Leon Best may not have played against Nottingham Forest last night, but there is little doubt that he will be back in the starting XI come the weekend when Blackburn roll up to St James’ Park.
In fact Alan Pardew has even said that much himself. It was along the lines of him keeping on scoring, so he keeps the shirt. I can’t remember the exact words, but they are about what was said. I can’t argue with it either, and I don’t think many others can in all honesty.
Put simply, Leon Best keeps on scoring. He may not be the most flamboyant or skilful striker that we’ve ever had, but he has a canny knack of doing the most important thing, which is being in the right place at the right time and putting the ball in the back of the net.
Best has scored 9 goals in 13 starts and he is yet to complete a full 90 minutes for us which means that his goals per minute ratio is up there with the best. Will it last? Probably not, but there is every reason to be confident that we can score a goal when he is on the pitch.
How far could he go though? I mean he isn’t the type of striker who is going to beat two or three men with skill before planting the ball in the net. He doesn’t have blistering pace although in the interests of balance it’s also worth mentioning that he’s not exactly a slouch either. What can we realistically expect of him?
Personally I feel that with decent service he can go and grab a lot of goals. I’ll not put an estimate on it, but is, say, 15 goals really out of the question? If he can stay fit and firing in front of goal then why not?
It seems strange that I feel that I have to write this. I guess my reasoning for it is that I’ve been really impressed with him first and foremost, and secondly I feel that I have to stick up for him a little bit, even though his ‘goals scored’ should be all the backup he needs.
Besty still attracts the critics, and I don’t know why. Perhaps they are still blinded by the sun shining out of Andy Carroll’s arse? I just don’t know what Leon has to do to get wholesale backing from all fans. He is arguably the only striker who has earned a place in the team through his exploits for us so I don’t see why some have to say things like “fair play, but he’s not the long term answer”. Why not I ask?
The amount of Best doubters has reduced in recent months, but there is still an under current of disdain shown towards him by some. Is his name not fashionable enough? Did he not cost enough? Does it really matter when he is scoring at the rate he is doing?
The top and bottom of it is that Leon Best wants to be here, he wants to prove a point, and he is doing that. Isn’t that what we all want?
Andy Carroll managed 11 goals in 19 Premier League appearances for us last season. Leon Best is on 9 goals in 15 appearances. There is an argument forming to suggest that we’ve actually replaced Carroll in terms of goals if not in terms of effect on the football pitch. Best won’t bully defences like Carroll did, although he is not fairy I’ll add, but when to comes to putting the ball in the back of the net there appears to be little difference between the two.
Leon Best really is mint!