You are probably not surprised to find out that this is ‘it’ now in terms of the squad until January. Pardew has previously told us that the loan market isn’t the way the club wants to go to plug any gaps – such as the striker we missed out on in the transfer window – and he has today confirmed that we won’t be pursuing free agents either. Pardew said:
“I’ve no intention of bringing a free agent in. I’ll go with the group.
“I think you have to remember I’ve got Hatem Ben Arfa training now. His imagination and flair on that pitch would have been a big asset for us – hopefully, fingers crossed, in two weeks’ time he’ll be on that pitch for us.“
I can’t wait to see Benny back but I hope we’re not pinning too much expectation on the lad. I think we need to try and find additional midfield creativity from the likes of Cabaye and Marvueax too and I think Obertan has the potential to slot in behind a striker – in a Benny-type role – as part of a 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 sort of formation. Obertan is probably not what you’d call a ’rounded product’ yet but hopefully that’s something Pardew can work on.
I tend to agree with the policy of not using loan players and ‘temporary’ free agents if possible as I think it’s a short-term view of things. Sometimes you just have to, but I think if possible it’s much better to give some of the fringe players a go.
I still think Haris Vuckic has a lot to offer too. He looks confident and skillful and I just hope this thumb/wrist injury he has isn’t part of a long-term problem (didn’t he suffer similar last season?).
I didn’t think last night’s game was particularly impressive in terms of performance – Tiote played a shocker and Cabaye was a passenger for most of it – but we still came away with a point, mainly thanks to some great on-the-goal-line defending from the likes of Simmo and Taylor. Sometimes you just have to ride your luck!
I don’t want to get too carried away but if, before the season started, you told me we’d be 4th after 4 games I’d have laughed. Roll on Villa I say. If we can do to them what we did to QPR and get a point I’ll be happy, although I’ll be hoping for a much more convincing performance over all.