Midfield Shaping Up Nicely

I wondered what people think about how our midfield is shaping up? Of course, we aim to get rid of Ireland and Bannan. We will also be without N’Zogbia who is out injured for the time being. Towards the end of last season we played a settled midfield of Westwood, Delph and Sylla, and they were showing good skills and teamwork. It was these three that made it possible for us to play Weiman, Benteke and Gabby upfront the way we did. We now have two new arrivals Tonev (Midfield, possibly Right Wing?) and Bacuna who is an attacking midfielder and also can play as a winger! So if we continue to play with three up front, for the midfield that will mean any three from Westwood, Delph, Sylla, Bacuna and Tonev.

But how are we off for squad places? We have El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Herd, Johnson, Gardner and Carruthers. Personally, I would get rid of Albrighton, if he hasn’t done it by now, will another season make much difference. We have to move forward and Albrighton does not seem to have it for the very top. Don’t know anything about Johnson to comment. I think Gardner and Carruthers are definitely players for the future and El Ahmadi and Herd are not bad squad members, though I am indifferent as to whether they stay or go.

Should we add more to the midfield? Well I reckon we could do with an” enforcer” to provide competition for Sylla and Delph. And I wouldn’t mind, but do not think we will get it, but an experienced head in midfield (ala Barry / Parker) wouldn’t go amiss. However, overall I am pleased with where we are at at the moment. And next season, it could always go tits up again, but I think we are going to surprise a lot of people and disprove again the theory “you won’t win anything with kids”. UTV


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  1. anon3
    anon3 July 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm . Reply

    Yes, a good question.
    I actually think we have too many MFs now and I don’t see how they’re all going to fit in.
    We haven’t bought a class AMF or a class DMF to really challenge, imo.

    No doubt Lambert expect these incomers to be challenging, but are they really a step up? No, not when they’re not proven in the prem.
    That’s where I agree with you about a Parker/Barry type player, but that just isn’t going to happen.

    Albrighton, it breaks my heart to say it, but he should go. This, after I raved about him being the best crosser at the club, when moving at pace.
    He’s a shadow of what he showed previously, but my money says he who shall not be named ruined him, in asking him to do too much back-tracking, so he might be given more time.

    I can’t see past that midfield of Westwood, Delph and Sylla, myself.
    Who do we have that is better in their particular positions?

    N’Zog, well there’s no better at creating than him at the club, but I’ll bet PL wants rid.

    I don’t know where any of these new players are going to play.
    Can we say any one of them will step straight in? Not for me, hence they’re all competition and have to prove themselves as better.

    Is Tonev really any better than Gardner, who has shown signs that he might cut it, for example?

    This is what I don’t like about Lambert. It seems he’s trying people who he thinks might prove to be good, but are not proven.
    All a gamble if you like and he’s not playing the % game.

    That said, there’s nothing wrong with fierce competition. It brings out the best in players and stops them getting above themselves in their thinking (hence all the top paid players being booted, imo).

    If I were a neutral, I’d say we were just trying to do it on the cheap.
    And it usually doesn’t work, if you really want to challenge for top 6, let alone top 4.

    If we really want to improve, we need better players.
    Are the new signings better?

    I’m not convinced, personally, but he certainly got it right with Benteke and Westwood.

    And I’m not the manager and don’t profess to be one.
    Lambert is and we can only trust that he knows what he’s doing.

    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath
      OohAhPaulMcGrath July 7, 2013 at 9:21 pm . Reply

      All quantity no quality mate

      1. anon3
        anon3 July 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm . Reply

        Thats how I’m seeing it.
        But in fairness, he did come up with a couple of gems in the last bunch, so here’s hoping, eh?

  2. Benno
    Benno July 7, 2013 at 8:47 pm . Reply

    Given that Gardner missed the whole of last season, I think it may be better for him to go out on loan for the season. He is definitely one for the future but I dont see him having an impact this season.

    1. anon3
      anon3 July 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm . Reply

      I’m not sure I agree Benno.
      If I had to confident about one of the kids, he’d be the one.
      Was his sub appearance on the last day something to please us fans, or does Lambert see what we think is there?

      I suspect the latter and he’ll be very much in the frame.

  3. davidg
    davidg July 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm . Reply

    A very interesting article, streetly; good work.
    For me, the key to our midfield question lies in your expression “shaping up nicely”. Towards the end of last season, the combination of Delph, Sylla and Westwood was starting to look settled and very promising, but for me there were still question marks. Could the development continue and maintain consistency? Was there enough of a physical presence? Could the players add some flair and some goals to their game?
    As you say, we’ve added Tonev and Bacuna, and we’ve got the likes of Gardner and Carruthers, and the as yet disappointing El Amhadi, who you would think will all be pushing to stake a claim.
    So on paper we have options, and those options offer huge potential; as you say, shaping up nicely. But at present that’s what it is for me with our midfield, potential, and that’s why I’m just a little bit concerned, and would have loved to see us go for a player like Jimmy McCarthy to add some stability and experience in front of our defence (although I realise it ain’t gonna happen on that one). If the buzz in the media is to be believed, Lambert also sees the “number 10” position as a priority, hence the links to Kiyotake.
    So it’s in the melting pot. Clearly the days of Bannan are numbered, as are those of Ireland (whether or not we can actually find anyone daft enough to take this waste of space off our hands this summer). I wouldn’t be surprised if Albrighton left; I can see Lambert giving him one more chance but I don’t think he’ll cut it to be honest. The big conundrums for me are Tonev and Bacuna, as they’re unknown quantities, and Gardner, for whom it’s make or break time I think; he could either break right through or sadly turn into our own version of Owen Hargreaves.
    You’re right to express the fear that it could all go tits up with the midfield then, and it worries me that it might due to a lack of experience and on the park leadership, but I balance this with a belief that Lambert and his team know the score, and are working to address any shortcomings as they perceive them. And I think that at some point that “number 10” will turn up from somewhere as well!

  4. markdrapernumber8
    markdrapernumber8 July 7, 2013 at 9:07 pm . Reply

    Good questions raised Streetly.

    To be honest I think Lambert has bought these lads in for starting positions, Possibly bar Helenius although as I touched on in an older post I think the 4,2,3,1 formation could be formidable for us next season, incorporating all the new lads. It seems Lambert so far doesn’t think we have a good enough squad (doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure) and strength in depth is the second reason. Competition for places is healthy for any squad and for learning. If you noticed everyone Lambert has bought in has a starting position excluding El Ahmadi who he gave a chance but later reaplaced by Delph. Oh yeh and Bowery.

    Anon, Gardner and Tonev strike me as two completely different players. Gardner is more central, Tonev a good old fashioned winger who seems more than adept at cutting in and having a long range pop. Tonev for me will be on the left, not the right.

    All in all though I agree with the conclusion, however a slight difference. I believe Sylla, Westy and Delph are more than comfortable in the middle of the park and proved they can break up play with the best of teams as notably seen at home to Chelski toward the back end of last season. I think our marquee signing should be an attacking midfielder, not a dm.

    Will be really interesting to see what Lamberts plans are nonetheless UTV

  5. davidg
    davidg July 7, 2013 at 9:39 pm . Reply

    Going off at a tangent I know, but did anybody see the latest ludicrous ramblings in The Stun about Tottenham’s “master plan” to get hold of Benteke?
    Well, Villas-Boas is going to wait until nearly the end of the window to put in a bid “in an attempt to drive the price down” to £20 mill. Apparently the theory behind this is that by that time, we’ll be so desperate for the money that we’ll bend over and let the self-styled “gweatest cwub in va wurrrrrld” stiff us, and be grateful in the process.
    If there’s any vestige of truth in this story, you can only admire the breathtaking arrogance of Tottenham (oh and by the way, thanks for tipping us off to your game plan). Much more likely is that it’s the pitiful ramblings of a London journalist trying to squeeze yet more juice out of the story.
    Either way, you can only say “yor avin a larf”. Triffic.

    1. markdrapernumber8
      markdrapernumber8 July 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm . Reply

      haha, mate it’s ridiculous. Pretty sure there was one headline earlier “Tottenham happy to bide their time for 20mil striker”. Like it’s all in their hands and we’ll just say thank you, here you go. Also you have to love the arrogance of the media lowering Bentekes value by 5mil every week.

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