I’ve been put off from doing one of these article due to the amount of unknowns and variables that there could have been.
In truth there could still be variables which I’ll go into later. But now the transfer window has shut and we know what players we have until January at least I guess now is as good a time as any for me to ask you where you think we’ll finish this season.
The variables I mentioned earlier being things like injuries, player form and so on. Obviously they will have an effect on things but to a certain extent they can’t be legislated for. Injuries can happen at any point as can peaks and trough in player form. It’s the same with every player at every club so in that sense I guess there is some form of level playing field.
The question of whether or not we’ve improved on last year is a tricky one to answer. In certain areas we have while in certain areas we are weaker. For example we have a rather tasty midfield this year and I’m more confident in the defence. On the flipside of that I’m not overly confident about the depth in defence and feel that an injury to either Steven Taylor or Fabricio Coloccini could really hurt us. Especially whilst Mike Williamson is out injured.
Also I feel that we are weaker up front, but that’s only because Demba Ba hasn’t hit the ground running as of yet plus the fact we have the benefit of hindsight. Exactly how many people though Carroll would score the amount of goals he did for us in the Premier League before the start of last season?
The way I see it is that we are very close to being better than last year. In fact I’d say that we are a striker and a defender away from being a very decent Premier League team. It’s all irrelevant now though I guess as this window is closed and we have only got what we have got.
However, being a bit more positive, I do believe that this team can make up for certain areas where we are lacking. We have much more pace now and also have actual wingers that can play out wide in place of a central midfielder. We’ve yet to really click, yet we’ve managed to accrue 7 points already. That isn’t bad going at all and leads me to believe that with more time and a bit more understanding we could see a continuation of decent results.
Much will be made of the fact that we’ve lost a lot of goals from the team. Fair enough as that can’t be argued. One thing I will point out is something that I’ve read when people criticise Leon Best – about how his hat-trick against West Ham last season distorts the figures. Surely the same applies for both Carroll and Nolan? In fact 33% of Nolan’s goals came in two games last season.
The goals can be replaced. If Demba Ba can recapture the 1 in 2 form that he has had throughout his career then he’ll easily match the 11 goals from Andy Carroll whilst I’m fairly confident that Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and a few other can grab 12 between them to replace Nolan’s goals.
Anyway I’m starting to waffle and I’m beginning to turn this into one of those “are we better off” articles. It was never intended to be that although obviously some comparisons had to be made.
Right now though it’s question time.