|photo by Ed Yourdon||via PhotoRee|
Scene: IN THE MIDST OF AN IMPASSIONED DISCUSSION BETWEEN CORRESPONDENTS ED AND JAMES
James: Well, dear Sir: Notwithstanding the absence of "My Whipping Boy" (I don't know if I really like how that reads) - the fundamental problem created by the impact of Parker's skill set on this year's squad (e.g., sans Luka Modric) was not rectified by AVB's lineup last Saturday (of course it really wasn't rectified when Daniel Levy failed to get off his ass once again in the last two transfer windows). To wit, there is no one, since the Sandro injury, who has been instructed to consistently occupy the defensive sweeper role (although I think that Dembele, Parker and Jake Livermore are more than capable). And there is no one on the entire squad with the SKILL SET to recycle possession and trigger up field movement. No one, that is, except for young Tommy Carroll - who for whatever reason AVB has chosen not to blood in this year.
With the supremely athletic Sandro as a sweeper, Moussa Dembele was able to occupy the recycler role kinda sort of non-conventionally. Specifically, Sandro covered so much ground that Dembele, after he got it from Sandro, could simply run the ball up field and then dump it into a void created by the sheer speed of the Sandro process, as opposed to running headlong into three opposing players and being dispossessed as Parker does most of the time. What I can't for the life of me understand is why AVB doesn't just tell Parker to stay the f-- back there, do his whole pestering, tackling, disruptive thing and then get the ball to Dembele.
Ed: I agree with that, In fact, Roy Hodgson had him doing that for England it seemed when I saw him in the Euros.
James: Granted, Dembele would be getting the ball deeper than he would with Sandro but this would still be better. For some reason, however, the two are constantly swapping roles and Parker is just not good going forward. In fact, he's very very bad. Maybe AVB feels that since they are both in essence runner / possession type players then they are better off swapping. Maybe, after his problems with the old guard at Chelski, he just doesn't want to piss off Scott Parker. Maybe, with no functional striker, they're trying to do too much on their own. Whatever. But the bottom line is that, apart from Gareth Bale, this team has not been very good since Sandro went down. Which brings us to , which, for most of the game, both were absent. In that game, you've got the lumbering Thudd who,as much as I love the guy, got completely overrun in front of the back four and never had time to launch his beautiful long passes. And you had Lewis Holtby, the guy who should have been back there, running around up field doing a Scott Parker impersonation.
Ed: I agreee with that also. I don't totally know Holtby yet, but he doesn't seem very creative.