Leon – 27th – Best

Is Leon doing his Best?
There has been a bit of divide recently regarding Leon Best. Some say his figures suggest he should be regarded as a constant first teamer, whilst others argue his recent form has dipped and he should be dropped.

I was curious about how well he actually stands up against the competition from his Premier League rivals, as some have suggested he is not Premier League standard. So I did a little league table. It is simple:

1 – You need to be playing for a Premiership team.

2 – You need to have played 600 minutes or more this season excluding Internationals or European football.

3 – You will be measured on direct involvement in goals (goals and assists basically) so far this season – from there your position will be calculated.

4 – As assists are just as important as goals, advanced midfielders are included in this too – i.e #10 types such as Benny, Cahill, Hoilett…

Now then, 61 players fit this mould, including three NUFC players. The Top five are predictable with Edin Dzeko 54 minutes per goal (54), Robin Van Persie (65), Sergio Aguero (78), our very own Demba Ba (84) then Wayne Rooney (87) surprisingly being joined by Craig Bellamy (87).

Now I don’t want to list every player, but I’ll highlight a few of the interesting ones. QPR’S Heidur Helguson actually takes 9th place due to his 7 goals and 2 assists in 815 minutes of football, equating to a goal every 91 minutes. Norwich’s Grant Holt scores a goal every 96 minutes, which leaves him 12th. Despite how good Luis Suarez is supposed to be, he sits at a lowly 17th with a goal every 120 minutes.

Some of the worst performers in the league include Emile Heskey (1 goal per 838 minutes) and alleged awesome £12m man Adel Taraabt with a goal every 843 minutes of play. They sit 58th and 59th respectively. Other shockers are Lievrpool’s Dirk Kuyt in 54th place with (1 per 349) and £35m man Andy Carroll (1 goal per 363 minutes of play) sat in 53rd place! Chelsea’s Didier Drogba is sat in 45th place with a goal every 287 minutes whilst Darren Bent is proving less than value for his £24m transfer with a goal every 216 minutes leaving him in 38th place. £50m man Fernando Torres is in 30th, with a goal every 184 minutes (not as bad as some of us might think though).

Some notable players that did not make the list due to lack of playing time include Dimitar Berbatov, Nicolas Anelka, Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands as well as Carlos Tevez.

Best scores a goal every 335 minutes or 1 in every 3.5 games. Lovenkrands did not make the list, but he scored 1 in every 132 minutes, or 1 in every 1.5 games so far this season.

Best does his bit for assists too with three so far – this puts him in 27th place with a goal every 168 minutes, comfortably average for a Premier League player. This is still less on average than Loverman who gets less chances to put a run together. So in effect, Loverman should be in the team before Best according to the stats? Naturally there is more to a game than goals and assists, such as contribution, work rate, defensive work, aerial value and overall I can see why Best is regarded as better than our Danish option.

The fact is that Best has not scored since Aston Villa on September 17th and not been directly involved in a Toon goal since the win over Stoke on 31st October despite being in the starting line up four times since. His work rate has gone down hill, he does not seem to be concentrating as much and is definitely mistiming his runs too often.

He has the tools required to be be a hit, but he needs to buck up if he is going to keep the shirt, especially when Ben Arfa is banging on the door.

More stats – Benny has been involved in 507 minutes of football this season, producing 1 goal and 2 assists. That’s an average of being directly involved in a goal every 169 minutes. One minute behind Best, who has had a clear run in the starting line up all season. One minute behind him after coming back from a double leg break and making fleeting appearances from the bench. One minute behind him without having had a good run of starts.

One good reason why Best should be looking behind his shoulder at Benny knocking on the door – and pulling his socks up sharpish.

In summary I believe Best is more than capable of doing it in the Premier League and despite his current poor run of form he should be regarded as part of our match day squad no matter what happens with Ben Arfa. We know he can score, we know he can lay them on for team-mates so his value to our cause should not be questioned and he should not be sold. However with his performances going down hill and Benny’s on the up I am definitely of the opinion that he needs to find the early form that had most of us gushing about him, otherwise Benny can and should take his place.

What do you readers think on the subject and who would you go for in the starting line up against Liverpool – Leon Best or Hatem Ben Arfa? Over to you for your vote and comments.

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About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

87 thoughts on “Leon – 27th – Best

  1. Nice one mate. Just kind of backs up my thinking that he isn’t the greatest or the worst player in the Premier League.

    Mind he has looked ropey these past few games and needs to improve. Earlier in the season he wasn’t scoring but he was working for the team but that seems to have stopped and it was the only thing that was keeping him in the team for me.

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  2. It’s misleading to evaluate players on goals and assists alone – a single tap in to an empty net will wildly change your minutes/goals ratio.

    We should be looking at chances created, which Benny has been creating in abundance. Remember his shot and pass to Ba against City? Ba and Benny are two of our three players that can make things happen on their own in the penalty area. The third is Shola Ameobi, who is so crucially important during January. Expect to see a HBA and Shola partnership for a few games.

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  3. I’m one of Bests biggest fans… But I also love Ben Arfa so it’s a tough one.

    At the minute I think Best and Ben Arfa should be used as to what suits the game the best, Liverpool for instance, I’d play Ben Arfa as they don’t have Lucas to track him and if Best were to play it would fall right into Skrtel and Aggers hands.

    But in other games Best and Ba is more suited for their aerial threat and to bully defenders and then bring on Ben Arfa’s fresh legs to run at them.

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  4. FSS – I trued to get our resident statto on the case but he says it’s hard to judge with Benny as he’s only played something like 350 minutes of football

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  5. I think Ben Arfa will start on Friday but both will be regulars come mid jan when we lose ba and tiote. I’d like them both to get a good crack at the games while Ba is away but then the decision will be made by pardew on who plays with Demba when he returns. That’s when its best (pardon the pun) to have this debate. Well researched piece and a great thought provoking question.

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  6. Like.
    Yeah I think Best is having a bit of a bad patch, happens to all players. Need to take into consideration how much Ba appears to love playing with him.
    It’s a great problem to have though.
    My heart says start Benny against the scouse, my head says continue easing him in till the ACON. Think it’s been a terrific decision by Pards to not cave and start him straight away, imagine the stick Benny would’ve got if he was starting and not firing on all cylinders, even on here you see how impatient people are with people adapting.

    Nice little fact here: Pardew’s substitutions have directly led to us gaining 6 points this season and cost us 0.

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  7. I think he is a decent Championship player or a bottom of the prem bench player at best, IMHO we should expect more and I don’t think it’s being greedy to expect more for a team that should be an ever present in the top 10.
    From what I have seen he just doesn’t look as if he cares he is forever offside which means he isn’t the sharpest of thinkers or he is just to lazy, I like Trappatoni believe that its the later, apart from his goals he doesn’t offer much else 😕

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  8. I think it’s more to do with how he has played in the last 3 games that people are talking about Toonsy and he has been sub-standard. Compare that to Benny who has created a goal and scored a goal and lifts his team mates (Obertan grew in confidence when Ben Arfa came on and it was no coincidence). Therefore Benny gets the nod at Liverpool for me, maybe not for the whole 90 minutes but he has to start some time.

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  9. Its interesting to see just how they stack up so far.

    Its a big shame we’re not likely to get our new striker next month. If nothing but because new exciting arrival would really boost the current squad’s moral e even more.

    But to be honest although Best has his doubters, that’s arguably plays his best stuff(no pun intended),when he starts banging them in just to prove himself.

    As our current spending policy is well known; NUFC will not pay over the odds to get ANY player-even when there is a glaring possibility it will be to the detriment of the team.

    We just have to hope that Ba comes back in full health because losing him for a couple of weeks is unfortunate. Losing him for the long period could be whole lot worse.

    That’s the gamble Ashley plays. Again and again again. We need to hope our luck holds out I guess. 😯

    Nothing we say or do will change his mind one bit.

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  10. Big Dave
    December 28, 2011 at 18:21

    I think he is a decent Championship player or a bottom of the prem bench player at best

    spot on hes no good 4 us , benarfa time , hes quicker , better skill , can take a man on and a hell of a shot on him!! gutted we arent gettn a striker in jan!! the tight b astard ashley is

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  11. leon best has scored 12 goals for us in a season and a half , who ever is happy with that is mad , hes NOT good enough , benny and ba are a diff level

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  12. I am defo not a hater but Leon has never done it for me. I’d much prefer an attacking midfielder in there like hba or Vuckic. More creativity and more bodies in midfield as well.as allowing more involvement from the wings.

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  13. Army it’s actually 12 goals in 1 season as he didn’t play till Jan this year.

    12 goals for someone who is currently second striker and evenutally will be our third choice striker is absolutely fine.

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  14. Leon Best Hopes To Score 20 Goals For Magpies This Season
    11:50 pm, Friday, September 16th, 2011 by Ed Harrison

    😆 😆 😆 hes only got 17 to score in 20 matches then 😆

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  15. Agree with ST. It’s easy to say a season and a half, but the reality is he didn’t get a sniff until Carroll went and has suffered a few injuries on top of that which have kept him out for a couple of months.In fact he’s just come back from one has he not?

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  16. i personally think if we left best on the whole game on monday we wouldnt have won!! we were below parr untill he went off then wooooooof benny 😀

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  17. toonsy ok he has played a season for us but my point is hes simply not good enough but thats just my opinion, i dont think he does enough in a game

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  18. I think Best is a #4 striker. That’s fine, he adds value to the club in that regard. The problem is that we don’t have a #2 or #3, unless you count Benny boy of course. NEED a non-ACN striker in January

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  19. Well if fans are happy with Best as our 2nd striker thats their choice But I expect more 😕 and I dread to think what will happen when he is the No1 striker while Ba’s away

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  20. We coped fine between Jan and May last year for goals though.
    Do we really want to rush and sign a striker that isn’t even going to be in the team after January? Where would they fit if Benny is playing off Ba?

    I agree that we need a much better 2nd striker, but i disagree that we need to rush and do it in preparation for the ACN, i’d prefer we take our time and sign someone with a view to the future.

    I would love to take a punt on Clyne and Zaha, cheap, young and bags of potential.

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  21. Leon Best is no world beater, we all know that but for anyone to say he’s lazy actually shocks me.
    Granted he hasn’t been on the boil for a few games in terms of goal scoring opportunities but he’s a far better player than some give him credit for.

    I don’t know who’ll start between him and Arfa, only Pardew knows that but I’m certain he will play what suits rather than who he’s loyal to.

    We would all love Arfa in the team because he’s a conjurer, he can create something out of nothing and he worries defences and if 100% fit to last the 90 minutes, I would assume he would get the nod.

    If Pardew thinks he’s not quite fully 90+,mins match fit, then I would assume it will be Best and Ba ,with him once again coming from the bench at about the 60 minute mark.

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  22. Solano yeah we did cope allright I suppose we have to be grateful to Nolans goals 😉

    Wolfie I suppose Trappatoni was wrong aswell when he said he offered nowt else to the team apart from goals ? funny it didn’t shock me

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  23. Well Trappatoni is a bell end with that statement, if that’s what he really said though.
    Can you bring up what Trappatoni said officially BIGDAVE?

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  24. hahaha, just jumped in on here after spending the last hooa reading most of the last thread. Wolfie, you deserve a Victoria Cross lad 😀

    …fair play for sticking to yer guns, although I don’t agree with everything you say, fair play to you and your blog kevlar bodysuit :mrgreen:

    …note to ‘I Love Mike’, I had a word with my clandestine underground insider badger squadron leader, who shall remain nameless, about the player ‘bi-annual’ wages theory. Apparently Real Madrid and Barcelona adopt such a pay structure, but we don’t. Understandable really, given Real and Barca pay their players hundreds of k per week.

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  25. @#2 – The article actually lsited a num,ber of factors that a player should be judged on – this one gives us a clue bsed purely on direct involvment in a goal. However, whilst Benny will float in between the lines and create the things you underline above, Best will be in the right place at the right time to score those ‘tap in’s’. I dont care how they go in, so long as somebody gets it over the line.

    During the early part of the season in particular Best was immense at getting back and helping out defence during set plays etc – You wont see Benny doing that. It’s all relative. I think they are both valuable to our cause in their own way, depending on who the opposition is and what the game plan is.

    However, Best has gone off the boil and I certainly dont think ANYBODY in our squad should be handed a start unless they are in form and putting in the effort. At this present moment in time and based on the circumstances of our next opposition – I would like to see Benny in the starting 11.

    BTW – We are not a top 6 side. Best’s stats stand up to any 2nd striker outside of that bracket,

    ***Interestingly, I forgot to add Shane Long into the article. Everybody saying we missed a trick not picking him up for £6m. He is directly involved in a goal every 268 minutes. Way off Best this season so far. 😯

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  26. Dan4toon, you state best is needed for his aerial threat – how many goals has he scored with his head, in how many games? When did he last win a header? I think the owner now believes we have enough points on board to avoid relegation, hence we are not buying a CF in January, he is blatently disinterested in the club moving forward. The Maiga situation was a smokescreen.

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  27. Cheers ROD, I had the suit specially made by my dear departed granny.

    She beckoned me over to her, on her death bed and said “David, come here my lovely sweet little child of 4”
    She mention the 4 because at the time, I was only 4.
    Anyway, she said, “David, I’ve made this Kevlar suit specially for you and I’ve made it as an adults size because one day, you will go on a NUFC blog and realise it’s wise to wear it”.

    It’s strange what grannies know isn’t it. 😯

    Anyway, just before she curled her well worn out slippers up, she said, “David, always stick to your beliefs even when others want to steel toe cap your bell end with Kung Fu kicks, because sticking to your guns means you are firm in your beliefs and comfortable enough to stand by them without peer pressure forcing you into change”.

    I looked at my Nana and said “eh?, what does all that mean Nana, I’m only frigging four “, that was just after I’d said ” eh ?, what the hell is Kevlar Nana”.

    She just looked at me and smiled , in a sort of twilight type trance and said “may the force be with you my child”, then she slipped away, soaked in her own urine.

    It’s amazing how slippy that urine is, plus she was laid on a plastic mattress, so no wonder she slipped away off the end of the bed. 😀

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  28. aye Wolfie, plastic mattresses definitely claim the number one spot for slipperiness when it comes to a good old-fashioned piss-mix. Take care of the jacket though young Wolfie, for you are the chosen one. And take heed, by no means EVER let anyone else try it on, as they will burst into flame and be damned all for eternity within the murky depths of Daemon Lord Edmonds’ empire. 😈

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  29. Wolfie @ 29 I don’t want to waste my time now because it is totally pointless because you will still try to twist it but an insert of it was
    The Italian stopped short of calling Nottingham-born Best lazy, but said “he will only pick players who are prepared to work for the team”.

    When he was asked again by a UTV reporter if he Leon Best was lazy he replied he doesn’t work for the team.

    Now you can try to twist that as much as you like but to me that is saying he is Lazy and I must be a bell end too because I agree with him.

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  30. ROD, no one will get this jacket mate, I never take it off EVER and even though I reek of sweat and stuff I just think what it would be like if some dastardly fiendish super crook stole it and tried to take over the world. 👿

    Mind you, in saying that, this jacket doesn’t even cover my arse and my wife says she can smell arse coming from me. I suppose I should change me bottoms like. 😆

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  31. Rod a lot of the last posts was that Wolfie says that KK didn’t entirely win his case for constructive dismissal because he never got the full amount that he was suing for 😕
    Even though it was just a straight question of did KK win his case for CD or not 😕

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  32. BIGDAVE, I think Trappatoni meant work harder for Newcastle not for Ireland.
    It’s strange how things can be twisted isn’t it. 😀

    Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has told Republic of Ireland counterpart Giovanni Trapattoni he might be surprised by in-form striker Leon Best.
    The Magpies frontman was notable by his absence from the Ireland squad for the recent qualifiers against Andorra and Armenia despite having scored three times already in his club’s fine start to the Barclays Premier League campaign.
    Asked about Best in Dublin last week, Trapattoni insisted he had not forgotten him, but having watched him play in Newcastle’s 2-1 win at Wolves a couple of days earlier, said he needed to work harder for his team before he was recalled to the international stage.
    That came as something of a surprise to Pardew, who has recommended the 25-year-old to the veteran Italian as he begins preparations for next month’s Euro 2012 play-off against Estonia with Kevin Doyle suspended and Robbie Keane facing a race against time to be fit.
    Pardew said of Trapattoni`s assessment of Best: “That did surprise me. I thought he played very, very well that day [at Wolves] and I thought he worked very hard for the team. We`ve got contrasting views on that, and I think if he picked Leon Best, he might be surprised.
    “They`ve got some good strikers, to be fair to the manager, and he picks who he wants. But in my book at the moment, Leon Best is playing very, very well and working hard.”

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  33. Dave, with fairness and utmost respect to both of you, I can’t help think Wolfie plays Devil’s advocate a lot of the time. I don’t care whatever, it’s entertaining!

    POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

    (Free The Tooting Popular Front)

    …reet, teatime…….

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  34. Trapattoni said: ‘Leon is not here because we have other three four strikers with other qualities. Leon knows why. I don’t forget him but he knows why I need other attitudes.

    ‘But on the there is only one ball. And winning football is about 11 players running for 90 minutes, or 94 minutes, with a winning mentality. I cannot have players who just wait for the ball.

    ‘We need a team, we need work and commitment. That is football. We need this mentality because with our mentality anything is possible. We cannot afford to have players standing there waiting for the ball

    As I said he was asked by a local UTV reporter if he thought Leon Best was lazy he replied he doesn’t work for the team. I watched part of the interview on our local tv

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  35. @Shamrock

    Even ‘directly involved in a goal’ is extremely misleading because it doesn’t factor in great plays that do not lead to a goal because a variety of factors – i.e. a flubbed chance by a striker, great save, etc.

    Your final conclusion that he is a good player worth keeping seems to be based on his ability to score and create goals. I think that Best’s goals created this year are mainly due to Ba’s incredible ability to get quality shots off from half chances. Additionally, one of Best’s assists was a shot that he had flubbed that went to Ba; that ‘assist’ inflated his per minute contributions greatly because goals are such infrequent occurrences.

    In contrast, Benny creates opportunities for others at a really high rate when we get him the ball in and around the box. It’s just that he has been a bit unlucky at times, especially during the Citeh match where on another day Ba would have scored, Benny’s shot would have gone in off the post, and we’d be talking about a match-winning performance.

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  36. Best said: ‘I don’t know what is going on with Ireland, not got a clue. I just know I was not called up last month.
    ‘They called me up in May but I got injured and I was having an operation on my ankle so I couldn’t go to camp and since then I’ve not been called up.
    ‘It is strange because when I was playing at Coventry I was called up so may be if I was just playing there, it might not have happened, but I have not had the call.
    ‘As long as I keep scoring he’s going to have to call me up again, that’s what I want. Me playing for Ireland opened up the window for me to move to a club like Newcastle.’

    I think Trappatoni has spit his dummy out ever since Best got injured and used that silly excuse.
    Just my opinion of course.

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  37. Im a fan of best meself! Think he can be very combative…although he has a lot of rough edges which really need to be refined soon as he has been at this level for 18months now.

    I was at the WBA game, and actually thought he played well for 60 mins, got stuck in and didnt seem lazy…but I wasnt watching him specifically and Im no football guru. Had a brief chat with him afterwards, where alluded to the fact that he felt somewhat drained recently. So I dont think its a case of laziness, but possibly lack of fitness…or a mid-season lull. This can happen to many players. I feel he should be dropped for BA at the moment…but he is a decent back up to have as he tough, good in the air and can hit the net.

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  38. BIGDAVE, I wouldn’t say he knows nothing about players as clearly he does but I believe that he omitted Best because Best pulled out with an injury and Trapapony didn’t like it so spat the dummy out and made the excuses.

    You say Best is lazy and doesn’t work for the team fair enough but I’m saying he’s not lazy and he does a lot of work that goes unnoticed because he’s viewed on his goals with some fans, which is fair enough but when you have BA as the main striker, someone is gonna suffer in terms of a drought.

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  39. stats stats and dambed lies thats what i say but for gods sake lets not boo or berate him because hes very likely the only striker we will have in january and next year 🙁

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  40. Who cares what was said about best , the main thing is he is playing ****e 4 the toon and he needs to get it sorted !!!

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  41. Trapatoni spat his dummy and got it wrong !(international manager)
    Keegan spat his dummy and got it wrong !(Iinternational and prem manager)
    Mike Ashley was mislead and used it as a huge learning curve !
    Wolfie something doesent add up here im confused 🙄

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  42. Thing with Best is that if he goes on one of his little scoring sprees the work ethic is quickly forgotten. Its the same with all strikers. Look at Big Al, he couldn’t run for **** at the end of his career but he still scored goals through being in the right places.

    With Best its hard to back him when he is scoring no goals and not doing much else. Do I think he’ll start scoring again? Yes. Every player goes through a dip in form. Ba had his at the start and will have one again at some point and Best is no different in that respect.

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  43. 12 people have said they wud want leon best to start instead of benny on friday , 100 people have said benny should start instead of best , 12 people musnt wana win on friday

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  44. Toonsey@53 , i remember us having this discussion some time ago when best was scoring and i said then he doesent do enough in the game he finds himself offside to often cant beat a defender and the few goals he did score were against lesser opposition ( mainly ) and of his arse etc ill stick to that and say he will score very few goals and wont contribute enough but i hope im wrong !

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  45. I think it is fairly obvious Pardew is desperately trying to get Best going before Ba leaves for the ACoN. It definitely isn’t working. No goals for Best in his last 9 games and he is beginning to look like a young Shola (clumsy and unproductive most of the time). Totally agree with Big Dave, a Championship standard player. We are in big trouble now that we know no striker is to be signed. I think along with others the best partnership while Ba is away would be Ben Arfa and Shola to start with Best to come in (unfortunately) when either tires. Peter will get some minutes when fit as well. I suppose this means there is some chance we will get a decent CB in during January but I will believe it when I see it. Sad way to have to view things but Llambias and Ashley give me no confidence going forward.

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  46. best has always been a 1 in 4 striker just like perter crouch but we didnt pay 10 mill for him plus fatty wont spend so were stuck wih leon ,ide say we have well had our moeys worth for what we payed for him

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  47. The thing about playing Best is that it totally messes up our attack. Look at the Bolton game for example. We spent the first 60 minutes lumping the ball to Best and he immediately turned it over time and time again. It was pure dross. We looked as bad as Bolton. Then Ben Arfa comes on and within a few minutes we have 2 goals and Pardew is able to breathe again. We can’t keep doing it this way. Sometimes 20 or 30 minutes won’t be enough time for Ben Arfa to turn the game around and it puts enormous pressure on him. Start Ben Arfa with Ba Pardew and then bring on either Best or Shola to finish if you have to.

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  48. batty@58 , But crouch is a good footballer can beat a player and score from 1 yard or 20 or overhead kicks even , aswell as a target man he cost nowt so yeh we have had our moneys worth but i dont think hes good enough .

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  49. All Best needs is a good game and a goal or 2 and he’ll be fine. I read people saying most of his goals are tap ins?!… a goals a goal isn’t it?!
    The fact is that he puts himself in the position to score the tap ins, he gambles, something Andy Cole and Gary Lineker made a career out of, and something that Shola doesn’t do.
    I think if Best score 20 in one season it would be an exceptional season for him, but if he can notch 10-15 goals every season then he’d be an asset to the club. If Ba can get 20 a season, a realistic and very good return, then I’d expect goals from the other 8 outfield players.

    It would be great to have another 20 goals a season forward and bloody brilliant if we could also add another 10-15 goals a season striker to give us 4 very good strikers and plenty of options. I honestly think that could be achieved with as little as £15m, £10m for Luuk De Jong who I think could get up to 20 goals once he’d up and running and is only 21yrs old now. Then another £5m for either Maynard or Rhodes for the 10-15 goals. The issue then would be that we would need to get rid of at least 2 of the strikers already on our books. Ranger and Lovernkands for me.

    All of which is of course irrelevant after Pardews statement today, saying that we will not buy a striker in the summer, and by the sound of it, will only be getting ONE defender in… Goodbye top 6… Hello mid table, if we’re lucky!

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  50. sharpy17 . if best got ten goals this season and they all came of his arse i wouldent care less that would be enough but i dont think he will because i dont think hes good enough and with the rest of his game not being fantastic i would prefer somone else there instead ! ten tap ins fine ! 5 tap ins and 5 rakers fine 5 tap ins and 5 assts fine , 3 goals not fine ! 😉 we agree on the importance of investment in january or lack of should i say very sad but very predictable imo .

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  51. He has scored 3, set 3 up. I think only Cabaye has more assists with 4? I dont get all this crap about Benny playing a blinder against Man Citeh and being a hair width away from a match winning performace, or his runs opening players up, which in turn creates space for x,y and z to make a pass or two and score from.

    I’m sure in his own way Best has had plenty of input into goals this season without actually laying it on or finishing it off – simply by hustling and chasing back, or even heading clear balls in our own box from set plays.

    If he’s a Championship standard striker then he would be miles behind the Premiership players he is currently putting to shame. If Pardew is playing him week in, week out then he obviously has something to offer. He cost next to nowt and is outperforming Torres, Carroll and Bent this season who cost £100m between them.

    We are not Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal. He is absolutely good enough for our match day squads based on our current position and standing. Granted his form is not good at the moment and I personally feel he should be dropped to the bench. But to call him useless is way of the mark and he is doing his bit for us this season and he did it for us last season too.

    I think people need a reality check. He should not be our #9, but he’s good for the support role in certain games.

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  52. Keith, you say that mate but if he plays a blinder against Lpool on Fri and score, then goes on to play well for the next few games, people will change there opinion and say he just went through a bad pitch, not necessarily you but some fans are fickle. Best is good enough and his stats prove it, full stop no returnies.

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  53. …I’d be surprised if Mr red&white tracky top ever managed to get to the ground, he looks like he’s downed 3 bottles of vodka. 😕

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  54. @66 Mint post Shamrock, Best has done class for 1 million or so, like someone else said we’ve well had our money worth.

    @64 Sharpy17, I would be ecstatic with 20 goals a season, and is not as common as is thought in the premier league. 15 is a mint return, especially for us. At the start of the season I thought based on Ba for west ham back end of last season he could get about 15 goals this season and he’s almost reached that 18 games in which is quite unbelievable

    The question is when Ba is gone who would everyone start up front? It’s out of Best/Ben Arfa or Vuckic, Shola/Ben Arfa or Vuckic, or scraping the barrel with Lovenkrands. Does he play one striker and Ben Arfa to get his sharpness up for when Ba comes back and we get used to the system. Anyone any thoughts on this as now we know for sure that we aren’t getting a striker, maybe Pards can throw down the gaunlet as they say and give shola,besty etc some confidence

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  55. BillyBS…Assuming we don’t get anyone else as seems likely then I’d go with Best and Benny…and pray that Ba has a stinker in the ACoN and Sennegal don’t go too far in the competition.

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  56. Trap plays a player who is a fulham reserve ahead of seamus Coleman , 1 of the most exciting right sided players in the whole league ,

    He also played Paul green in the heart of his midfield , ahead of much better players ,
    who’s he ??

    He plays the most boring football I’ve EVER
    Seen, how he can say best is lazy is beyond me
    , he doesn’t even go to watch live games,

    He’s tactics and football are ridiculed on Irish TV each time Ireland play ,

    He’s also holding back young quality because he’s a stubbern old fok,,

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