El Abd Suspended For Two Games
Tommy Elphick and Lewis Dunk will both want to take the opportunity to fill the gap left by El Abd, and will want to play well enough to keep their place in the team when El Abd's suspension finishes in a weeks time. But who is desrving of the place?
Elphick is the senior of the two players, and is always on the bench during league games. He has played in all the cup games and looked solid enough, apart from at Stoke.
Elphick's problem is that after a year of training under Poyet, he still can't grasp the concept that the team's style of play has moved on.
He is a always solid enough as a defender, but he needs to adapt his play when he has the ball. All the time he is just heading the ball away or putting in heroic challenges, he looks great.
Now he needs to take himself to the next level and start making simple 5-yard passes to Bridcutt, Dicker etc. He stands out as he always plays the long ball which more often than not results in us losing possession and immediately puts us under pressure.
El Abd has made the transition, and it is time for Elphick to do the same, otherwise he could find himself featuring even less, and maybe moving to another club before The AMEX arrives.
Arguably last season, Elphick was a better defender than El Abd, but El Abd being the main partner for Gordon Greer speaks volumes of how Gus thinks the team should play the game and where Elphick's game is.
Lewis Dunk is seen as 'one for the future,' and Poyet believes that he has the talent to become a Premier League footballer.
Despite just starting 4 games in his professional career, with two of them being in the league, Dunk looks to have something about him.
He looks assured on the ball, with good distribution and awareness of team mates around him. His timing of the tackle is immaculate, but he can look a bit weak against physical forwards.
He is only 17 and still growing, but no doubt his strength will improve all the time.
His performances in his short time on the pitch always makes you think he has a very mature head on young shoulders. His style of play is more suited to how Poyet wants the team to play, but his strength could be an issue.
Also being so young, he is more prone to making a mistake or being naive on the pitch, but we have a really hot prospect on our books.
Despite Elphick being more dependable, Dunk looks like he is better suited to fill in for El Abd. Whether Gus thinks that is another question.
If whoever plays does well, and keepes their place, El Abd will have to be wary. He is the only one of the three whose contract runs out at the end of this season.
El Abd is great in League One, but can he step up to Championship level should Brighton go up, and will Poyet stand for his disciplinary record which averages a yellow card every 3 games.