result we clearly need pace in the back line to offset fast-moving strikers like Son and Werner.
Bednarek has been fairly consistent in the past, but maybe he needs a few games rest as he always puts in a good shift in games for Poland. Maybe bring back Stephens who was the scapegoat for the Spurs fiasco BUT as everyone wants to see Salisu start, the next two games will be the toughest test in early season - based on current form.

SaintNick added 08:44 - Oct 22
It is good to see a variety of viewpoints, interesting that someone has picked up on Sam McQueen, i'm not sure that he will be a likely replacement for Ryan Bertrand, he has been out injured now for two years, Back then he was farmed out to Middlesbrough on loan where he sustained the injury.

He will be 26 in February and out of contract in 2021, I think that he might well have played his last game for the club, but fear that he might well have played his last game full stop,

Saints had a spare shirt number in their 25 and he was given it , it would be nice that it was done as they see him as a genuine contender, but fear it is more of a sentimental thing

underweststand added 14:49 - Oct 22
A lot of fans are surely glad to see Sam McQueen back in the squad and hopefully he has had the chance to recover properly. A local lad who has been at the the club since he was 8.

As Nick mentioned above, Sam has been out injured for almost two years but it may be a bit too soon to write him off completely. Many people said the same thing about another local player.. what's his name ? ...oh yes ...Danny Ings (!)

Peterx added 18:13 - Oct 22
After 3 games unbeaten in a row only makes sense to bring Armstrong back for Theo, which to me should have been done anyway even though I enjoyed Theo's attacking contribution at Chelsea.

Armstrong for me is one of the first names on the team sheet when available. Bednarek was one of our best players last year, and I also feel our right side was destablised last week by not having Armstrong's box to box energy.

Salisu and Diallo come off the bench for a few games and see how they go before we consider replacing the incumbents.

Looks like we wont have Richarlison, Coleman and James to deal with so I think we could be in for a good one.

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