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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