free geoip

Sunday, October 23, 2005

"How are they defensively, attacking-wise?"

It should be clear by now to most supporters that Emre is our best player. He's not at peak fitness, true, and he's not exactly a defensive giant. But give the lad the ball and he knows exactly what to do with it, right away. Even had he not scored that "superb" (an all-too-often used word) curler in the second half, he'd already done enough in his last two outings to earn the title. The young Turk simply changes the game. At under four million pounds, he was a bargain. The purchase may not have been as pivotal as Owen's, but Emre is currently our No. 1.

(That curler, let it be said, made me feel somewhat better about the Jenas goal against Manure. "Why didn't we ever see that from Jermaine when he was in the black and white?" you may have asked. Probably because a certain aging but irreproachable striker took, until today, all the free kicks.)

Defense, again, was our undoing. Boumsong makes too many poor and half tackles, yes. Ramage proved that, as I have said repeatedly offline, he deserves more playing time. But the bigger problem is that no one is commanding the back four. Someone besides Given - henceforward referred to as The Irish Cat - needs to shout at these guys. Taylor is the obvious candidate, but it's not clear if anyone's listening. Bramble, the silent mound? He's improving, but he's no domineering presence. They need a loud, frightening anchor. Until they get one, we're going to need bags of goals.

And bags we may get, if everyone is healthy. Owen and Shearer will get their share, especially thanks to service from Nobby "Not Noddy, NOBBY!" Solano and Emre. (N'Zogbia can run, sure, but his crosses aren't too accurate yet.) Luque may even contribute, though it's not clear what his role would be; he never played a real 4-4-2 in Spain. And Shola finally showed the kind of take-no-prisoners desire that Lee Bowyer, for all his faults, sometimes displays, charging into the box like a steamroller. Shola needs to use that big body the way Shaquille O'Neal does. He could even learn from Vlade Divac. In fact, let's get Shola some NBA videotape asap.


Post a Comment

<< Home