Saints Injury Worry For Newcastle Game Is Not The One You Would Think !
Tuesday, 3rd Nov 2020 09:28
After Danny Ings limped off at Aston Villa on Sunday Saints supporters started to worry, after all he is our top scored and talisman, but such are we now a team, the biggest injury worry will not be up front but at the back.
Danny Ings took all the headlines for Saints on Sunday, but as we all worried about his knee the fact that two other players vital to our unbeaten run had also been forced off the pitch through injury has been pushed to the back of our minds.
Ings of course will be a big loss, he is part of virtually every Saints goal and the heart of the team, he is not just about goals, he is about making space, he is about defending from the front, but he is not the only player who can do that and I feel that this might now be the time that Che Adams comes to the fore, he has been overshadowed by Ings and no one can argue with that, but now is his time to step up to the plate.
Ralph has a plethora of options ahead of the Newcastle game to replace the Netley Abbey Neutron Bomb, he could play Theo Walcott up front, he could play Shane Long, he could even play Michael Obafemi, we are not short of tried and tested options.
But it is at the back that we are suffering and Jan Bednarek will be a bigger miss for Saints than even Danny Ings.
In our opening 2 Premier League games the central pairing let in 6 goals, in the next 4 1/2 the pairing of Bednarek & Vestergaard in only 3 and had started to look like a solid unit, 3 clean sheets out of 4 games and for once we were achieving victories without the nagging thought that we had got lucky with men left unmarked failing to capitalise.
Why had things changed ? quite simple it was a case of both players knowing their positions, being able to read the game and sticking to their task, they marked their men and more importantly kept their shape, this meant that in the main opponents did not suddenly pop up unmarked at the far post or other areas of the penalty box.
Suddenly the whole team was a unit, we were not getting pulled all over the place by the opposition, every man in the team knew his job and could do it in the right area of the pitch without getting pulled over to try and deal with a player left unmarked and thus creating gaps elsewhere.
But when Jan Bednarek failed to appear for the second half at Villa Park suddenly we went back to the old ways, yes Villa were always going to come out all guns blazing, but we were no longer in control at the back, Alex McCarthy did his job and kept us in the game, but we were once again the same old Saints at the back, leaving men unmarked and inviting our opponents to score.
In truth the two goals at the end were slack, but they were not what my worry was, I was more concerned about the first 20 minutes or so when we handed the momentum to Villa which meant that they never gave up, they always felt that another goal would change the game, we never felt that way against West Brom or Everton.
The first two games of the season saw us concede a goal every 30 minutes on average, the next 4 1/2 saw that go up to every 135 minutes, but the second half at Villa saw 3 goals in 45 minutes, meaning that the average for the partnership's other than Bednarek/Vestergaard is a goal conceded every 25 minutes.
This highlights why we need the Bednarek/Vestergaard partnership against Newcastle, if the Polish defender is not fit then the critical area to worry about is at the back not the front, even if Ings was fit and playing, he cannot score as many as we concede.
The potential loss of Ryan Bertrand will also make a big difference, I think Jake Vokins will be a capable deputy, but he needs to be playing in a cohesive unit at the back, one that holds it's shape and knows what it is doing and in the second half at Villa no one could describe us as that, it was a tale of two halves and one change should not do that to a team.
So the problem for Saints is not that we have a small squad that is stretched, far from it, we have options and can cope in every position bar the centre of defence where having found a solid partnership in Jan Bednarek & Jannik Vestergaard we now have only two options and one of them is a new signing who hasn't played a game of any sort in nearly 4 months.
Hopefully Danny Ings injury is not long term, we can cope with his loss in the short term, but not for a longer period, but at the back it is more crucial and the injury to Bednarek is far more worrying than to Danny Ings in terms of the squads ability to cope.
Photo: Action Images
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