Date: 11th April 2019 at 7:18pm
Written by:

Written by Brents Goulet

Many people are either Remain (we are lucky to be where we are, just look at Chester, so don’t challenge anything) or Brexit (Howe has lost the plot, his staff aren’t up to scratch, the players don’t care because they are all millionaires). As a fanbase, we are becoming increasingly tribal, whereas the truth probably sits somewhere in between

The last two matches have highlighted what many of us have known for some time. Things aren’t quite right. We have what must be our most talented squad on paper, yet from game 11 onwards we’ve struggled for any kind of consistency. It’s ironic that we all fear losing Ake, Fraser, Wilson and Brooks this summer, and yet in the past two matches we have looked appalling with all four in the starting eleven

But some of the things I’ve read on here, and on Twitter, have been incredible

If Fraser doesn’t want to play for us, he can rot in our reserves…..really!? On Saturday he could have had 3 assists if his crosses had been finished properly; just before Half Time, he took another crunching tackle which left him limping yet still finished the match. Have we ever had a more committed player? His next move/contract is critical for him, we don’t know the back story, but he deserves the benefit of the doubt

Why the hell did Eddie Howe drop Boruc?? Begovic is woefully short of confidence, but there will be a very good reason why Eddie Howe dropped Boruc to bring him back. We don’t know it, which makes the decision seem baffling, but we know enough to know there will be something. On this Eddie Howe deserves the benefit of the doubt

Why the hell doesn’t he change his coaching staff?? Maybe, nothing lasts forever. But this could still be the coaching staff which gets us to a best-ever league finish, or within a few points of it. We all support the manager, but the manager has to choose the staff he trusts, rates and feels comfortable with. We know enough about Eddie Howe to know what he demands from everybody, including himself, on a daily basis. This is a man who, after all, films training and studies and analyses it on a daily basis. So on choosing his coaching staff, I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt

Why the hell doesn’t he play 3 in central midfield? Ok so help me out here…..Lerma, Gosling and who? (and most don’t want Gosling to ever wear the shirt again). The truth is we have lost 3 senior central midfielders (Lewis Cook and Andrew Surman are out for the season, and Harry wanted out for personal reasons). We took a 700k punt on Hyndman which hasn’t worked out, and Kyle Taylor probably isn’t the answer against Burnley

We lack leaders…….yes, we do. Our medical room, however, is full of them. Club captain Simon Francis, vice-captain Andrew Surman, stand in captain Steve Cook, stand in for the stand in Charlie Daniels, and Lewis Cook, the only man other than Booby Moore to captain his country to a World Cup win. So while all clubs have their fair share of injuries, we’ve lost a lot of leaders. Of course, others need to step up, but not everyone is a natural born leader. Nathan Ake is probably the best defender we’ve ever seen play for us, but a natural born leader he doesn’t yet appear to be

And yet I can’t deny that my drive back to London where I live after Saturday’s match was depressing. And I agree we are at an interesting point in time, with a very big summer ahead, and unless we sort out some basic issue we may well struggle next season. But that’s been the case in every season we’ve been in the Premier League. And probably always will. Because like at least 13 of the 20 teams in the division, we have no divine right to be here and could drop out at any point.

The only thing we do have is a brilliant manager. Who never hides, never ducks responsibility, never pulls any punches in post-match interviews and has a track record of finding solutions to problems. So as per the theme of my words above, I think he more than anyone else deserves the benefit of the doubt in some of these areas. And some of the more reactive things written since Saturday appear to forget this.

Your say…

northstandmark wrote…

Agree with plenty of this Brents Goulet.

We are very short on midfielders and it really doesn’t help, with our obvious need to beef that area up at present. But what I would add on the midfield question, is that a spine of 3 centre backs plus Gosling Lerma and then a Brooks or Fraser in as number 10 just in front of midfield, provides the legs we need to cover our currently fragile central department.

With that, you have a Centre Back moving up the pitch a bit when in possession to help midfield, whilst the attacking midfielder moves up to support the centre forward. And then when out of possession you have the attacking midfielder able to drop back and make a 3 man midfield whilst the 3 Centre Backs do their thing.

And it’s exactly this sort of positional and tactical fluidity that is a hallmark of Howe’s successful sides. Howe’s successful 4-4-2 sides have never been the rigid 4-4-2 that we’re currently seeing.

That and also don’t remove your central midfield altogether, just hoping for the best when it’s clearly doomed to fail. That was moronic from Eddie and one of the most bizarre calls he’s made in all his years. – Join the conversation, click here.

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