Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Sell Noble? Yeah, sell your mother whilst you are about it!
The reaction to the possible sale of Mark Noble is interesting. Stoke apparently want him as well as Cole, and the Hammers loyalists are not quite sure what to make of the prospect.
On the one hand, Markie has been pretty crap for two seasons now. Apart from the Parker pirouette, he has added nothing to his game since the Great Escape high point of his career, and many argue he has gone backwards, permanently.
Noble has already had to adapt his game once. As a kid, he was seen as the next Joe Cole, a tricky attacking player with the World at his feet. But then Pardew started the remodelling process, identifying the lack of pace and telling Noble he had to toughen up and become a ball winner rather than a tricksy will o' the whisp. Noble went out on loan, and then, with the relegation sink hole opening beneath his feet, Turds dropped him in at the deep end, and with Tevez in the side, Markie suddenly looked tasty. But with Tevez in the team, I might look tasty!
The facts make awkward reading for Noble fans. He only scored two goals in 26 starts last season, and that's not good enough for a Premiership midfield player. 28 starts in the Prem in 2008-09 brought just 3 goals and 28 starts in all competitions the season before that only brought 3 goals. Now, given Parker and Behrami's appalling goal scoring record, it is easy to see why a midfield featuring the three doesn't work. People agonise over why Gerrard and Lampard don't work together in the centre of England's midfield and they score goals. You don't have to be a genius to see why a midfield averaging 7 to 10 goals a season will add up to a struggling season! Chuck in 25 goals from your strikers and 5 from your defenders and you are topping out at 40 goals, or an average of a goal a game!
In an effort to accommodate Noble, he has been played out of position, and some use that in his defence. But that is no defence, it means he hasn't been able to stake a strong enough claim to secure his true position in the team. Dear God, Kovac was considered the better option last season! Just like the Gerrard and Lampard Combo, the Parker and Noble Combo misfires for some reason, perhaps because they turn in so many circles that they get dizzy.
It is easy to identify Noble's flaws. He is slow, very slow, and his brain is as slow as his legs. Players like Sherringham compensate for slow legs with a quick mind, but Noble's brain chugs and clunks and grinds through the gears. And his field of vision is limited too. Can anybody remember a killer pass from Noble over the last two seasons? I can't. Parker plays with his head down, but I can still think of a few delicious Parker passes. I can even remember a couple from Kovac and Behrami! But Noble? Enlighten me somebody! And he also gives the ball away with alarming regularity. Too often, he plays a pass without looking, trying to move the ball quickly but moving it quickly to an opponent because he can't make himself the time to pick a pass.
Pardew had the right idea, Noble needed to become a cross between Gareth Barry and Peter Storey, a tough tackling anchor man who trusted others to do the pretty stuff. But Noble doesn't seem to fancy that role, he thinks he is better than that, which is why Kovac was brought in ahead of him.
So, Noble isn't very good if we are honest, but I admit to a sick feeling at the thought of him being sold. In part it is because he is supposedly West Ham through and through (although I read somewhere that he supported Arsenal as a kid) but there is also this nagging worry that he may yet come good, that teamed with the right manager and the right players, he may yet fulfil his early potential. Noble or O'Hara? Not much between them in my opinion.
So should we sell him? Logic screams yes but the heart says no. There comes a time when your Mum should probably be sold for medical science but you wouldn't do it would you? If Noble goes, there won't be many West Ham fans celebrating.
Posted by Hammersfan at 09:57