So it looks as if it might have been his plan all along.
Mark Warburton has been very vocal in recent weeks about how he plans to manage Conor Masterson going forward, hinting that he needed to be ‘managed appropriately’. However, now that Yoann Barbet has returned from his injury, it looks as if Masterson’s place is going to be on the bench for the foreseeable future, at least if the team sheet against Swansea City is anything to go by, but should that be the case?
Warburton was always going to face a tough decision when Barbet came back, to such an extent that I proposed the idea of moving to three at the back to accommodate them all, however it looks as if he’s going to be going with just the two centre-backs going forward.
The question now becomes though, who should the two central defenders be between Barbet, Masterson and captain Grant Hall? Well if you look at the statistics between all the players so far this season, you’ll see that it’s not really a cut and dry decision, as each one brings something different to the table.
So, for instance, a partnership of Masterson and Hall would be a lot more disciplined as they concede far fewer fouls than Barbet. Whereas a Hall and Barbet duo will do a better job of snuffing out any wayward passes from the opposition as they have more interceptions. Meanwhile if you go with Barbet and Masterson you can get the best of both worlds, but they’re so far apart that you don’t know which of them would lead the way and dictate how the two would perform on the day.
Who is the better defender?
What partnership would you go with if you were Warburton? Or would you follow my lead and stick all three of them together and hope for the best.