Southampton should stick with new shape for Crystal Palace trip

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Southampton manager Ronald Koeman should keep faith in the team that dispatched Everton so impressively last weekend.

The Saints head to London on boxing day to take on Crystal Palace, with Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin returning from suspension.

That has given Koeman somewhat of a selection headache as to whether he should return the midfield duo to the starting lineup or keep faith in the 352 from last time out.

Reed debut impressive

With the 352 that Southampton deployed against Everton, Harrison Reed was man of the match in midfield.

Jose Fonte, Toby Alderweireld and Maya Yoshida as a back three also impressed with the added resilience of an extra man to cover.

The formation also allowed Shane Long to form a partnership with Graziano Pelle, one which reaped its rewards as they combined for the second goal of the afternoon.

It is therefore a difficult decision for Koeman as to who is replaced, should he want to change back to a more familiar 433.

Schneiderlin and Wanyama key

That being said, and as impressive as Reed was against Roberto Martinez's side, Wanyama and Schneiderlin are two of the Saints' best players.

To leave them out when they are both available is not something Koeman will have thought possible a few weeks ago when both players had their fifth booking looming large.

It may be that Koeman will use one of them at Palace, and keep the other fresh for the match against Chelsea a few days later.

Tough fixture list

With the trip to Palace followed by Chelsea at St. Mary's, Ronald Koeman's side face a difficult few games over the next couple of games.

After that, they host Arsenal on New Year's day before travelling to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.

With new signing Eljero Elia set to be available for the United fixture and the promise of more signings to come, if the Saints can make it through the Christmas period unscathed they really will be set for a challenge at the top six.

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