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Arsenal Game May Be Too Soon For Injured Four
Wednesday, 20th Feb 2019 10:38

Saints currently have four key players injured, they are said to be back in training and could be in contention for the trip to Arsenal, but will it be soon and would Ralph Hasenhuttl be better saving them for the following game.

Saints travel to Arsenal on Sunday with four players missing who if fit could be reasonably expected to take some part in the game had they been fit, but although they could potentially make a comeback at the Emirates Stadium, perhaps it would be better for Ralph Hasenhuttl to hold them back for the most important fixture of the month, the visit of Fulham a few days later.

Danny Ings is probably the player that Saints most want back, but the striker has been injury hit all season and since playing in all but one of the Premier League fixtures up to and including West Ham United at Xmas has struggled to stay fit and has had a stop start run culminating in his injury at Burnley 3 weeks ago.

Then it was said he would be out for 3 weeks with the injury and that will have elapsed when we travel to London on Sunday, but would it be worth Ralph taking the risk in playing him and gamble he would come through the game ok or would he be better giving him a few more days to recover and get 100% fit ready for Fulham when we are truly going to need his guile and goal scoring power.

I think it likely that at best Ings will be on the bench for the trip to Arsenal.

Likewise Mario Lemina, the midfielder hasn't played at all with his stomach injury since coming off at half time against Manchester City almost two months ago and will be lacking match fitness, I would be very surprised if he was ready forthe trip to the Gunners and even if he was the good form of Romeu, Hojbjerg and Ward Prowse would see him on the bench at least but I think even that unlikely.

Stuart Armstrong's injury is a little more straight forward in that it is a calf strain, they are usually not the problems that hamstrings are, I would not expect him to start at Arsenal but perhaps on the bench, indeed with the plethora of options we have in the midfield he is another who could be held back for Fulham where his eye for a goal could be useful.

The real puzzle though is Michael Obafemi, he has not played a minute of football since the trip to Huddersfield in December two months ago and Hasenhuttl has hinted that his omission from the squad might have a little more in it than just a hamstring injury and could be as much down to the players attitude in what he needs to do to get fit and stay fit, there are many ways you can read that but he seems to have spent more time out than would be normal for a hamstring.

That being the case Obafemi could be fit and raring to go and would be a good option off the bench but he again like Ings is needed far more in the upcoming games than he perhaps might be on Sunday.

So in summary although all four could be fit, the good news is more about going forward with particular eye on the visit of Fulham next week than the tough trip to Arsenal, yes we could do with both Ings and Obafemi for this game, especially Obafemi for his pace on the break, but this season will be more about the games against Fulham, Brighton, Newcastle, West Ham, Bournemouth and Huddersfield than it will Arsenal.

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Keesie66 added 12:09 - Feb 20
In other words we will be seeing Shane Long in the starting 11 again..... what a prospect....what another nightmare season of troubles,issues,problems and never ending squad challenges that are never addressed.....

wessexman added 12:52 - Feb 20
And all the while the season moves on....12 games to go turns into 11 games to go. Ings, Austin and Obafemi are our forward line injury prone to the extreme. And we rely on them to keep us out of the Championship?

Boris1977 added 16:00 - Feb 20
Not looking great is it? We need to temper our ambition to that of the owners/those in charge of the money. We have struggled over the past few years and their have been plenty of opportunities to fix the problems but the luck has run out on buying decent players and the board froze in January when the majority of us seemed to think that a plan b from the bench was required to cover injury to Ings. Nobody could claim they knew Ings would get injured but history indicated that it was likely. The board reduced the wage bill and and a decision was made not to reinvest. This so far looks like a bad decision. I love Shane long, he's our first line of defence and is great at stopping teams from the back and melting through our midfield which takes the pressure off our defence. But he has never been a prolific goal scorer. When we are draw a blank during games I despair at the options when I look at the bench. We're not thin on attacking options we're anorexic. I don't expect the board to spend stupid money to get mercenaries into the club, it's a depressing cliché of what the premier League is all about. However the boards actions in the last transfer window seemed to say either we'll gamble with what we have or let's cut the wage bill ahead of planning for less income next season. Unfortunately I believe it is the latter option and two weeks time I think we will all know what the next few years holds for our dear club. I personally hate what the premiership stands for so welcome a drop down the division (s).

skiptonsaint added 19:48 - Feb 20
The new contract says to me that Obafemi has now served his time and be warned. Arsenal are probably the one team who don’t like seeing Shane long on the teamsheet as he has a decent scoring record against them in the last few years.

4 points from the next two games and it could all look a lot different

halftimeorange added 20:28 - Feb 20
Sadly, Shane Long underperformed in every department in the Cardiff game, possibly because he got a kick early on but, he simply added nothing to our attack or defence. I like Shane for his wholehearted, albeit limited effort but Saints cannot risk any passengers for the rest of the season. Ralph had the flag fluttering briefly however, following the last three results confidence must be dented and it would be no surprise to me to see us relegated with a whimper. I simply cannot believe that the board has made so many recruitment errors and tried to do things on the cheap with some incomings, both players and managers. There is no positivity coming out of the club, even Ralph is subdued. Have they really accepted our fate? It's an unacceptable and avoidable set of circumstances.

KriSaint added 17:01 - Feb 22
Assuming that Ings and Obafemi are not fully ready - AND to try something new - I´d like us to play Sam Gallagher up front from the start with Redmond behind him in a no. 10 position and keep Long at the bench. To avoid damaging McCarthy´s confidence I´d like us to continue with him in goal. I suggest that we play 3 at the back and 5 in midfield with this 3-5-1-1 starting line up:

Yoshida, Vestergaard, Bednarek
Valery, JWP, Højbjerg, Romeu, Bertrand

Bench: Stevens, Targett, Slattery, Obafemi, Austin, Long, Gunn

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