The last few games have seen us use a number of wingers, who are all vying for a first team place against Blackburn.
Not only are they competing for the Blackburn game, but the strength in depth of our wingers means we’ll have competition throughout the season, barring an injury crisis.
I’m sure everyone will have in their mind an idea who they want to start on the wingers, but with five players that can potentially play there Pardew has a big decision to make.
The options for Alan Pardew are:
Jonas Gutierrez – You know what you get from Jonas; you get a lot of hard work and constant running. Jonas is a good player to play when you need to help a full back, which we need to currently as we’re playing Ryan Taylor in that position. This was proved when Jonas made Jose Enrique look a lot better than he actually is for two seasons.
The end product from Jonas is the poor thing, he’d be one of the first names on the team sheet if he could actually shoot, or pick out a man, but it rarely happens. He also gets us a lot of free kicks, which is good as we’ve got plenty of aerial ability in our line up.
Sylvain Marveaux – A lot of fans won’t have seen much of Marveaux, but at the City Ground on Tuesday he was the stand out player, and he ran Nottingham Forest ragged. I know it’s only Forest, but he showed some brilliant touches and looked the all-round winger we lacked last year.
He’s got bags of pace, a good touch, great vision, a good cross and isn’t afraid to have a dig, which really impressed me. He may not bring the same work rate as Jonas but quality wise he is far better in my opinion.
Gabriel Obertan – There’s been mixed reactions about Obertan this season, but I am of the opinion he is a good signing and gives us another string to our bow. Last season we lacked pace after we got rid of Routledge, but this season that isn’t the case. Obertan can provide some moments of brilliance, and some poor moments, but his pace can destroy teams.
Obertan has a good touch and can pick out a pass, something that needs to be worked on is his final ball, but he pulled out a beauty of a cross on Tuesday night, so he can cross sometimes. Obertan scares the life out of teams with his pace, and when he runs at his defender at speed they struggle.
Hatem Ben Arfa – Ben Arfa isn’t currently an option to start but in a few weeks time he’ll be flying and he will then be an option. Ben Arfa can play off the striker or on the wing, Pardew has said he doesn’t like playing him on the wing, but I feel at home we’re likely to play one winger, Ben Arfa floating and two strikers which is why I included him.
Ben Arfa looked tricky on Tuesday night; he breezed past defenders at times like they weren’t there and put the ball on a plate a number of times for Lovenkrands. Ben Arfa brings a bit of class to our line-up, which we already have with Cabaye, but Ben Arfa will make us even more exciting.
Sammy Ameobi – Sammy has burst on the scene after an impressive pre-season with the club. He’s very raw at the moment, but he has already proved that he can change a game and Pardew seems to be giving him game time in front of other senior players.
Sammy is a mixed bag, completely. He’s got very tricky feet and glides past defenders but his end ball isn’t normally the best. Sammy seems to cross the ball in along the floor at all times, and it’s usually intercepted, but he’s very good at getting to the by-line. His height also means he’s another big man in the box, and as he showed against Scunthorpe he can strike a ball.
The fact that we’ve got four or five wingers to choose from really highlights the strength and depth of our midfield this year. I know will say that Sammy is only a kid, but he’s a good player to have in the squad and brings us another dimension, even though he didn’t cost millions.
I know some of you will disagree with me, but the two wingers I would go with for Blackburn would be Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux. My reasoning behind that is because I feel we will have plenty of the ball, and these two will be able to get at the Blackburn full backs.
Obertan’s pace will cause them big problems, and Marveaux’s all-round ability is something that would give us an extra threat. Marveuax also seems like he’s not afraid to burst into the box or have a shot, which Jonas lacks.
So, who would you play on the wings?