Date: 22nd November 2012 at 9:56am
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With 12 league matches completed we sit mid-table with our usual roller-coaster of highs and lows transporting us through the season.

As many predicted we are struggling and suffering at the moment. AVB is finding his feet at the club and the players are trying to adapt to his particular approach to the game. There are as many opinions of who is to blame for our current malaise as there are rats under London so I don’t want to go into that particular viper’s nest in this article. What I want to discuss is whether AVB is being stubborn or shrewd in his apparent unbending determination to get us to play a certain way – his way.

It has been plain to see that the players have (and continue) to struggle to change their games to fit into the pattern of play AVB prefers. We need only look at the performances of our full backs and central defenders to see that they are struggling. They are not alone and the whole squad is performing below our levels of expectation. Yet AVB presses on with his project. Is this purely stubborn folly or is there something more sensible behind it? I can hear the screams of stubbornness rolling in from miles around but I beg to differ. I actually think AVB is being stubborn because he has to be.

We all know how Daniel Levy likes to operate – do it late, do it cheap or don’t do it at all if it really isn’t absolutely necessary. AVB has previous experience with headstrong owners/chairmen so the likes of Daniel Levy won’t be a surprise to him. AVB was hired by Levy to hopefully fulfil the much vaunted ‘project’ we have heard mentioned since AVB arrived in the UK. I’m certain when AVB was hired by Levy it was done with the promise of support in the transfer market to ensure he has the tools at his disposal to at least give his ‘project’ a fighting chance.

As usual the promised funds for new talent weren’t made available and we sit here in November with a playing squad significantly reduced in quality through the departures of real world class talent and a growing list of injuries. So what to do? AVB has two choices. Either he changes his approach so that he makes the best use of the mediocre players he currently has at his disposal. The likes of Friedel, Gallas, Dawson, Dempsey, Walker, Naughton, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson and company aren’t going to make us challengers in any competition. However used in a system with which they are familiar and comfortable they may deliver us top-half of the table mediocrity.

The danger with that is Levy would see that as a sign that we’re back on the right track and that would be all he needs to firmly clamp his wallet shut in January. Alternatively AVB continues to do what he is doing now. He continues to play the mediocre players in his preferred system and we continue to suffer. Maybe this is the only way he can emphasise to Levy how important proper investment in January is.

This is a very high risk strategy though. With Levy’s track record there is no guarantee that AVB will still be in charge when the January transfer window opens. I praise AVB’s stubbornness as I believe it puts the ball firmly in Levy’s court in January. However challenging Levy like this is a very high risk game of chicken.

Written by SpuriousLife