Filed: Tuesday, 23rd August 2011
By: Daniel Nussbaum
It was there for all to see. Max Gradel, a primary West Ham target over the summer and gifted left winger, was wreaking havoc down our right hand side. Leeds' young Ivorian winger was exciting, dangerous and attack minded.
Our left hand side answer - Matty Taylor. An experienced winger with a decent delivery, the occasional cracking set piece and an eye for a pass. However, Matty epitomises our current problems within the squad. With young Jack Collison cutting in from the opposite wing, one thing is clear - the glaring need for pace and width is real, and our wingers don't look like providing neither.
When news first broke of Kevin Nolan's signing, the consensus was he'd be a top player for this club. With discussion rife as to Nolan's best position, it appears Big Sam, whose signature combined with that of his former captain was a real statement of intent, has already made his decision. Our new captain looks set to finish the season in the same he's started it - in the hole, feeding off our big target man's knock downs.
Behind Kevin, we currently have Super Scott Parker and Mark Noble who, in spite of possessing many positive traits, are not known for their lightning pace.
The end result? A ragged midfield, chasing the opposition and two full backs receiving no support from their two wingers. This meant Big Sam had to bring a striker on for Mark Noble who was out of breath just to bring some energy into a very tired team. Our sympathy should go to our two centre backs, who were forced to deal with too many crosses.
So where do we go from here? With such a long season ahead, a quick look at the squad shows us we have very little alternatives at the moment.
One of our options is Julien Faubert, a forgotten man under Avram Grant who looked good and changed the game when coming on for Collison against Leeds. He also offered plenty of support for Joey O'Brien, but will he be able to put the past behind him? Recent reports suggest otherwise, and Julien is quoted as wanting to leave the club.
Two other options look set to leave the club - with Junior Stanislas rumoured to be ready to follow Zavon Hines and join Burnley, and Pablo Barerra close to signing for Zaragoza. Both haven't got a look from Big Sam yet; an indication of what's to come?
One thing is clear. A successful Championship side needs pace and mobillity. Our current set of players offer very little of either. This means we are currently relying on set-pieces and short passes in the middle of the pitch, which will not be enough against the quality sides in this division.
Attempts to sign Eric Mouloungui, a quick striker/winger from French side Nice are continuing. The club have clearly identified the need for pace and width, but will the financial situation allow it?
Stay tuned to KUMB.com for the latest transfer news, should be very interesting.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
by Ben Fitchett
12:05PM 24th Aug 2011
''We need Max Gradel. Simple as that.''
08:28PM 23rd Aug 2011
''We desperately need pace; we looked so off the pace against Leeds,it was so obvious. Our midfeild is pedestrian-like, Parker for all his qualities is too slow for this league although he looked a little better on Sunday. Carew I know was not fit, but my God he looks slow.''
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