This season, both Rafael Benitez and Ralph Hasenhuttl have had great success with using back fives.
And part of that has been down to the width their wing-backs have been providing.
At Newcastle United, DeAndre Yedlin has been doing a good job at right wing-back, while his Southampton counterpart Yan Valery has been just as effective.
How, though, do the two compare ahead of Saturday’s showdown.
For Yedlin, life in English football’s top flight has not always been easy.
The 25-year-old failed to make a name for himself at Tottenham before a lacklustre loan spell with Newcastle’s rivals Sunderland.
However, at St. James’ Park, Yedlin will be pleased with how things are going under Benitez.
With the Spaniard at the helm, the USA international has really been able to express himself as a right wing-back, using his extraordinary pace to bomb forward and join attacks.
Defensively, there is room for improvement. However, overall, Yedlin appears a good fit for the role Benitez has been using him in.
TT Grade: C+
Like Yedlin, Valery also loves to get forward and is causing Southampton’s opponents a load of problems by doing so.
The 20-year-old scored an absolute cracker of a goal against Manchester United last month before grabbing the equaliser in his side’s 2-1 win versus Tottenham a week later.
Amid all of that, though, his manager Hasenhuttl has been quick to also praise the defensive side of his game.
“Already you can see Yan has improved defensively, and his goals against teams like Manchester United and Tottenham are big signs of how much his confidence has been growing,” the Austrian told Southampton’s official club website.
With Ryan Bertrand on the other side, thanks to Valery and the England defender, there is no doubt that Hasenhuttl will be happy with his wing-back options right now.
TT Grade: B+
Yedlin has certainly made good strides over the last couple of seasons after initially struggling in England following his move from Seattle Sounders.
But looking at Valery, the Frenchman has adapted much quicker and just looks like the real deal.
If he can continue to improve defensively, which he has the time to do at 20, then Hasenhuttl could be onto a real gem here.
Newcastle and Southampton fans, who wins this battle? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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