The arrival of record signing Matthew Jarvis has meant the position of Matthew Taylor is under threat, meaning it is likely that if Taylor is to get in the team it is likely to be a battle with George McCartney for the left back slot.
The 10.75 million pound arrival of Jarvis means that Taylor’s favoured position of left wing is now near enough unattainable for the former Bolton Wanderers and Portsmouth star. This leaves Big Sam with a selection headache for the left back slot, with the wizard of a left peg of Taylor who gives him that special ball when needed or the reliability and defensive sureness of McCartney.
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As much as the pace of Jarvis twinned with the attack minded overlapping Taylor who could provide the killer cross for Carlton Cole or Modibo Maiga to get on the end of excites me the stats prove that Jarvis can provide that so the need for Taylor seems a little unnecessary at this moment in time. Although Jarvis can switch on to either flank with the skill and the ability to cross with his left and right foot it is clear for everyone to see his is far more assured on the left hand side and he caused Swansea all sorts of problems in the first half before he was pushed to the right where he found things harder against Neil Taylor.
Taylor’s main specialty is his dead ball delivery, the pacey, dipping crosses cause a number of defences to panic, and I find myself baying for him to take them rather than Mark Noble nearly every week. But in Jarvis we have someone who can take a similar style of set piece so again this is another thing in ‘Linda’s’ favour.
For me this decision has to come down to the level of opposition. Against the higher class teams McCartney must start ahead of Taylor, as his defensive qualities allows the Hammers to play swift counter attacking football which is how the Hammers will need to play against the likes of Manchester United and City. Against so called weaker opposition in the lower half of the table we may be able to get away with playing Taylor playing left back as the Hammers attempt to dictate play, thus making the need for a high quality level of defender less important.
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So to sum up, in my opinion McCartney is the better left back and so should be given the starting slot, as he is the more assured defender and thus gives the rest of the back four the air of confidence across the back. Taylor is prone to being found out of position and although he can cause havoc with his crosses, it is so easy to be punished at this level and one moment of hesitation can lead to disastrous outcomes.
Taylors role off the bench could prove vital as games come to an end, as teams become stretched his killer final ball could lead to great counter attacking goals, so for me he still has a role to play at the club, just not in the starting XI at the moment in time unless the record signing Jarvis picks up a knock.
Come on you Irons!
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