Date: 6th March 2019 at 6:57am
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Written by SlowDownDerek

Who cares about the stats?

We played well but struggled to catch them on the break like we were able to do against Chelsea.. because Manchester City were brilliant. Even then we still managed to keep in the game all the way until the end.

It was the right set up and tactics – we did one part right (pretty much) yet weren’t able to execute the second part of the plan well enough. Do the same against Spurs and we could turn them over.

thegazzyb added…

Some people seem to be implying that we set up to draw 0-0 when we were obviously set up to keep the score down and maybe get a decisive goal with a rapid counterattack. On paper, with Ryan Fraser and Joshua King, we had the players to do that.

Nothing wrong with that plan against a team of such quality, giving it all to try to win the Premier League title. The fact that we had no shots on goal was more to do with how hard Manchester City worked to break up every counterattack before it really got going. That and a few poor first touches and an over-eagerness to get forward quickly when we had a chance which often resulted in an immediate loss of possession.

Pep Guardiola obviously realised how hard his team worked for that win and part of that was pressing us as soon as they lost the ball to get it straight back. We lacked a bit of calmness and quality in those moments when we had the ball but if we play a similar system more often ( and with our more creative players back fit ) I could see us winning games that way ( used sparingly and against the teams where it is our best chance of keeping the game alive for as long as possible, obviously ).

Like you I think it could work well against Spurs and I’d like to see us do something similar again.
If our attacking players can keep their cool when they get the ball and they get some support when we turn possession over it could be very effective. Not many teams will have the energy and motivation that City had on Saturday. I think we’d still be able to create enough chances to win the game despite a predominantly defensive setup.

I understand that many don’t like to see us parking the bus but I don’t think we did it because we were desperate for a 0-0 ( like many teams have done in the past ). It seems to me that the plan was to hit them on the counter, like we did to Chelsea, but for various reasons on the day our counterattacks were ineffective. Some credit for that goes to City for their high energy pressing and unfortunately, Fraser and King didn’t have their best day.

If nothing else I’m sure Eddie will have learnt something about his squad on Saturday and I think it’s good to have this option in our quiver, should we need it. Also as already mentioned, we needed a bit of confidence going into the final games of the season, so avoiding another thrashing was psychologically important.

Your say…

AFCB_Liam wrote…

On the one hand, we kept ourselves in the game which is all I’ve ever asked against these big sides. We make it hard for them to get clear cut chances. Our concentration at the back was much better than usual and Ake was immense.

However, the front players were completely ineffective whenever we did get it up the pitch which made it impossible.

Might have been a different game with Jefferson Lerma, Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas and a fully fit David Brooks.

Overall happy with the effort but shame we never really had a go at the end. – Join the conversation, click here.

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