Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Flash Diaby and chums
Seeing as I'm off work at the moment I thought I'd use my time productively to produce a colourful image containing some of our favourite football heroes, I can hear 'don't give up the day job' echoing around cyberspace already. It's a good effort for a three year old anyway.
The international break is now upon us, so we can be guaranteed some rather substandard football, the typical chorus of praise for anyone with a criminal conviction in the England football team and maybe Blatter or Platini inventing some new rules to try to scupper the English game. I can't be bothered with international football, so I thought why not take stock and reassess the squad as it stands.
In terms of goalkeepers I think we have a top notch number 1 in Almunia and an excellent understudy in Fabianski. If Gallas stays then with him, Kolo and Djourou we have three solid centre backs, while Clichy and Sagna are both top full backs, and Gibbs has shown some promise as back up. Personally I don't think any major surgery is required at the back, arguably our midfield has been at fault on more occasions than the defence by not helping out and shielding our back four.
The midfield is the area of great interest for me. Offensively we now have the options to dismantle any defence known to man, in Walcott, Nasri, Arshavin, Fabregas we have top attacking talent, while the likes of Eboue, Vela, Wilshere and Merida provide a varied mixture of back up.
Defensively we have a bit of a problem. Song is our only 'defensive' midfielder, while Diaby is possibly the only other midfielder who can defend. Song has performed admirably in recent weeks and if he continues in this vein, he may prove his doubters wrong, however even if he does this can we have a squad which contains just one truly defensive player? Diaby seems to have developed in his recent run of games, if he can become mroe consistent then he can be a great all round driving force in the centre of the park. Denilson has also developed well over the season, a neat and tidy ball player with discipline, but is he really anything more than a poor man's Cesc? Ramsey has potential but is again more in the Cesc mould. Overall I just don't think we have the right balance in this area. The likes of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong may start pushing for places sooner rather than later, do not forget.
Up top we have an abundance of riches again. RVP has stayed fit, if Adebayor puts the effort in then he is a great asset, Bendtner has come on leaps and bounds, while Eduardo has the Midas touch. Young Carlos Vela is hardly a bad fifth choice forward, while there are other young talents waiting to come through.
If everyone is fit then most of the team picks itself, there are a few areas of contention, for example which of our three centre backs are the best partnership? which two strikers are the best pairing? The hardest area to call though appears to be the centre of midfield, picking two players here to give us enough solidity but also enough attacking craft is not easy. Denilson-Cesc would not work for me, not enough defensively and too similar to each other. Song on current form with Cesc would have to be as good as any, though if Diaby can play like he did against West Ham every week one could certainly see him partnering Cesc effectively in the future.
One thing that is clear is that the current competition for places is a very good thing. Realistically however there is no way in the world that we will be able to hold onto all these fantastic talents, some very hard choices will have to be made in the next couple of years. I find it hard to imagine that barring any major injuries we could keep Cesc, Diaby, Denilson, Song, Ramsey and Coquelin all happy in the same squad. To play devil's advocate, what would you say if 50 million was offered for Cesc in the summer?