Saints V Newcastle United The Preview
Friday, 6th Nov 2020 14:32
Saints fans go into tonight's game with Newcastle United with mixed feelings, on one hand we are playing to go top of the Premier League, yet on the other we have a shed load of injury issues not least the loss of Danny Ings.
It is a historic night for Saints, victory over the Geordies will send us top of the top flight for the first time since September 1988, a total of 32 years 1 month and 21 days, since the last time, or 20 days if you count the morning of the Arsenal game back in 1988 when we were top going to Highbury.
From this perspective we really should be enjoying this evening, but it is tempered by the loss of Danny Ings and other key players potentially being out.
Ings will definitely be out and that will be a big loss, but it is not an insurmountable one, Che Adams has been the side kick in the Ings show so far this season, but his displays have merited being top of the bill and he will get his chance tonight, I feel he will accept it with open arms, both feet and perhaps his head.
But who will play alongside him, there are two main candidates Shane Long and Theo Walcott, playing Long would mean less reshuffling in a side that may well see more than just Ings missing, and Long's inclusion would see Walcott stay out wide in midfield, but Ralph could play Theo through the middle up top and restore Nathan Redmond to the starting line up.
The midfield could well be seeing some shuffling, if the manager needs to press one of it's number into the back four as an emergency full back, with Ryan Bertrand looking doubtful and Jake Vokins injured, James Ward Prowse could be pressed into that role or even Kyle Walker Peters switching sides with either JWP or Yan Valery on the left.
At the start of last season Yan Valery had the world at his feet, he looked set for great thins at right back, but after a good start he fell out of favour with various excuses offered for his absence, none sounded too plausible, clearly there was an issue and the answer now is whether Ralph trusts him to come back in.
Just before the lockdown Newcastle where the last game and Valery played at left back, he made a late error that cost us the game, most remember him for this, but truth is given that we had been down to 10 men for much of the game after Djenepo's sending off, he hadn't been playing badly before this, he hasn't become a bad player overnight, but there is an issue and maybe tonight we will find out of that issue has been sorted.
In the centre of defence Jan Bednarek may be doubtful, but he has been training so I expect him to pass muster and play, I hope so, but if Jack Stephens has to play hopefully he will turn in a good display, he is far from the best defender we have had, this is a consistency thing, but he can put in a shift when needed, just not week in week out, for me he is a modern day Mark Whitlock, a good back up but never quite up to the standard on a regular basis, if he plays Stephens will put in 100% and I have never doubted that about him.
This week should have been one of excitement but the final 5 minutes of the win at Villa changed all that, but let's put doom and gloom to one side tonight, let's get behind our team from our Lounges and enjoy the moment and come 10pm this evening we night just be in our highest position since 1988, a lofty height that a fair chunk of our supporter base will not remember or even have been born.
Photo: Action Images
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When Saturday Comes #22 by wessex_exile
It’s the 15th of January, and still the U’s are attempting to play their first home match of 2022. Weather looks good (check), players have returned from injury (check), no on-day Covid testing to get in the way (check), so barring fire famine or flood, I reckon we must have at least a 50:50 chance of a game at the JobServe this afternoon. Whether it’ll be three much-needed points or not, and if you’ll pardon the pun, I at least did see green shoots at the New Lawn on Tuesday. We still lost, and the table doesn’t lie, but definitely signs to encourage me that whilst it’s not going to be a comfortable journey, we’ll be alright by May.
When Saturday Comes #21 by wessex_exile
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When Saturday Comes #20 by wessex_exile
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When Saturday Comes #19 by wessex_exile
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When Saturday Comes #18 by wessex_exile
A little later than usual today I’m afraid – ‘tis the season to be jolly and all that, so I have just been out for the obligatory Xmas tree – bah humbug. Mind you, I was treated to the sight of literally hundreds of Santas (and the occasional elf) on a charity fun run through Calne on the way, which for want of a better expression was certainly surreal. Officially entitled Santa’s Scamper, the entry fee for participants goes to charitable causes, and to date the organisers have raised nearly £8k for charities such as Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Dorothy House, Hope for Tomorrow, Barnardos and of course their main charity every year, Hannah’s Trees – well done Santas!
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