Written by Waz afcb
In my opinion, the football played at times on Saturday was an improvement on what we’ve seen on many occasions this season, however, this was largely due to the inclusion of an excessive number of possession orientated midfielders and potentially came at the expense of an added attacking potency. It’s a hard one to judge and in fairness we did create a few presentable opportunities, but you can’t help but shake the feeling that when you have defenders who are as generous as ours, that to be winning the games that we need to that we really need to be taking the game by the scruff of the neck and trying to attack the opposition. Saturday felt very measured and conservative, and I’m not really sure that we have it in us to play this way and be successful.
Man of the match against QPR
The decision to so drastically change the side was criminal, all very well blaming Covid for forcing the dressing room into smaller groups, but cohesion and development of a team identify is hardly going to improve when we continually chop and change – amazing how this appears to be rocket science to our management team.
I am torn between two schools of thought. One is we are a liability with all this passing around at the back and in any case how much of that play ultimately leads to goals? It’s about retaining possession and drawing the opposition out some will say – all very well, but I don’t remember us having to do this to be successful when we were promoted from this division last time, there was an ability to mix things up. It is clear that some rebalancing needs to be done in our players percentage play, when it’s ok to work the ball around the back 4 and when they knock something into a channel or get Bego to belt it up just to clear our lines. All very well blaming Mepham for not looking up and under hitting his pass, but our insistence as a team of playing this way leads to those mistakes. We are not good enough to do it. Would a tougher manager like Nigel Pearson cut that rubbish out, reset that awful mentality and give us a base to rebuild from?
On the other hand, confidence seems fragile, maybe we need “an entertainer” like Harry Redknapp or Kevin Keegan (not sure who a younger example off that would be!) till the end of the season as our best chance of getting promoted…..their way with the media will take the pressure off the players and their style would allow them to play with freedom, god forbid they might also seem to enjoy playing football again rather than going through the lethargic motions we have sadly become accustomed to seeing, I bet it would also have a positive impact on transfer valuations in the summer should we fail to go up as there would be more glimpses of what they are actually capable of. Would be much more fun to let the handbrake off and lose 4-3 then continue to ensure the turgid dross we are currently being served up.
I can only hope that Woodgate learnt a lot from that yesterday; maybe the good results were papering over the cracks and gave him a false sense of security that his changes yesterday would be a managerial masterclass. Unclear how many games he has left in the hot seat but it would speak volumes if he could get a reaction from the side against Cardiff and get them showing signs that having seen the mistakes we are capable of that he can then influence the style of play for the better…..do that and he just might strike upon his best XI, which (and I may be dreaming here) gets repicked rather than pressing the reset button to counteract the threats posed by the visit of Watford.
In all likelihood, I expect even if he got back to back wins, we would see a new manager in after next weekend so that we can rip it up and try a different (but no doubt similar) approach under Thierry Henry or some other uninspiring appointment such is the propensity of this board to shoot ourselves in the foot with their recent decision making.
Fingers crossed for Woody and the boys on Wednesday night, the optimist in me hopes they finally take the opportunity to make a statement! – Join the conversation, click here.