Clearly getting beaten by a gang of men who would look more at home on the door of a Darlington nightclub is a bad thing. Compound this by watching so many of our lot have such a bad day at the office and it begins to seriously sting.
I waded through some mind blowingly stupid post match reactions last night on Twitter. So let’s get stuck straight into this whole let’s buy a striker thing, shall we? Do we need one? Well, let’s first define ‘need.’ This may seem a rather trite way to kick off, but if we’re to distinguish ourselves from a child wandering around Hamleys blindly screaming ‘I want something!’ then it’s a good place to start.
What we need is goals. Goals win games. Taking your chances and actually converting them. It doesn’t matter how poor the overall play is (unless you’re a purist) just get the thing in the net. Let’s look at the current Premier League leader board. See what’s what.
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” width=”575″ ]Van Persie Man Utd 18 Suarez Liverpool 16 Ba Chelsea 14 Michu Swansea 13 Defoe Tottenham 10 Dzeko Man City 10 Fletcher Sunderland 10 Lambert Southampton 10 Walcott Arsenal 10 Bale Tottenham 9 Lukaku West Brom 9 Aguero Man City 8 Cazorla Arsenal 8 Fellaini Everton 8 Giroud Arsenal 8 Hernandez Man Utd 8 Lampard Chelsea 8 Le Fondre Reading 8 Mata Chelsea 8 [/box]
So looking at that list we have an excellent gauge of not only who’s doing the business but how that happened. What do I mean? Well, van Persie quit Arsenal because he was bored carrying the other 10 and wanted to actually win something before he died. So he joined Manchester United who have some considerable form in this department. Luis Suarez was, so Arry would have us believe, scouted by him but passed on.
Demba Ba’s ambition was to be buried up to his neck in money like a young Pharoah playing that ancient Egyptian game, ‘Bury me up to my neck in money’ so he went to Chelsea. Michu was a player borne of good fortune. He was playing for Rayo Vallecano not St Pat’s Athletic and so it is inconceivable that nobody had heard of him. But it was Laudrup who took the punt. Dzeko was a £27m Man City signing so that one’s a mix of both van Persie and Ba.
I don’t need to go through the entire list for you; you get the idea and the point I’m making is that you can only buy those that want to come and those that are available. The ones that don’t mind the fact that we’ve only 36,000 seats to sell so we aren’t big payers and the ones that don’t mind the fact that the only European football that is more or less guaranteed is the Europa. Securing a striker is quite like committing a successful murder. You need motivation, means and a bit of luck. You can’t just choose who you want to buy or kill. Opportunity will decide this for you.
Curiously enough, we have 3 strikers on our books who not only tick all the ‘Tottenham friendly boxes’ but also at some time or another have made us all wanted to either top them or ourselves. But shouting out names of players that have given no remote indication that they are desperate to join our merry band is beyond futile. It really, really is.
So let’s go back to that child in Hamleys. By now, she’s puce in the face and hanging off a display, threatening to throw herself onto the floor. Determined little bitch, I’ll give her that. ‘I want something!’ It’s arguable that she probably needs nothing. What she needs is to calm herself and when she gets home pay a little more attention to the toys she already has.
AVB inherited a squad that had just been subject to a mugging. The victim had lost two of it’s most prized possessions and was still reeling from the attack. Van der Vaart wasn’t a cash in by the board. The guy wanted to go home. If you read what his wife Tweeted you’ll know this. Alternatively you can call Levy & Co, nasty names. It’s all the same to me. Modric went on strike. So this wasn’t some sinister asset stripping exercise. Not what some want to hear, but hey. The assets left, much like the little girl’s discarded toys at home however, aren’t rubbish. On their day they are a match for the new ones in the word’s most famous toy store.
Yesterday we got busted. I had spoken on the podcast about us getting away with it this season. And yesterday we didn’t get away with it. Player ratings coming up, but my overview is we have far bigger fish to fry than shouting out the names of strikers. We’re fourth from top, not fourth from bottom.
Squad rotation can’t work effectively when the personnel aren’t up to scratch. By this I mean any benefit of rotation is lost when you get damaged by losing, run ragged to no good purpose. Which is precisely what happened yesterday. The need for a striker to me always stems from what the midfield is doing. And by doing, this invariably means, doing wrong. Neither Scott Parker, Sandro or Moussa Dembélé are the ones to routinely provide the killer passes to the front men. It’s tedious to harp on, but until we land a player to truly fill the Modric/van Der Vaart void then what happened yesterday will reoccur.
So if the 3 in the middle we have can’t take the burden that leaves the two on the outside. I’ll rip into Bale properly in the ratings. But I look at Bale and ask myself what is the point of a mobile phone, if it’s switched off? We’ve had the whole Ronaldo wannabe thing and yesterday both he and Azza were infuriating, prepared to offer little more than showbiz XI cameos. Bale should not only be scoring more, but against indifferent goods like Leeds be setting up Dempsey or whoever every 15 minutes. The Bale evolution isn’t working. It’s a regrettable thing to say, but he’s become laughable luxury.
Azza having blown hot and cold since the day we signed him is having by far his best season; but he too was away with the fairies for most of the game and the culmination of all this is that we get what happened at Elland Road. Clint Dempsey is an excellent Fulham striker. He will by default never get 20 goals a season at Spurs without some insanely dedicated midfield boys behind him. Then he might get you a dozen.
Defoe we’ve discussed at length. Turn ping wince/celebrate [delete as appropriate]. The one trick pony who is compensating for his mediocre service by instinctively cutting out the middle man. He’s never had a strike partner in his life. Gets the ball, shoots on sight. And that’s another one who’s aided AVB in this whole ‘getting away with it’ business.
Adebayor, who has royally cheesed me off with his ACN antics is I believe, potentially dynamite. But not without service. Without service he drops deeper and deeper looking for the ball. He needs a proper midfield behind him. You might recall many years ago that’s what he had at Arsenal. So I’m not guessing at this.
I pray that Holtby is the answer. The omens are good. He wanted to come. Bundesliga to Premier League moves tend to be successful. He might just bring a more cultured attacking offer from the middle of the park and would let Parker and Sandro rotate, opposed to take it in turns to the job of two men. The Moutinho thing strikes me it was dead months ago. So let’s identify another target and move on. Holtby would be a punt and hopefully the money can be tipped up to let Shalke 04 release him.
So do we need a striker? I’ve argued against. I’ve tried to factor in the elements using reason and commonsense. It wouldn’t take a child 1200 words to disagree. Just three. ‘I want something!’