Date: 28th August 2018 at 5:34am
Written by:

Written by fritter

I enjoyed Saturday very much. 7 points from 3 games with an unchanged team. It’s just like the good old days.  ;)

A key factor in our success over the past 10 years has been partnerships. The last 2/3 seasons have seen these change. Pugh/Daniels. Francis/Ritchie. Cook/Elphick. Arter/Surman. They are being rebuilt. Last season was a real transition time. Impossible to call our best team. I think we are now seeing the start of the next set of partnerships.

Ake and Cook is the key one for me. King and Wilson are looking better than it was, although still a way to go. Front 2 or lone striker has been a conundrum for a while. Nothing has clicked for a while.

I think Surman and Gosling have become a good partnership. Eddie has always put the team above individuals. Fraser and Brooks wide has given us a stronger midfield than we have had for a while. Fraser has grown in confidence and plays more intelligently than before. Brooks gets it. The two of them track back and cover. This gives Surman and Gosling the confidence to play better. Brooks, for all his youth and PL inexperience, complements those around him in a way that Ibe can’t. Ibe has his strengths but understanding the pattern of the game isn’t one of them. Brooks sees it and covers. Ibe drifts and leaves gaps. The key in midfield is not giving the ball away firstly, then being creative with passing.

Cook may well be a better player than Gosling or Surman. I don’t think that matters. We have beaten many teams who have ‘better players’ than us.

Smith and Brooks have huge potential. Fraser and Daniels are probably looking back not forward. Maybe Fraser and Rico will emerge on the left as the best combination?

Many teams last season were ‘bang average’ and we failed to beat them. The partnerships are stronger this year. It is clear that players know where everyone is, most of the time. Certainly more than previously. Confidence grows in direct proportion to the trust in those around you. Most players are confidence players.

A huge issue for us is not taking our chances. We seem to need more chances per goal than other teams, that may just be my critical eyes. Callum has missed 3 ‘nailed on’ goals. I don’t count the 2nd half one Saturday as he was pushed. Each of those would have had a huge impact on the games. Cardiff would have been out of sight.

But he has done brilliantly, as they all have. The team is being rebuilt. The transition is well underway.

These are exciting times.

Neil Dawson wrote…

Good post Fritter. I agree Eddie has always built partnerships all over the pitch and put much sway on them. Surely his central midfield partnership in his head is Lerma and Cook though?

Most fans on here have argued that centre mid has been our most neglected area. We have had Arter in season one, Wilshere in two and Cook in three that rose above this.

Surman and Gosling in my mind aren’t a Premier League long term solution. The fact they lost the grip of the centre against the first decent team they played just bangs this home to me. – Join the conversation, click here.

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