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Olé

Match Report: Finally City pass again - but also pass up prize tie

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Considering the quality of the opposition I thought we were poor throughout and appalling in the second half. Two of the worst performances I've witnessed  in recent times have come in the last 4 days. 

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22 minutes ago, Olé said:

With a home cup tie against European Champions Liverpool on the line, out-of-sorts City finally found their passing range after weeks of forgettable long balls. But despite this replay producing perhaps their best football for a month, they slowly retreated into familiar mistakes before eventually succumbing to lower league Shrewsbury.

It’s yet another paradox in the divisive reign of manager Johnson, who despite apparently galvanising his players for this crucial replay, was out-coached for a second successive tie with mid-table League One opposition - danger-men Palmer and Eliasson neutralised at half time in the first fixture, Brownhill and Nagy similarly tonight.

Indeed despite Brownhill and in particular man-of-the-match Nagy pulling the strings in a fluid first half full of slick link-up play, the decisive intervention was yet again from Shrews boss Ricketts who this time targeted City’s midfield pairing, knocking the visitors out of their stride, making their eventual upset more and more inevitable.

In truth for all City’s neat interplay and possession, the Shropshire hosts always shaded the chances - a lack of cutting edge for the visitors highlighted by disjointed performances from Weimann and Diedhiou, anything but a well-drilled forward pairing. And that lack of attacking strategy was compounded in an increasingly sloppy finish.

It looked so much more promising in an enthralling, end to end first half. Little did we know our best chance came and went after 8 minutes: Rowe was bundled over on the left, Paterson collecting the ball on the run to cross for Williams to head down to the edge of the box, Brownhill unleashing a fierce stinging shot that was beaten away.

City were up for it and on 11 minutes Brownhill won the ball from a Shrewsbury corner and initiated a swarming break, playing a 40 yard crossfield pass to Weimann, the visitors probing from one side of the box to the other, before getting Hunt to the byline, whose cross was miscued by Weimann, Rowe eventually shooting tamely from range.

Slowly Shrewsbury were matching their Championship opposition with fine build up play of their own, and inside 20 minutes their own spell of probing found full back Pierre pushed up to collect the ball well outside the box and lash a 25 yard rising shot just past the far post. It was a warning from the eventual match winner that City didn’t heed.

By now Nagy was running the game, both he and Brownhill pushed up in more advanced midfield roles to link up play to good effect: on 21 minutes City swept it cross field to the left and Nagy threaded an instinctive square ball to put Paterson clear - his angled shot was blocked, but from the resultant corner Baker headed onto the post.

On 28 minutes Shrewsbury broke down City’s left and swung the ball deep to where Hunt cut out the cross at the far post, only to centre it straight to the opposition striker dead centre of goal, his shot desperately blocked. It was symptomatic of yet another poor performance from right back Hunt who was verging on a liability at both ends.

But the half belonged to City, and a spell of sustained pressure after 32 minutes saw good work from Paterson to recycle the ball, allow the visitors to produce 4 successive crosses into the box from open play - but the Shrews defended robustly and while striker Diedhiou hunted a finish, he rarely got near any balls in, much less Weimann.

The game opened up for the remainder of an increasingly end to end half, and when Moore replaced hamstring injury victim Baker, it almost contrived an immediate error, the new look backline giving the ball away and out of position as striker Udoh found room to run at City’s box, unleashing a pile-driver that Bentley brilliantly pushed away.

Before half time both sides blew gilt-edged chances to go in front, first Hunt raced upfield into midfield space before threading Diedhiou on goal, the striker shanking a clumsy rising shot over with just keeper to beat. For the hosts Giles returned the favour, put clear on goal and ahead of the last defender, he hammered an early shot way over.

But just as he had done at Ashton Gate, Shrews boss Ricketts seemed to counter City’s most influential players after the break. Where in Bristol he had eliminated the threat of Eliasson and playmaker Palmer, this time round he would have his side press both Brownhill and Nagy, forcing them deeper and curtailing much of the visitors fluidity.

Indeed it was nearly 10 minutes into the half when Brownhill played out from the back and fed Eliasson in the channel, the winger opening his body to divert the ball smartly into the path of Paterson wide left, who crossed to Diedhiou in space at the edge of the box, only for the striker - so in form on Saturday - to side foot comfortably wide.

Minutes later Williams had to produce a sublime sliding tackle to intercept the ball and stop the hosts going clean through on goal, and from that recovery Brownhill got City tearing back - albeit with shades of handball - before finding Paterson in a free role in space attacking the box, only to hit a wild shot high and wide and into the crowd.

Slowly City were running out of ideas and the mistakes that have plagued recent weeks started to reappear. Around the hour mark centre backs Moore and Williams each gave the ball away in quick succession with poorly chosen passes, and even when the visitors got forward, Hunt and Weimann lacked thought or composure on the ball.

Johnson threw on Palmer for Paterson, while Shrewsbury made two changes of their own, and immediately it was the hosts who benefited. Their best chance yet saw a deep cross met by Lang who headed down and required Bentley to claw off the line. From the corner a desperate scramble was needed as the Shrews nearly turned home.

At the other end Rowe’s wicked cross was headed behind at close range, and the visitors enjoyed a succession of Eliasson corners, without converting. The Swedish winger had been the target of robust treatment by his opponents, but so often accused of lacking a defensive game, he then twice chased back to recover possession for City.

With under quarter of an hour left, Rowe again found room on the left and drilled a low shot across the edge of the box which was behind Diedhiou and Weimann, and not attacked by anyone else. Symptomatic of a now sloppy away side, captain Brownhill the worst culprit, repeatedly hurried into miscueing passes straight to the opposition.

Indeed it only looked like Shrewsbury would find a winner in the last ten minutes as they tested City’s goal, so it was no surprise when another adjustment from the home boss saw final substitute Cummings race on with two minutes left, immediately winning and heading down the ball for full back Pierre to strike low past Bentley from 25 yards.

With so little time remaining, delerium for the home fans and stunned silence from the near 1,300 City fans who had made the long midweek trip expecting so much more. Johnson finally brought on Semenyo for a front line that had badly needed alternatives much earlier in the fixture - once again a thankless task for the energetic City teenager.

There were however chances, on 91 the Shrews missed a headed clearance from a Brownhill cross and the ball fell to Eliasson at the far post, only to volley wildly over. On 93 Diedhiou headed down for Weimann racing in, but the forward curiously failed to apply any finish. And with the last kick Diedhiou’s 20 yard volley flashed just wide.

The truth is that City would not win or lose their ticket to a famous Liverpool cup tie in a chaotic final five minute rally. The opportunity to win the game was over 180 minutes and while Johnson finally reignited his side’s slick passing in an entertaining first half, being out-thought tactically second half raises more awkward questions for him.

 

Bentley 6 Made a number of good saves, over-worked relative to his opposite number

Hunt 5 God knows Pereira or Bailey Wright must be really bad because bar a few bright runs he’s useless at both ends of the pitch, doesn’t seem to know what he’s going to do next or where his touches or passes or crosses will go, he’s certainly a player out of confidence

Rowe 6 Got forward well and far less of a liability than Hunt, two good crosses second half deserved more

Williams 7 Very solid and composed throughout the game, even tidy on the ball when building from the back

Baker 6 We looked more solid when he was on, and did nothing wrong, but not on long enough

Brownhill 5 Was great in the first half, looked really hungry, up with play and involved in several key moves, then undid all his work by being awful second half, didn’t seem to be able to pass to teammates, kept making mistakes - as a team we have a culture of basic technical errors, as captain he is making more than most

Nagy 7 Ran the midfield in the first half, was playing more advanced to help string moves together, but also always dropped or showed for the ball, by far the pick of our players, but Shrewsbury adjusted well to stop our midfield linking up second half

Eliasson 6 Rarely got in the game, closely marked, was bundled over 4 times in succession in the first half (the booking which eventually followed for accumulated fouls was matched by one for Rowe for his first challenge - consistency eh!) and crossing was off target, as was his chance to square the game in injury time - only gets a 6 for chasing back to recover the ball

Paterson 6 Made us much more fluid in attacking positions in the first half and recycled possession well, but little end product and one wild finish

Weimann 5 I’m increasingly of the view that while he runs around a lot, he is a headless chicken (unless he's scoring) - he is not a conventional striker, he’s not a partner for Diedhiou, and so he offers little structure to our frontline, he seems to play his own game, or at least a materially different one to what we’re asking Diedhiou to do. Surely strikers drilled to combine is the way forward, please?

Diedhiou 5 Sounds like he’s LJ’s scapegoat and it’s true he’s been rash, high and wide with two chances, and not a good game by his recent standards, but I can’t decide whether the service is up to it or not - we played pretty stuff, but crosses seem to be to no one in particular, he and Weimann are not feeding off one another, he ends up dropping wide to get the ball

 

Moore 6 Played the ball out from the back better, but occasionally looked at risk of surrendering possession when out of position

Palmer 5 I’m not sure once Shrewsbury started pressing our central midfielders in the second half that it made any sense to bring Palmer on in there - they did the same and sat on him and while he did well to hold off challenges and at least retain possession, he was rarely able to get his head up and play forwards, so little point in him being there

Semenyo This was one game that was crying out for him, so of course he comes on in the 90th minute once we’re chasing the game

This report is at odds with everything I have heard of the game from other people that were there and the impression I got from the reports very strange how differently people see a game.

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17 minutes ago, Olé said:

Williams 7 Very solid and composed throughout the game, even tidy on the ball when building from the back

Usually agree with excellent insight Ole. but no on Williams rating today. Composed - not - running around blaming everyone else because he couldn't keep up about 15 mins in.  Building from the back,  I just can't see it, too slow and usually sideways. 

 

Still love the reports tho. people see different things

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Thanks Ole for  another excellent analysis of our  lacklustre and inconsistent team.    The lack of a quality goalscorer yet again haunts us, and the home sides superior tactician also unsuprisingly exposes LJ's credibility as a coach of any note?    Our form like the current weather, is depressingly familiar.  Well Done Shrewsbury, I'm certain you will give Liverpool a better match than we would have managed?

Edited by maxjak

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^ Happy to accept that people see things differently, but have people seen City home and away for the past month! We've barely strung a pass together. It wasn't great today but credit where credit's due - we finally passed the f****g ball and I've been waiting a while to celebrate that. 😂 And some credit to Shrewsbury who played well in both ties and nullified our "tactics" by the second half on both occasions. Both outweigh the need to completely tear into our team, there are plenty of other threads to do that in.

On Saturday we punted 40 yard balls over the top to no great effect, and somehow won. Tonight we got the ball down and passed around as well as we have for a while (at least for the first half), and yet also to no great effect. These are not good traits for some of our players, and certainly not for the manager, but I'm pretty sure some of the patterns of passing play tonight must be what Johnson wants us doing, and as they've been absent for a while, I'm not going to apologise for including "passing" as a positive.

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Can’t see how you think Nagy ran the show, i thought he was poor and looks like a boy playing in the centre who is unable to get a grip of the game and run it.

if i was LJ i would firmly lay the blame today at Famaras door, to not hit the target with either effort is unforgivable 

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12 minutes ago, Olé said:

^ Happy to accept that people see things differently, but have people seen City home and away for the past month! We've barely strung a pass together. It wasn't great today but credit where credit's due - we finally passed the f****g ball and I've been waiting a while to celebrate that. 😂 And some credit to Shrewsbury who played well in both ties and nullified our "tactics" by the second half on both occasions. Both outweigh the need to completely tear into our team, there are plenty of other threads to do that in.

On Saturday we punted 40 yard balls over the top to no great effect, and somehow won. Tonight we got the ball down and passed around as well as we have for a while (at least for the first half), and yet also to no great effect. These are not good traits for some of our players, and certainly not for the manager, but I'm pretty sure some of the patterns of passing play tonight must be what Johnson wants us doing, and as they've been absent for a while, I'm not going to apologise for including "passing" as a positive.

No need to apologise, it just seemed your report almost made us sound good which we patently were not if we can't beat a lower mid table league one side.

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25 minutes ago, Major Isewater said:

Interesting that I thought the game plan should be a repeat of the Wigan game , not pretty but affective then I hear that we went back to tippy tappy stuff .

:dunno:

Have a think about that!!! After 4 years of a Managerial reign what we should have done is go long, go direct, rely on percentages.........against a bang average League 1 outfit, similar to the Gas “if you like”, some “identity” we’ve created there isn’t it?😂😂

Edited by Numero Uno

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Thanks as always @Olé for a balanced, measured review. I always find your assessments detailed and fair- it’s opinions after all- and although I know we’re in a results business, there is at least some degree of improvement vs the Wigan game. 
 

Barnsley becomes a must win game IMO given how toxic it could get- but when you strip everything back, and look at the bigger picture- we’re 1 point off the play offs, we’re consistently in the top 1/2 of the championship and in my 25 years of watching us, we’ve been in far worse positions. 
 

by no means am I an LJ die hard, but equally it’s always worth remembering the grass isn’t always greener. 
 

19 huge games left, in a league where results are always unpredictable- for me I want to get behind the team, and see where we end up. 
 

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1 hour ago, Olé said:

:facepalm:  To be fair I wasn't ever apologising, merely highlighting the basis for my remarks - if you saw our football differently you're welcome to give examples of how you saw it (though it sounds like you didn't).

I realise that you're frustrated with the result (I am now on a 3 hour trip to get back to London for work before 9am, imagine how I feel) but your frustration with LJ is apparent in many threads, you didn't really need to rush into this one to refute my report in a single sentence on the basis of nothing more that your frustration (certainly no examples of how you saw the football differently to me). If it helps, I assure you Steve Lansdown is not flicking through OTIB and spotting my post and then deciding that because I complimented some of the football, LJ keeps his job! Your view really isn't threatened by my analysis.

But like it or not, I've conveyed how I saw some of the football that we played first half, having sat through every last second of all the football this season, and seen far far worse and depressing tactics for weeks prior to this fixture. As to "your report almost made us sound good which we patently were not if we can't beat...", I hope this doesn't come as a shock to you, but it has long been possible for a football team to play good football and lose a game of football. The two are not always connected, particularly in the cup. For more examples of teams "sounding good" and losing, see the team we beat on Saturday. 

Ole, can't tell you how much I enjoy your write ups, I honest to God woke up this morning looking forward to reading your match report.

No pressure on you, but I'd be lost with out them.  Feel like I should be paying you a subscription fee!

Cheers, fella.

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We were playing an average league one team last night and despite having a few chances were never dominant and were kept in the game by Bentley who was the busier keeper making most of the more difficult saves. And let’s not forget that the prize was a home game vs the best team in the world and our head coach and players were totally unable to put together a performance to match the prize.   
If you  think Nagy ran the show you saw a different game than me and the bar must be set pretty low. Picking the ball up and passing across and back to the centre halves is not running the show. Once again weak in the tackle and not creating chances. I’m sure Liam Walsh or Joe Morrell could do much more.  
As a team we must of passed the ball across and back hundreds of times last night.
As for Brownhill if any Burnley fans had strayed into Shropshire and saw his aweful performance they’d wonder why the hell they are apparently interested in signing him.   

Why he left Weinman on I’ll never know. I get that he runs around a lot but I expect more from a experienced championship player who never seems to have the ball under control.   

Other than Williams and Rowe who were frees I expect any one of our players  cost more than their entire team but you’d have never thought it in either game. Equally the wage bill must be at least 5 times what there’s is.  Shameful from our team and management, imagine how Lansdown must feel. If I were him I’d be looking around for a new head coach and coaching staff.  

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Thanks for the right up, id love to see eliasson and paterson buzzing being fam , i like weimann but they just dont work as a pairing and at the moment i would say Fam is the on form striker who could play up top by himself . 

He is getting all the praise from opposing fans/radio presenters are very complimentary of him this season! 

Also hope we dont go 442 often this season , as unless we outscore the other team we are left far too exposed on the wings!! 

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7 hours ago, StGeorge said:

Usually agree with excellent insight Ole. but no on Williams rating today. Composed - not - running around blaming everyone else because he couldn't keep up about 15 mins in.  Building from the back,  I just can't see it, too slow and usually sideways. 

 

Still love the reports tho. people see different things

Radio commentary wasn't particularly complimentary of his mistakes either. 

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Ole    How do you remember all the facts and names and times that you show in your reports, do you make notes?

Are you a frustrated sports reporter?    Thanks and keep them coming.

Just 1 question - If you had a 3 hour journey home to report for work at 9.00 am this morning, when did you compile

the report  - in your sleep?

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11 minutes ago, Gert Mare said:

Did Shrewsbury have more box entries than us? I’m keen to know?

Of course. 

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Fair assessment Ole.

One point on passing. Matters not if we string together endless amounts of passes when given possession if there's no creative end product or purpose, which we signally lack. Who's our creative in the centre other than the part time show pony and if we're pinning our hopes on him turning up each week we're in trouble? Most games this season, even when dire, we've tippy tappy passed it out from the back, 20 to 30 touches before the ball ends up back with the keeper it then being punted forward (with possession ceded.) Ditto most free kicks, including many in advanced areas.

As important as having an effective, slick passing game (we don't) is when not to. There's nothing wrong with occasionally getting the ball forward quickly to keep opponents guessing, varying one's playing style or in the case of some sides playing to one's strengths. Sadly, in this respect WeeLee's a one trick tactical pony.

 

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Thanks Ole, missed the game last night, which sounds a good move. Personally, I just think we have an unbalanced squad, and too many players, all of a similar standard. Plus, a lightweight midfield that is too easy to bully.

Amazed at how many people seem to forget that the prospect of Liverpool Reserves will also give a lift to the opposition, and that we have no divine right to win. Good time to play us really, low on confidence, out of sorts, no idea what our best team and formation is.

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Williams & Nagy a 7 and Weimann 5....You're having a laugh.

and as for finding their passing range ???

Were you realy at the match ?

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Your last sentence says it all about LJ and the coaching staff. They don’t have a clue and frankly need replacing in their entirety. Saturdays win from a piss poor performance papered over the enormous cracks. 

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31 minutes ago, BobbyC said:

Williams & Nagy a 7 and Weimann 5....You're having a laugh.

and as for finding their passing range ???

Were you realy at the match ?

I’d say Williams 5, Nagy 4, Weinman (was he playing) 2 is more like it in my opinion. 
 

Passing range? Yes they found it if it’s defined as 5 or 10 yards across and back. If it’s forward incisive passes then I don’t think this lot has that in them. They didn’t display it last night. 

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1 hour ago, CotswoldRed said:

Of course. 

Well you can’t argue with that then. We had great possession though so that’s a massive positive. The ‘Chuckle Brother’ tactic is vitally important when it comes to our identity on the pitch. 

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4 hours ago, Olé said:

:facepalm:  To be fair I wasn't ever apologising, merely highlighting the basis for my remarks - if you saw our football differently you're welcome to give examples of how you saw it (though it sounds like you didn't).

I realise that you're frustrated with the result (I am now on a 3 hour trip to get back to London for work before 9am, imagine how I feel) but your frustration with LJ is apparent in many threads, you didn't really need to rush into this one to refute my report in a single sentence on the basis of nothing more that your frustration (certainly no examples of how you saw the football differently to me). If it helps, I assure you Steve Lansdown is not flicking through OTIB and spotting my post and then deciding that because I complimented some of the football, LJ keeps his job! Your view really isn't threatened by my analysis.

But like it or not, I've conveyed how I saw some of the football that we played first half, having sat through every last second of all the football this season, and seen far far worse and depressing tactics for weeks prior to this fixture. As to "your report almost made us sound good which we patently were not if we can't beat...", I hope this doesn't come as a shock to you, but it has long been possible for a football team to play good football and lose a game of football. The two are not always connected, particularly in the cup. For more examples of teams "sounding good" and losing, see the team we beat on Saturday. 

My point was only about how people see things differently, other posters who were at the game said we were awful from start to finish, and I'm well aware Wigan were the better side for most of the game and it is possible to win games where you're outplayed, from all the reports from others yours seemed to strike an overly rosy view of the game as far as we were concerned that's all.

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3 hours ago, Numero Uno said:

Have a think about that!!! After 4 years of a Managerial reign what we should have done is go long, go direct, rely on percentages.........against a bang average League 1 outfit, similar to the Gas “if you like”, some “identity” we’ve created there isn’t it?😂😂

I don’t like it any more than you do but Wigan and Shrewsbury play in a similar style and whilst we’re stuttering we need to get back to the pragmatic but affective football that got us into the top six in the first place. 
 

It worked v Wigan and could have worked v Shrewsbury but we , apparently, went all ‘ fancy Dan ‘ and hoity toity. 
 

Well we got what we deserved last night and congratulations to our opponents who will now benefit from all that comes with a ‘ giant ‘ killing and a match against currently the best team in the world .


 

 

 

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Ole,

Good report and i start by saying, i was there. Clearly one-line criticisms of either the performance or your report by people NOT there are worth reading as little as most comments on this forum; hence the vast, vast majority of city supporters attending games (over 1200 last night) never read, nor comment on this forum.

I would add their scorer, Pierre was excellent all game defensively, putting Weimann and Fam under very close scrutiny. His goal was a once in a lifetime effort but fair play to him and the team that just scraped the narrowest of wins over 180 mins. I think we would have won over a further 30 but that's just an opinion from twatching the way their players slowed down so much from 60-85 mins; Rickett's subs were excellently timed, Lj didnt match but wanted the option of the game's final sub during EX Time. Cant win em all but need to win the more important game this weekend.

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23 minutes ago, Hampshire Red said:

 

the narrowest of wins over 180 mins. I think we would have won over a further 30 but that's just an opinion from ****ching the way their players slowed down so much from 60-85 mins; Rickett's subs were excellent

We thank you for your opinions, we respect them, we look forward to the next ones, and keep twatching, mate

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Bobby C; were you at the game or do you go to any City games? I think those ratings are spot on so what's your contribution? 

THis is the Cup, emotions run high and can help the lesser team; do you remember City 2 Man Utd 1...oh, sorry you werent there either! THeyhit the posts twice and we had as good a gola from Bryan as Pierre scored last night. THese things happen, suck it up and allow brilliant reports from people were were at the game express their opinions without purile responses like yours

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A very good précis. The first half was entertaining with end to end movement from both sides. Second half - things started going awry. 
Overall, I’d say Williams played well with some superb tackling and deserves a 7. If not for him we could have been looking an even more red-faced score line. 

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7 hours ago, Moments of Pleasure said:

We thank you for your opinions, we respect them, we look forward to the next ones, and keep twatching, mate

To sound like "ker-ching!!"

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16 hours ago, miketh2nd said:

Thanks for the right up, id love to see eliasson and paterson buzzing being fam , i like weimann but they just dont work as a pairing and at the moment i would say Fam is the on form striker who could play up top by himself . 

He is getting all the praise from opposing fans/radio presenters are very complimentary of him this season! 

Also hope we dont go 442 often this season , as unless we outscore the other team we are left far too exposed on the wings!! 

Not just the wings, it also often eaves teams at decent levels exposed in the centre,  especially if their manager wants to combine 4-4-2 with an open game!!

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14 hours ago, Gert Mare said:

Well you can’t argue with that then. We had great possession though so that’s a massive positive. The ‘Chuckle Brother’ tactic is vitally important when it comes to our identity on the pitch. 

Check the stats this year. 

We are NOT a possession first side. Weren't necessarily last year either but at home more so.

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14 hours ago, aa_bcfc said:

I’d say Williams 5, Nagy 4, Weinman (was he playing) 2 is more like it in my opinion. 
 

Passing range? Yes they found it if it’s defined as 5 or 10 yards across and back. If it’s forward incisive passes then I don’t think this lot has that in them. They didn’t display it last night. 

Third player in the centre makes it easier to create those angles, find that space, get that numerical advantage and build passing patterns and dominance.. Over time of course. How we set up on one hand, yet on the other how we play,  well there is a disconnect.

It can often leave our midfielders, centrally especially, exposed. 

By that 3rd player I DON'T class Palmer, Patterson or even though in the past he has been quite direct and able to run at the opposition, suitable in this role, currently O'Dowda as suitable for that third player to improve the passing, the positive mindset and perhaps the ability to take a risk or two more. 

Edited by Mr Popodopolous

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6 hours ago, Mr Popodopolous said:

Check the stats this year. 

We are NOT a possession first side. Weren't necessarily last year either but at home more so.

I know we are not. Just quoting what Lee said in his interview. 

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