Initially I thought it was a negative decision, but as you point out, it allowed Dembele more freedom and made the most of those penetrating runs further up the pitch. Hudds, despite his limited pace and iffy tackling, has always had a good passing range and he has always been able to put his foot on the ball and dictate the pace of a game well.
I never really think of Hudds as a defensive minded player, more of a deep-lying playmaker, maybe this depends who he is compared to, Parker, Palacios, De Jong are defensive midfielder's IMO. I could see AVB starting a midfield three of Sandro, Dembele (behind a striker) and either Parker, Hudds against the 'better' teams, the theory being we'd be more solid and could win and keep the ball better and dictate the pace of the game. We shall see.
Tis, but one game, yet I feel a lot more optimistic.
Joe, I think the first game against Toon was an ok start, that got my hopes up (even though we lost, the result didn't reflect the performance to me) - but then we seemed to slide backwards instead of building on it. The Reading game got us back on track, so hopefully WB and Norwich were just a blip.