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Manchester City 5 v 2 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Wednesday, 10th March 2021 Kick-off 18:00
Will Ralph Prioritise His Games For Saints Line Up At Manchester City
Wednesday, 10th Mar 2021 12:29

Saints are basking in the aftermath of their first win in the Premier League for two months, but Ralph Hasenhuttl still has injury issues and may make a change or two for the trip to the Etihad to ensure that he doesn't lose any more to the injury list.

Saints were relieved to get a win at Sheffield United on Saturday and it has taken some of the pressure off, but it came at a cost with Danny Ings coming off early in the game with an injury that is likely to keep him out for at least 3 weeks.

He joins Theo Walcott, Oriol Romeu, Will Smallbone, and Michael Obafemi in the treatment room with only Walcott likely to return this season and he is still three weeks away from doing that.

The good news at Bramall Lane though was the return of Kyle Walker-Peters, Takumi Minamino and Ibrahima Diallo to the starting line up.

But now Ralph has a dilemma dare he risk those returning three to play another game so quickly after time out. the above trio returned at Sheffield, but even if they can get through a second game in four days, a third on Sunday at home to Brighton might be a game too far.

This is leading to speculation that the Austrian might prioritise his games over the coming weeks and that he may gamble that whatever side he puts out at Manchester City this evening will struggle to get a result, so make a change or two to protect the vulnerable and make sure that we have as full a squad on Sunday against Brighton and indeed the following week at Bournemouth in the FA Cup.

This would make sense, if Hasenhuttl was to play his full squad and he picked up injuries to key players it would reduce our chances against Brighton substantially and the manager knows that a win against the Seagulls would put us on the cusp of Premier League safety with 9 games to go.

Not to mention that a good end of season run including games in the FA Cup could see this yet become the greatest season in our history, so why risk all that for one game.

So I would expect a few changes this evening, I would not be surprised if Kyle Walker Peters was rested and Kayne Ramsey put in at right back, Ibrahima Diallo might also sit this one out, perhaps Alex Jankewitz may get his chance in Manchester again and even perhaps one of the central defenders may get a rest and Mohammed Salisu make another appearance.

I would not even be surprised if Che Adams is rested, with Ings and Walcott out we are light on strikers, better to rest him in a game where he is going to spent most of the game chasing lost causes, than risk a muscle injury.

So if Ralph does prioritise the games against Brighton & Bournemouth over Manchester City I would not be surprised, indeed I would be delighted, I would rather see us with fit players on Sunday than talking after the game about a glorious narrow victory and another two injuries.

Photo: Action Images



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codge added 12:52 - Mar 10
So just send out the B team then,these athletes are supposed to be the fittest people in the world yet can’t string two days worth of work a week.Of course only getting paid £65,000 a week plus is really to much to expect l guess.
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paddypants added 13:39 - Mar 10
Getting the balance right is imperative. For me damage limitation is the priority.
An eye on future games, current injuries, niggles, continuing blooding the kids, looking after the goal difference.
In Ralph we trust....UTS
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halftimeorange added 14:20 - Mar 10
Although any team we put out is likely to be outclassed, Ralph surely can't just send out cannon fodder even though it would draw huge attention to the inequalities within the EPL as debated in the earlier piece on this site. Trouble is those who play won't just bounce back from an outright thrashing. We should put out a team that's likely to concede the least number of goals. Perhaps play two 'keepers?
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1teeminants added 15:07 - Mar 10
The trouble is if he leaves too many regular first team out it could be a disaster especially if we lose 7 or 8 or date I say 9 nil we will be and rightly so, the laughing stock in the country after the two previous disasters. I would go 4-5 -1 as strong as possible in selection , pack the midfield one up front and just park the bus
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underweststand added 15:08 - Mar 10
YES - we know Ralph takes one game at a time, but players like KWP and Armstrong need to be "managed " and not be expected to play 95 minutes twice a week whilst they are still recovering form and fitness in attempts to get back to their early season level.
YES- Prem. survival is vital, but I cannot believe that everyone is ignoring the upcoming Cup game v: Bournemouth as this is our one big chance of some real glory this season.

Several players have had injury issues and shouldn't be "overplayed". I'm afraid I don't totally buy Codge's issue about salary. Their salary is the amount the CLUB decided to pay them, and any professional will DAJFU every game regardless of what he gets paid.

halftimeorange... makes the valid point that .. whatever team we put out won't be able to match City, who recently had 20 straight wins up until the weekend.
I expect tactical changes - using some unfamiliar names that Pep has never heard of - if only to try and baffle City in the first half. IF... Ralph starts a few of them, it will be the best guide to see how they cope against the top side in the Prem. and gauge how they might perform longer term ...if they expect to become permanent fixtures next season.


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SanMarco added 15:36 - Mar 10
Mmm - fine balancing-act here. What will be more upset about, narrow defeat with a couple more injuries or another fiasco like Old Trafford? Brighton isn't until Sunday. I think at least one of KWP and Diallo has to play.
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Whatsforpud added 15:58 - Mar 10
What is it with footballers? They have had three days rest, and will have another three days to the next game. After all, top tennis players often have to play 5 sets for 4 hours every other day.
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underweststand added 16:24 - Mar 10
to what's for pud.. Mmmm ...interesting point, but not quite the same sport- is it ?

I've not seen stats. for the distance covered by tennis players in a match, but they do consistently play on a much smaller area, which is flat and undamaged, nor do they have to avoid someone fouling them for the entire match.
I know that Prowsey plays in every game and has regularly clocks up 10,000 meters - and more - during games, and much of that in continuous running with very few breaks.

Tennis players have longer pauses between points, when waiting for the next service and can take water-breaks between sets. Any injuries they incur are "self-inflicted ", and not caused by someone-else's boot, or the risk of injury with every tackle they may attempt.

Tennis pros. are not required to kick, pass or head the ball they play with, but strike it with a racket. Finally (but not insignificantly) football is played in all weathers, whilst tennis (and cricket players) cease playing at the first sign of rain.
As seen recently, injuries can often be caused by wet, and / or uneven playing surfaces.
A problem that does not affect the tennis player.

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