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Players 2013-2014, Good or Bad?


Away Toon
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There seems to be a lack of consensus in general about how good the current squad is and where in the league we should be finishing. Some people think that we should be battling for a European position and aiming for the top 6 or 7 with the quality of players we have (in their opinion) others that we are just as likely to go down, as we nearly did last year. Everybody agrees we need at least one more forward, apart from maybe Ashley and JFK, and that Pardew seriously hampers the effectiveness of many of the players we have.

 

Playing the devil's advocate and looking at our current players in the worst possible light as many supporters of other clubs do;

 

Krul: Injury prone. Worst kicking game in the Premiership. Good at hoofing the ball into the opposition area, especially from free kicks on the half way line.

Debuchy: Temperamental. Gets sent off/booked and gives away penalties. Not the same player who played for France in the euro's, must be his twin brother.

Taylor: Flaps his hands a lot, poor positionally, plays attackers onside, injury prone

Colo: Slow, short fuse, wants to leave.

Santon: Appalling positional play, can't defend.

HBA: Injury prone, inconsistent, can't defend and shouldn't have to.

Marveaux: Injury prone, physically very light weight, often anonymous. There is a good player in there somewhere but maybe not in the premiership and certainly not with the way we play.

Cabaye: Temperamental, slow, wants to leave, nobody knows his best position.

Tiote: Gets booked every game, gives the ball away in dangerous areas, a liability.

Jonas: Please

Shola: Ditto

Cisse: Not since Inzaghi has anybody spent so much time offside, or since Bent, missed so many simple chances.

Gouffran: Squad player, has the merit of running around a lot, occasionally into space.

MYM: Has potential

Haidara: Has potential

Others: Nothing special, a few promising, plenty hopeless.

 

So are we collectively as good as some people seem to think or as bad as those who are betting on us going down? Would a Gomis and a Remy really make that much difference considering how poor we are at the back?

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I think naturally we tend to overestimate the ability of some of our players, but the main issue with what we have is that Pardew sends them out tactically blindfolded. The squad we have has plenty of quality and technical ability but we only get to see that in spurts due to how we are instructed to play.

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Relatively speaking there's a hell of a lot of technical skill, power, flair and natural ability in the current squad. Think back to some of the dross that's turned out for us in recent years, man. All areas of the pitch at the moment have players many other clubs would want in their ranks. We don't have a massive amount of pace but can still do damage on the break with good movement (see West Brom away the other year).

 

In just the right hands, I think we could be really quite good. If we can get a rhythm going we can be functional enough to have a good season overall (such as the 5th season) but I don't expect to see what this squad is genuinely capable of under Pardew/Kinnear/Ashley. The ambition simply isn't there at any level.

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I don't think we underestimate the ability of the most important players, the problem is they are not allowed to express themselves in roles that suit them.

 

This isn't just one or two players its the majority of the squad and thus they under perform and people start to think they are not as good as we think they are.

 

Its an easy trap to fall into but i genuinely believe the players would improve tenfold if they had a manager who allowed them to flourish in their best roles.

 

We still lack 3 or 4 players before having a squad which can compete with Europa League teams on a consistent basis but its not the main issue IMO.

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It frustrating because in years gone by, we haven't had the players to really play top quality football across all areas of the pitch and now we have (mostly) players who can really play the game as we would like to see it played, but yet, produced some truly retched football last season.

 

I'm at a loss  :sad:

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We've got a decent first team, to be honest, it lacks a little bit of balance but it's not a million miles away from being dangerous. I'm intrigued to see how the French lads do now they've settled in and we've obviously started to get the fitness sorted, Gouffran's in particular was a joke and I think he could be a really useful player for us this year as long as said fitness issues are rectified. I have high hopes for Sissoko, I think there are a few reasons why his performances dipped towards the end of the season and he'll be much improved come the start of the campaign.

 

Get Remy in for that left hand side and we'll be a big threat going forward.

 

 

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Guest Phil K

No matter how good or bad the players are, our appalling management/coaches/idiot DoF will make them a laughing stock anyway

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Relatively speaking there's a hell of a lot of technical skill, power, flair and natural ability in the current squad. Think back to some of the dross that's turned out for us in recent years, man. All areas of the pitch at the moment have players many other clubs would want in their ranks. We don't have a massive amount of pace but can still do damage on the break with good movement (see West Brom away the other year).

 

In just the right hands, I think we could be really quite good. If we can get a rhythm going we can be functional enough to have a good season overall (such as the 5th season) but I don't expect to see what this squad is genuinely capable of under Pardew/Kinnear/Ashley. The ambition simply isn't there at any level.

 

:thup:

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It's all down to the manager, really. With this imbecile we're heading up shit creek but looking at the squad itself:

 

Krul - one of the best in the league, a superb goalie but injury prone.

 

Debuchy/Santon - on paper, there aren't many better combinations in the league.

Coloccini - GOD

Yanga-Mbiwa - surprised he didnt go to a better club, he has all the materials to succeed.

 

Ben Arfa - on his day, he's world class. changes the game on his own, an absolute magician.

Marveaux - lovely little player.

Cabaye (fingers crossed) - there's a reason he's in high demand and a French international. classy player, albeit shit at corners.

Sissoko - played out of position in my opinion but, if played box-to-box, he'd be Toure-esque in style.

 

Cisse - even with a 'shit' last season, his goalscoring record was still good. Imagine what he'd be like with service.

 

 

On paper, we have a team good enough for 6th/7th and our depth is much better after our January splurge. We do desperately need at least one striker though, a winger too. But the problem is the manager and off-pitch shenanigans.

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Sissoko - played out of position in my opinion but, if played box-to-box, he'd be Toure-esque in style.

 

 

I'd love to see him play central midfield but I can't see it happening for a while. I think he'll take that AM spot and even though there are 3 players I'd much rather see play there first, I don't think Sissoko will be anywhere near as bad as he was towards the end of the year.

 

I think he was given too much of a creative role in the absence of HBA and it didn't work, he was made the hub of the team after a couple of great performances and went from someone that looked to pass to someone that didn't, instead he just got on it and ran without thinking. With the pressure off him to be the main creative player, improved fitness and him being more used to the pace of the league, I think he'll do better.

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The squad is certainly not as good as some would have you believe. People go on about that 5th place as if that was about par for us, or that squad. It wasn't, we massively overachieved and many things went for us that really were beyond our control. Blaming everything on the manager for last season is the easy option. We are not a top 6 side, even though we finished 5th only a year ago, and our squad is unbalanced, poor in depth and important (creative) players are more injury prone than you would like players to build your team around to be. These aspects are a direct consequence of our transfer policy, of going for the good deal before all else, especially the needs of the squad.

 

People look at players' ability at their peak and assume they are capable of continuously producing it, or near enough to that level. Similarly, people remember blunders from other team players and underestimate these players, because they don't see enough to change their mind. Only if a player underperforms for a long time, or leaves/expresses a desire to leave, do the blinkers fall off and can we judge without the subjectivity of being a fan. I believe this is typical behaviour for any group of football fans mind, not just us. The irony is we can laugh at other club's fans' delusion, yet are oftentimes incapable psychologically to realise our own.

 

The reality is we have some talented players in our squad, but there are also glaring weaknesses. Of course, our tactically weak, cowardice manager only compounds our problems. I would say midtable is about par for the course for this setup, which is exactly as Ashley wants it: good enough to usually be safe, yet not too costly as to actually cost him money on a  structural basis. There is no ambition whatsoever to achieve anything other than Premiership survival for financial reasons. Until he leaves, I fear that's the way it will always be, alas...

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Tbf the squad is miles stronger now than we finished 5th.....

 

From that team we have only really lost Ba who was important and gained Anita, Sissoko, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara, Debuchy and Gouffran.

 

Not to mention Ben Arfa hardly figured till February and Cisse didn't figure at all.

 

Yes we massively overachieved but the squad is much better now and we only expect mid table? that doesn't sound right to me.

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Guest Alexinho

Tbf the squad is miles stronger now than we finished 5th.....

 

From that team we have only really lost Ba who was important and gained Anita, Sissoko, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara, Debuchy and Gouffran.

 

Not to mention Ben Arfa hardly figured till February and Cisse didn't figure at all.

 

Yes we massively overachieved but the squad is much better now and we only expect mid table? that doesn't sound right to me.

 

Don't underestimate Ba's value, he has not been replaced yet... But otherwise, true... Blame it on the manager! Can make a OK team out of workers, but give him footballplayers? NOTHING...

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Guest Alexinho

And don't underestimate a s**t manager, board and owner..,

 

Owner spell in english, my norwegian dictionary autocorrected the norwegian word for "money"... And "money" went on the be monkey...

 

Coincidence?

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We're terribly unbalanced right now but only a few players away from being very balanced.  That's basically 2 strikers (1 capable of challenging for the starting position and 1 able to play both wide and central), 1 wide player who is capable of playing as a true wide midfielder or pushed further up, and 1 central defender. I'd add another GK (what happened to rumors of that Dutch lad?) to the mix and we'd be pretty well balanced.  If we are able to gain momentum in the first 5-10 fixtures, keep (get) the squad fit, then we can really push ourselves up the table. The start of the season is very crucial for us for the team's psyche to get over last season and for AP's tactics (or lack there-of).

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Tbf the squad is miles stronger now than we finished 5th.....

 

From that team we have only really lost Ba who was important and gained Anita, Sissoko, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara, Debuchy and Gouffran.

 

Not to mention Ben Arfa hardly figured till February and Cisse didn't figure at all.

 

Yes we massively overachieved but the squad is much better now and we only expect mid table? that doesn't sound right to me.

 

You mention the squad is better by listing the new players, yet only mention the most important first team player we've lost, not the squad players. Look, the first team is strong on paper, shame the first team cannot play every minute together and the squad strength is often decisive for successful campaigns, and the game is not played on paper, as evidenced for example by Cisse's poor form last season, or Colo's disappearance for the best part of half a season for unknown reasons.

 

As for whether our 'par' is better than midtable with this squad of players (note: squad, not team), I would say normally we have no chance of finishing above at least Man U, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Everton. That leaves eight as a realistic, yet optimistic target. However, the same thing can be said for a significant number of other established Premiership clubs, who all have similar financial means and seem more willing to strengthen lately, bridging any gap that may have been there whilst we penny pinch our way through transfer window after transfer window. I would say realistically we could finish anywhere between 8th and 14th, with 5th huge overachievement, and 16th large underachievement relative to that 'par'.

 

I appreciate it is easy to think of the best XI we can put out and look at the names of Ben Arfa, Cisse, Cabaye amongst others and think we've got a team of world beaters here, because they can sometimes be exactly that on their day, but really, how often does that day come by? Consistency is key to challenge for honours, and we couldn't be any less consistent if we tried.

 

We can scapegoat managers and squad players till the cows come home, ultimately it is down to Ashley's willingness to invest into NUFC whether the future is bright or not. Carr can spot all the talent in the world before other people, and have the contacts to get us into pole position as much as he wants, if Ashley is unwilling to invest to a level similar to our competitors, we will fall behind eventually. Just imagine where we could be with Carr's eye for talent and an owner with genuine ambition, who would be able to spot a progressive manager when he saw one, and than was willing to back him to a good level, without endangering the future of the club. We'd be around where Spurs are now is where. Yet here we are: we have just appointed Joe Kinnear to be our DoF and we dread the thought of qualifying for Europe ever again. That's about the level of our ambition. Won't be long before our better players tweak onto it and will agitate for a move. The first signs are already there (Colo, Cabaye, Cisse?)...

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