Portsmouth - Who is the 'right' way to go?
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Who is the 'right' way to go?

See what I did there - genius... ok maybe not! The right side of midfield has been a real problem area for us this season, and in truth in seasons gone by and we are still looking for the answer.

This season we have tried:

  • Niko Kranjcar - albeit very briefly, but Harry Redknapp prefers him on the left.

  • John Utaka - he has been used mostly but his lack of effort and apparent unwillingness to track back often leaves the defence exposed.

  • Lauren - defensively he leaves us sound but his inability to get forward hurts us.

  • Sean Davis - that just is not his position and it shows.

  • Richard Hughes - again this not his role but if you ask him to do a job anywhere on the park he will do it, and he has but not to the degree we need in this area.

  • Lassana Diarra - he had played as a right back for Chelsea, maybe even on the right of midfield? He was totally wasted when he was used on the right against Birmingham. It seemed to have a negative impact on his game and he gave the ball away more in his substitute appearance that night than he probably has during the rest of his Pompey career I would say.

  • Papa Bouba Diop - the big man cannot do this role at all; he looks awkward and very uncomfortable. The lack of width that we have is even more apparent with him on the right. You talk about square pegs in round holes - this is an understatement when using him out on the right.

  • Arnold Mvuemba - he was used most recently against West Ham during the week, and he did an ok job.

    Utaka is the man that Redknapp wants to use here but his laid back style has often seen us almost play with 10 men. Sorry to be harsh on the fella but his lack of effort and interest sometimes horrifies me. He has the talent and the ability, he just needs the application - hopefully next season we will see the best of him? With Utaka out injured at the moment anyway we need to fill this void.

    To be honest I would like to see Glen Johnson given a go and put Lauren at right back behind him. Another possibility, although not ideal, even more so as he has been out injured for so long would be to play Martin Cranie ahead of Johnson? He has the energy to get up and down and can play that role. As I often say ultimately I see Cranie as a central defender but he can play on either flank as a full back or a midfielder.

    Lets fact it though none of the above are going to happen, it will most likely be Bouba Diop that keeps his place on the right at the weekend but I can see no harm in keeping Mvuemba in the side. He did a job against West Ham and for me in terms of options that will seriously be looked at he is the most natural option to play out on the right. He did this to some success last season when asked, I recall his goal at Watford when he scored after a minute or so of coming on, and I believe he was playing on the right side of midfield that afternoon?

    I think we clearly need to look at this area in the summer, but for now we have to make do with what we have.

    People might not agree but I really do think that we have missed Gary O'Neil more than any other player sold. He might not have been ideally suited to the role on the right but he got up and down the pitch all day long and his delivery is fantastic. His major failing was his inability to score enough goals, this always stopped him from stepping up to the next level for me.

    But we cannot change what has been so we can only use what we have. As said I would like to see Johnson pushed further forward, failing that maybe if fit enough Cranie tried but neither of these options seem that likely to be used so I would stick with Mvuemba against the barcodes this weekend to be honest.

    What do you reckon guys?


    Join the Vital Pompey Debate

  • The Journalist

    Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

    Date:Thursday April 10 2008

    Time: 12:00PM

    Your Comments (oldest first)

    Change to most recent first
    I think the answer with the current squad is to use Lauren and Johnson in tandem and allow them to play one up and one back i.e. use their brains. They are both sound defensively and play well together. Johnson loves running with the ball and cutting in on his more than adequate left foot. In the Summer go and buy a specialist wide man.
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 12:32:00

    I think Johnson will do. He loves to attack.
    Fan of Blues
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 13:37:00

    Diop covers a lot of ground, is very good defensively too. But he can't shoot for toffee & is wasted out right. (Makes you think how good GON was out there). Anyway, I like Arnold, he has been solid when he plays there. He gets on with it, no fuss. The least known of the bunch but maybe the better choice.
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 13:39:00

    I'm with matt on this one Arnold is young and will only improve with more match practice.
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 13:40:00

    I also agree with Matt. I like what I have seen from Arnold and I think we should get a really cool chant for him going.......ummmm quite difficult actually.
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 14:03:00

    personaly, i would like to see mvuemba put there. for once, i DONT want to see johnson pushed in front of lauren, as i feel that would disturb our back 4, which we dont want to do when it is playing so well. utaka is perfect for a 4-5-1 situation, where he almost plays as a second forward - but picks the ball up in the midfield, and as we sw at the beggining of the season, can tear defences apart from there.
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 14:46:00

    Its a good discussion and I agree we miss GON. I only hope we sign a right wide player in the summer. I will tear my hair out if we sign further midfielders.
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 15:27:00

    I have always wanted to see more of mveumba, he looks like he could turn into a good player. Songo'o is also doing very well at wednesday, I cant wait to see him next season
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 16:05:00

    songo'o is doing very well at wednesday. so in fact, is a young chelsea forward, who we are reportidly intrested in...
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 16:30:00

    yep! Scott Sinclair would be awsome!!! would def want him!...I Like Arnold & Frank, I just think both of em seem a little small...dont get me wrong, small players can be great, Ive just watched them both get bumped of the ball pretty easily. Still, im not questioning either of their skill!....lets buy Sinclair, he was on loan at plymouth last season & was very good!
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 18:54:00

    I was going to mention Franck Songo'o, but I'm already late to that party. I'm looking forward to seeing him break into the first team next year, as I don't believe he'll be going anywhere. I agree about not disurbing the back four. Although Johnson would be good on the right in midfield, we don't want to lose a really solid back four to achieve it. So yeah, at least until we see who comes in over the summer and if one or two players who are out on loan start to figure in the first team, I think we might as well let Arnie have a go at it. He'll need a few more games to settle into the role, so why not let him play there for the rest of the season, at least in the league.
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 19:22:00

    I think Mvuemba for righht side, its difficult to say he's just ok when he doesnt get a run, PBD needs to banned from shooting and i think GJ still gets caught out of position too often. i think Arnold just needs match fitness although i wonder if he is a bit light weight for the midfield in a Redknapp team
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 20:06:00

    glen johnson is the best attacking right full back in the country - by far. it is what has largely made up for our lack of a right sided player, as it has been johnson providing all our width! however this does seem to hurt his england career, as capello clearly wants to play (boring) solid football, with little flair, but more consistancy - which s the only reason i can see as to why he thinks wes brown is better.
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 22:29:00

    There is no way we will let Sinclair leave. He's a future players for us.
    Fan of Blues
    Report Abuse
    10/04/2008 23:55:00

    so arnold it is...maybe :-)
    we talk about 'little players' but sinclair isnt much bigger, if any bigger than arnold and/or songo'o - i really hope that songo'o has a future here as i think he could be fantastic. we will see what the summer brings on the sinclair front i guess.
    Report Abuse
    11/04/2008 08:20:00

    Somewhat controversially I'd try something a bit different. Krancjar and Sulley Muntari out on the left (Diarra/Davies or Mendes and Diop in the middle). I'd be tempted to tryout Utaka up front too, amazed 'Arry hasn't got around to this.
    Report Abuse
    11/04/2008 09:06:00

    I meant Kranjcar on the right obviously...
    Report Abuse
    11/04/2008 09:07:00

    Apart from winning the cup which we will do-Cardiff aren't WBA or Man U- and finishing 5th in the league-which we might just do if our luck holds out- we have done well this season. Lets wait and see what suprises HR has in store in the summer transfers and then worry about and carry on about his decisions if we need. Crouch is firming as one of the ones coming in, so even if we could, do we need too many more "stars" or should we encourage our younger talent.
    Report Abuse
    11/04/2008 09:44:00

    tantona, we tried sulley out on the left for a few games at the start of the season, and it really didnt work, which is why niko looked so good when he came in, as he played that role so much better than sulley! and as carpet said, the best option woudl be gj in midfield, but we dont want to mess up our defense, so really mvuemba is the best option when u take everything into consideration
    Report Abuse
    11/04/2008 10:35:00

    Put mvuemba/songo'o on right as utaka puts no effort in and his defending is shocking.
    stfc ballboy
    Report Abuse
    11/04/2008 18:17:00


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