After a summer of discontent for our former captain, Lee Cattermole has declared himself fit to return to the first team – with potentially an appearance on Saturday against Arsenal. So, the question which immediately pops to mind – do we need him?
Evidentially… yes! We wrote a little bit about our central midfield plight in our piece regarding Ki Sung-Yeung, and whilst it is the likely weekend debutant who will try to fill the attacking void – he needs to be backed up. Cabral is a similar player to Cattermole but seems to fallen out of favour with Paolo Di Canio for reasons we could speculate all day regarding. With him out of the picture, it’s really hard to argue that any of Sebastian Larsson, David Vaughan or Craig Gardner have the qualities to give Ki the license he requires to be creative.
It’s not just about supporting Ki either, a two man midfield in the Premier League these days can only be a success if both midfielders work extremely hard because in most games they will be outnumbered through the middle. I’m not talking about hard work running into the ground like Larsson, Vaughan or Gardner. I’m talking purposeful hard work, intimidating opposition players and influencing a football match. Of the players we currently have, only two that we know of fit that mould – Cabral and Cattermole.
Cattermole will not win us a game on his own, the Mags would win a trophy before he scores a goal for us (good thing he will never score a goal for us), but Crystal Palace would not have had it anywhere near as easy to dominate the midfield last Sunday had he been fit and playing. It remains to be seen whether Ki has the keys (it will never get old) to unlock defences, but Cattermole could be the man to at least give him the platform to try whilst Cabral grovels for his place in the side.
Arsenal are a side that readily admit they don’t like a physical game, there could not be a more perfect fixture for Cattermole’s return. It is worth pointing our mind that every time Cattermole has declared himself fit he has never actually been fit.