Sylvestre The Premiership Kaspars Gorkss?
Asking whether Ludovic Sylvestre could become the new Kaspars Gorkss is a potentially interesting question.
The Blackpool career paths which both players went through in their first six months are strikingly similar.
Gorkss, who joined the Seasiders in January 2007, found it difficult to break into the side - just as Sylvestre has since he signed this pre-season.
The similarities exist (for me anyway) in their calibre and quality. Gorkss right from the start looked a quality defender, who had a turn of pace, brilliant in the air and in the tackle, whilst also possessing decent ball control for a centre half.
Sylvestre, formerly of Barcelona, also has tremendous ability. His short and long distance passing is certainly Premiership class, with his intercepting mind and intelligence also key attributes.
Just as Gorkss was in '07, it looks that Ludo is better than the current players in his position - or could at least have a role in the starting eleven.
Gorkss when he replaced Michael Jackson at the heart of the defence was able to push the backline up five to ten yards because he possessed more pace - enabling Pool to dominate games by pressurising attacking teams who would normally overawed them.
That used to be the biggest problem but now we see the reason for not taking hold of games as the inability to keep possession, especially in the middle of the park.
Against Aston Villa on Saturday we saw 100 unsuccessful passes, a large proportion of which are in the middle of the pitch by David Vaughan, Charlie Adam and either Elliot Grandin or Jason Puncheon.
by Guardian Chalkboards
Sylvestre when playing in the first fixture against Villa in November was my man of the match with his incisive, but not naive, passing. His ability to keep it short is evident in the chalkboard below from Villa Park where Pool made 362 successful passes - the majority of which coming in the middle third of the pitch.
by Guardian Chalkboards
Just as with Gorkss, it has possibly taken Ludo a while to get used to English training methods and the like. However, now he has had almost seven months, I propose that perhaps it is time for him to have a proper run in the team.
At the minute, Charlie Adam plays in the quarterback role as a deep playmaker but opposition teams have got wise to this and pressurise the midfield more.
Playing Sylvestre alongside Vaughan in the deeper role and allowing Adam to head the triangle could have a profound effect on results. It would give Adam the freedom to bomb on alongside the leading striker and dictate proceedings - being able to score more goals from open play.
And judging by the amount of Aston Villa blocks put in on Saturday (a total of five in their own penalty area), we could do with Charlie Adam taking hold of the ball in and around that box.
Gorkss was able to change our defensive positioning for the better and it could now be time for Sylvestre to change our midfield balance, ball retention and ultimately attacking prowess.