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Saints Have Key Players On The Edge Of Suspension
Wednesday, 16th Dec 2020 10:16

Saints go into this evenings match at Arsenal with a player on the verge of suspension and knowing that with 7 games to go before the mid season amnesty, they could lose several key players at a busy period.

So far this season Ralph Hasenhuttl has relied on a core of players to see us through this great run, usually changing the side only through injury, but as we head into a busy period, he might have to make changes for another reason and that is suspension.

Any player earning five bookings from his side's first 19 Premier League matches will have to serve a one-match ban in the same competition. Players who accumulate 10 yellow cards in Premier League matches up to and including their sides' 32nd fixture will serve a two-match suspension in the competition.

Saints have a player on the cusp of hitting 5 yellow cards and there are no prizes for those that put the name of Oriol Romeu forward, he currently sits on 4 and given that he has picked up bookings at a rate of 1 every 3 games and his combative style, it is highly unlikely he will get through the next 7 games without picking up another, the final game before the cut off being Leicester City away on 16th January

The good news is that Saints have a ready made replacement in Ibrahima Diallo, so hopefully he will step up to the plate.

The next Saint in line to be a sinner is a surprise, Kyle Walker Peters has been booked 3 times so far, but although he will walk a fine line he has a good chance of making it through the next 7 games without picking up a yellow.

Firstly he has averaged a booking every 4 games so should just get through, secondly all of those bookings came in the first 6 games of the season, as a player who had little experience at this level ahead of this season, he is still finding his feet and it looks like he has learned fast.

That is good news as unlike Romeu, we are a little short of a direct replacement for KWP, Yan Valery is the obvious choice, but his career seems to have faltered last season, in the past year he has played just 3 times, the last being against Arsenal during the restart when he was substituted at half time.

If we were to lose KWP it would probably mean shoe horning in a player out of position, that would likely be Jack Stephens who deputised at left back for Ryan Bertrand during his spell out injured.

Three players sit on 2 yellow cards, Alex McCarthy, Moussa Djenepo and James Ward-Prowse.

McCarthy as a keeper is hopefully unlikely to pick up another 3, but he will have to watch his timewasting going forward to ensure that it doesn't become an issue.

James Ward Prowse would be a big miss if we lost him, he is arguably the most influential player in the Saints side, some have said that Danny Ings is our best player, but without JWP he would not have reached the very high standards he has reached both this season and last.

It is unlikely that JWP will pick up 3 cards in the next 7 games, but not a definite, every game he goes through without getting one is a bonus.

Moussa Djenepo is also on 2 bookings, if we take into account minutes on the pitch, he is probably more of a bad boy that either of the two above him, Romeu picked up a card every 270 minutes, Walker Peters every 360, but Djenepo with 505 minutes game time in the Premier League this season has got one every 252 minutes.

It is likely that he will struggle to get enough minutes on the pitch to get booked 3 times before the cut off but not impossible.

So hopefully the only player we will lose to suspension will be Oriol Romeu, it will be a blow he is arguably in the best form of his career at St Marys and that includes the 2016/17 season when he was player of the year, but hopefully Diallo will be a more than adequate replacement in our engine room and we will not feel the loss too much.

Photo: Action Images

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underweststand added 15:09 - Dec 16
This is always a latent issue. One card, two cards away from a suspension and hope they are not carded again before Dec.31st. and get a clean slate after Jan.1st....However, you can't legislate for injuries, or red cards. I recently noted that Romeu has some sort of "unenviable" record as the Prem. player with most yellows - yet (ironically) ...he's never had red card.

Next we start "double-guessing " ...will Ralph leave out a player because he's TOO close to getting 5 (and a subsquent suspension? ).. and is it "sane" to change a winning side?.
Even picking the " best" start side for every game isn't necessarily the right answer, maybe it's only the fans who play this paranoiac game like its some sort of FIFA 2020 ...perhaps we should remind ourselves of a Lawrie McMenemy quote from the 1980's...

" as a manager, you should never expect praise...If we win, the fans say ..the team played well... if we lose, it's my fault because I picked them. ".

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