Our current run of ten games unbeaten started at home to Sunderland on November 9 when we struggled to create chances in a poor game and gave away a sloppy equaliser. At that point we looked a bit of a mess as domestic lacklustre performances were interspersed with exciting and thrilling European ones. Weâ€™d surrounded the defeat of Inter Milan with four league games without a win.
Since then the completion of the CL group games and the Blackpool postponement have allowed us a bit of rest. Certain players have hit their best form of the season and results have bred confidence and a winning attitude but the benefits of the return of the likes of Dawson, Defoe and Kaboul from injury have been offset by the suspensions handed out to the latter two. The campaign so far has not been straightforward.
The size of the squad has been integral to us achieving the current good position weâ€™re in but the investment in players will have to continue if weâ€™re looking to take advantage of our current status and push on even further. For all the good work Pav, Defoe and Crouch (and to a lesser extent Keane) have done in helping us get to where we are none of them seem capable of filling the role of reliable goalscoring striker. Imagine where weâ€™d be with the Berbatov of three years ago holding up play and setting up the others as well as chipping in with 15-20 goals himself. He was a special player of course hence the money we got for him and to find anyone anywhere near him (preferably not Champions League cup tied) may be too much to ask but it feels like weâ€™re so close to something really good that splashing the cash in an effort to discover someone has got to be worthwhile â€“ a further qualification for next yearâ€™s Moneybags League would ensure a quick return on investment.
Halfway through our 38 games and weâ€™ve got 33 points. In the second half weâ€™re going to have to better that by at least 5 or 6 points to give ourselves a chance of another top four finish. We know we can improve on our return from games against Wigan, West Ham and West Brom so thereâ€™s a few points there but weâ€™ve also got visits to Eastlands, Anfield and Stamford Bridge to come. Our injury situation canâ€™t surely be as bad in the coming months as itâ€™s been thus far and fingers crossed the sudden rash of sendings off has also come to an end. Combine this with the current confidence and character flowing through the team and itâ€™s hard not to be optimistic. Itâ€™s vital that we try and bring in a striker to slot in and add that extra bit of quality up front. If we do then that optimism might turn into something much more.
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