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Author Topic: A one-man team?  (Read 2132 times)

Offline dave.woodhall

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A one-man team?
« on: March 25, 2021, 12:49:34 PM »
That we miss Jack like hell goes without saying. The first twenty minutes against Spurs with their back four playing like frightened rabbits would have given him a field day.  That the team plays significantly less well without him is beyond doubt and is continually used as a stick to beat us with.
Anyone who knows the game, including a few TV pundits, know full well that Jack is not only the best player in the club but also the best English–born player in our league. Of course, we bloody miss him and of course we are not as good a team without him. But who would be? I can sympathise with Woy who must find it difficult not to assault reporters who ask him yet again to admit that Palace are pants because they have ‘only one’ Wilfried Zaha.

Do Barcelona have another Messi? Do Spurs have another Kane? Nor have I read anyone admit the unpalatable truth that despite all their world-beating ‘big names’ Liverpool have been less than half the side when Van Dijk hasn’t been playing. Just check the results.

Throughout history most clubs, at some point, have had their talisman, the bloke who is the best player by a street and whose very presence in the dressing room brings out the best in everyone else. Yet for some unfathomable reason because we have got someone on our books who has that ‘x’ chromosome we are supposed to feel unworthy of being in the Premier League.

There is a case, however, for saying that despite recent results we might be able to absorb Jack’s absence from the team rather better than if Emi were to be out injured for two months. The thought makes me shudder. He must be the best goalie in the division and imparts immense confidence in his defence. Throw in that each of the four blokes who play in front of him are either in the national squad or are on the radar for future selection and you have, by my arithmetic, a six-man team. Fancy that.

The Old Man’s generation was always good at creating legends by linking together two or more names, hence Smart and Mort, Waring and Walker and Gibson, Talbot and Tate’ Look them up if you are in doubt. Maybe Cash, Konsa, Mings and Targett isn’t too much of a mouthful to allow them, in a season or two, to join the pantheon of greats? As all managers tend to say, you build from the back and, if we can keep our back together, I have high hopes.

And when Jack is fit again it would be nice to have three, or perhaps four, of our own in Sir Gareth’s later squad selection, Konsa probably being the next on the production line. I find it interesting that the press seems to think Ezra, who plays - as you will remember - for a one-man team should be the reigning World Champions' main target to fill their catastrophic centre-back gaps. Apart from keeping Jack, my immediate concern is that this man gets tied in with an improved long-term contract asap.

When the force is with us, you can make our six-man team into seven as although our attack has hit the buffers of late and he is nowhere near being the finished article it has been great to see Olly get a nod from Sir Gareth. Close control and pass selection are issues to be ironed out but If we judge him by VAR replays and smudges on the crossbar he is probably the unluckiest striker in the division and is possibly under surveillance for a selection as a number eight to Kane.

By my reckoning, and assuming one day I may be allowed to watch him live’ Olly will be only the fifth centre–forward selected for England while I have been standing/sitting in the stadium. Since you ask, Hitchens, Withe, Agbonlahor and Bent (just). In his day Tony Hateley playing with two proper wingers would have been worth a shout, but that is another story. As a youngster I always thought that when a club produced an England striker it was always worth an extra feather in the cap. Still do, so let’s treasure the lad.

I just hope Olly’s selection does not trigger the usual ‘as soon as a big club clicks its fingers’ press rubbish. Talking of which I read that the Mail (Daily, not Birmingham) has at last admitted that United cannot afford Jack, but undeterred they ran a story that Pep is nailed on to get him this summer, with Jack nailed on to accept and our owners nailed on to willingly let him go. That’s that, then, he’s off. Its official. But some might say that if the Mail thinks he will go with everyone’s blessing at only £100 million it is further proof, should you need it, that their sports department lives on the same Planet Cuckoo as their politics staff.

Of course, I am glossing over the problems with selecting our midfield and wingers. We are not short of quality and most available can be decent enough players on their day. It is just that each of them is that little bit better when playing in the right combination for the gaffer’s tactical style. And with Jack on hand to provide the glue and the outlet.  We saw that in buckets over the Christmas period but for the moment the magic has gone.

 I accept that there may be good reasons to criticise the supporting cast but not being as good as Jack should not be one of them. Take your pick of the possible ‘best’ combinations that circulate online every day (perm any four from nine) and argue your way around where Jack’s best position is, but the boss and his buddies really do have to get it sorted out pronto. Playing for a 1-0 at home to Fulham would be a bit too much Steve Bruce for me. Correction, Brucie would not aspire to the one.

All of which brings us to the silly season, now already upon us, of telling the club who to buy in the summer. I am sure they follow our advice keenly. Thanks in part to the good-natured assistance of the Liverpool first team the flurry of contracts being waved in front of our academy lads suggests a limited number of swoops elsewhere. As it is fair to assume that the coaching staff and Mr Lange occasionally chat to each other about it you can be sure that all concerned have a clear and shared idea about the gaps in the squad we need to fill and, equally, the gaps we need to create.

I make this latter point because one of the few good things about watching matches from the comfort of your settee is that you get close-ups of body language and facial expressions. They are not always encouraging, especially when the subs are being made. Perhaps once Jack is back things will get sharper but for the conspiracy theorists throw in the general sloppiness and lackadaisical quality of much of the attacking play (and I use the phrase carefully) and it suggests that there is something amiss that cannot be put down entirely to a lack of ability. If so, I imagine that steps will be taken during the window to put things right.

Incidentally, I see Sam Johnstone also made the national squad  and good luck to him as he did a good job for us. I think we can reasonably take a little bit of reflected credit for that one but, in fairness to his current manager, a lot of effort has gone in to ensuring the lad does get in a bit more practice than most of his rivals.

Colin Brown
« Last Edit: March 26, 2021, 02:36:31 PM by dave.woodhall »

Offline ChicagoLion

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Re: A one-man team
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2021, 02:23:32 PM »
I enjoyed that, but if the purpose of the article is to shed light on the one man team question.
I have to say that I am no better informed.

Offline amfy

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Re: A one-man team
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2021, 08:34:45 AM »
I enjoyed it too - I’m n
It sure the purpose of it was to be better informed, but I think it rightly discusses the view of us being a one man team as being displaced

Offline Legion

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Re: A one-man team
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2021, 09:34:28 AM »
Perhaps add a question mark to the thread title?

Online dcdavecollett

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Re: A one-man team?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2021, 09:34:34 PM »
Good article.

Offline Nii Lamptey

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Re: A one-man team?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2021, 09:42:19 AM »
Nice article - It's mentioned 5 villa strikers he's seen go on to play for England.... Shouldn't that be 6? Forgetting Vassell?
« Last Edit: March 28, 2021, 11:13:52 AM by Nii Lamptey »


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Re: A one-man team?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2021, 11:11:15 AM »
Be nice to see how Manure get on if Bruno Fernandes gets an injury too.

Obviously Wolves struggled without Jimenez, their first injury in about 4 seasons.

Offline DYWTBAU?

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Re: A one-man team?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2021, 04:16:31 PM »
Good article Colin. Maybe not as far from a one man team as we would like but defensively looking good. It's a shame that Jack's absence has coincided with a loss of form for most of the attacking midfielders/wide men - as well as or because of? - maybe a little bit of both. Many of those players, especially Traore and El Ghazi, have looked very good at times this season but they've struggled for consistency, even with Jack alongside them. For sure, none of them have stood and grasped the role of main man whilst he's been out. I'd have liked to have seen John McGinn given more attacking intent over the last couple of games.

Offline RamboandBruno

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Re: A one-man team?
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2021, 04:12:34 PM »
Good article and good points well made about the defense and Emi.

Offline Steve67

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Re: A one-man team?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2021, 09:40:22 PM »
I sincerely look forward to part 2 of this excellent article.  Now that, well, you know..........


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