Is Ralph's Full Squad A Help Or Hindrance For The Trip To Arsenal !
Friday, 22nd Nov 2019 11:29
Ralph Hasenhuttl has revealed that he has a full compliment of players for the trip to Arsenal , but will this help or hinder him.
With the likes of Cedric and Moussa Djenepo now fit again and Ryan Bertrand back from suspension Ralph Hasenhuttl has all of his squad available to him for the trip to the Emirates, but given that although in some respects the bulk of the side picks itself, the reality is that few players so far have played to a level that would make them an automatic choice in a good mid table side let alone higher.
On paper Saints should be mid table with the squad they have and the truth is last season Ralph attained a good points per game ratio with this squad, technically it should now be a better squad, we have retained the players we wanted to and brought in three fresh faces, so surely extra bodies should mean improvement on the pitch.
But perhaps part of the trouble is Ralph has too many to pick from at times and the players themselves are not doing him any favours in that they are under performing.
I believe that the crux of the matter is the centre of the defence, it wasn't sorted in the summer and now the continued errors from the central defenders is dragging the rest of the team down, no one can accuse Vestergaard, Yoshida and Stephens of not trying and battling, but the stark truth is they are not even Championship standard and have not got a clue about organising and holding a defence.
Ralph has tried many combinations in this area although strangely not Kevin Danso, so far all have failed, even in the two games we have won they still gifted chances to both Sheffield United and Brighton they just didn't take them.
This is now being admitted publicly and hopefully will be rectified in the transfer window to give us a fighting chance of survival, but for now we have to soldier on with what we have.
The manager needs to do what he did when he got in last year and that was work with a core of 18-20 players and stick with them and not chop and change, in this respect having such a big squad will hinder him not help him.
Too many have showed flashes of brilliance, meaning the fans call for their inclusion and perhaps this influences Ralph too much as well, but they don't back that up with consistent end product.
A good example would be Sofiane Boufal, some good work at Brighton and Sheffield as well as a 10 minute spell against Everton have seen calls for his inclusion, but the truth is those three games are not enough, it is merely repeating his fist two years at the club where he scored the odd brilliant goal and pieces of skill, but mainly ran around with no end product and this is why we are failing
Likewise the return of Josh Sims, it is unclear whether he is able to play now or whether he has to wait until his loan officially expires on January 1st, but he too is another whose reputation is far above his actual impact.
I think Josh has the ability to become a decent player, but whether that is at Premier League level is far from decided.
Some Saints fans will tell you he is the answer, but they are basing that on fleeting flashes of skill, not on actual consistent performances, Josh has started only 4 Premier League games for Saints since his Premier League debut almost three years to the day, in that game against Everton he created the winning goal in the opening minute for Charlie Austin but he hasn't kicked on.
He has added 16 appearances as sub over that time with a further assist in the League, but is that good enough, can we judge a player in his career total 573 minutes in the Premier League, this is essentially just over 6 full games in timescale, he has played under 4 different managers in this time, all have used him none have been convinced.
So Ralph has to do what he did last season, ignore the fans, get back to basics, stick with the players he thinks can get us out of it.
At the back that is difficult, he knows, the fans know and the squad knows that we have a weak link, he has to best deal with it, get some consistency and stick with a small but workable squad.
Bomb out the players who have not done it in the past and look to the future, from this viewpoint small and compact is best.
The next six weeks are crucial, get a couple of wins under our belts and add a few draws and we can strengthen in January and repeat last season, the manager needs to keep the faith with certain players, ditch others and we the fans need to keep faith with the manager.
Chopping and changing in football is never good unless you are Manchester City and can put out two sides who would finish in the top four, for the rest of us it is about staying calm and keeping the faith, Ralph Hasenhuttl is a man who can take us forward, his record up to a couple of months ago was good, back him and hope the club do too, both in the transfer market and also by giving him at least one experienced coach to help him out, perhaps a return to the club for Sammy Lee could be an option.
Photo: Action Images
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