We must drop Mullins!
I do not like drawing attention to one player in a 'negative light', I will happily do this with comments I post and maybe even threads I might add in the forum, but 'singling' out one player out for blame in articles I write is not something I like doing - then again it cannot be all sweetness and roses can it, you cannot only write praise about players and 'gloss over' the dross can you?
When Hayden Mullins arrived I tried to put a positive spin on things and decided to give him a break, but the groans could be heard for miles around, even more so when it was suggested that he was 'Lassana Diarra's replacement!' Sorry but the guy aint fit to hand the Frenchman's boots to an apprentice to then lace up let alone 'replace him!'
Granted, whoever stepped in to try to 'fill a void' was almost on a hiding to nothing, but Mullins, as much as I have tried to give him a break as I say and a chance has offered little to suggest that he is worthy of a place in our starting 11 as often as he is!
We are missing Papa Bouba Diop, now, that is something that is a surprise too - but his presence is being missed big time. Had the wardrobe been fit then the signing from West Ham would have been nowhere near the starting 11, quite possibly would not have even been signed? Arnold Mvuemba might have his faults but he is surely better than Mullins, he certainly offers us something more in an offence capacity but he is nowhere near the 1st team at the moment so that is a no go.
The only real plus that I can see about Mullins is his 'experience'...
But when talking about experience we have an international with 100 caps to his name sitting on the bench for Christ sakes that cannot get a look-in in Angelos Basinas, who, and as much as I love Richard Hughes - much like I have said before - when put together with Mullins do not have the combined quality, talent and ability that the Greek midfielder does. Ok, he might be past his best, but past his best is still better than most of the rest to be honest!
We need to put Mullins on the bench against Arsenal this weekend, to be honest I feel as much for him as ourselves as he is making needless mistakes and the more he makes the more people get on his back, and the more we get on his back the more this happens, but the worse it becomes - it is a vicious circle that shows no signs of easing...
Another guy that must come into the side this weekend is Jermaine Pennant - the guy has looked a threat, especially in the last couple of games that he has come on in.
I love Dave Nugent's work rate, commitment and dedication but he is not a patch on Pennant as a right winger, who to be fair also does his fair share tracking back - to have any chance of keeping him this summer we have to start using him from the start again, and Paul Hart is hinting at a possible recall... I pray he does this against Arsenal, as he will be even more up for the game looking to 'prove a point', which I seem to recall he did against them for Liverpool back along, scoring a screamer.
Whilst I would love to see us go 4-4-2 this weekend, we can still quite easily use the favoured 4-5-1.
We can not only use the 4-5-1, but we could use this and be 'expansive' - there you go NorfolknBlue I got the word in - so long as we use the right players, and for me the right players would be Nadir Belhadj on the left and Pennant on the right. Then if we drop Mullins this weekend we bring in Basinas to play in the 3-man central midfield between Sean Davis and Hughes as Basinas has the technical ability to switch it from left-right or right-left to fully utilise these wide men who themselves have the pace and ability to beat their men and deliver the ball into Peter Crouch and/or the midfielders that arrive, and I would include the Greek in that who can score goals and is not afraid to have a go.
Play the preferred 4-5-1 by all means, I can understand, accept and appreciate that but please drop Mullins - the more we play him the worse it gets for him, we have a seasoned international pro waiting on the bench that has done little wrong during his time with us, but shown enough to suggest he can do what we need.
No doubt Hart will keep him in and he will now go on to have a blinder against Arsenal and score... ok, maybe not, but I suspect he will still play at least...
PLAY UP POMPEY!