Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rob Bagchi: For every prolific Lilian Thuram there's a wobbly Jonathan Woodgate

Thuram and some dude
There have been crimes committed against the fraternity of full-backs in recent weeks. Arsenal's spate of injuries has obliged Arsène Wenger to send out four centre-backs whose relative uniformity of size when strung in a defensive line has left them looking at times like table footballers – with the proviso that they lack the positional discipline compelled upon them by having a pole running through their ribs to link them together. Tony Pulis, who seems to have an aversion to orthodox full-backs, sent out Stoke City for their FA Cup third-round victory over Gillingham with the former England centre-halves Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson at right- and left-back respectively. Indeed he has persevered with Woodgate in the old No2 role despite evidence that suggests the defender is wholly unsuited to the task.

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