A Case For The Defence

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Your Honour, it’s no secret that our defending has been woefully inadequate this season. I place no blame on either goalkeeper, and, to be honest, not really on our centre backs either.

Mavropanos goes from the sublime to the ridiculous with his performances, which is probably why he fits in so well at West Ham. We do like drama, and you never know what you’re going to get, although I think he’s worth keeping.

Aguerd is similar, but I think he has more class and refinement in his locker. What he seemingly doesn’t have is a desire to stay, which is a shame and a little surprising given the impending new era.

Oggie has been a brilliant servant for the club, with some world-class performances at times. He’s honest, technically decent, hardworking, and loves West Ham. I’ll be sorry to see him go, but he’s no longer equipped for the pace of the Premier League, with young, hungry opposition strikers licking their lips.

Zouma… the words come harder to me here. I think he’s been a pretty steady 6/10 – I’d be interested in knowing his average C&H rating this season – and there are glimpses of what Chelsea saw in him. But with knees and a first touch like his, it was always going to be difficult, and I think he’d be better in Saudi or a slower-paced league.

So realistically, we need two new, powerful, skilful, and pacy central defenders this summer. Perhaps Arsenal would be willing to recoup some of the Rice money by selling us Gabriel and Saliba…? They’ve epitomized what a present-day centre back needs to be. OK, perhaps not, but one can hope!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: my vote for one of the centre back positions goes to Tomas Soucek. Let’s face it, he is ill-equipped for a central midfield role, and the team suffers as a result. He is slow, can’t tackle, lacks vision, and cannot pass for toffee!

So what are his attributes? Well, he’s tall, and he’s good at heading the ball. He always puts his body on the line too. He’s cleared off our goal line a few times this season, and he’s not too shabby at getting on the end of things in the box, so he would continue to be a threat from set pieces.

He loves the club, seems like a top man, and is likely an asset in the dressing room, but I can’t help feeling that his teammates don’t trust him with the ball. We need more dynamism.

So, he may not be Gabriel or Saliba, but I am confident he could do a job in that center back role, leaving the (hopefully only) CDM role to Alvarez in a more adventurous, game-controlling formation.

And on that point, Your Honour, I rest my case.

Guest Post by Mr Buddy Lurve 

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  • Len Scannell says:

    Absolutely right. I’m amazed that it hasn’t come up before. Soucek is good but plays midfield like a CB…

  • Andy says:

    OMG!! … how can you possibly advocate someone who you admit cannot tackle, to be a Centre Back? Talk about handing the keys for the bloodbank to a vampire!

    We need 2 new starting CB’s … keep Mavropanos as back-up with at least one of the U21’s as the 2nd back-up (Luizao or Casey?) … also use Kehrer if he doesn’t leave, though I would rather he be moved to DCM as back-up for Alvarez.

    Oggie needs to retire, Zouma & Aguerd need to be sold to help pay for the rebuild.

    • Mr Buddy Lurve says:

      I don’t disagree with you, Andy, but keep it down with the unnecessary criticism of someone else’s opinion, eh? Obviously it can’t be that ridiculous a notion given Len’s agreement… All the best.

  • Mike Owers says:

    Being able to head a ball does NOT make you a CB. It’s role that requires experience and the ability to read a game. You need to be hard as nails but also have a decent touch. Listen to someone like Martin Keown talking about the role before making any more daft suggestions, please. Zouma has to go. It’s tragic to watch him struggle and only the ( misguided) loyalty of Moyse kept him in the side at all,let alone as skipper. COYI

    • Jeeps says:

      Zeno Debast / Jonathan Tah / Perry Schuurs have been associated with west ham (but who hasn’t?)
      Age old problem is cost, they want to pay less than going rate.

    • Mr Buddy Lurve says:

      Appreciate the feedback, Mike, although the ‘daft’ bit is a little harsh… We’re all entitled to an opinion.

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