Editors Blog: Defensive Options, What’s left?

Chris Brunskill

In the wake of yet another injury to a defender I am asking how can we plug the gaps and set up as a defensive unit. Roberto Martinez seems wary to play Gary Caldwell in any sort of role, whether or not Gary is carrying an injury is unknown, but who else could step in?

At the weekend, Roberto chose Ronnie Stamm as the man to fall into our defence. I can’t see that being a permanent fixture as the full back is not a player who has really adapted to life in England. But the other thing that was a wonder at the weekend, was our defensive system, as the team played neither a 3-4-3 nor a 4-3-3; it was somewhere in the middle.

As we started against Tottenham, we played with a flat back four of Emmeron Boyce, Paul Scharner, Maynor Figueroa and Jean Beausejour. Yet when we were coming under pressure from Spurs, James McCarthy dropped back to fill in at the defence as an extra fast pair of legs. That continued all afternoon, with one of the two James’s falling into the role in the second half.

Martinez interchangeable tactics have proven to get results and they did again. The question now remains who will fall into this new hybrid set up? Will Martinez call on his captain Gary Caldwell to play centre back with Paul Scharner and keep Emmerson Boyce wide?

Do remember we have two talented Spaniards in Roman Golobart and Adrian Lopez in our squad who have shown when they play for us they can play well. Both have come on leaps this season and would be worth looking at.

If Lopez is fit then for me he has to come back into the starting line-up. Technically gifted and with pace it gives us the option defensively that we currently do need. He is a more natural player to replace Alcaraz than anyone else we have in this squad.

The other option is to play Ronnie Stamm wide. Personally I am a big admirer of the full back. Yet I don’t think the English game suits him, nor playing as a full back. For me he could quite easily play as a winger and cause teams problems. He has got a great ability to cross the ball; when he gets it right that is.

This coming week will more than likely be spent on Christopher Park with Martinez wondering who to bring together. We know sometimes Martinez can surprise us with his selection, and I wouldn’t expect any different this time around.

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