|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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Letters from Wiltshire #47 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #46 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #45 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #44 by wessex_exile
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