After another fine performance from Shane Ferguson last night in the 1-0 win over Club Brugge, is he now our best option at left back? I am starting to think so.
Santon has been pretty solid at left back but there is one obvious weakness in his game and that's a lack of a left foot. When he charges up the left hand side he looks to cut inside whenever he can, once he does so, he hardly threatens the goal nor find a cutting pass to open up the opposition. He is no where near as effective as Fergie, who does the good old fashioned thing of whipping a cross into the box for the striker to feed off. And what a cross it is more often than not. He already has a few assists to his name in a handful of games. If it weren't for Cisse's bullet header hitting the keeper last night, he would have had another one added to the list.
I am not saying drop Santon altogether because with Fergie on the left, Santon has been given his chance at right back and he is just as solid. He is a better player than Danny Simpson and seeing as Vurnon Anita seems to have somewhat 'refused' (I use the term lightly) to play full back any more in favour of midfield, Davide Santon could/should make this position his own. Plus this may sound obvious but when he goes on one of his marauding runs via the right hand side of the pitch, there is nothing hindering him to whip a ball into the box. I can see him and Benny being a nice little partnership down that right hand side, they suit each other somehow. The pair of good looking bar stewards... ; D.
As far as Fergie goes, there is still a question mark over his defensive capabilities at the highest level. He started against Man Utd twice this season and I can't really remember him being totally exposed to an alarming level by any means. Not on the scale of James Tavernier unfortunately in the Europa League a couple of times. Plus there is only really one way to find out...play him.
Danny Simpson's contract runs out in the summer and I reckon it is safe to assume he won't be an NUFC player come next season. Can't say I am that bothered, never really been a fan. So having Davide Santon fill this 'gap' seems like the best option to me with Shane Ferguson given his fair crack at the left back spot. I think we should come to this decision now and see how it goes. Especially before January because if Fergie does seem to be lacking that defensive quality we need, than bringing in Mathieu Debuchy (remember him) could be the best option after all. However, if Ferguson continues his rise and get's even better than what we have seen so far than the club could save itself a bit of money in scrapping the Debuchy deal once and for all and use it for other areas to strengthen. Like centre back for example. I would much rather the club spent £5mil on Douglas than Debuchy as it stands.
Give Fergie a crack Pardew and see what he can do. He brings balance and quality delivery from that left hand side. Something we lack desperately at the moment. Jonas aint no left winger, sick of saying it. Shift Santon to the right in place of the soon to be gone Simpson and we can all look to the future of our defensive line. In my opinion, it looks pretty healthy...we can always add Debuchy next season once Simmo's wages are off the books.
Howay the lads!
(Comments welcome. Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano)