Will Poch get back on the Lov boat

Basingstoke Gazette: Dejan Lovren Dejan Lovren

Mauricio Pochettino has a major dilemma on his hands this weekend.

The Saints boss must decide whether to reform his miserly centre half pairing of Jose Fonte and Dejan Lovren in a bid to keep Liverpool’s prolific strikers quiet at St Mary’s on Saturday tea-time.

Ever since £8.5m Croatian international defender Lovren arrived last summer, he and Fonte have forged a fantastic partnership to rival the last great Saints pairing of Michael Svensson and Claus Lundekvam.

The Swede and the Norwegian helped Saints to a best placed eighth finish in the Premier League and an FA Cup final in 2002/03.

Lovren admitted in the Daily Echo this week that he and his teammates, including Portuguese defender Fonte, have their sights still set on a possible sixth place finish.

Lovren also confessed that, if they are to do that, then there is little margin for error in the final 11 games of the season – starting with Liverpool this weekend.

Saints will need to keep quiet Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, who have a remarkable 41 goals between them in the Premier League this season.

It is a massive ask but not one that is beyond them.

The pair kept out Sturridge in the 1-0 win at Anfield last September, with Lovren scoring the winner.

The statistics underline that Pochettino’s first choice pairing have been brilliant this season.

They have played together in 17 of Saints’ 27 league games so far and have conceded the same number of goals as the other pairings have done in just ten outings.

The 16 goals leaked in just 17 games together means the team have conceded an average of just 0.94 goals per game when Lovren and Fonte have been playing.

The 16 goals in ten games that have been conceded by other centre half pairings – mainly Fonte and Yoshida, who have had six games together equates to an average of 1.6 goals per game.

Svensson and Lundekvam averaged 1.02 goals against in the 48 Premier League games they started together between September 2002 and March 2004.

During their time together, Saints only conceded 49 goals, keeping 17 clean sheets and conceding more than two goals only twice.

First, though, Lovren must win a recall to the Saints side.

He hasn’t started a game since being carried off with an ankle injury at Sunderland on January 18.

He was back on the bench for the game at West Ham last weekend which ended in a 3-1 defeat with Lovren’s replacement, Maya Yoshida, scoring the Saints goal.

“We will need to assess his fitness and also Gaston (Ramirez) who actually came onto the pitch,” said Pochettino after the loss at Upton Park.

“They are both fully recovered but they will have to fight to get their place back in the team.”

Comments (18)

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6:20am Thu 27 Feb 14

itsnotjustice says...

what a stupid story....

how the hell is it a dilemma???

if both are fit then they play..

yoshida doesnt come close.
what a stupid story.... how the hell is it a dilemma??? if both are fit then they play.. yoshida doesnt come close. itsnotjustice

7:05am Thu 27 Feb 14

Sally Hamilton Original says...

It's a no brainer if Lovren is fit
It's a no brainer if Lovren is fit Sally Hamilton Original

7:29am Thu 27 Feb 14

CeekaySaint says...

Agree SHO, a fit Lovren and Fonte pairing...tried and tested....Saturday is no time for taking any sort of risk....
Agree SHO, a fit Lovren and Fonte pairing...tried and tested....Saturday is no time for taking any sort of risk.... CeekaySaint

8:17am Thu 27 Feb 14

promised land says...

A no brainer. Saints desperately need Lovren back in the team he's unquestionably our best defender.
A no brainer. Saints desperately need Lovren back in the team he's unquestionably our best defender. promised land

8:22am Thu 27 Feb 14

Jan28th1984 says...

Lovren is our only gold star defender. If he's fit he plays and that's it.
Lovren is our only gold star defender. If he's fit he plays and that's it. Jan28th1984

8:30am Thu 27 Feb 14

green_gibbon says...

Absolute no brainer. Maya hasn't done a bad job recently, but he's still not a patch on Lovren.
Absolute no brainer. Maya hasn't done a bad job recently, but he's still not a patch on Lovren. green_gibbon

8:57am Thu 27 Feb 14

Seedhouse the Unrepentant says...

The stats speak for themselves!
The stats speak for themselves! Seedhouse the Unrepentant

9:35am Thu 27 Feb 14

Santa Retfordia says...

Wow, this has really split opinion among the fanbase...
Wow, this has really split opinion among the fanbase... Santa Retfordia

9:36am Thu 27 Feb 14

killared says...

I'll keep Yoshida because Lovren is not match fit ! As we all know after an injury It'll take at least 5 games to get back. With Liverpool coming to town full of confidence and with the SAS and co it would be wise to keep Yoshida and give Lovren 30 mn Saturday
I'll keep Yoshida because Lovren is not match fit ! As we all know after an injury It'll take at least 5 games to get back. With Liverpool coming to town full of confidence and with the SAS and co it would be wise to keep Yoshida and give Lovren 30 mn Saturday killared

10:01am Thu 27 Feb 14

SouthamptonLegend says...

killared wrote:
I'll keep Yoshida because Lovren is not match fit ! As we all know after an injury It'll take at least 5 games to get back. With Liverpool coming to town full of confidence and with the SAS and co it would be wise to keep Yoshida and give Lovren 30 mn Saturday
I'd play a half fit Lovren over Yoshida, ANYDAY! But like Poch said he's FULLY recovered.

5 games.... Are you having a laugh??
[quote][p][bold]killared[/bold] wrote: I'll keep Yoshida because Lovren is not match fit ! As we all know after an injury It'll take at least 5 games to get back. With Liverpool coming to town full of confidence and with the SAS and co it would be wise to keep Yoshida and give Lovren 30 mn Saturday[/p][/quote]I'd play a half fit Lovren over Yoshida, ANYDAY! But like Poch said he's FULLY recovered. 5 games.... Are you having a laugh?? SouthamptonLegend

10:16am Thu 27 Feb 14

killared says...

@SouthamptonLegend

No I'm not having a laugh, Just because the player play with the youth team to get his fitness back doesn't mean It'll be up for it when he's back for the first team. That's why he need 5 games and start with a few minutes here and there !.
@SouthamptonLegend No I'm not having a laugh, Just because the player play with the youth team to get his fitness back doesn't mean It'll be up for it when he's back for the first team. That's why he need 5 games and start with a few minutes here and there !. killared

12:04pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Saintsayer II says...

In addition to DL & JF I would play Cork Wanyamma and Spiderman in front of them Lets see tha SAS get through that lot
Give Davis a rest and when we have the ball Cork can play in his role
In addition to DL & JF I would play Cork Wanyamma and Spiderman in front of them Lets see tha SAS get through that lot Give Davis a rest and when we have the ball Cork can play in his role Saintsayer II

12:05pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Saint 2701 says...

Absolute no brainier, Lovren's stats showed him to be the best in the premier league. Daft story.
Absolute no brainier, Lovren's stats showed him to be the best in the premier league. Daft story. Saint 2701

12:35pm Thu 27 Feb 14

SFCOLDBOY says...

Unfortuately his injury was a result of the way he tackled.
Albeit that the game should have been stopped earlier for the Ramires injury.
The tackle on our left side, defending, should have been done with his left foot, the enevitability of this is that you go over the ankle.
I made remark to my son several games before at SMS that he did exactly the same when covering Luke on the left.
Luckily then he only limped slightly after the tackle.
I hope the coaches are trying to help him with this, to prevent any more repeats.
Great player best signing since Rickie.
COYS.
Unfortuately his injury was a result of the way he tackled. Albeit that the game should have been stopped earlier for the Ramires injury. The tackle on our left side, defending, should have been done with his left foot, the enevitability of this is that you go over the ankle. I made remark to my son several games before at SMS that he did exactly the same when covering Luke on the left. Luckily then he only limped slightly after the tackle. I hope the coaches are trying to help him with this, to prevent any more repeats. Great player best signing since Rickie. COYS. SFCOLDBOY

12:49pm Thu 27 Feb 14

DisplacedFan says...

The only dilemma I see, if at all, is who we put on to support Lovren. In a five -a-side competition, I'd play him alone!
The only dilemma I see, if at all, is who we put on to support Lovren. In a five -a-side competition, I'd play him alone! DisplacedFan

1:20pm Thu 27 Feb 14

OSPREYSAINT says...

Well that seems to be sorted, now we just need someone to hit a vein of form in front of goal, otherwise the defensive qualities will be wasted.
Well that seems to be sorted, now we just need someone to hit a vein of form in front of goal, otherwise the defensive qualities will be wasted. OSPREYSAINT

2:17pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Strasbourg Saint says...

SFCOLDBOY wrote:
Unfortuately his injury was a result of the way he tackled.
Albeit that the game should have been stopped earlier for the Ramires injury.
The tackle on our left side, defending, should have been done with his left foot, the enevitability of this is that you go over the ankle.
I made remark to my son several games before at SMS that he did exactly the same when covering Luke on the left.
Luckily then he only limped slightly after the tackle.
I hope the coaches are trying to help him with this, to prevent any more repeats.
Great player best signing since Rickie.
COYS.
I really don't know the facts, but you could be right, Oldboy.

It would be interesting to see if the 'mistakes' he was accused of committing for Lyon and which resulted in bookings, sendings off or penalties against him and which led to him being blamed for some of Lyon's defeats, and in the end, made him available for sale, were the result of how he tackles 'wrong footed'.

Hopefully, if the coaches see something they feel a player needs to work on, they'll invest the necessary time into working on it.

As for Saturday, if everyone is match fit, I think the somewhat corny American expression many have used above says it all: NO BRAINER!

Welcome back Dejan!
[quote][p][bold]SFCOLDBOY[/bold] wrote: Unfortuately his injury was a result of the way he tackled. Albeit that the game should have been stopped earlier for the Ramires injury. The tackle on our left side, defending, should have been done with his left foot, the enevitability of this is that you go over the ankle. I made remark to my son several games before at SMS that he did exactly the same when covering Luke on the left. Luckily then he only limped slightly after the tackle. I hope the coaches are trying to help him with this, to prevent any more repeats. Great player best signing since Rickie. COYS.[/p][/quote]I really don't know the facts, but you could be right, Oldboy. It would be interesting to see if the 'mistakes' he was accused of committing for Lyon and which resulted in bookings, sendings off or penalties against him and which led to him being blamed for some of Lyon's defeats, and in the end, made him available for sale, were the result of how he tackles 'wrong footed'. Hopefully, if the coaches see something they feel a player needs to work on, they'll invest the necessary time into working on it. As for Saturday, if everyone is match fit, I think the somewhat corny American expression many have used above says it all: NO BRAINER! Welcome back Dejan! Strasbourg Saint

5:05pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Clever Dick says...

From what we've seen so far I'd say a 90% fit Dejan is still our best central defender. Wouldn't be surprised if he's on the bench though.
From what we've seen so far I'd say a 90% fit Dejan is still our best central defender. Wouldn't be surprised if he's on the bench though. Clever Dick

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