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West Bromwich Albion 3 v 0 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Monday, 12th April 2021 Kick-off 18:00
Should Southampton Rest Players Against West Bromwich Albion
Sunday, 11th Apr 2021 08:36

Saints take on West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Monday evening with one eye on the FA Cup semi final with Leicester City six days later, should Ralph Hasenhuttl rest players in positions where he is short on cover.

With the return of several players from injury Ralph Hasenhuttl has had options in the past few weeks and that has reflected in results that have seen Saints open up a 10 point gap between themselves and the bottom three.

A win over the Baggies would just about see Saints Premier League safety assured with 7 games left and from that perspective perhaps the first thought is to play the strongest team secure the three points and play themselves into form ready for the following weekend's FA Cup semi final with Leicester City.

But given the number of injuries that Saints seem to pick up, not just in matches but in training as well, would Ralph be better advised to consider resting a player or two in positions that would be vital against the Foxes and where he has no real cover.

First consideration would be Kyle Walker Peters, the right back has had injury issues this season and has had a knock this week, he has been pictured back in training , but there we do not have another natural right back in the squad at present and if KWP was to play against West Brom and aggravate the injury it would be a big blow.

From this perspective perhaps Ralph might care to speculate with resting KWP and switching to a back three with Mohammed Salisu coming into the side.

Salisu is looking a very capable defender and has talents that neither Jan Bednarek & Jannik Vestergaard posess, most notably an ability to read the game and not just intercept the ball but get across and cover when we are stretched.

Up front against Burnley Danny Ings returned and showed his class, but he too has been in and out of the side this season with a series of injuries, perhaps it would be better to start him on the bench against the Baggies, in this respect we have plenty of options and returning Che Adams to the frontline would not be the worst change in the world to replace Ings with the newly declared Scotsman in a fine run of form for both club and country of late.

The truth is Danny Ings needs to be used sparingly to ensure that he is fit for the important games, Adams is a very capable replacement and starting to blossom, but Ings is the player that makes us tick, if he isn't rested against West Brom then he should be taken off if the game is over as such late on, we paid a big price earlier in the season when Ings stayed on when we were 4-1 up at Aston Villa when he was injured late on.

There is also the option of resting one of the central midfielders or at least taking some pressure of them, giving Alexandre Jankewitz the opportunity to redeem himself after his full debut at Old Trafford might be a good thing both from resting Ibrahima Diallo who has been missing from injury himself at times or by getting an extra man in the centre if we have reverted to three at the back.

Ralph hasenhuttl now has some hard thinking to do before naming his side on Monday evening, does he take some risks that everyone will come through injury free, or does he take a few precautions, not just to make sure he has fit players in the key positions, but to ensure his fringe players are kept sharp and ready to come on in the semi final should they be required.

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underweststand added 09:34 - Apr 11
Whilst I go along with your reasoning ( Nick), there is the question of whether the player you "rest" has an adequate replacement, at a time when we are only just recovering some form after one of the worst mid-season spells in the club's history.
A win on Monday will be a good boost, but only if we emerge " injury-free ", but you can't rest a player just because he " might" get injured.
A lot to consider is how the player looks in training. Ralph and the coaching staff can tell if a player if " up for it " and keen to perform, and those who although fit may not show the right sort of "body language, or right mental attitude ".

Despite all these ongoing conjectures ; I think that Ralph rarely seems to change his
"regular line-up" without a good reason, but I do think several players would benefit from more game time, rather than using the reasoning of "resting " someone for safety.
Here I would number Salisu, who for his relatively few performances had shown that he has some quality, but needs game time in order to improve.
If Vestergaard stays, or not - in time even he will be replaced, and the sooner we see who is next for the CB spot - the better, as this has been a real weakness in recent years.
Having sold / given away Fonte too quickly ( Jose is still first choice for Lille and plays CL games at aged 36), the strategy of selling both Fonte and VvD was a major error IMHO).

Replacing key players in a side isn't like just changing a tyre on your car, or giving it a re-spray but more like fitting a new engine. Just now we are in a major generational change
and perhaps losing the likes of; Long, Bertrand and Romeo will see the end of those remaining from " the Koeman era " and finding adequate replacements has so far proven both expensive and fruitless.

SaintNick added 09:53 - Apr 11
I think if we rest the three players I mentioned then we have more than adequate stand ins for them , we need to use the squad a little more on this occasion

felly1 added 10:12 - Apr 11
We are on 36 points and it's more important to play our best team and get that next win as quickly as possible to wipe out any lingering relegation worries however remote they might be. Then by all means let's bring in Salisu, Jankewitz etc .
The situation with only one decent right back and no adequate cover is crazy imo. Please Saints sort this out asap .

dirk_doone added 10:35 - Apr 11
The confidence from a winning run is far more important. Resting players before a cup semi-final or final usually does more harm than good, especially when there's no need to do it as there will be 6 days before the semi-final.

A1079 added 10:46 - Apr 11
Absolutely not.

Play to win the next game which is West Brom then worry about the game after that. If you rest players supposedly for Leicester and by doing so we give West Brom effectively a free rein and an argument as motivation to West Brom that we are disrespecting them then there is no guarantee that even with our strongest side that makes beating Leicester more probable.

I am struggling to think where we have rested players arguably to focus on a game we think is more "important" that we have then gone on to win! In fact, I am pretty sure it has backfired.

It is an old football cliche but the next game is the most important game and that is West Brom and we need to go out to win it.

Block8 added 10:49 - Apr 11
The only change to consider is KWP, if he is carrying a knock them it's not worth the risk. It also gives Ralph a look at Ramsey, in proper game time. You never know if might save us a fortune!

ElijahK added 11:03 - Apr 11
I’d say we should simply rest the players that we DO have the replacements for and that we can afford to rest. As the likes of Ings is a key player who we don’t really have anyone to replace with, but the likes of Prowse is also a key player who we do have replacements for, but the difference in quality is just too big. Whilst the likes or Armstrong (with Djenepo), Adams (with Redmond), Vestergaard (with Salisu), Walcott (with Minamino) and maybe even Bednerak (for Stephens) and Walker-Peters (mainly as he’s got that issue(for that youth player that was taken out of the B team)) are all players who’s replacements may not be as good, but at the end of the day should be good enough to beat West Brom, and of course even if we did start some of those players the best thing to do would be to try and wrap up the game so that not only help it’s saints fans relax and actually enjoy the last 10, 20 minutes or so of the game, but also would mean that we could take off the more important players like Ings and Prowse to rest them for Sunday!

Sadoldgit added 11:48 - Apr 11
No! Would you stop players from training as well just in case they get injured. If they are fit enough to play, play your best team so that they are ready for the Semi too. If players get injured, it happens. We need the 3 points on Monday too.

Braveheart added 12:48 - Apr 11
I prefer to secure survival before the cup all day long. The cup run should never have any priority over league status. Why is it even a consideration?

SaintPaulVW added 13:08 - Apr 11
Play best team to suit West Brom's style of play. Hopefully build momentum and match fitness but use subs effectively and early.

Going into a cup game on a run of success is better for building confidence in players than holding players back and increasing the pressure on them to succeed in one single game.

SanMarco added 23:27 - Apr 11
"The truth is Danny Ings needs to be used sparingly..." - I am not saying that's untrue but it is an odd 'truth' about a players at the peak of his career who is making noises about moving 'up' in the world. People talk as if the guy is 35 years old. The semi is a full 6 days after WBA - to not play Ings 'in case he gets injured' would be very odd indeed.

Any players with actual fitness doubts (esp KWP - no Ralph you do not have adequate cover) should NOT play but I would say that even if we didn't have a semi. Players who are fully fit and available for selection should not be 'rested' a full six days before the next match. And if they play and get injured - that's football. If we get injuries tomorrow and lose the semi it will be because our squad is too thin, not because we tried to win a league match by playing our best team in it.

schatfield added 00:48 - Apr 12
would totally rest KWP. he is made of glass but 1 of our best players likewise; lets not kid ourselves, we are safe. the semi-final is where its at.
I would say Adams is our best striker too over Danny and more in-form. But unlike KWP not made of glass and strikers thrive on goals.

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