November 7, 2010
The idea that Crouch is a good option as a lone striker in away games is based on his ball retention and ability to help out when defending set pieces. I would argue that his lack of goals (and shots) negates the positive elements that he may bring to the team.
Against Bolton, the only shot he managed in the 90 minutes that he played was an effort scuffed straight at the goalkeeper. Pavlyuchenko had one shot in his 45, scoring a spectacular goal.
Crouch’s shooting was a 100% improvement on the United game, where he didn’t manage a single effort – Pavyuchenko had two efforts (one deflected narrowly wide) in his 28 minutes.
And in the previous away game against Fulham, Crouch again managed just one effort during his 20 minutes on the pitch, whereas of course Pavlyuchenko started and scored.
Whilst I don’t rate Pavlyuchenko as highly as many, I personally feel that whilst Defoe is out, he is our best bet to start games. We are struggling for goals, and he has managed 3 despite only starting 3 league games. In his 8 league starts, Crouch is yet to find the net, and only has 3 assists. Is that enough to warrant Redknapp’s faith?
Images taken from Guardian Chalkboards.