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Canary On The Wire

It's In The Hole (Revolution 9)

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I have seen posts in the past (or at least I think I have) suggesting that Wes Hoolahan is in dire need of quality competition. I surmised that we would finish our summer business with a total of nine signings- expecting us to finish with the addition of a centre-back, an attacking midfielder, and a striker.

Obviously, there is no point debating that we need another striker- and kudos to CH for apparently attempting to bring in high level experience to that area: True, Lopez and Quagliarella are not exactly afforded ''hot prospect'' status, but either/or (but probably neither) would lighten the load of expectation on RvW''s shoulders to no end, and maybe help ensure he reaches his maximum potential in his late twenties.

Yes, Luciano Becchio is certainly an experienced forward, and I do think we should hold onto him as he is great in the air and at the minute we do lack that up front, with Ricky not exactly famed for his aerial prowess.

However, provided we secure the experienced forward I personally feel we need if only for the sake of being mentally acclimatised to the demands of top level European football, I think that will be enough up front. Expect continuation of 4-4-1-1 - three players for one position a more than ample roster.

This brings me, at long last, to the point of my thread. I will be an interested spectator of the friendlies from now through to Panathinaikos to see just how Hughton views both Jonny Howson in light of his endeavours at the end of last season, and the ''new Gazza'' (sic) Jacob Butterfield, for whom it may be now or never, with our continued evolution. He has travelled to the US, so how will CH use him?

My question to you is:

Do we really need more competition for Wes, or should Hughton swallow his pride on insisting Howson is a CM and use him as Wes'' competition in the hole- where I feel he can best make use of his excellent attacking (but poor defensive) attributes, with Butterfield as understudy?



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The main issue I have with using Howson as competition for Wes'' spot is that I don''t think that''s the type of game Howson plays. Hoolahan has a very low centre of gravity and is happy to receive the ball to run on to, or with his back to goal and to run around players. Howson doesn''t have this in his locker in the way that Wes does.


Howson looks a lot more comfortable being able to play the role to the effect that Gerrard and Lampard have in the past. If van. Wolfswinkle is able to hold the ball up with his back to goal at any time, this gives Howson the ability to bomb forward and latch onto passes into the box. If that''s not how van. Wolfswinkle is going to play, we need a competent number 10 in that hole (I''m not saying Wes isn''t competent) who can hold the ball up and make the right decisions around whether toplay forward to RVW, left or right to Pilks or Snoddy, or hold it as Howson bombs forward. It is then the role of that number 10 to drop a bit as Howson has overtaken him and support Johnson if the defence counter.


Wes has all that in his locker in that if he loses the ball he''ll try like hell to get it back, he makes good decisions, but his stats in the assist and goal columns have been lacking for a "hole player."


I''ve not seen Fer play so I don''t know if this is where he could be utilised or if he''s more likely to be competing with Howson for the second central midfield role.


If we continue with Wes, I see him playing higher up the pitch to link with RVW than if we had someone like Howson playing up there who would more likely drop deep to get the ball and run at players or run onto passes. 

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I agree. I feel that if we have RvW up front, then Wes is the perfect foil for him. Ricky isn''t the type of striker who is particularly adept at holding the ball up- however if Becchio can continue in the way he''s started preseason we may be seeing a lot of him- He certainly can hold the ball up, and would be great at laying the ball off for an onrushing Howson (you only have to look at the peach he scored against WBA for that).

There is still the Butterfield conundrum. If Hughton names him in his squad that''s where things get interesting. AM is certainly where JB plays, but does he suit more a Becchio or an RvW? I would say JB sits somewhere in between Wes and Howson, as he has excellent vision in his short passing game but is equally at home driving through midfield. Will certainly be interesting to see how that one pans out.

Well, I say that, watch as he gets farmed out on loan to the Championship :p

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