A good result for Pompey against Watford. But Watford are frankly are a poor team. The club continues to drift towards a mid-table position. I dont think Appleton can do much more. We simply need more players.
Appleton has talked of his desire to have two players for each position. Geekier eagle eyed readers of wswu will remember we have previously written of our support for this simple squad philosophy prominently espoused by mourinho. Appleton went on to explain that he felt wide-men were his priority in the unlikely event of him being given any backing for transfers this January. Well a perusal of the official squad pages on the Pompey website reveals the threadbare nature of our squad with just 20 1st team players including the untried Williams and just blooded Futacs, listed.
By somewhat ambitiously assuming Pompey will play a 442, not listing players for two positions (i.e. ward used once not as a utility RB/DM/CM/RM) and not including soon to be returned to WBA Mattock the squad breakdown looks like this:
GK. 1st Henderson. 2nd. Ashdown
LB. 1st TBH. 2nd. Herman
CB. 1st Rocha. 2nd. Mokoena
CB. 1st Pearce. 2nd.
RB. 1st Halford. 2nd.
LM. 1st Varney. 2nd. Williams
CM. 1st Mullins. 2nd. Ward
CM. 1st Norris. 2nd
RM. 1st Lawrence. 2nd. Husleklepp
CF. 1st Kitson. 2nd. Benjani
CF. 1st Futacs. 2nd. Kanu
You can not argue the squad is thin. And of course the reality is more nuanced, Ward and Mokoena are used in the defence as well as midfield, Lawrence can be used centrally and Varney and Husleklepp can be used up top (and are listed as such on the website) but by listing the players you can see the multiple problems Appleton is faced with:
- No left back - or at least no left back he seems to favour with TBH cut adrift and a propensity to not use older players makes the future look dark for cup winner herman. Having said that I disagree with Appleton ostracising TBH, he had a cracking game against Watford.
- No competition at right back with Halford the only real option...
- Means no competition at centre half
- Little competition at centre mid, Mokoena similarly out in the cold means Mullins and Norris have the positions to themselves a fact borne out by their ever present status this season
- Appleton has focused on widemen as the immediate area of concern, but according to us these positions are the best catered for by the squad (alongside CF). Therefore he must not consider Williams ready and prefers at least one of Lawrence, Erik and Varney as predominantly strikers, centre midfielders or attacking midfielders a la prosinecki, merson etc.
- Strikers are the best catered for position in the squad, even though I imagine most Pompey fans including us, think it is out biggest problem area.
I think if you look at it objectively the spine of Goalie, Pearce and Rocha, Norris and Mullins, Lawrence and Varney is strong. Halford is a cracking rightback. I think, despite Futcas' two goals in two games we need a main striker, Kitson and Futacs can then compete for the second starting position. After that it has to be a LB.