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Covid Firebreak Gives Saints Respite From Injury Crisis
Saturday, 18th Dec 2021 10:50

Ralph Hasenhuttl has spoken of how the fact that having almost 100% vaccination rate in his squad has meant that we have had very few confirmed cases of Covid 19, but that has not left his players immune from injury and the postponement this weekend has come as a relief to the situation.

At Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening Saints were missing several key players through injury, Fraser Forster & Alex McCarthy's injuries left the manager no choice but to bring in an emergency goalkeeper signing with the 40 year old out of contract Willy Caballero joining on a months loan.

But the crisis did not end there, forwards Che Adams & Adam Armstrong would have missed today's game with Brentford as would have Stuart Armstrong.

But at Palace Armando Broja and Tino Livramento, doubts before the game, had been patched up and just about been able to play, some Saints fans condemned Ralph Hasenhuttl for taking off Broja and bringing on Shane Long, but the truth was that Broja had gone to the limit and had to be conserved for today's game and the manager could not take the risk of him being injured further.

That proved to not be an issue with the postponement of the fixture against Brentford, but this game being called off has perhaps come as a relief for Saints who will now have a break of 10 full days between the Palace game and the visit to West Ham.

Perhaps Brentford would have had to field a weakened side if the game had not been postponed and Saints might have cruised to victory, but with so many key players out injured ourselves that would have been far from guaranteed and we would have had a distinct lack of firepower up front.

So I would suspect that Ralph Hasenhuttl would have heaved a little sigh of relief privately when he heard the news that his side would not be playing this weekend.

Hopefully now a period of rest will now give us the time to get some of the injured back as well as a rest to those like Broja & Livramento who being unused to the rigours of a Premier League season could do with a spell of recuperation themselves.

If the fixture at West Ham goes ahead and that is far from guaranteed given the current situation with the new Omicron variant spreading fast then we will enter a short period where the games come thick and fast, we need all of our squad fit and firing on all cylinders.

So this unexpected break could not have come at a better time for Saints.

Photo: Action Images



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underweststand added 15:20 - Dec 18
Even the fittest players who put in a shift every week could use a break, especially as (with Saints) who had 4 games in 14 days - and even picked up injuries along the way.
Even one extra weeks lay-off may help those injured to recover, and for the rest of the squad to get a mid-season break to recuperate.

It was refreshing to hear Ralph state that almost 100% of the Saints staff had been vaccinated, so at least we can't be blamed for postponed games against those teams who have squad members who either refused the "jabs", or have been infected by those who are already sick with Covid. Hopefully if our squad stays "covid-free" we maybe a step ahead of those who will have to take time to recover properly before they can play again.

Almost halfway through the season, it's fair to say that in general we have played better than many of our results have shown, and that despite conceding poor goals, our GD is still one of the best in the bottom half, (credit where it's due) - whilst we have had exactly 100 shots in the last 8 Prem. games that have yielded - just 8 goals.
I'm not playing the " Blame game " but we do need to improve our finishing because just one goal more in each of those 8 games would have made us 7 points better off, and we'd be showing up well in the top half.
Of course we all want to watch games ASAP, but a weekend or two without football may bring back memories of those past hard winters, when the weather alone was enough to cancel the whole programme and Match of the Day was forced to seek out a League 2 game that hadn't been snowed off.


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Ali_Diarea added 18:45 - Dec 18
A good post as always Underweststand.

For me that stat above (100 shots - 8 goals) throws up the question how many of those shots were speculative and would have needed to be world class to actually go in?

Good teams don’t shoot unless they have a high probability of scoring whereas teams in the bottom half (including Saints) shoot when they run out of ideas or can’t find a killer pass.

Whilst we undoubtedly lack cutting edge in the final third, I think that stat also highlights the fact that we shoot in bad positions. That’s also why we can loose a game without really troubling the other keeper yet ‘on paper’ it looks like we have gone toe to toe with the opposition.
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YosemiteSaint added 07:40 - Dec 19
I love the annual holiday-time feast of EPL football (which, beyond the enjoyment in and of itself, is nifty because it helps me cope through the steady stream of extended family gatherings!). But the truth of the matter is it may as well be the subject of Dickens's "Xmas Carol," because it's all about the haves separating from the have-nots. As they "gift" us with their mere presence, the bigger clubs (with their bottomless pockets and deep rosters) use the holidays to batter us smaller ones. (Leeds are Exhibit A in this presently, with their threadbare squad shipping goal after goal; it's their bad luck that Citeh and Arsenal weren't ill enough to cancel on them!) So, as a Saints supporter, I say that anything to stem the relentless holiday tide is a good thing. Let the players have a holiday and rest up. Occasionally, there is such a thing as too much football.
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wrathoftazz added 11:22 - Dec 19
Even with a full team we can't win. We lack faith, determination and a manager who has a clue... another words.... SAME OLD SAINTS
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highfield49 added 11:49 - Dec 19
Apart from plucking names off a list of unemployed managers wrathoftazz which manager do you have in mind who has a clue? Whilst Ralph may not be the greatest manager in the world he has succeeded in coaching the likes of Livramento, KWP, Broja, Salisu, Tella and, potentially Small and Smallbone into decent if not exactly top class players. I don't know if a new manager/coach with such a limited budget could have done any better but equally there is zero evidence that the likes of Lampard, Howe, Smith, Potter etc could improve matters. We all want the team to win matches, score lots of goals and play exciting football but I can't see that happening until new owners are able to fund some players who have already established pedigree. None of the teams with limited resources have changed managers with any sign that the existing players have become stars overnight. I want to be proved wrong because I want our team to succeed but I'd rather see Ralph get more help from his coaching staff than sack him and hope for a miracle.
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