Writer: Ross Molyneux
Date:Monday January 5 2009
One look at the midfield tells us desperately we need new recruits. Shortly before the deadline came and went we sold probably our most consistent midfielder and 'replaced` him with, erm 'Invisible` Nacho Gonzalez. Another Wise masterstroke was made to look desperately idiotic today as Milner bagged a brace v Gillingham.
Damien Duff looks shot. Some might say he`s scored twice, against Spurs and Everton, but the underlying fact is he is there to provide chances for Owen and co. He fails to kick the ball hard enough to even reach the centre of the pitch and has lost any level of pace to beat the last man.
Charles N`Zogbia may be a decent player but he is a prize prick and a mercenary. The lad just wants to be elsewhere so we might as well play him at his own game and try and bolster the transfer kitty. NUFC and the French just isn`t a healthy combination, much like oil and fire.
Jonas Gutierrez, despite a recent dip in form, still looks our biggest hope. The only issue remains his final ball which just doesn`t seem to create scoring chances. A £15m fee for him in the New Year could end up forcing us to sell come the summer, even if we have retained our Premier League status.
Joey Barton? Due to come back later this month but linked with Pompey. Again that would remain a highly probably move given Mike Ashley`s fuming nature at his jail time and long term will to see him sold. Plus Willy McKay would get another transfer fee cut.
Nicky Butt has been the lynchpin of the side but shouldn`t be being used as a week in, week out, midfielder at this stage of his career. Often it has been like King Canute trying to turn back the tide as younger, fitter midfields beat us into submission. Worth a new contract but not as the one for the future.
Danny Guthrie has really started performing in recent weeks, buoyed by his goal against Pompey and showed a decent level of maturity to cope with the barracking he got at the KC Stadium. Definitely worth his place in the squad but lacking in that genuine creativity we really need.
Geremi is all but gone. If football was like the US version, he`d be brought on to take free kicks and then quickly wheeled off. As Mourinho commented two seasons ago - he has lost his legs (not literally!).
In the reserves - nothing to get excited about. Kazenga Lua Lua has probably been the main act and featured against Liverpool but it is difficult to see a consistent first team place for him.
Linked with us are Barry Ferguson (unlikely to travel south of the border again) and Michael Kightly (unlikely to leave promotion favourites Wolves). Hardly the massive overhaul that is required.
Date:Monday January 5 2009
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