Dave Sutton's barnet wrote:
Dare any of us post a team suggestion?
Most importantly I will continue to table-bangingly insist that we need two midfielders capable of tackling the theoretical fish supper, so NRC and Muamba would be the first names stencilled on the sheet. I would also withdraw a striker, namely Kevin Davies: not because I despise him but because as has been correctly noted he rarely gets the better of Hangeland – and even when he does, some knobhead in black incorrectly penalises him. No point beating defenders if the ref doesn't believe you did it legally. Klasnic gets the nod up top for taking chances when they come to him - he has one of the division's top ratios - but also for his ability to knit with attacking midfielders.
That leaves three spaces behind the striker, three spaces for which we have half-a-dozen candidates. Like I say, I'm amazed, getting on for angered, that Coyle has assembled so many candidates for a position he doesn't seem to want to use. I'm still not sure Petrov brings enough for a relegation battle, even if the two defensive midfielders would give him more cover than he's had since Holden's knee-knack; perhaps best brought on as sub if we're chasing the game.
The maligned Pratley is at his best in attacking central midfield and played as effectively the second striker for much of pre-season, and it's also Tuncay's favoured position, but I'd start with Mark Davies, who would be more effective further forward while also having the nous to track back and add a third central midfield body when necessary. I'd put Eagles wide right and I'd be tempted to start with Kakuta wide left, partly because he failed at Fulham last year and will want to prove a point to them (and Chelsea while he's in the area), but mainly to add pace to link up with Klasnic, worry defenders and stretch the game.
Intriguing to hear Coyle considering recalling Alonso. You can imagine Damien Duff troubling the Spaniard but then you can imagine him torturing Robinson (and while we're here, is Gardner dead again?). For all his back-page drum-banging I still think Knight is inferior to Wheater, and of the options at right-back (assuming Ricketts isn't ready) I'd have to go for Steinsson, as Boyata appears to be wondering what the hell's happening.
See, there's another thing that's gone wrong this season. Twice in his four transfer windows, Coyle has borrowed a game-changingly good player, but Boyata isn't that, while Tuncay and Kakuta have been heel-kicking and thumb-twiddling even while the manager bemoans his lack of options. Maybe those saviours only arrive in January - in which case let's hope there's another next month - but this half-season has proved that we don't half need a hero.
I dare. I very dare.
Steinsson Knight Cahill Robbo
Have Kakuta and Alonso warming up from the off, because I concede my left hand side looks flimsy. And Ngog on for Muamba if there's 20 mins left and we need a goal (revert to 442).