Written by cockbeard
I think at the start of the season we all looked at November until January and thought we need to get out the blocks flying and have a cushion, I certainly did. We did just that, then during the last two months we were unlucky not to get anything from Manchester United or Arsenal at Dean Court, I thought we pushed them both really hard.
Newcastle was a turning point in so many ways, at the start of the season we might not have expected to win there, but on the day we did, they were terrible and we were flying. So the surprise of the defeat and the loss of Adam Smith can’t be underestimated. Then the disappointment of losing to Wolves, despite the amount they’ve spent and the points they’ve taken off bigger clubs than us. I wonder whether maybe going into some of these games we thought we were the big club, I don’t know. The disparity between some performances is the worrying thing.
As for season so far, overall really happy, we’re on course to break the 50 point barrier for the first time. That’s no mean achievement looking at the continued dominance at the top of the table. In fact, I think breaking 50 points got a European spot last couple of seasons. I’m not thinking about the UEFA Europa League, just that given the current injuries and what feels like a slump we might all be underestimating our achievement so far.
On balance a good season so far. Though I think it might have been a different story without Brooks and Lerma, absolutely crucial signings.
– 10 more points even though the quality of the league has improved
– Excellent new signings of Brooks and Lerma, already looking like ‘bargains’
– Looking better and more ruthless away from home with new counter-attacking style
– Begovic very solid
– Wilson has improved
– Fraser has stepped up another level
– Injuries in key areas where we don’t have cover (and should have)
– No stand out win so far against a big team (although Watford away was pretty special)
– Daniels looks to be struggling and Rico hasn’t worked out yet
– King seems to be struggling a bit, with a few flashes of his best
With 1 or 2 astute January signings, no further big injuries and a couple of off form players (Stan, King, Daniels) coming good, there’s no reason we can’t beat our record points total this year.
Last season was very disjointed and we really struggled to put proper cohesive performances together.
Early this season we’d appeared to have fixed that and the team looked balance with EVERY player making a positive contribution both in attack and defence. Picking Cook over Francis, for example. The best players were in their best positions. “Aces in Spaces”, as I’ve heard it called before…
Obviously due to injuries we’ve now got players all over the place that shouldn’t be. Round pegs in square holes galore. I’d like that experimentation to stop, actually, unless maybe it’s a cup game. “I know, remember that worldy Surman scored in training? Let’s try him as a lone striker against West Ham in the league. Callum? Oh, he’s strong. He can play CB instead.” Just some of the kind of thinking that totally confounds my otherwise total trust in Eddie Howe.
So, in short, even though we have a bunch of players who, in fairness can play in several positions if required (though not to the extremes that have been asked of them) we still haven’t got any kind of cover for the injuries we all predicted.
Verdict: disappointing after such a great start and a run of form that could have been avoided with better attention to the deficiencies of the squad.
I don’t think these last 2 months would have been nearly as tough as they have been (results and physical issues) had we got something from that Man United home game. It was a turning point, to play so well and put so much in only to lose it so late on.
Had we won or drawn that we’d still be ticking along nicely in the top half for me, having still seen several defeats against the top lot I’m sure, but also a few more points along the way.
Burnley away was just weird, one of those games where everything falls the wrong way. But that evened up by beating Huddersfield at home, when they were so much better, we absolutely robbed them. – Join the conversation, click here.