So basically we have three players that have met expectations this season…Tierney, Saka and ESR
Some that have done relatively OK in Holding, Xhaka, Laca, Mari and we may be able to add Pepe, Gabriel, Chambers, El Neny
Some that have failed to live to expectations in Partey, Martinelli, Auba, Bellerin, Leno, Willian
I am not looking into our loanees (Ceba, Ode) or youth that has not been really used like Nelson, Balogun or Azeez or players that have not been used much like Nketiah or Cedric.
Our stand out performers are clearly young, talented and ready to work their socks off for the team so they are the first three names on the sheet for me. The strike force came together when Laca was on the pitch and I must also admit that Xhaka in most games did well in solidifying our midfield when paired with Partey so this year and just based on performance only especially in 2021, my starters would be:
Ryan – Chambers, Holding, Mari, Tierney – Partey, Xhaka – Saka, ESR, Pepe – Laca
but this first XI does not get you in the top 4 for sure next year…so the idea is to build around our top 3 performers and to make sure that:
- We are hard to beat so we need defensive solidity
- We can win games so we have the capacity to a. score one more goal than the opponent and b. manage games properly.
In terms of solidity and attacking threat, we do need a better RB and I would say a more industrious Left Forward too. Now if we want to manage the game tempo better and create more chances, we also need a better central midfielders.
In any case, the good things is that we have 3 young British players including 2 that came through our ranks and have basically been our stand out performers this year. This is something to celebrate. Now let us build a team in which they can flourish and take us back to where we belong, namely to the trophy winners’ group.
Thoroughly disagree with your estimation of Partey and Martinelli. Did you expect Partey to be instant Superman and solve all the midfield problems in one go (on his own!)? How many games has Martinelli actually played? His biggest handicap was scoring that goal against Chelsea.
All said, we need players with the right attitude, players that have fight in them. Skill alone will not suffice especially, when the going gets tough. Players that know that winnig games is the ultimate goal of the game. We need to work on the bench. Teams that stayed up, to the end,winning games, are the ones with good bench record. We need to have a sound medical team to manage players injuries. We need to make fund available to buy players that will add significant values to the team when the need arise and not waite for cheap loaned players or free agents that might have gone past their best. The coach, the player’s scout, the medical team and the psychologist must synergise to produce a winming team.Gone should be the days when the coach alone bears the brunt of the loss of a march. If they must go as a kitchen team, as a result of the club decision, it must be a decision that swept, all in the kitchen.
Harsh on Gabi Martinelli. for most of this season, I think Reiss Nelson had actually played more minutes than him. Not sure how he isn’t at least lump into the “unused youth” category.
Thank for the post RC
Your top three are definitely in a category of their own. If I had to pick one other to join them based on performances this season it would be… (don’t slaughter me).. Xhaka.
Martinelli remains a great prospect and I expect him to get a lot more time next season.
Partey was particularly poor in the first game against Villareal, but then he was being asked to hold the central midfield single handedly. I have been a bid disappointed with him but I think he could come good.
I’m in 100% agreement with you about the role Laca has played, BUT… I feel the team would really benefit from more of an all-round central striker. A Drogba, Costa, Giroud, Cavani type who will score more goals than Laca and with a greater variety.
This season we have the (I think) fourth best defence in the EPL in terms of goals conceded, but we are way down the pecking order when it comes to scoring goals. With Saka, Pepe and ESR we should have the ability to make chances for a central striker and I think we could upgrade in Laca and on Auba, who is not really a central striker that suits the way play.
I think that for Martinelli – it is a bit harsh but there were a lot of expectations…and he has been given recently decent playing time and he was not decisive as we expected him to be based on his performances last year…but I agree it was a bit harsh.
As for Partey, I really expected more of him based on his performances in Spain. How can someone like Ruben Dias comes in then transforms Man City’s defense since day 1? The same was with Van Dijk at LFC? The point is that Partey was expected to have that transformative effect on our midfield and he didn’t. I am confident that he will be better next year and but this season, he has at least not fulfilled expectations.
Well done to Man City for their title. I hope we can catch up with them in this decade.
By the way in midfield, Ward-Prowse and Zielinski are definitely worth a close look
You certainly dont give up on Ward-Prowse! He cannot do anything we havent got available already IMO.
As Talkshite play Oasis tracks continuously to celebrate Manshitty’s victory, one Totteringham fan says you better play Chas and Dave for us next year. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣