Serendipity

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2007/8 Squad Compared To 2008/9 Squad

I wrote this back on 13th August 2008:

How does the squad compare now to this time last season?

I have compiled a list of every player that played for us in a competitive match last year. There was 38 players used by us in total last year in total with Paul Connelly (no longer with us) leading the way with 42 league appearances and Ryan Dickson the lanterne rouge as they say in the Tour De France (lanterne verte, perhaps?) with one substitute appearance in the League Cup.

Here is the complete list of starting and substitute appearances for last season:


Start Sub
Paul Connolly 42 0
Peter Halmosi 41 2
Krisztian Timar 36 2
Lilian Nalis 35 5
Marcel Seip 32 2
Luke McCormick 30 0
Gary Sawyer 28 3
David Norris 27 0
Nadjim Abdou 22 9
Lee Hodges 20 7
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake 19 6
Jermaine Easter 20 12
Barry Hayles 21 2
Romain Larrieu 15 0
Rory Fallon 13 16
Steven MacLean 14 3
Russell Anderson 14 0
Mathias Doumbe 10 2
Akos Buzsaky 8 3
Lee Martin 10 2
Chris Clark 8 4
Gary Teale 8 4
Luke Summerfield 5 2
James Paterson 7 1
Nick Chadwick 3 6
Dan Gosling 5 5
Paul Wotton 5 3
Jamie Mackie 4 9
Lukas Jutkiewicz 1 2

The purpose of this is to compare this season with last so many of them arrived during the season so I’ll remove them and the fringe youngsters. That leaves 23 senior pros:


Start Sub
Paul Connolly 42 0
Peter Halmosi 41 2
Krisztian Timar 36 2
Lilian Nalis 35 5
Marcel Seip 32 2
Luke McCormick 30 0
Gary Sawyer 28 3
David Norris 27 0
Nadjim Abdou 22 9
Barry Hayles 21 2
Lee Hodges 20 7
Jermaine Easter 20 12
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake 19 6
Romain Larrieu 15 0
Rory Fallon 13 16
Mathias Doumbe 10 2
Lee Martin 10 2
Akos Buzsaky 8 3
Luke Summerfield 5 2
Dan Gosling 5 5
Paul Wotton 5 3
Nick Chadwick 3 6
Bojan Djordic 1 1

Most strikingly obvious is that 3 of the top 4 (or 4 out of the top 6) in terms of appearances are no longer here. Indeed many are no longer here. Just who do we have left?


Start Sub
Krisztian Timar 36 2
Marcel Seip 32 2
Gary Sawyer 28 3
Jermaine Easter 20 12
Romain Larrieu 15 0
Rory Fallon 13 16
Mathias Doumbe 10 2
Luke Summerfield 5 2

We now have only 9 (!) of the players who started last season and there has to be apprehension as to the prospects of 2 of them.

There is little point in comparing those players to themselves though. None of them has age as an issue so I will assume that they have benefited from experience and training and are actually slightly better players than they were this time last year.

So what about those who have left since then and their replacements? I have matched them up type for type and assessed as best as I can.

L McCormick GK Stack equal
P Connolly RB McNamee now
L Hodges LB Barker now
P Halmosi LW Puncheon then
L Nalis MID Walton now
D Norris MID Clark then
A Buzsaky MID Paterson then
D Gosling MID Folly then
P Wotton MID Duguid equal
S Ebanks-Blake CF MacLean then
N Chadwick CF Mackie now
Martin loan Cathcart equal
N Abdou


B Djordjic


B Hayles


I would say we are now stronger in 4 positions, weaker in 5 and the same in 3. I have matched Cathcart and Martin due to then both being Man Utd loanees.

There are 3 places unfilled but how much impact did any of them have on last season? It could be argued that they do not need filling although noises from HP suggest that more players may yet follow and I am confident that the 3 replacements for them will be better footballers. Is it asking too much for them to provide the flair that old favourites did?

So despite the incredible churn rate, the illnesses, the agents, the mismanagement of Holloway, the tragedy… In fact despite it all we are currently looking in a not dissimilar position to last season. We have lost the flair that Halmosi and Buszaky brought to the side but we have gained much in other areas and we may yet get that flair back.

It looks like a good squad to me but what we really need is the icing on the cake. We need to find players to provide the spark that Buzz, SEB and Halmosi provided. Will we see that from Puncheon, Clark or MacLean? I don’t know but neither dies anybody else.

If we do not add to the squad still further I think the year on year improvement that we have enjoyed will come to end but there is no way that I see this squad of players as being in danger of relegation.

I don’t like predictions much but I'll make one regardless. I think we will finish 12th if we do not add to the squad.

With the prospect of Japanese players to be added in January could it be that we have another season on the fringes of the play off race. If we do will we be able to make that step up this time?

That was updated to on 2nd September 08:

It looks like a good squad to me but what we really need is the icing on the cake. We need to find players to provide the spark that Buzz, SEB and Halmosi provided. Will we see that from Puncheon, Clark or MacLean? I don’t know but neither dies anybody else.


That was a part of my summing up on the earlier post comparing the squads. On balance I felt that the squad was stronger but had less spark, verve and quality at the upper reaches. We were down on numbers too with Abdou, Djordic and Hayles not yet matched up.

That has since changed somewhat with the arrivals of Craig Noone, Paul Gallagher, Nicolas Marin and Emile Mpenza (and yes I did have to look up their Christian names). Each of them bursting with promise.

Time will tell whether or not they deliver but there does seem to be quality there. Gallagher has been knocking around the premiership for some time now; Mpenza has over 50 caps and has played 25 games in the PL last season and is a hard running, very direct striker with not a little pace; Marin is on the fringe of the French team and there is a simply brilliant goal that he scored on youtube (please excuse the French commentary):








Noone? Another with pace and promise.

We have lost quality in the squad with the departures of Halmosi, Buszaky, SEB and Norris but we seem to have matched that with the arrivals of Puncheon and the recent arrivals.

Against the backdrop of all of this then it appears that we are on the brink of losing Jermaine Easter and Rory Fallon appears to be the only option as a target man. To be honest I think both would struggle to figure other than as subs anyway. Easter, in particular, seems to be another Chadwick and despite busting every sinew to deliver he just doesn't quite have it in him. He has been straining as hard as he could to do what he has done so far and that is precious little.

Fallon? He remains an enigma. He has the equipment and his goal scoring record is good but he does not inspire much hope that he could bang in 20 a season and his ball retention, and marking at corners, is lacking.

No matter. I think the new additions have been expertly judged and very welcome. We have abundant formation options and despite still being weak in the centre of midfield the prospect of Japanese reinforcements in January may give us a boost and there is an enduring Glen Whelan rumour which just will not go away and Stoke seem to have hoovered up every availably midfielder and so Whelan has slipped down their pecking order.

All of a sudden the future looks very promising and improvement on last season is very possible and (dare I whisper it?) we do not have to go on very far to hit a play-off spot.

Fleece the bookies and get your money on Argyle being an end of season play-off team now!

I’ll review what I wrote back then at a later date.

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