I have just been looking into our defensive stats and they make very interesting reading.
Ok, we all know that without the Yak, we have been very focused on our scoring prowess, or lack thereof, but yesterday was our third clean sheet in a row and I don't think our defense is getting the plaudits it deserves!
In fact, in our last 10 premiership games, we have 7 clean sheets(!), conceded just 7 goals (2+4 to ManU+Arsenal,plus Jags unfortunate o.g against Wigan).
Howard is the 'Actims' 4th best keeper, Lescott the 3rd best defender and Jagielka has gone from 'damn, we should have signed Bramble instead' to 'Can he Really be better than Lescott?!'
With Baines out, Lescott is able to play LB, where he is always outstanding and thus allowing us to play Jag and Yobo in the middle. These three on form are 3/5ths of a world class defence.
Now I'm no Hibbo-hater (bless the guy, 110% every time but lacking going forwards) but
Neville is his superior in that department and perfectly decent at RB (and hence the title of this article i.e. I'm glad it wasn't Neville we had to do without as LB is far better covered than RB).
Howard also gets slated on here regularly but just look at the stats people! Great keeper, big Tim Howard fan here!
Neville has been able to drop back into defense since we loaned Manny back (yes he has been under par so far, but give him time, and plus an off-colour Manny is better than Nev or Jag covering that role!) so well done Moyes for shipping out Stubbs as we do have 3.5 good CBs now, got a midfielder to replace Neville in CDM, previously a major weak point of our formation, and once Peanut is back in action we will have good competition in midfield to be able to play those on form.
My point is this, everyone is getting anxious that our forwards aren't producing, but missing the fact that we are back to being a rock solid unit, which we weren't at the start of the season.
We are an improved side from the previous CL qualifying side with more attacking prowess (A crocked Peanut and a sulking Yak are still better than Beattie and Bent on a good day!)
So, Chelski to beat the shite later, Man U to win the derby, Arsenal on top tomorrow and us to beat SK Braan midweek and our season is back on.
BRING BACK THE OPTIMISM!
Viv Sharma, Posted 10/02/2008 at 12:35:21
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 10/02/2008 at 19:15:00
Agreed though - top defensive performances have been a key in our successful run. Lets hope that the story I read recently regarding Yak (that he went to visit his sick father and came back with his tail between his legs and made some grovelling apologies to manager and team mates) are true and he’ll be back scoring sooner rather than later!
2 Posted 10/02/2008 at 20:40:34
3 Posted 10/02/2008 at 21:29:49
4 Posted 10/02/2008 at 22:17:20
The service down the line to Arteta or Leon from Hibbert is quicker and more often than not in front of them to run onto than with Neville who also try’s to play that little dink pass down the line that 9 times out of 10 he slices out of play.
So then it must be his forward play, well no actually because again when he does get to the by line once again that dink pass comes into play which is easy to defend and more difficult for attackers to get any power onto, this is the 1 area where Tony is weak, if he hits the cross first time it’s usually ok but when he take’s a touch it tends to be poor.
Which brings us to captaincy, this is the most likley reason Phil gets the nod in front of Tony, but did you spot our captain driving the team on yesterday, no.
Tony’s one of our’s, Phil cost us money and is a great pro, which means Tony has to play so much better than Phil to get a game which is a real shame because we look a better and more balanced side with Hibbert.
5 Posted 10/02/2008 at 23:11:06
6 Posted 11/02/2008 at 00:31:38
7 Posted 11/02/2008 at 08:48:20
8 Posted 11/02/2008 at 10:25:33
I’m no Neville-hater but his performance was woeful. Even though many other players played badly on saturday he stood out for me.
I wonder sometimes for all his professionalism whether he has got complacent and taken his position in the team for granted. If hibbert isn’t good enough to displace him, then it would be good to see the new lad Gosling get a game.....or maybe we should move lescott there. He seems to play a blinder whatever position he’s used in!
9 Posted 11/02/2008 at 11:16:44
10 Posted 11/02/2008 at 12:49:56
11 Posted 11/02/2008 at 12:54:23
Neville might be an okay defender, but his passing and crossing lately has been dreadful. Long term, we should get rid of him. Thing is, he is one of Moyes’ favourites. He should never be played in midfield. As for who is better at RB (him or TH), I’m not sure.
12 Posted 11/02/2008 at 13:17:11
- He says we play with ten players when Neville plays.
- He says we play with ten players when Carsley plays.
- He says we play with ten players when Howard plays.
- And he says we play with ten players when either Fernandes or Johnson plays.
Neville did play badly but I don't see why he gets such a slagging. I mean it is not like shouting "You're shit" at him is going to make him any better. Beside, he is a good player. He has, after all, managed to get to the top of his profession.
13 Posted 11/02/2008 at 23:46:21