I wonder, does anyone else feel we are really missing Jags? While he is prone to having one or two bad games, I can't help but feel we'd be more organised and relatively more solid defensively if he was fit to play.
We may be a bit more solid defensively with Jags but our possession play will suffer. Funes Mori is a natural left footer and, as such, is much better at moving the ball out to the left flank, the primary job of the left sided center back in our build-ups. You may have noticed the adverse effects of having a right footer in the left center back slot last season -- when Distin was replaced by Jagielka or Alcaraz our build-up play was not nearly as good (ditto for our defensive play in the case of Alcaraz).
At the moment, we have Galloway and Kone on the left so the benefits haven't been especially noticeable, but when Baines comes back I think Funes Mori is going to be a major asset. He's less reliable defender than Jags but he's still a commanding presence in the air and has great pace -- the raw materials are there, they just need to be refined. I'd keep Funes Mori in the lineup but I expect Martinez to restore Jagielka as soon as he is fully recovered.
None of the above is meant to disrespect or belittle the contributions of Phil Jagielka. He's been our best defender for some time, a rock when we couldn't rely on others, and he's done brilliantly adapting to Martinez's principles and captaining the team. It's just that our future is with Stones/Funes Mori and we haven't lost much (if anything) with Funes Mori in the lineup.
Stones, I think we all agree on - he will eventually be the best ball playing CB in the world (or, at worst, one of the best). Funes Mori has wobbled a bit here and there but he has the right physical and technical traits to complement Stones, plus he's an Argentina international who has already outshone more heralded signings like Otamendi. I may be alone in this respect but I'll take the occasional mistake from Funes Mori (and Stones -- he's not perfect) because we're getting top class players on the other side.