Saturday, 17 April 2010
Nouble's lack of starts at SWINDON says it all about Zola's incompetence!
What a joke. Sears goes out on loan to Crystal Palace and Coventry and can't score a goal for love nor money. Nouble, meanwhile, can't even break into the Swindon first 11 - he isn't yet good enough for the old Division Three!
Now this isn't intended as criticism of Nouble. Far from it. He is only 18 and, as we have seen, VERY raw. The trouble is, we played a home game against Blackburn in the Prem, a vital game against modest opposition, and Nouble was played up top ON HIS OWN! And he was also left all alone up top in a vital relegation six pointer at Pompey. And, of course, he was asked to do the same job away to Villa, who, ahead of that seven goal mauling at Chelsea, had the best defensive record in the Prem. Oh, and of course, at home to Arsenal in the FA Cup third round!
So, let's get this clear in our heads for a moment. The lad is not yet good enough to start for Swindon Town in the old Third Division but Zola left him up top on his own in three vital Premiership games and in the one remaining competition we had a chance of winning! Doesn't that seem odd?
Now the Zola apologists will say that wasn't Zola's fault, but he and Nani prioritised Jimenez and Diamanti over signing an out and out striker. It was Zola who decided on the 4-3-3 formation and left himself with NO COVER for the only two strikers on the books once we reverted back to 4-4-2. Cole was always going to pick up a knock over the season - he receives a physical battering every game - and, at the fag end of his career, Franco was also likely to pull up lame with greater frequency than a young buck. How on earth did Zola allow this situation to arise?
How much money was wasted on Jimenez? Was Diamanti really what we needed most in the situation we found ourselves in? The answer to both of those questions is no. Nugent may not be the dog's danglers but he was good enough to mug Upson and to transform Burnley at Upton Park after he came on - he was available on loan. I am sure that, had we searched in earnest last July for a striker rather than signed Jimenez, we would have found somebody to fit the bill. But Zola had tunnel vision. He only wanted to play one way and failed to resource a plan B. That is why we are still only just hovering above the drop and may yet fall through the trap door.
Last time we went down, Roeder failed to bolster the defence with players fit for the Prem. This time around, Zola was just as remiss with the strikers, the full back positions and, after the sale of Collins, the centre back position too. Say what you like about Straumur, it was Zola who identified the priority needs on the pitch and the club signed Jimenez and Diamanti according to his wishes.
And please don't say he expected Ashton back. Ashton didn't train through the summer, did not join the pre season tour and I was predicting from Easter 2009 onwards that he would never kick a ball again. Zola only ever saw him once and, on his own admission, was not even in telephone contact with him. How ridiculous is that? And keep in mind that had Ashton reported fit in August, we wouldn't have signed Franco so the situation would not have been any different in the sense that, after reverting to 4-4-2, we would have had no cover for either striker - with one of those Dean Made Of Porcelain Ashton!
There is a charge in law of criminal negligence. By leaving himself with no cover for his strikers, no cover for his left back position and nobody experienced to play alongside Upson in the centre of defence (Gabbidon was NEVER going to play more than a handful of games), Zola was criminally negligent in footballing terms.
Posted by Hammersfan at 10:23