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firstdivision

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Everything posted by firstdivision

  1. Bristol Rovers (a), Chester (a), Bolton (Wembley) - three of the best days following the club in 50 years. The Terry Cooper days… such a decent man.
  2. Absolutely right. We have a lot of players who offer one thing but not another. NP will have to mix and match to find a balance. The idea of a first XI is misguided. Martin can’t start every game. We’ll have to find other solutions and combinations over time. That goes for midfield as well. And probably full back, which is a physically demanding position to play. I feel we’ll be a fair bit stronger if we can get Williams, Massengo and Semenyo fully match fit.
  3. He’s 21. Players at that age can make big improvements from one season to the next. He’s about the only forward player we’ve got who can move faster than a snail. And we’re going to be scraping the arse end of the table anyway. A fit Semenyo might help us above the dotted line.
  4. Yep - he’s one of the few players in our squad who gives us something different. Nearly every time he got the ball last season in the oppo’s half, they doubled up on him. Big shame he’s missed pre-season.
  5. I know it’s Villa and a pre-season game, Dave, but to me we look one-paced and lacking in creativity - not dissimilar to last season. I thought the same about Plymouth on Tuesday. A reasonable side would have taken their chances and beaten us.
  6. I can’t see how we will break sides down at home or be resilient enough away. Can’t escape the feeling that the best we can hope for is a battling team that can cobble together 52 points. The youngsters will largely be irrelevant in the coming season. They will be bit-part players - look at the teams for yesterday’s matches. (But Alex Scott is very promising.)
  7. So how much should take notice of Xgs? It seems to have become a go-to mantra for post-match analysis. But there seems to be enough variation to make it a bit clunky. (Although my eyes told me we were close to being the worst side in the Championship last season, if not the worst.) The notion of an ‘expected goal’ is a curious one. There are so many variables with each chance compared to previous chances from a specific position eg how tired the player is, the relative strength of his left and right feet, his confidence levels, the exact positioning of the opponents, the weather, the state of the game (a player is likely to be more anxious at 0-1 than 3-0), the exact weight of pass or cross, the quality of the pitch. I could go on. And on. My point being that no two chances are really alike. Unless I’ve completely misunderstood what an expected goal is. My understanding is that it’s essentially based on all available data for a chance from any given position. Please feel free to correct.
  8. There are so many variables ahead but I couldn’t put up a strong argument against the super computer at the moment. Hoping for better but 20th is better than three other finishing positions I could name. Better to start the season with a bit of realism - might create the sort of battling spirit among the fan base that could be needed.
  9. This might be one for @Davefevs What percentage of results of, say, Championship football matches last season were accurately reflected by the ‘expected goals’ metric? I know this metric can be/is used to show how well a team has performed in a game but I’m wondering how accurately - or otherwise - it reflects outcome as well. It would be interesting to see the stats for both overall result and margin of victory.
  10. Seems reasonable to conclude that NP has read Gregor’s article and decided to be deliberately uncommunicative. It’s actually slightly embarrassing for a 57yo.
  11. The club interviews too often miss out the most basic, obvious questions that fans would like to know the answers to. It’s like Pravda. Laughable on occasions. Someone like Gregor provides an essential role. It’s not an easy one because he’s often on his own. We should support what he tries to do.
  12. ‘A win? At home? Before the end of December? With the players we’ve got?’
  13. I know from NP’s interview that he’s training separately but I’m referring to the situation last season when there were few clues about his injury situation…until he was finally ruled out for the season. But I’m also perplexed why it’s taken him so long to recover from a hamstring injury in February. NP says he’ll be ‘fine for the start of the season’. Frankly, I’ll believe that when I see it. A bloke who’s been out for a year and misses normal pre-season surely won’t be ready, certainly not effective, for the start of the season.
  14. I’ve never known a more ridiculous situation with an injured player at the club. Mystery has surrounded his injuries. Little comment from the club. Missed six months after he signed. Comes back for two games. Goes off with a hamstring injury at Sheffield United. Makes a cryptic comment on his own social media about his injury - out for another six months. If he misses pre-season, it’ll take him a while to get up to speed…and that’ll mean another month or two before he’s effective.
  15. Not even close for me. If it was a choice between staying up next season and England winning, I’d go for staying up. I want England to win but club means more.
  16. Im afraid I’ll believe it when I see it. One-paced up front, lots of key players coming back from long-term injury, youngsters largely a red herring (not Championship-ready yet), old blokes signed (Simpson, King) and a manager who - worryingly for me - was completely unable to inspire, cajole, or organise any sort of resistance in the latter part of the season. Apart from that, bring it on. The positives are we might be fitter and have fewer injuries because of the less intense programme. Also, we’ve made a couple of reasonable-looking signings.
  17. To be clear: I absolutely don’t think he has a free pass. But I get the impression that some of our supporters are overly indulgent of him. I thought we were a shambles under him last season. I was surprised how little effect he had on the team. Worryingly so. But let’s see how he goes.
  18. Well, LJ did get us to 8th, our second highest finishing position in forty years. And we also made it to a cup semi-final for the first time in nearly 30 years. Johnson also sold players for millions as well. Just the C£15m profit on Webster alone in one season. But I’m happy, if you’re happy, to give Big Nice a free pass for three years on the basis that Ashton and Johnson totally destroyed the club, leaving us…um, still in the Championship.
  19. I completely agree about Watkins, Engvall and Brunt. Awful. Some of those you mention had injuries, which blurs things a little. Rodri was poor but he was only on a short-term contract because of a striker shortage. Mariappa only came in to fill a gap left by injuries - options were limited at the time because his signing was outside the transfer window I think there are always going to be signings that don’t work. Eisa and Szmodics were only here for a year and the club made their money back - a profit, I think on Szmodics. I’m not sure the ledger against Ashton is quite as damning as you suggest. Certainly not against Lee Johnson, although some of the performances in his final season were dire. I don’t mind that MA has gone but I’m sceptical the new regime will be a vast improvement. Will NP have us finishing as high as 8th in the next three years? Will he even last three years?
  20. Out of interest, who were the ‘pony’ players that Mark Ashton/Lee Johnson brought in? I’m talking permanent signings. The reason I ask is that I seem to remember the team doing generally quite well under Lee Johnson. We were in the top 6 before the pandemic produced a unique set of circumstances. Last season, the team started quite well and was then massively undermined by injuries. Our new manager’s record is appalling, so much so that even he expressed surprise at the fans’ vocal social media backing for him. He does, though, have the right to be given time because of the unique circumstances he found himself in and finds himself in. Im just trying to sort out the emotion from the logic.
  21. I’m sorry. I don’t understand what you mean by that comment.
  22. I totally understand your sentiment but I think it’s misplaced because of the decency and diversity of this England team and the intelligence and humility of its manager. They are easy to like…unlike those who you mention.
  23. I have an open mind but not much optimism. Fed up of watching ageing one-paced midfield players plod around. Athleticism, calmness, tight ball control, eye for a pass - my idea of a decent midfield player’s attributes. I expect we can’t afford one like that though.
  24. Andy King has started 22 senior games in FOUR seasons and is 33 in October. I wish him well but I'm very sceptical about him having a significant impact on our season. I'm sort of thinking a new version of Chris Brunt and Henri Lansbury. It seems to me the Championship has moved on from these type of signings being successful.
  25. Amazing how small the squad is, but teams could sign players during most of the season in those days.
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