Fans' Opinion

Fredericks vs Zabaleta – The Competition is On

Author: . Published: at 6:42pm

Written by : @Knoxie11

The “good problem” of having genuine competition for a starting place isn’t something we have been blessed with over the years. Even this season, when we have a fairly large squad, the injury gremlins have come out of the woodwork again – and we end up struggling to put out a decent first eleven.

Now though, we have genuine competition for the right back spot, with Ryan Fredericks coming into form and being in prime position to make this slot his own. There was a question mark over him at the start of the season (and of course he then had a lengthy injury to get back from) but Friday night’s game against Fulham proved he is more than capable to compete for that spot.

It’s hard to say a bad word about Pablo Zabaleta as he has done so well for us, but he did have a poor game against Fulham, and left us vulnerable too many times (not forgetting the dreadful back pass that nearly opened Fulham’s goalscoring account.) Let’s not jump the gun though; he has had one bad game and we can allow that for a man that has been so solid for us.

Unfortunately for Zaba the fact he had a bad game means that he should be dropped for the next one, particularly as Fredericks is playing well and it would make no sense to not start him.

Fredericks is the man for us going forward until proven otherwise. It won’t do much for his confidence if he is now dropped after playing well. This should be the type of competition all around the pitch; hopefully as injuries start to leave us we can have more of this and finish the season strongly.

Friday night proved that he just needed a bit more time to find some form after his injury and he impressed both going forward and defensively – and what a tackle that was on Mitrovic to stop Fulham from grabbing a second!

Next up for Fredericks (if he keeps his place) is a huge challenge for him facing Manchester City; they’re unstoppable at the moment especially from the wings, so he may not be able to get forward too much, but as long as he does his job and keeps his discipline then that’s really all that can be asked of him.  The next challenge is Newcastle and it’s this game he should have his eye on; provided he is still in contention, still fit and playing well, we can expect to see a more attacking threat from our lightning quick full back.

We still have Balbuena who is poised to return soon; Lanzini who returned against Fulham and looked promising, so could this be the beginning of the end of our injury curse and the start of competition for more places on the pitch?

Let’s not hold our breath; but we can sure dream.