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The Swan and Cemetery

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  1. Not sure I fully grasped our set up last night, but I liked what I thought it was… 3 1 2 (wide) 2 centralish) 2. Thought it gave us decent width and both wing backs did pretty well and allowed us to get forward whilst feeling reasonably secure at the back (for 90 mins at least). If the formation above is vaguely accurate I’d replace Weimann with Massengo at home, as he (AW) is pretty much a metaphor (maybe the sole cause?!?) for our overall capabilities, very poor at home, very good away. A slightly more defensive formation probably needed when we’re playing away. Whatever formation we play we need to get better at avoiding overloads in our final third. Mathematically we should have a numbers advantage, unless playing a very gung ho team, so need to be better at getting spare men attacking the ball, eg Tanner + AN other giving the left sided wide player more to think about. GT did well last night, but too often it was damage limitation, as exposed one on one. Think we tend to overload empty space, possibly intentionally as some sort of zonal system, but think we’d do better to pressure the ball.
  2. Looking forward to Conway getting fit, but could definitely do with another out and out striker. We can’t afford a 20 goals a season type, but maybe someone who can cause defences problems and hold the ball up, even as back up would be welcome.
  3. We need (somehow) to get 3 or 4 up against someone truly dreadful. Isn’t that 16 points from 18 for Forest? We’re not get the rub of the green (looked like blatant handball and possibly offside for the winner), but mentally we’re making it tough for ourselves. As others have mentioned, some of the hoofing and heading second half was so wasteful, we have to be calm enough to hang onto the ball, at least a bit. In lots of ways I thought we looked okay. 3 at the back and wing backs worked alright and thought James, Wells and Scott all had decent games. All the substitutions made us worse I thought, but also thought all understandable given tiring players. Still not convinced by Bents as captain, doesn’t scream ‘cool head in a crisis’, would prefer James, but maybe he hates the idea. Oh well, back on the road for some respite and a demolition of the Baggies.
  4. If Atkinson and Massengo fit and Williams and King not, I’d be tempted to go 5 at the back, with Kalas/Atkinson/Baker and Dasilva/Tanner wing backs. James and (bit Football Manager-y maybe, but for a left sided player) Pring holding, Massengo in front of them. Up front I’d be tempted to shake up and see if something like Wells/Semenyo could cause problems. Think both Martin and Weimann, the latter in particular, less effective at home, so would expect them to be back for WBA, albeit NP tends towards players holding the shirt if playing well. Overall probably a bit too much tinkering, but am drawn to Dasilva/Tanner as wing backs.
  5. Can see Zak reprising his DM role at this rate.
  6. Notwithstanding his own challenges, Williams appears to have quite similar physical attributes to O’Dowda, strong but athletic. But his (Joe’s) ability to impose himself on opponents is like night and day with Callum’s. As others have said COD appears to be one of those classic cases of all the attributes, but for whatever reason is unable to make the most of them. Suspect NP patience running out rapidly.
  7. He’ll kick it (or throw it) into the confectionery stall and out again.
  8. Guess I’m not convinced we can say our home form will continue, but our away form won’t. At the moment we’ve got a squad that’s better suited to playing against teams looking to come forward, rather than break down teams set up to defend (and we’re fundamentally not as good as top 3 and maybe a few others). No one can be happy with home form, but as it stands we’re 11th with a 4/4/4 record, that’s better than I expected. Clearly it could get worse, but it equally it might not.
  9. Think home form is more of a revenue issue than a league position issue. If we can’t win at home, difficult to expect the faithful to stay faithful, but if we continue doing well away we needn’t be in any danger of relegation. 22nd in home table, 2nd in away table (Bournemouth top), equals 11th overall.
  10. Didn’t see a lack of effort, but a definite lack of quality vs a very expensive team (Cahill on a free is not the sign of a cheap team, he won’t be on £50, a pie and pint), who are unbeaten this season. We’re now 4W 4D 4L, sounds like mid table, rather than worst team in history, but obviously not a great experience for home supporters. Weimann sums us up for me, consistently ineffective at home, consistently effective away. Could easily see us having a record breaking home vs away record this season.
  11. Yep, sharper than us for both goals in their half and then breaking better than we were able to regroup. Overall, we can criticise our players, but parachute payments and ignoring FFP buys you players quicker in thought and deed. Much less bothered being taught a football lesson by (financially) a Premier League team, it’s the mediocre/poor Championship teams we need to look decent against.
  12. Yep, we always used to play a high line against Wolves, usually approximately the edge of their penalty area. As a result the whole game, it seemed like a lot more than one half, was watching Steve Bull bearing down on us before he lashed home a volley/half volley (he was definitely of the David Kelly, min 3 goals a game, vintage). Remember a Freight Rover/Leyland DAF midweek game with the South Bank threateningly (not sexily) whistling at us and we still had that underpass to come.
  13. Rotherham 89/90 promotion season, midweek, 1-0 down at half time, they played Del Amitri’s ‘Kiss this thing goodbye’ during the break, own goal and Super Bob in the 2nd half and a 2-1 win to put us back on track. Any trip to Wigan at Springfield Park includjng drinking in the Springfield Arms beforehand. Feel Scott McGarvey offered a tanned/highlighted contrast to the industrial north in one game, that would have had Alan Bennett waxing lyrical about ‘against chimney smoke, there was orange, exuberant orange, yet, somehow… despairing’. Old school.
  14. Couldn’t agree more, any decent amount of time watching City and genuine, wow, skill is found rarely. Jacki had that in abundance, light years ahead of Tomlin and JET and proven at a much higher level. The team he was asked to play in was the equivalent of asking Viv Richards to play with Moreton-in-the-Monster-Mash 4ths. Most exciting player I’ve seen since starting watching in 74/75. Wouldn’t beat Gow, Super Bob or some others to all time favourite, but would be in my all time starting XI, as every now and then, football can be about joy and thrills, as well as (also very enjoyable) effort and guts. Remember a flick over his head in the penalty area against Ipswich at AG, that no one else I’ve seen for City would have tried (apart from Brian Mitchell). Joy to watch. Still got a couple of ‘Solidarnosc’ t shirts.
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