Thursday, October 05, 2006

Case for the defence

Following the weekend draw at Everton, Stuart Pearce has announced to the press that he wants Sylvain Distin and Richard Dunne to show more 'arrogance' and 'swagger' on the pitch:

"Richard and Sylvain always have been vitally important to what we are trying to achieve though I believe that they should go out and play with more arrogance.
It is as if they start off with a blank piece of paper at the start of every game. I would like to see them take some of that strength from the last game into the next game and start further up the scale if you like".

Over the past three seasons Dunne and Distin have been unquestionably the two most consistent and high performing players at the club, and as a partnership have grown and compliment each other with their constrasting styles of play.

Whilst Distin was courted over the summer by both Portsmouth and Middlesbrough, Dunne has not received any attention as a potential transfer target by other sides and as a pair don't really receive much coverage on a national scale - backed up by the fact that only Richard Dunne features in the Actim Top 100 index at number 75.

But as a pairing how good are they amongst their peers? Below is a list of the other Premiership pairings based on appearances this season:

Arsenal: Toure-Djourou
Aston Villa: Laursen-Mellberg
Blackburn: Nelsen-Ooijer
Bolton: Meite-Ben Haim
Charlton: El Karkouri-Hreidarrson
Chelsea: Terry-Carvalho
Everton: Yobo-Lescott
Fulham: Knight-Pearce
Liverpool: Hyypia-Carragher
United: Ferdinand-Brown
Middlesbrough: Riggott-Woodgate
Newcastle: Bramble-Moore
Portsmouth: Campbell-Primus
Reading: Ingmaarson-Sonko
Sheffield United: Unsworth-Morgan
Tottenham: Dawson-King
Watford: Shittu-Mackay
West Ham: Ferdinand-Gabbidon
Wigan: De Zeeuw-Hall

How many of those pairings would you replace Dunne and Distin with? Whilst there are individuals listed who would clearly replace either of them, as a pairing can they be beaten?

Consistency wise you can make a case for the pairings from Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal but anyone else? The goals against column has been in the top tier of the Premiership over the past couple of seasons, and this has been without a strong midfield providing much cover, or a full-back pairing of any note.

What's also impressive is the back-up we now have in Micah Richards and Nedum Onouha who, given time and experience will also surely be amongst the Premiership elite.

vote it up!


Anonymous said...

And your point is?

Kartik said...

Very well said, and I 100% agree with you, Danny.

Dunne/Distin is superior to at 11 of those pairings, perhaps more. You made some very spot on comments about the presence of the two as a PAIR, and with the exception of the Blackburn match our defence has been well organized and the strength of the squad. I credit Dunne, Distin and Nicky Weaver for that.

Anonymous, Danny's point is that our central defence pairing is helping us stay afloat this EPL campaign, while our offense struggles with consistency.

Danny Pugsley said...

Anonymous -

The point is that I don't think
Dunne and Distin as a pairing get the credit they deserve, or recognition as to how important they are to the side.

The comparison with other pairings was done to highlight how good a partnership they are in relation to the rest of the Premiership - something that I believe Pearce was alluding to with his comments.