Three Things – Christmas edition. How to navigate the next four pivotal games
2.Wesley desperately needs taking out of the firing line
The Premier League is an unforgiving environment, and out-of-form, low-on-confidence players are under more scrutiny than most. Wesley is one such player.
To be fair, I don’t think our system helps him out – players are too far off him and he’s isolated, often against two defenders. Anyone would have their work cut out to produce anything worthwhile in those circumstances.
He hasn’t scored for nine matches and has managed only four in 17 this season. But his overall work rate is questionable and in the last few games, he has cut a dejected and frustrated figure. His confidence seems to have evaporated, evidenced by his solitary, off-target effort against Sheffield United at the weekend.
Unfortunately (and perhaps inexplicably) we are not well-stocked in the striking department, with Keinan Davis and Jonathan Kodjia both injury-prone, and Kodjia looking a pale imitation of the player he was before his ankle injuries.
Not signing another striker in the summer was remiss, despite Smith’s protestations that he’s happy with what we have. Until we can secure reinforcements, I’d like to see Anwar El Ghazi up front – he seems to have a knack of knowing where to be and gets into goalscoring positions far more often than Wesley.
So I’d like to see the Brazilian given a rest, but if not, then push El Ghazi inside and further forward to complement Wesley, which would mean a change of system, which conveniently segues into my third point.