Central Defensive Positions Will Become Clear This Weekend !
Monday, 25th Sep 2017 15:53
This weekend may well see the pecking order for the centre of defence become far clearer when theside is picked for the trip to Stoke City.
Wesley Hoedt has already made himself a first choice pick for Mauricio Pellegrino with the weekend seeing him again start next to Yoshida with Virgil Van Dijk on the bench, however there was no room for Jack Stephens and although the club claimed after the match that the player had missed the match through a slight groin injury, you suspected that it was more a case of being kind to a player who had been thrown into a difficult situation and was now surplus to requirement being let down easily and with dignity.
It would have been seen as very negative to have had two central defenders on the bench in a home game even though Stephens can also play at full back he is not an attacking player.
So on Saturday it will be interesting to see what selections the manager makes, if he sticks with four at the back then will be feel Virgil Van Dijk is now ready assuming that he comes through another U23 game this evening, if he does then Yoshida would surely drop to the bench and again as he can play either in the centre of defence or as a full back, it would be difficult to see Stephens joining him on the bench.
But Pellegrino could opt to play three central defenders which would mean a reprieve for Yoshida and possibly one for Stephens who would then come into the reckoning to provide back up on the bench.
The key though will be how fit Van Dijk is, Pellegrino did not feel that he was ready to start against Manchester United and with Saints dominating the second half and needing to chase the game, it was not the time to bring him on to further aid his recovery and the manager may feel that he is not quite ready to start yet.
But one thing is for sure, in the next week or so he will be ready to return to the starting line up and when he is he will form a very good partnership with Hoedt, this could leave both Yoshida and Stephens out in the cold, but that is the harsh reality of football, there is no room for sentiment, Mauricio Pellegrino has to pick the right men for the positions and do so on merit not emotion.
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