Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The aftermath (part three) - the defenders

It seems churlish to criticise what was the best defence in the league, especially as it was at the other end of the pitch where the real problems were. What frustrated most, I feel, was the groundhog day feeling of the goals we did concede. Typically set pieces from the right and attacks down the left. All season (at home, anyway) we conceded only one 'worldy'; against Kidderminster.

The weakness on the left was there for all to see, so it's no shock to see Johnson and Brevett go. Both had their moments, Johnson was excellent until the Northwich game when his hamstring pinged. Brevett looked the business for about a month. In truth both were in bits and as the weather turned, pitches softened and they thrashed their ragged engines, it showed. There's little reason to try and retain George Santos, who looked OK when he played, but has age, fitness and competition for places playing against him.

On the right the problem was less apparent; Eddie Analcet was my player of the season. Not because he was the best player, but because, in a season that was one massive big-dipper of inconsistency, he was the most consistent. He has weaknesses, no doubt, but for me, he was the most reliable most of the time.

We're flooded with central defenders, Willmott, if he can recover from his injury, is the defender who ticks most of the requisite boxes for next season whilst Day offers good versatility. The duo of Corcoran and Luke Foster, if they can be retained, should be able to offer much.

This leaves the two stalwarts - Gilchrist and Quinn. Gilchrist is being held together with gaffer tape, and although he is well past his best, was the principle component in last year's success. If there was a viable alternative, I would be tempted to move him on. Quinn, for all his professionalism, is not a great defender. He lacks some of the steel the pure breeds of Gilchrist and Willmott have, and has no pace to speak of. He does offer stability and professionalism that managers often like. There's still enough uncertainty in the other contract negotiations so it's understandable that Quinn is being offered a new contract. Again, if there was more certainty vis-a-vis Corcoran and Foster, it may have been tempting the release Quinn's wages for a more needy cause.

(This all ignores the details of who is and isn't in contract and was done before today's announcement)

Next: midfield

3 comments:

JimC said...

Your blog has been excellent all season. I don't agree with everything you say, but it's always a good read. Thanks.

Martin said...

I'm surprised you picked Eddie as your player of the season - the Rage Online readership obviously disagrees! Otherwise, I think your comments are spot on, if a little harsh on Quinny.

By the way, whatever happened to your Ruffles blog? I enjoyed that.

Oxblogger said...

Jimc - thanks for the comment, and thanks for reading. It would be very dull if we all agreed... speaking of which...

Martin - I can't understand how Eddie came out worst in the Rage Online vote. He's not the most obvious crowd pleaser, like Yemi, but he did what he had to do most of the time and, for all his pace, Yemi didn't score as many goals as he should have done. To my mind, Eddie edged it.

I understand why people like Quinn, but if he's going to play in the back, um, three, and everyone is fit, I don't think he'd make the team. He's a bit of an everyman who can play anywhere; which has its benefits, I know.

Oh, and try http://www.justinruffles.com.