Chris Lakey: It's as much a question of back-up for Tim Krul as anything else
PUBLISHED: 16:05 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:05 11 January 2019
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There's a question I have been meaning to ask for a few weeks now and, like my BMI since Christmas, it has grown and grown into something unwieldy.
It’s developed from a single question to, well, almost a quiz (that’s the unwieldy bit).
This all started innocently enough when I put to my colleagues this: if, during the January transfer window, Southampton offered you Angus Gunn on loan for the rest of the season, would you say yes or no?
This was before Gunn got his first team debut for Saints last week and kept his place last weekend for their FA Cup game. So, let’s assume the goalkeeper in question was Fraser Forster, now presumably third choice behind Gunn and Alex McCarthy. Would you bring him in? I was always a fan of his during his loan spell in 2009 and always fancied seeing him back in City colours.
Tim Krul is undisputed number one and Daniel Farke shows few signs of looking for an alternative, but I disagree with those who shouted down our story asking whether or not fans were happy with the Dutchman between the sticks. The gist was that it was not in question. But it is: Krul is more than decent, but he has made errors and, importantly, he has little in the way of back-up: Michael McGovern will be on his way in the summer, Remi Matthews is clearly not wanted and Aston Oxborough too inexperienced. Krul arguably doesn’t have sufficient competition.
Anyway, the question is not Krul or Forster. It’s, would you sign Forster if offered?
That question set the ball rolling on some more: James Maddison or Moritz Leitner? Both players’ qualities are without dispute, but the theory now he has gone and City are better is that City relied on Maddison too much last season. Really? The logical next question is: if you could select him for City this afternoon, would you... or would you prefer Leitner? I know you can’t, but that’s the thing with quizzes, reality takes a back seat. Maddison or Leitner?
Now, one that always gets people: FA Cup - do you care?
Farke said he wanted to win the cup game against Portsmouth but, after making eight changes, you suspect his heart wasn’t really in it. “We are disappointed but there are more important games for us in the next four months and now we will just concentrate on West Brom,” he said.
Farke had very good reasons for making the changes and taking the risks: it’s called promotion.
However, there is also the old saying about winning becoming a habit. I have always believed a footballer’s mindset has much to do with his performance and I do believe one of Farke’s great strengths is his management, and getting the best out of his squad. The evidence is in the bonding between manager-players-fans. Farke now needs to ensure the players don’t take the cup defeat to heart or see it as damaging. View the lack of a distraction as a positive.
Six decades on from City’s most famous FA Cup exploits, the question remains: do you care about City’s involvement in the world’s oldest knockout competition?
I see the bottom of the column looming, so just a couple of others...
I know strikers go for more money, but if Dominic Solanki is worth £19m after five Premier League starts and one goal, how much is Max Aarons worth?
Had Sam Allardyce or David Moyes replaced Gary Rowett at Stoke, were Potteries neighbours Port Vale preparing for a season-ticket windfall?
And finally... will you know who still be in charge at you know where for the you know what on you know when?
Questions, questions, questions...
Q: Krul or Forster. A: Forster
Q: Maddison or Leitner? A: Maddison
Q: FA Cup - do you care. A: No (reluctantly)
Also... £25m; Yes; Hopefully.
Sometimes, it’s nice to sit back, relax and allow someone else to do the work for you.
I admit, what comes next stinks of plagiarism and a lazy mind, but it’s not: it’s more a scratching of backs.
Briefly, PR companies often send information on behalf of clients in the hope they make it interesting enough for us to publish: that way, their client gets exposure. Hence, scratching backs.
It doesn’t always work out: in recent months we have had the most dangerous Championship strike pairing - except when it came to Norwich they included the long-departed Cameron Jerome. We’ve had the clubs most likely to help your romantic side (honest, it was more explicit than that but, you know, I can’t go there). And we’ve had Norwich’s most valuable player... again, it was someone who’d departed.
But every so often something lands which is interesting. And with reference to the lazy mind, good to see someone else has gone to all the trouble...
The following offering came from bookmakers bwin who proudly say they have “assessed every player and match from the first half of the 2018/19 season to identify the best and worst for a series of awards including time spent winning, most points recovered from losing positions, performance in away games, and who are the biggest match winners”.
Their figure are up to the end of December which they say was the midway point – although as everyone knows the halfway point was earlier than that so, when you’re dealing with percentages, that’s a black mark, Mr PR.
Anyway, here’s one or two that might be interesting: Norwich’s Christoph (not Christopher, Mr PR man) Zimmermann was a bigger match winner than any other player – Norwich won 21pc more games when he was in the side (77pc versus 56pc)
Ipswich spent less time in a winning position this season than any other side – the Tractorboys fans could enjoy their team being in the lead for just five hours and 11 minutes (12pc). Norwich contributed 14 minutes to that total, of which they may or may not be proud,
Welcome to 2019, PR people.