Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A few observations...

Having had the 'benefit' of seeing the Wigan game in its entirety, I have a few observations, none of which change my general view that the club is in need of a fresh start, but give me an additional perspective not available from the radio and press:

1. It was a poor performance for sure, but this wasn't in the league of 5-0 at West Ham in 2000 or 4-0 at Man City in 2004, which rank in a Hall of Shame for all-time away performances;

2. Both Wigan and Charlton are mediocre teams in the context of the Premiership - the Arsenal/Chelsea game was no classic, but they may as well be playing a different sport - this is perhaps the 'real' issue at stake here;

3. It's been said elsewhere but we lack a leader - some players clearly give their all (particularly Young and Kishishev) but they are not 'talkers' - this has to be addressed in the transfer window;

4. Smertin is the best player in the side - I thought this at the start of the season and nothing I've seen since has changed my view - he runs all day and rarely gives the ball away - having played last season at Chelsea surrounded by the likes of Makelele and Lampard, playing in Charlton's midfield must feel like jail-time;

5. Darren Bent is a top-class striker in a mediocre side - he has scored 11 goals already (put that in context, our top scorer in all competitions for a full season since 1999/2000 was JJ with 14) - we have to find a way to get the best out of him and get him chances, because he can clearly take them - pair him up with Ambrose, Jeffers or Bothroyd and we could have a 20+ goals a season striker on our hands;

6. The goals we conceded were calamitous for sure but not clearly down to one individual but due to a crisis of confidence throughout - for example, on the second goal, do you blame Perry for standing off Roberts for the header, Hreidarsson for not taking responsibility or Kiely for getting in the way?

7. Ambrose is a fine footballer playing in a position that neutralises his strengths - he says he has a 'subliminal' link with Bent, and they certainly seem to have plenty in common (witness our goal vs. Man Utd for example) so why not play them together? What is there to lose? Either way, Ambrose has to play more centrally;

8. Chris Powell does the simple things well but he doesn't have the pace to overlap anymore and hence deprives us of an attacking option in a side already short of them - given that Hreidarsson is clearly uncomfortable at centre-back, this seems an obvious swap;

9. If Curbishley is the brilliant manager that some of his peers claim him to be, someone will have to defend his decision to replace Ambrose (4 goals in 10 games) with Spector (utility defender) at 3-0 down - I'm not interested in tactical mumbo-jumbo, this is nonsensical;

10. Curbs has promised on more than one occasion to make drastic changes but so far it has hardly been the 'night of the long knives' - Sorondo, Fortune, Euell and Rommedahl played for the reserves tonight and must start on Monday - otherwise his words are cheap and he is digging his own grave.


At 4:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My NYC friend, you are so right, I watched the debacle live on TV in the UK, probably on the same feed that you witnessed the rolling over of our team.

Too many people offerng up too many reasons as to why we played like total shite...who knows what happens next, 3 points on boxing day would mask what an issue Curbs has..

Come on my beloved Reds

At 2:54 PM, Blogger hartley said...

I especially agree with the Ambrose comment and I have been saying as much on BigSoccer.com for weeks. Ambrose is not winger. And with Murphy as the attacking mid, playing Ambrose up top with Bent is the best decision. Ambrose can also be a liability defensively, so playing him at forward is really a no brainer.

Also, with Darren and Darren up top, that helps you get all your best attackers on the field at once -- Bent, Ambrose, Murphy, Thomas, Rommedahl. Smertin can join in here and there while Kishishev will be watching from the bench where he can't give the ball away.

I also agree with HH back to left back.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Kappacino Kid said...

From the comments at Wigan and seeing Murphy play in recent weeks, maybe the time has come to take him out of the frame for a while and bring him a sense of reality by makng him play with the stiffs, whilst Ambrose takes over his role and Bothroyd plays alongside Bent. Of course Bothroyd flatters to deceive but now Misibe has put two away in the ressies then he could well put some pressure on that starting place.. please god no!

Hoped forside for Arse Myhre; Young; Perry; Sorondo; HH; Romm; Ambrose; Smertin; Kish; Bent; Bothroyd

At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Team for Boxing Day

Young Perry Fortune Heirederson
Rhommadal Smertin Murphy Thomas
Ambrose Bent
Same team for Newcastle West HAm Everton.subject to fitness.


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