Alonso and Mascherano are a perfect midfield combination against the top teams in Europe and in the league, but against a small side that will put players behind the ball, they don't offer very much going forwards.
Have you got splinters from scraping the barrel looking for a criticism of them..?
Alonso and Mascherano are markedly superior.
Did you just seriously call Meireles and Lucas substandard? Tell me this, name me a better DM than Masch in the PL right now, and a better CM than Alonso.
Lucas and Meireles are below the standard of their predecessors in midfield, yes. I don't think there's much, if any, debate to that.
As I said, we have dropped from the previous standard in a lot of positions in the squad and we're suffering for that. We have, however, got ourselves the best manager possible right now and he needs to stay to continue making signings of the calibre of Suarez and Carroll. Kenny knows that this squad needs a lot of work and money spent to improve it. It's clear to anyone with an iota of a clue about football.
Michael Essien is a better defensive midfielder than Mascherano. He may not play the same exact role as Masch did for us, but he's a better all-round player.
And there is no better pass of the ball in the game than Alonso.
I'm not blaming Lucas or Meireles for being a step down in class from their predecessors, I am just pointing out that our drop in quality goes hand in hand with our slide down the table.