Southampton writer Glen de la Cour has admitted his ‘surprise’ over some decisions Ralph Hasenhuttl made ahead of the club’s recent loss to Chelsea.
Over the weekend, the Saints battled to a 3-1 loss at Stamford Bridge, with James Ward-Prowse scoring from the spot before later being given a red card.
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In particular, De la Cour pointed out the inclusion of Theo Walcott – who made his first appearance in the league since August – as something that ‘absolutely stunned’ him. He also said that Nathan Tella getting the nod to start, as well as Mohamed Elyounoussi dropping to the bench also came as a surprise.
When talking on the Total Saints podcast, he explained: “It was a surprise that Nathan Tella went from being behind Shane Long on the pecking order last week to suddenly starting the game. Yeah, that was a bit of a surprise.
“I was absolutely stunned that Walcott came straight back into the team. And I was surprised that Elyounoussi dropped out, because he’s been the best one of our wide players, which is a pretty low bar, but he’s been the best one. So I was surprised.”
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Walcott has missed a number of games of late due to what his manager had previously described as a ‘small issue’. In fact, his last Premier League appearance for the club came against Manchester United on the second week of the season.
That the former Arsenal winger had sat on the bench fit, but unused, against Newcastle United, the week later would have possibly added to De la Cour’s surprise to see him go straight back into the team against Chelsea.
Evidently, the decisions didn’t pay off in the end for Hasenhuttl as his side eventually crumbled. However, the scores were level at 1-1 when Ward-Prowse was sent off. Had he not been dismissed, who knows how this one would have turned out?