Friday, 27 November 2009

Will Gareth Taylor Suffer From Robbie Keane Syndrome?

The cup tie tomorrow will, no doubt, see Dean Saunders fall back on his most experienced and reliable performers, and there can be no doubt that Gareth Taylor falls into that category.

Yet the Kidderminster game posed an interesting question. Look back at last Sunday: Robbie Keane is a fine player and has been a regular for Spurs, but things haven't properly gelled up front for them despite their abundance of attacking options. Last Sunday Keane was rested and suddenly they clicked, Peter Crouch getting two and Jermaine Defoe hit five! Selecting a football team is about finding a blend, not picking your best players.

Central to Saunders' plans, Taylor has delivered and is not just our top scorer, he's our only scorer. Strong, willing and the one playerwe've got who you'd fancy to take a chance on the rare occasion one presents itself.

Yet Tuesday's game posed a vexing question; are we better when he isn't playing?

It seems a ludicrous question on the face of it; after all, without his goals we'd probably be in the bottom four.It's horrendous how reliant on one player's goals we are.

Yet the Kidderminster game, which Taylor missed with a knee injury, was an eye-opener. Okay, neither of the strikers who replaced Taylor have scored this season, a worrying state of affairs when you're virtually in December.

However, it was most fluent attacking performance for some time. Admittedly neither Marc Williams nor Adrian Cieslewicz were particularly clinical in front of goal, but their enthusiasm caused all sorts of problems and their movement meant suddenly we started playing football!

Saunders knows he has an issue of balance to resolve in his team; Christian Smith and Andy Fleming are both having good seasons, but neither of them have really offered much creativity. We look very solid with them protecting the back four, but we don't pass the ball through midfield quickly or penetratively. Until Tuesday. With Williams dropping off and Cieslewicz looking for balls to chase, suddenly we looked creative, rather than desperately hoofing the ball to Taylor.

So what happens tomorrow? Taylor will start, and I'm not saying that's wrong, as he's been crucial for us this season. But who makes way, and will we be hankering back to Tuesday as the game wears on?

1 comment:

Mike H said...

Hit the nail on the head Mark. I asked thus question of Saunders via the Daily Post. I thought his answer poor. Effectively, he implied that his experience was invaluable (agreed up to a point) and that he was delivering on course for 20 goals.

On RP this was viewed as a wasted question. I was even called a "to••••" and lacking in appreciation of what a nice guy Taylor was and how we were lucky to have him.

Interstingly, Taylor has never hit 20 in a season. When he has come near I note that he played in teams who had non-scoring midfields and a fellow striker who couldn't score either. That suggests that he is a player who is detrimental to the team when you play to his strengths.


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