Okay, so we have lost three on the bounce and have just played our worst game of the season. Question is should we panic or keep a calm and considered head?
It might well be that Hugo Lloris should have started. Perhaps we should have played Adebayor with or instead of Jermain Defoe and certainly considered partnering them together when we needed to recover yesterday. Equally, has Lloris really looked so much better than Friedel on the pitch and also in training? What do the trusted defenders currently prefer? Has AVB had a quiet word over how they prefer to play and therefore based his selection of simple team harmony and feeling? Sure we have our preferences, but are these selections really that black and white?
What is very obvious is that we are seriously short in several key areas right through the pitch, even if the keeper isn't one of them. In defence, we have six fit defenders, in Walker, Naughton, Gallas, Vertonghen, Dawson and Caulker for four places. With Gallas only seeming to be fit for one game a week and Dawson looking ever more likely for the exit door in January, we hardly have too many options to make radical or even minor changes. Perhaps with the returns of Kaboul and BAE we will have that opportunity, but until then, we are stuffed.
Without, Parker, Dembele, Sandro and Livermore yesterday, what did we really expect? Hudd has played well in my opinion, but he needs pace and drive alongside him, and all of those senior options were missing. Could he has pushed Vertonghen into midfield and added Naughton to Left Back? I will leave you to debate that one, but if hardly worked at Norwich in midweek did it. It did cross my mind that we could have changed to a 4-3-3 with Sigurdsson and Bale protecting a deep sitting Hudd, but would we have been any better off against a Wigan side that grew in confidence by the minute. Just an addition, what chance a recall for Jermaine jenas, should the prognosis on Sandro and Dembele not be good?
Sure we could have partnered Defoe and Adebayor in a 4-4-2, but when the middle four were unable to supply decent, if any ball to one striker, would they have done better with two and more defensive duties to cover? Dempsey and Adebayor, also offered greater physical stature than little Jermain. Facts are that if your midfield engine isn't firing, you are probably going to revert to playing wide or going route one, so did AVB really make a mess of his substitution's when the midfield was failing and he had so few options at his disposal?
It wasn't so long ago, that fans were glad to be rid of Harry and were happy to embrace Villas-Boas. Equally a season of development was the order of the day and Champions league football could wait a little longer, as we were looking at the long term not instant turnaround. After ten Prem games, have things really changed for the worst to an extent where we are already talking about a clueless manager and useless players?
What we need is to keep our own nerves and back the team in a time of transition that seemingly the majority wanted. We know we are short of several key players and that might well be the case until the new year, but we also know that we didn't bring in the likes of Moutinho or Willian, who were suggested as being key to AVB's tactical master plan. Instead we have brought in good quality, but hardly game winning players into the team such as Dempsey, Sigurdsson and a previously unwanted Huddlestone, who perhaps are fine for our squad, but are they really players to add creativity and enough quality to make us better than we currently are?
Lets do what we were born to do and that is support our club in a time of transition. Lets back our players and manager to get things right and lets pray that our Chairman has the time, money and all his persuasive powers fully charged to bring AVB the players that he feels can take us in the direction we need to be heading and then give him the rest of the season to get them to gel into something exciting regardless of where it takes us this season. I assume we are too good to get relegated, so lets enjoy the developments for all the bumps and bruises that are sure to be inflicted in the way...