Defenders are the unsung heroes of football teams, without them no team can compete, no matter what the level of quality is elsewhere. For this reason, I have some questions: who builds a house starting with the roof?
Let’s look at Arsenal, a side who last year came fourth in the Premier League, many writing them off for any chance of even a Champions League place this year, especially after losing their first game 1-3 to Aston Villa. You may point to the signing of Özil or the emergence of both Ramsey and Giroud, but that only explains the goals scored, Arsenal have conceded just 10. There is no point in scoring if you concede more at the other end, and this is West Ham’s problem at the minute.
In the summer, we invested £15,000,000 in a striker, £6,000,000 in a winger as well as the free agent signings of a goalkeeper and left back (not to mention the later additions of Petric and Cole). The one signing I would like to first point out is Razvan Rat. Was he right for us to build on our first season back? I don’t think so. I can’t help but feel that we would have been better off investing in the likes of José Enrique or Ryan Bertrand and adding to this on the right with the suitable style of Ryan Taylor. That would be a strong back line with perhaps a strong back up centre back. We could cope without Downing. Joe Cole has been proven effective on the wing and we still have the £11,000,000 Matt Jarvis.
A strong defence is the basis for a strong side, it is said that two players should be in every position, right now we have four senior strikers and yet for the past couple of months ‘Allardici’ has persisted with his now infamous 4-6-0 formation, with three strong wingers in the side, we have played arguably our best central midfielder (Mo Diamé) on the flanks. Somebody please explain the point of purchasing wingers to sit on the bench only to have their positions taken by central players? Is Nolan clogging the midfield, preventing players playing in their position?
The transfer policy we have employed thus far this season has been lacking, short sighted and lacking balance; this issue has been unfortunately compounded by selection problems. No successful side has ever not had a successful defence. Like everybody else, I would like to see the addition of a striker to add some quality in depth, but top class full backs would be the icing on the cake.