I admit I was opposed to his signing, fearing the worst given his catalogue of injuries, but what would we give to have Demba Ba in the team right now? With Ba scoring for fun, and Newcastle sitting in a crazy third in the Premiership table (a place higher than ours in the Championship!), it is becoming increasingly clear which team got the better deal when we paid £4m for tubby Nolan and Pardew picked up Ba for a song.
It also makes you gasp at the stupidity of Grant parking Dembones out on the left, rather than playing him down the centre to feed on the scraps of chances that we were creating in the Prem. I am old enough to remember the mighty Trevor Brooking saying how he expected his game to improve when we signed Ted MacDougall because when you have somebody in the side who scores goals, it lifts everybody. As it happens Trev was wrong, because MacDougall was shit but it is no coincidence that our best season in the league ever coincided with the pairing of Cottee and McAvennie - two players who would gobble up a high percentage of chances created.
Doctor Evil doesn't understand why dominance isn't coinciding with victories. Well first of all, he seems to have a funny idea of dominance. We did not dominate Leeds, Millwall, Peterborough or Ipswich. Yes we had more of the ball against Cardiff but what did we create? We needed an own goal to draw the game against Leeds! And yes we had more of the ball yesterday but did the Palace keeper play a blinder? He didn't have to!
There is a huge irony in Allardyce talking about possession. The exponent of route one knows full well that one killer pass is worth thirty sideways passes. Look at Palace's opening goal! Doctor Evil is bleating about bad defending but that was a goal straight out of the Allardyce text book, "Ugly Goals Win Games".
The problem is, we don't have a goal scorer in the team - outside of the misfiring Nolan. As much as I have defended Cole, he will not plunder enough goals as a lone striker so we HAVE to play another striker alongside him if he starts.
Is Baldock good enough? Probably not. Can Carew and Cole partner each other? Unlikely because then Cole will be running onto the knockdowns and the barn door will suddenly appear very small as Carlton's heart starts beating. Will Carew and Nolan work? No pace.
No matter how you look at it, the bits of the jigsaw still don't fit. But if Ba were there...well we would be storming this division. Tevez would help of course, but that was always a long shot and who knows if he would try anyway. Showing the crossed Hammers when in a Man Utd shirt is one thing, but toughing it out on the pitch on a Tuesday night in November is another.
So what do we do? I would go with Carew and Baldock personally or Carew and Piquionne, and pray. But we are entering into a dangerous clutch of games now and it is absurd that we have wasted the easier fixtures without yet settling on the best team and formation. Allardyce has been fiddling whilst the Boleyn burns and the idiots on the terraces have been dancing to the jig, oblivious to the growing crisis.
Much more of this and I will have to rename Sam Pot. How about Doctor Nero?