I know that many, it not all, Newcastle fans are absolutely loving Ayoze Perez.
The kid is slight, skilful and a breath of fresh air to watch, the difference between watching him and the days of Ameobi lumbering around make for quite a stark contrast.
Perez has endeared himself to the Newcastle faithful with his skill, his desire and his workrate, which are all top drawer. I look forward to (hopefully) watching this young striker turn into someone of the same ilk as a young Michael Owen (less the injuries): a poacher, a finisher, a tireless worker and someone who gives 100%.
However, maybe controversially, I would not be playing Perez as a striker in this team, as it just does not suit.
In the current system, Ayoze is too isolated, he is not a big target man who can hold up play and allow others to join the attack. The only one in our current starting 11 who could do that with real effect would be Sissoko, but he is having such a good (but not brilliant) season playing in that number 10 role, and I currently would not want to change that at all.
Therefore, Perez should not be the starting centre forward as he does not get the support he needs. Perez is so much more than a target man, he is subtle, he is skilful and he beats people, he isn’t there to boss a defence and get on to a long ball hoofed up there by a certain donkey at the back…..Mike.
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Therefore, if Perez is not starting at centre forward it has to be Riviere. Many people have written Riviere off already, however, I believe given a good run of games he could possible become a good striker (maybe not great, but good). He is strong, he is quick and would definitely do a better job of holding up the play than Perez would in this current formation/style of play.
However, I do believe that Perez needs to be on the pitch, he has so much to offer us and has the ability to get up and down the field and work his way into the box, where he could easily poach a goal.
Therefore, get him out on the wing. Gouffran does nothing, therefore should not be there, so have Perez one wing, Cabella the other and Sissoko sitting behind Riviere. This formation would give us skill and pace on the wings as well as wingers who can cut inside and cause defenders problems. Then through the middle we have both powerhouse strength, with the ability to compete with defenders both in the air and on the floor.
Riviere obviously does know where the goal is, just look at his record last season (10 goals in 30 Ligue 1 matches – 11 of those 30 appearances as a sub).
I believe that with some confidence and once the Pardew effect has gone, he could be good, and until we revert to playing 2 up top, Perez should not be the lone striker.
God knows what we are going to do when we get Siem de Jong back. He will have to fit in somewhere and personally, I cannot wait…..