Friday, November 16, 2012

This time last year we were flying high in the Premiership as we  started  the season with an 11 game unbeaten run.

This season has been less spectacular - although it is not quite panic time we will wanted to address our slow start and look at how can kick start our campaign. Like I said we have not started terribly Draws away to Everton, Liverpool, and Sunderland are great results. Defeats to Cheslea and Man Utd are not the end of the world. I can think of our draw at home against Villa and our defeat to West Ham as our only poor results.

We certainly have not hit the heights of last year where really we over achieved. Our big players are currently not on the form we saw last year and Alan Pardew has struggled to get the troops going so far this season.

Following is my take on changes I would make:

I would get back to playing 433 - like we did for the second half of last season. For me a forward 3 of Ba on the left, Cisse in the middle, and Ben Arfa on the right offers us the best attacking option available. We have all seen that Ba and Cisse as a front 2 does not work, and Hatem Ben Afra is not a right winger where he is shackled by defensive duties.

I would also play a midfield 3 of Tiote, Cabaye, and Anita. Tiote would do his usual defensive duties allowing Cabaye to push on and support the front 3. Anita has taken a little longer than hoped to settle into the speed of the Premiership however he is a talented lad who will offer plenty to the team with his energy and passing ability.

Jonas would be dropped to the bench - though he is currently injured. For me Jonas wants to re-invent himself as a centre midfielder, however it is not as simple as that at premiership level. Jonas has a great engine and offers tons of work rate though this is not enough to just expect to fit in perfectly. There is a certain understanding needed to play in the middle of the park and after years playing as an out and out winger it really is hard to change. We saw his lack of awareness at Anfield where his slack passing was punished as Suarez grabbed the equalizing goal.

Maybe a spell at fullback might be an option if Jonas and Pardew feel he can no longer offer anything as a left winger. Truth be told Jonas has been ineffective as an attacking option for a few years now. For me if 442 is Pardews choice then Shane Ferguson, Sammy or Obertan are the better attacking option from a wide position.

Obviously suspensions have hurt us really bad this season - missing key players like Tioe and Colo has been key - also we dropped points from a winning position in the games they both received their red cards.

Consistancy is key - last season it seemed as though we never changed our starting 11 for weeks, whereas this season it seems as though we are chopping and changing each and every week - this makes it really hard to get any consistancy going on the pitch.

All in all it has been a mediocre start to the season - obviously we have plenty of time and games to turn it around and in my mind making a few changes could be a catalyst to kick start our season.