Yes, we are 7 unbeaten taking 14 points out of 18 in the league, but I still think new manager Uwe Rosler who took charge at Maribor a month today, is still trying to find his team. In my view there are a couple of changes the German needs to make to the team.
My major talking point is the midfield, out of the 3 that started against Bournemouth that look like being the midfield for a while, only one should be starting every week. James McArthur turned in a performance of the highest calibre against Bournemouth winning Man of The Match, the Scotsman is the only person in that midfield 3 who should retain his place, now onto the other two.
Ben Watson has been linked with moves to QPR and Reading, as far as I'm concerned, they can have him. Although he will forever be known as a legend at the club for his heroics in the final, Ben Watson is not a good player. He seems way to slow on the ball can't dictate play or pass a ball over long distances with certain levels of accuracy and as the primary set piece taker for corners, penalties and the like he doesn't do the job to an even acceptable level. From what I can remember this season apart from the penalty against Bolton Wanderers and the free-kick against Bournemouth that got saved, he has done next to nothing from dead ball situations. His free kicks and corners that don't go short normally don't go past the first man or a hit way over targets in the box. My person to replace Watson in that midfield 3 is Jordi Gomez.
Jordi Gomez might get slated every other week he doesn't pull something off like he did in the 3-0 win on Saturday but personally, I'm a great admirer of the Spaniard. He was outstanding in Rosler's first game against NK Maribor a month ago, I think for his performances since then from the bench and from his starts warrants a place in that squad each week. He's not that sort of player to go barraging into tackles or charge about the field like Roger Espinoza (who I will get onto), he is the player that makes things happen and dictates play. Gomez does twice the job Watson does. When he finds himself with a bit of time and space only then he can knock the ball about. The Spanish midfielder is our best technical player, he can pick the ball up inside the other half and either slide the ball through like he did for McManaman in the semi-final last year or ping it out wide for McClean. He also does a lot more from dead ball situations due to his calmness on the ball, he isn't afraid to sometimes get stuck in unlike Watson who showed on various occasions he is.
My other midfield maestro who is only featuring from the bench is Roger Espinoza. The Honduran is a work horse, he will charge about the field, putting people under pressure and will go into tackles like there is no tomorrow. Espinoza for me a is very good player and is prepared to the dirty work for the team, his effort is of paramount importance to the team and is particularly highlighted in the latter stages of the game where we look worse for wear. In my view, Roger Espinoza deserves a start in that team ahead of Chris McCann.
The former Burnley man has rarely shown glimpses of quality this season, although on my trip to Reading his was unplayable, I think that he is a good player to have coming off the bench as he is a big stature who can run although at times he is "Danny Welbeck-esque" his long legs are an advantage on the counter attack when everyone is fading but is quite clumsy and isn't that gifted technically although can defend on request. So in my view our midfield 3 should be Roger Espinoza playing as a holding midfielder just behind a pairing of the ever present James McArthur and Spanish playmaker Jordi Gomez.
Maybe our ever present delight this season has been our defence, but my question is where do you fit everyone who deserves a start? Well I take a look at what we could do. My main point is Emmerson Boyce, the longest capped player for the club has showed he's still got it, but is it going to be a right back for much longer? In my view it's not. Although the Barbados international has showed he can keep up with some wingers this year, could he keep up with the really quick a tricky wingers? I don't think he can especially when we are caught on the break and/or playing high up the pitch when Boyce ventures forward from full back. So does that mean Uwe Rosler shifting him into the centre of defence? it maybe so, but who does that mean taking out of the defence or swapping to our "3 at the back"? Leon Barnett hasn't put a foot wrong this season and been our player of the season by a country mile. Whilst Ivan Ramis has more frequently shown what we saw in his best moments last year the longer he has been in the team, Thomas Rogne has been quite solid this year putting in constantly good performances whenever called upon. James Perch has been a very key player this year, the versatile defender has played the best of 4 positions this year has done a more than adequate job in everyone respectively. So maybe in a dilemma on what 3/4 of his back line will be but what a position to be in if you're Uwe Rosler?
Leon Barnett has to be first on that team sheet so he does stay there, does Rosler play 4 at the back and still choose to play Boyce at right back in the return of Ivan Ramis? or constantly play Boyce at centre back and use James Perch or new boy Ty Browning at full back? Is it time for 5 at the back? Only Uwe Rosler knows but another big point for me is down that left side of our play.
Personally, I think Stephen Crainey should be at Left Back especially playing a flat back four, people might not admire the left back back but he came on at Derby and kept a clean sheet for the best part of an hour at Pride Park. He might not be the best but I'm a big believer in players positioned in their familiar position. Jean Beausejour is a good player but James McClean starts ahead of him for me, he's come on in leaps and bounds since the German's arrival and is a gifted player, McClean is a very attack minded player who will run at defenders and skip past them although Beausejour can cross a ball, his inability to take on player hinders his progress greatly. McClean should start ahead of the Chilean as you can teach anyone to cross a ball but it's a special to beat a player as easily as the Irishman does.
On the goal scoring front, we seem to improving ever so slightly. As first shown by Owen Coyle, Nick Powell up front has been greatly respected this year with the 19 year old our top scorer with 8 in all competitions and in my view he is our striker until I see in any new name tried and proved or our existing Strikers shwo they can score every other game then the Manchester United Loanee is starting up fron week in and week out. He is the reason why we weren't in the relegation zone at times under Coyle, Powell doesn't lack confidence on the ball and shows great maturity in his play, whilst being at the centre of creativity at times, Nick Powell shows such calmness, intelligence and attacking leadership therefore he warrants no competition for his place in the starting line up in the coming future.
There you have it, Uwe Rosler has done a wonderful job at the Club so far since departing Brentford and I still think he is still trying to find his best team. In my view these are the changes he should look to make to our starting line up. My proposed starting line up to face Doncaster on Saturday (excluding the FA Cup).