Wednesday, 25 August 2010
West Ham 1 Oxford 0 Why Parker SHOULD BE SOLD
Well, the morning after the near nightmare before, I am convinced that retaining Parker, should we receive an offer of over £10m, would be madness. Yes he scored the winner and yes, he also forced the Oxford keeper into a brilliant save, but those two contributions simply illustrate that Parker is a large part of the problem at the moment. Why? Because they were the only times he got into the box all night!
Watching him and Noble together against such weak opposition was very enlightening. For most of the night, you could throw a tea towel over the pair of them, never mind a blanket. They were both parked in the centre circle when we had the ball and the first move, after releasing possession, was invariably to move back or sideways, rather than break forward.
Time and again, especially in the first half, we worked good positions down the left of the Oxford defence, but when it came to putting in a cross, there was only Piquionne and Sears in the box for Faubert or Barerra to pick out. With five or six great Oxford lumps crowding the box, the chances of picking out a West Ham man were slight, especially given Sears' very poor movement in the box. A quality midfielder would be breaking into the box, offering a pull back, but Parker so rarely spots these opportunities.
During Five Live commentary of the Fulham draw with the Mancs, Graham Taylor talked about how Scholes "takes pictures" during a game, how he is aware of the whole pitch and is able to read the game, second guessing where openings will appear. That was a lovely term and explains what sets a quality midfielder apart from the humdrum midfield dynamos who offer huff and puff but little in the way genius.
Parker is definitely in the huff and puff category, which is why he has so few caps and why he failed to impress at Chelsea. Time and again last night he missed the opportunity to play killer passes because his field of vision is so restricted. On one occasion, Barerra was in acres of space down the right, but Parker dribbled the ball into a blind alley down the left, then released a five yard pass to Spector who was immediately closed on the touchline. On another occasion, Sears, for once, actually peeled away from his defender and was set to break into space beyond the Oxford defence, but Parker did his pirouette and passed the ball sideways instead.
How often does Parker play a forward pass with his first or even his second touch? Watch him! Yes he plays the five yard pass sideways or backwards first touch, but any pass forward usually follows a touch to control, a touch to steady, a touch to let him look up and see what is available and only then comes the pass. His first instinct is actually to run with the ball rather than pass it! The result is that the defence has time to mark up and any forward player, hoping to break the offside track, has to check his run and so, if the pass is played, is on his heels rather than breaking forward.
The failure of Parker to move into space in the opposition half is also responsible for the gap that appears between our forwards and the midfield. Last night, Sears kept coming back into that space because neither Parker nor Noble were willing to move forwards into it. We were playing Oxford for pity's sake, yet neither of our centre midfielders were willing to gamble and move into advanced positions. When Sears did come deep, somebody from midfield should have been breaking beyond him, but that doesn't happen when Parker is in the team - again because he doesn't read the game.
The two times that Parker broke into the box resulted in a goal and a brilliant save by the Oxford keeper. The trouble is, it took him until the 70th minute before he dared to advance that far forward! Had Lampard or Gerrard been playing in Parker's position last night, they would have scored goals for fun. The space for a player breaking forward behind the strikers was obvious all night, but nobody had the gumption or vision to exploit it.
THAT is why Parker and Noble can't play together. As my son said after 30 minutes, "They are the same player", they do the same things, in the same areas, and with Noble now rehearsing the Parker pirouette, they even have the same tricks.
Why sell Parker and not Noble? Well firstly, nobody is going to pay £10m for Noble are they? And secondly, Noble's range of passing is actually better. I don't have the stats, but I bet he played more completed passes of 10 yards or longer over the night. Yes he conceded possession at times, but at least he is trying to open up the opposition. Noble is also the better tackler and is more suited to anchoring midfield than Parker.
I have complained about Parker's poor goal scoring return for a long time now. His failure to get into the box for three quarters of a game against a Division 4 team shows exactly why he has such a poor goal return over his career. Yes he is a dynamo but the guy lacks vision and so will never be a truly top drawer player. When his legs go in two years time, he will be ordinary in the extreme. Sell him and invest the money in a player with the vision to get into the box and into goal scoring positions!
Posted by Hammersfan at 07:59