Spector Not Yet a Midfield Maestro

CHICAGO - JUNE 24:  Jonathan Spector #17 of the USA looks on against Mexico during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final match at Soldier Field on June 24, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. USA won 2-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jonathan Spector added to his burgeoning West Ham legend this past week. On January eighth he scored the winner in West Ham’s 3rd round FA cup victory. Three days later he assisted on both West Ham goals in their Carling Cup semifinal triumph.

Spector has put forth some better-than-average games while operating as a center midfielder, but he’s not a midfield maestro just yet.

For starters, he played right back in the Carling Cup match, and though he partnered with center midfielder Scott Parker in the FA Cup, Spector hasn’t played a Premier League match at center midfield since the middle of December. And even in that encounter (at home against Blackburn) he didn’t go the full ninety.

In his three Premier League starts as a CM, Spector averaged 23 pass attempts, 16 completions, and 7 failed attempts. Stuart Holden, considered by most to be in the midst of an excellent season, regularly logs 28, 21, and 7. So Spector is not too far off the pace in attack.

But oddly enough, Spector hasn’t been that great defensively, compiling averages of five tackles attempted, three tackles won, and two tackles failed (Holden, a more offensive-minded player, almost doubles most of those numbers). To make matters worse Spector has intercepted just two passes in three matches. Holden averages three a game.

Spector’s mediocre defensive stats are probably a result of caution. He has yet to concede a free kick, an indication that he might be a bit hesitant to charge toward the opposition.

Of course, as we’ve noted before, the Spector-as-midfielder experiment is still in its infancy. He has plenty of time to grow into the role, and since regular midfield starter Mark Noble is back from injury, Spector should continue to ride the bench in EPL games. Given Spector’s relative inexperience, that might be for the best. Allowing him to work his way into the position through less intense cup matches could pay off over the long term.

Gringos, what do you think? Should West Ham use Spector only in the ‘lesser’ competitions? Or should he go through a trial by fire in the competitive EPL?

3 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Bradley's Receding Hairline says:

    I want to play as much as possible! It might be best to bring him on slowly but I want to watch him play.

  2. bensten says:

    Nice to see him tallying some points, even if not in EPL matches. Should help him gradually build respect from coach and fans, though he may not need to worry about impressing that particular coach for long…

  3. John says:

    Spector will be 25 in a few weeks. He’s one of the longest-tenured players at West Ham, and he was being ‘brought along’ (slowly or quickly)at Manchester United before that. The guy has passed through ‘promising youngster’ stage for my money. Now, West Ham is my favorite EPL team, and I would love for Spector to do well there. I’m finding it hard to see happening, though. I think that Spec’s rising stock will help a sale, and I’d love for him to go to a team that is in a more stable place than West Ham is at present. There, he can work his way in and figure out just what he does best.

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