Date: 7th October 2007 at 4:15pm
Written by:

1-0 against the Hammers, 5th in the league tonight. We SHOULD be third, with a game in hand on the current leaders.

Despite having played Liverpool and Chelsea at home and Newcastle away, and despite being a positive sort of bloke in general, I’m worried that the position we are currently in is a false one. I think when the season started the majority of us would have settled for being 5th in the league at this stage, but despite the current lofty position I’m now very worried that we’ll be able to maintain it. 1-0 against a struggling West Ham has not exorcised the ghosts of White Hart Lane for me.

If you look at the games we’ve played – we had a poor opening day performance against Liverpool. A game against Newcastle which we should have won. A poor performance against Man City, a desperate display against Leicester in the League Cup and a total defensive capitulation at Spurs. Our strikers look goal shy – Moore looked great in pre-season, now he looks woeful, Harewood was brought in supposedly as back up for Carew but even when he’s injured he doesn’t get a look in, Maloney simply wants out and Agbonlahor, for me, just doesn’t look like he’s going to score often enough. I just can’t see him getting a brace or a hat trick for us.

Our midfield is good on paper, but at the same time underachieving. Young and Barry have had rave reviews but have only got one goal between them so far. Reo-Coker was supposedly the man to boss midfield, but we always seem to have less time on the ball than our opposition do. 45-55 or so in favour of West Ham today possession wise, and that’s being optimistic. It’s good to have Gardner back in midfield, but this just emphasises how far Petrov has fallen in the pecking order. Berger, having been given his new contract, is once again nowhere to be seen.

Spurs aside, our real strength so far has been our defence – and that’s even with no recognised right back. Carson, Bouma, Knight, and Mellberg are the supporting act to Laursen, who has been a revelation so far this season. With Davies and O’Halloran waiting in the wings and Cahill on loan, this is the part of the side I am most comfortable with. They are having to work overtime however, due to the inability of the team to dictate the game and boss possession. And our lack of a right back WILL cost us. I’m dreading Nani, Ronaldo and Giggs arriving at Villa Park.

So..

We really lack a goalscorer.
Our midfield is not controlling the game.
Our defence has a glaring weakness.

The most worrying for me is that the Spurs result will have given every team in the league hope. They know that if they throw the kitchen sink at us, they’ll have a chance. 2-0 down? Well Spurs came back from three goals down. Any team that gets a late goal will rally, thinking they’re in with a shout.

So given all this – how the hell are we fifth? And how long can we realistically stay there?

The thread in the forum on this: Click Here