Guirane N'Poor?

By Chris Quinn on Apr 27, 12 08:07 PM in Birmingham City FC

The term 'cult hero' is one that is usually given to players who entertain fans and make them laugh - yet are not usually the best players on the pitch.

Ray Parlour was given this status by fans at Arsenal. The Charlie Dimmock lookalike was a rare Englishman during Arsene Wenger's early days with the Gunners and whilst he was not as technically able as Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg or Patrick Vieira, his work ethic endeared him to the fans. (Scoring an FA Cup final goal after being mocked live on air by Chelsea supporter Tim Lovejoy also helped his case.)

Every team has their own set of cult heroes past and present and Blues have unearthed a new one this season.

When manager Chris Hughton signed Guirane N'Daw on loan it looked a promising move. A midfielder who looked like he could dictate midfields and put fear into the opposition.

Whilst this has sometimes been the case, what we have seen more often than not is an erratic tackler who cannot retain possession with a penchant for thirty-five yard left-foot shots. Ever since his first strike against Bruges in the Europa League was tipped onto the post, Blues fans have urged him to shoot at every opportunity. His insistence to continue shooting is not his worst decision, a few have found the target, without scoring, yet most have found Row Z.

More worrying is his decision making, especially in the middle of the pitch. Six yellow cards for the season suggests that he is not a malicious tackler; he is often just clumsy and has misread the situation in front of him. He is regularly pulled out of position as he goes marauding around the pitch looking to try and win the ball, which again, is not something that we should criticise him for, but there are times when he needs to be a bit more disciplined as he can leave his midfield companion exposed.

The most worrying aspect of his game for me is his ball retention. His forward passes are rarely successful and while he may be able to switch the ball to the opposite flank to a man in acres of space, it is the simple passes in the middle of the park that can be the most destructive for us.

So when I heard he is likely to miss part of the play-offs, I was unsure whether to be relieved or worried. There is no doubt that his sheer size would be beneficial against West Ham, but in the two-legged game hopefully preceding that, I feel Morgaro Gomis would be a better option.

He provides the same energy for the midfield, but combines it with better reading, cleaner tackling and a simpler passing game that can help to launch attacks for Blues.
So whilst it is good for the fans to have a player they enjoy watching, I would rather have a more effective player as the season approaches its most important stage.



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Martin Laurence

Martin Laurence is a lifelong Aston Villa fan, statistical analyst and editor-in-chief at My Posts

Chris Quinn

Chris Quinn is a journalism graduate who has been a season ticket holder at Birmingham City for 10 years. My Posts

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