Date:Wednesday October 30 2013
It is all very well many fans bemoaning the fact that we are as dull as dishwater at the moment, but is it simply a case of tactical tweaks or are we still missing one or more vital ingredients?
Sure we are predictable, often too narrow, particularly without Danny Rose on the left, our only striker is usually isolated and we are far too slow in our build up play. Apart from all that, I feel we are absolutely fine! Unless of course you can think of other areas we are deficient. Question is, how or with who, do we suddenly make ourselves from dull, but quite efficient, to a breath-taking in our play and winning at a canter? Perhaps it is just a case of waiting for Erik Lamela to learn the language…
I think most fans would agree that we need another left back, whether as first choice or back top for Danny Rose, a player who I feel has improved with every game he has played this season and been very sorely missed in recent times, plus a striker that offers us a very real alternative to Roberto Soldado, but who can also play with him as a pair. Benteke is once again the flavour of the week, and I think he would be a great piece of business and though I could understand anyones dithering this summer, he has already proved himself to be more than a one season wonder and a player that could improve all but a lucky few teams in the Prem.
Problem is that we don't yet have those or any other players, whilst it is already clear that we are struggling to integrate some of the seven new signings we already have. Will adding more add to or lessen our current issues? Though I fully accept the need to add in those positions, assuming that we don't believe that Fryers is ready or that Adebayor has any future with us, we have what we have and until recently, we were all talking up the quality and depth, but it is still a side that is one paced and predictable and for me that is a tactical problem and not one caused by personnel.
I think we all can probably assume that AVB knows the problems we have in terms of players and am very much guessing that he didn't want to start the season with one left back and two strikers who are pretty similar in strengths and weakness, plus of course a striker that he doesn't appear to like or want. Based on these missing links, is he still ploughing on relentlessly with his way of playing in anticipation that these areas will be sorted sooner, rather than later, and altering shape and style is ultimately counter productive for the long term objectives.
Defensively I believe we are very much heading in the right direction, but do we still need a centre half as well as that extra left back? I mention centre half, due to the still uncertain future of Younes Kaboul, who is still unable to finish 90 minutes let alone play back to back games. Are we in a situation where we have to make a decision over whether to let him go in the summer if he hasn't proved his fitness, as taking a gamble on offering him a new deal is too big a risk. Assuming there isn't one of Mr Levy's much loved optional extension causes in Kaboul's contract, he could in theory sign a pre contract deal elsewhere in January.
We have four excellent central midfielders, plus the fast developing Tom Carroll in the wings, but are we currently just a little substance over style? All have great quality, but are they all just a little too defensive, industrial and lacking vision and creativity, with only Carroll being a player that you feel looks for that quick and inventive pass, but he is at QPR… Sure we are defensively rock solid, but is that enough? Would we be sensible to look at Lewis Holtby in a deeper role? A player that offers urgency and a pass that none of the others have. Many of us were really excited at Capoue's all to brief time in the side, but is he the one to surprise us with the mix of midfield qualities to solve the problem?
Of five wide men, I still don't yet feel we have seen the right balance, but I would defend AVB in this area. well to a point. Early season form has shown that Townsend and Sigurdsson have offered most, whilst Chadli got injured, Lennon was always injured and Lamela simply hasn't started performing. It does concern me that we don't seem to have the player amongst these that likes to bomb into the box as the second striker with a real goalscorers instinct. Sure Gylfi has scored a few, but you don't really feel he has that desperate inclination to force himself on the opposition. Ghosting in, isn't what I am looking for. Townsend, and Lennon love to start wide and deep, whilst Chadli and Lamela have the scoring stats to indicate that they might well be players to start from higher positions and support and compliment a striker. It is however a very difficult decision for reasons not in Andre's control.
It has surprised me that we have-not started with Cristian Eriksen in recent Prem games. Is he carrying a slight injury that we aren't aware of? After a sensational start, I find in impossible to believe that he isn't now rated as our best No10, even though Lewis Holtby was excellent in the cup games and hasn't don't badly when preferred to the Dane. But for me, Eriksen is potentially the ideal man to lock pick an opposition and perhaps his current need to to play more and understand his team mates wants and movements, as opposed to sitting games out.
In attack, I think we have done very well in securing Soldado. A player who has a real strikers instinct and goalscoring flair. Only problem is that we haven't seen enough of the latter in open play. Is that still getting used to the EPL or simply a lack of support? Last season I felt we isolated our lone striker far too much and the distance between him and the supporting players was often ridiculous. Nothing has changed! Perhaps all we need is greater understanding, but we also need the supporting three players to play higher and closer and if we concede a goal or two to score more in the opposition net, is that a small price to pay?
It is of course so easy to sit in the stands or watching TV and be an expert, but that is usually why we come on football forums to be. So whilst AVB and his coaches are plotting how to score five tonight, with a clean sheet to boot, what would and should we be doing to make that happen, or is it still just about giving time and a bit of patience before it all comes good?..
Date:Wednesday October 30 2013
Rumour Mill Nonsense (Tuesday December 10 2013)
Kids and Fringe against Anji? (Tuesday December 10 2013)
Vertonghen out for a month? (Tuesday December 10 2013)
Have we outgrown Dawson? (Tuesday December 10 2013)
Winning Ugly (Monday December 9 2013)
Its Arsenal in the Cup! (Monday December 9 2013)
Sunderland v Spurs: The Report. (Sunday December 8 2013)
Sunderland vs Tottenham Hotspur. (Saturday December 7 2013)
VIDEO: Villas-Boas Proud Of Team Resolve (Friday December 6 2013)
Smoke and Mirrors (Friday December 6 2013)
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