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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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AmericanSaint added 14:52 - Nov 6
Nick - I think we need to put KWP on left and give Valery the right side. This will allow us to keep our midfield in tack, which is where games are won/lost. Valery needs another chance to prove himself and has PL experience.

SaintNick added 15:19 - Nov 6
That is my first thoughts, given the issues we may have make as few reshuffles as possible

aceofthebase added 16:08 - Nov 6
Yes to Valery and I hope to see Redmond get some time on the pitch. There are quite a few choices on the forward line but hopefully defence and midfield will not need to be changed.

saintlee added 16:16 - Nov 6
I have a nasty feeling Djnepo could be chucked in at right back. I may be mistaken but didn't he play as a left wing back a couple of times last season ?
Just something out of left field, pardon the pun, thats been bugging me all week !!!

saintlee added 16:19 - Nov 6
Sorry - I meant left back. Long day 🙄🙄

Scrappy2020 added 16:26 - Nov 6
Much as I don't like moving JWP I think he would do a job at left back and Diallo in midfield where we bought him to play with Redmond and Walcott interchanging up front.No Valery please !!

Scrappy2020 added 16:26 - Nov 6
Much as I don't like moving JWP I think he would do a job at left back and Diallo in midfield where we bought him to play with Redmond and Walcott interchanging up front.No Valery please !!

halftimeorange added 16:27 - Nov 6
The key for me is keeping JWP in midfield otherwise the midfield could be overrun. Stuart Armstrong also needs to be at his best for us to create much.

felly1 added 16:34 - Nov 6
Valery looked shaky and short on confidence during the few post lockdown games he featured in before KWP came in and improved the team.
Difficult call.. as American says play them both and swap them round, or if Bednarek is fit could Ralph opt for bringing in Stephens and play 3 Cbs and 2 wingbacks ?


felly1 added 16:35 - Nov 6
I think Diallo is injured

Farlow added 17:21 - Nov 6
With Danny out JWP is one of our best chances to score so he has to be in midfield.

Block8 added 19:01 - Nov 6
Would rather see JWP in midfield with KWP at LB, maybe if Bednarek is fit play Stephens at RB?
Walcott up front with Adams & Redmond on the left of midfield, for his workrate.
They have a lot of pace & will be looking long, so perhaps not such a high press?I

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