The general consensus seem to be that our back four is a bit off, and the blame for this has fallen on virtually every player to figure in our defensive lineup.
Upson doesn't care, Ilunga doesn't track back, Tomkins is not what he was last year, Spector lacks speed and talent, Gabbidon is still not match fit, Collins is gone, Da Costa is still not quite up to the English (?) game. My favorite objection so far is one that I picked up at KUMB, Faubert is .... French!
Even though I have agreed with most of the above at one time or another (I mean Faubert is French isn't he?) fortunes (or Clarke/Zola) hasn't made it easy for us.
In the first 14 games this season 8 defenders and eleven (11!) different defensive lineups have been tried! Eleven! Only Faubert has been used in only one back-four position (but then he's been used as a winger...).
No back 4 lineup has been fielded more than twice!
To put this in some perspective, Burnley started the last 5 games with the same 11 players.
The reason for a finding is usually the most interesting part of it and here is a discussion in place.
The "bare to the thread squad" is a given reason and the sale of Collins is another, and related, reason. We just don't have decent backup, forcing us to play people out of position.
Spector is one example and when I read that he relished the opportunity to play in the center of defence with the US squad I almost panicked!
But does Zola and Clarke have a part in this?
My impression was that they may, as I thought I remembered some unnecessary changes, but after going back and checking the lineups I'm not sure they have had much of a choice. Most changes have been forced, and giving Tomkins the chance after Collins left may well have been the right thing to do.
So, even if I think that my first pick is less than a good PL line (Spector, Da Costa, Upson and Ilunga) there is a desperate need to let whatever 4 is preferred a good chance to "gel".