September 26, 2010

Aaron Lennon needs an arm around his shoulder


Last night I heard a West Ham fan on 606 saying what a fantastic match Daniel Gabbidon had at left-back. I couldn’t help but think that Aaron Lennon had made things easy for him.

Since returning from a spell on the sidelines last year, Lennon has struggled to re-find his brilliant form. So far this season he has looked nervous – he doesn’t seem keen to take on the full-back with regularity, and yesterday was a prime example.

Check out Lennon’s passes from yesterday – he frequently got into advanced areas, and yet passed backwards. This when he was up against a centre back playing out of position, who he clearly had the beating of (the cross for Modric showed him skipping round Gabbidon with ease).

Posted Image
(Guardian Chalkboard)

Compare his passes to last year’s game away at West Ham.

Posted Image
(Guardian Chalkboard)

Redknapp needs to put all of his famed man-management skills into action here, and attempt to coax Lennon back into form. I personally think the best way to do this is to use him as an impact sub in the short term, as against Wolves. Whether this means giving Rafael van der Vaart the right-sided berth for the time being, or bringing in David Bentley, I’m not sure, but things are not working out on our right at the moment, with Corluka also performing timidly.

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  • Ossie's Knees says:

    Agreed. With Lennon so out of form and Bale trapped at LB it makes us so painfully narrow we just get squeezed out of the midfield and restricted to long-shots.

  • Mervyn says:

    Just an observation about our defence. Even schoolboys are told to have defenders on the line at corners, where were ours? Simple basics.

  • Sam-I-Am says:

    Thanks for the analysis, Windy.

    Lennon has been very timid in his play of late as your diagram clearly shows(I seem to recall Bale showing the same timidity after his long layoff following his injury). This is in stark contrast to his previous relishing and, in effect, bullying opposition left backs who, more often than not, were afraid to venture too far into Spurs’ half for the risk of having to chase the Wizz kid’s tail in an eventual counter attack. Once this fear is gone, you see a lot more attacking play from the left back.

    Also, it being a team game, Lennon’s hesitancy/nervousness invariably filters through to others around him; most notably, Corluka, who is looking less and less comfortable and assured of his positioning. Coupled with his natural slow pace and Lennon’s lightweight defensive qualities, it invites attack down our right flank.

    I believe an off colour Lennon is a luxury we can ill afford to start games with. Maybe an impact sub as you suggest. Whatever it it I hope he rediscovers his mojo soon.

    COYS!

  • Anonymous says:

    drop him now and when he can be bothered he can then play.utter waste of a right midfield position.

  • Acton_Yid says:

    Rafael Van der Vaart the right-sided berth for the moment ??? You sir are an idiot. You buy one of the best midfield players in the World and you’re willing to play him out of position on the right, when clearly his most destructive power is in the middle with Modric, on top of the that you have Bentley, Jenas and at a push Kranjcar who can all play there. Idiot.

  • AA says:

    I agree with giving him a spell on the bench and bringing him on as an impact sub. Bale is wasted at LB, he needs to be back to LM where he can express himself offensively without worrying about the back. I’d switch Modric switch to the right. Having Hutton bombing forward occupying the width that Modric would inevitably leave vacant once he naturally drifts inside, with vdV supporting a main striker and a two-man anchoring midfield would be ideal, especially for our European adventures. As for the EPL, I’m thinking that abandoning our successful (last year anyway) 4-4-2 to accommodate Bale, Modric and vdV in midfield just isn’t quite working. It doesn’t help that our strikers have been AWOL thus far. Normally I would defend Crouch, but he was shite yesterday.

  • How things quickly changed for us on both flanks of the pitch; all in one summer. We were brilliant last season on the right… most of the time dominant. Now, we’re struggling to find a partnership which can handle the full 90 minutes. Bale and BAE are great on the left, although the latter’s defencive form has hurt us in recent times. Like you said Windy, Harry needs to get into the players minds again and instill some much needed belief.

    COYS!

  • Anonymous says:

    arm round the shoulder ..? more like a kick up the arse you mean, we look so poor this season it’s frightening. Powder puff, nd rate strikers
    and Bassong and co at times look more like 2012
    tracka htletes than they do intelligent cultured footballers. Rednapp has reached his limit’s, motivator becomes useless when he isn’t motivating. Either I say what I see, or just except that we are on our way down from a short ascendancy. Losses in the worst way so far against Arsenl, West Ham, oung boys, Wigan and scraped a point against Wolves…worrying !!!

  • Anonymous says:

    we were at the match and only modric and van der vaart bothered to play. Bale was out of it, jenas back to his useless self, huddlestone was poor and we never, in all honesty looked like scoring. We were outplayed and the chant of ‘champions league, you’re having a laugh’ was all too true.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would rather Harry gives Hutton a chance in the RM position than see Bentley waste ball after ball when he plays

  • Anonymous says:

    The Guardian Chalkboards are great to use, nice one.

    One thing I’ve noticed about Aaron since his injury is his somewhat static movement when our right-back has the ball.

    Last season he would pass back, and then spin off his man into space behind and chase onto the ball, utilising his speed.

    Maybe he’s lost a little of that acceleration since his injury.

  • Topyid says:

    Bollox he needs an arm around his shoulder, he is a big boy now and needs a good kick up the arse to sort him out and make him start doing his job properly again. Harry did the whole arm around the shoulder thing with him when he first arrived at the club and it worked, Lennon responded. Now he has gone back into his shell again or whatever cant keep molly coddling him a slap or two will sort him out. We are dropping points against teams we shouldn’t and fck this shit about keepers having the games of their lives, how many times has this been the case? Put the God damn ball in the net you jokers we create enough chance’s, no excuse’s. Put this one down to “another one of those days” but we cant keep saying that. A few of them need a reality check, need to sort our league form out now before a gap starts appearing soon which it will if we continue firing blanks against teams we should be nailing. Harry time for a rocket or ten.

    COYS

  • Windy says:

    Acton_Yid – with Defoe out, we’re struggling up front big time. Is van der Vaart off Crouch going to work? Not on yesterday’s showing.

  • Anonymous says:

    Until Defoe is fit & our defenders fit we must start this side & formation on Wednesday …
    Gomes / cudicini Hutton king bassong ekotto Modric hudd bale Van der varrt pav keane
    Playing a 4-3-1-2 formation

  • Windy says:

    Acton_Yid – interested to get your thoughts on vdV starting from the right last night. I thought it worked well, and would go with the same against Villa – Lennon as an impact sub.

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