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Major Isewater

Bravo McGregor and Piercy - Post analysis

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A very decent read, and pretty much listed all the issues and options.

The biggest issue is that lack of continuity in the team, no doubt about it.

LJ can’t play players who are injured such as Smith, but he can stick to the same formation so at least those players coming in know what the pattern of play should be.

I think the best teams in this league do that, and I’m afraid the chopping and changing of formation is at the root of our problems.

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56 minutes ago, Major Isewater said:

Well done to these two , a frankly top article and analysis of the difficulties at City .

Give it à read . 
 

It seems everyone can see it but the bloke who matters most . 
 

 

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/sport/football/big-issues-lee-johnson-must-3889582

Ta for posting Major

A good piece that with some decent points , fair play to GMC & his sidekick

Not sure how much Lee will like it (Will be interesting to see his reaction to GMC in coming weeks !)

 

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Easy to knock and mock the Post and GMG, but that article is very well written, and addresses many issues that many of us on here, and in the stands have been able to see for a while.

The Post and GMG may be getting shunned a little bit as a result, but it's only saying what a lot of people are thinking, without making snide little digs at the same time.

Be interesting to see if there's any fallout from this...

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1 hour ago, BobBobSuperBob said:

Ta for posting Major

A good piece that with some decent points , fair play to GMC & his sidekick

Not sure how much Lee will like it (Will be interesting to see his reaction to GMC in coming weeks !)

 

LJ will ask GmG to do the next presser 😆

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GMcG is doing the presser.

GMcG is doing the analysis.

People want a solution as to who to hire, someone that's available...

/s

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OK LJ has been unlucky with injuries and players being transferred.........but plenty of other sides have to contend with siimilar problems.  Ultimately this is a mess of LJ's own making, with a lack of a system of play, when despite injuries players could be brought in to maintain the same formation, if as he stated he has two players for each position.  I really don't have a lot of sympathy for LJ, he has had 4 years and numerous transfer windows, and he still does not know his best formation or team.  He constantly refers to identity, but I have absolutely no idea what our's is?  We play mundane dull football, and are one of the least exciting teams in the league to watch, which would be acceptable if results were forthcoming?  I believe he has done a good job getting us to where we are, but a new impetus is needed, with fresh ideas and input, we have become stale, and I believe come the summer a new management team is required to move us forward.

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2 minutes ago, maxjak said:

OK LJ has been unlucky with injuries and players being transferred.........but plenty of other sides have to contend with siimilar problems.  Ultimately this is a mess of LJ's own making, with a lack of a system of play, when despite injuries players could be brought in to maintain the same formation, if as he stated he has two players for each position.  I really don't have a lot of sympathy for LJ, he has had 4 years and numerous transfer windows, and he still does not know his best formation or team.  He constantly refers to identity, but I have absolutely no idea what our's is?  We play mundane dull football, and are one of the least exciting teams in the league to watch, which would be acceptable if results were forthcoming?  I believe he has done a good job getting us to where we are, but a new impetus is needed, with fresh ideas and input, we have become stale, and I believe come the summer a new management team is required to move us forward.

We could be a Premier League team by then :)

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4 minutes ago, RedLionLad said:

We could be a Premier League team by then :)

Ha!   I admire your optimism..........but  am not holding my breath 🙃

Edited by maxjak

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3 minutes ago, maxjak said:

Ha!   I admire your optimism..........but  am not holding my breath 🙃

I'm trying to buck the trend :)

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Can someone please copy and paste the article contents to the thread? I don't want to reward their anti consumer web practices with yet another page view 🙂

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2 hours ago, Moments of Pleasure said:

It's just too much churn - from injuries, poor form, player trading, and some head coach tinkering/indecision too, perhaps. 

Agreed- though I don't think the trading that bad- not saying it's exceptional either but I don't think it's that bad.

Too much churn in general though, absolutely- thought so for 2 years. Some of it is fairly unavoidable but the trading levels seem much too much.

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8 minutes ago, Kykoliko said:

Can someone please copy and paste the article contents to the thread? I don't want to reward their anti consumer web practices with yet another page view 🙂

In this case it’s merited, come on credit where it’s due .

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It's refreshing to see a lot of the issues we have been raising on this forum actually acknowledged and in the domain of an outside audience now.

I still do have a real issue about the idea we need to chop and change the team or 'tweak' it to match up opponents with different attributes. Do Liverpool change their team to allow for the fact they are playing against a physical side - no they dont, they play same formation and same players and let the opposing team worry about them.

I know Liverpool is an extreme example but it's just to make the point really. I feel with the squad we have we should be able to adopt a settled, successful team that the opposition can worry about and bin all this bloody tweaking of our side every 2 minutes.

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2 hours ago, BobBobSuperBob said:

Ta for posting Major

A good piece that with some decent points , fair play to GMC & his sidekick

Not sure how much Lee will like it (Will be interesting to see his reaction to GMC in coming weeks !)

 

James Piercy is Gregor’s boss!!!

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24 minutes ago, Redstart said:

It's refreshing to see a lot of the issues we have been raising on this forum actually acknowledged and in the domain of an outside audience now.

I still do have a real issue about the idea we need to chop and change the team or 'tweak' it to match up opponents with different attributes. Do Liverpool change their team to allow for the fact they are playing against a physical side - no they dont, they play same formation and same players and let the opposing team worry about them.

I know Liverpool is an extreme example but it's just to make the point really. I feel with the squad we have we should be able to adopt a settled, successful team that the opposition can worry about and bin all this bloody tweaking of our side every 2 minutes.

WBA have played the same formation thirty plus times this season .. Leeds twenty five times .. They alter their approach to how they attack and defend slightly (tweaks).

Mr Johnson is going beyond formation and selection changes he changes they style of the team during the season each season. 

Its method v babies and water.

 

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38 minutes ago, Redstart said:

It's refreshing to see a lot of the issues we have been raising on this forum actually acknowledged and in the domain of an outside audience now.

I still do have a real issue about the idea we need to chop and change the team or 'tweak' it to match up opponents with different attributes. Do Liverpool change their team to allow for the fact they are playing against a physical side - no they dont, they play same formation and same players and let the opposing team worry about them.

I know Liverpool is an extreme example but it's just to make the point really. I feel with the squad we have we should be able to adopt a settled, successful team that the opposition can worry about and bin all this bloody tweaking of our side every 2 minutes.

I reckon that because of al the chopping and changing that LJ indulges in, opposition teams don't have to worry about us, because they know LJ is worrying about them!

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49 minutes ago, Major Isewater said:

In this case it’s merited, come on credit where it’s due .

Respectfully disagree, Major. The finest article in the world would still not warrant that cesspit of a website.

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The issues Johnson must address to reinvigorate City's play-off challenge


It's been a chastening and challenging 10 days for Bristol City who, in the space of three matches, have gone from being within sight of the automatic promotion places to looking nervously over their shoulder and the very real threat of mid-table.

Defeats to Leeds United and West Brom were, in the main, anticipated and that helped ever so slightly gloss over worrying signs in their performance but Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield has brought those worries front and centre.

The Robins are in the grip of yet another losing run and with the competition for the top six as wide as ever, with anyone ranked first to 11th essentially in contention, and the swing from best case to worst case scenario is stark.

Put bluntly, City aren't playing very well - neither individually or collectively - and perhaps that's been the case for too long and it's finally catching up with them but, to counter, head coach Lee Johnson clearly has the tools at his disposal to turn things around.

This is still a deeply talented squad with ability from front to back but a number of key weaknesses and problems need to be addressed quickly to prevent City's season from fading into mid-table obscurity.

 

Exactly what is Bristol City's core?

One relentless criticism of Johnson is that, "he doesn't know his best team", which does have some merit, given the amount of changes in selection he tends to make each week but is also devoid of almost all nuance and context.

Injury issues to key players over the first half of the campaign, and into the second regarding Tomas Kalas and Korey Smith, have made it hard to establish a regular XI plus the fact the attributes of a number of individuals mean it's fair and reasonable to alternate your playing approach depending on the opposition.

There are 23 other teams in the Championship and most have strengths and weaknesses that mean certain line-ups work for some but not others e.g there's no point having the starting XI when you're facing Millwall - given their physical strength and power - compared to the neat, technical play of Brentford.

Therefore making tactical tweaks along the way can be the difference in results over the course of a season and the idea of a "best team" is a bit of an outmoded concept.

However, there still needs to be some consistency and continuity and a core to build around; right now, it's hard to know what Johnson's best seven or eight is: only Dan Bentley, Jack Hunt (albeit with fresh reservations over his place), Famara Diedhiou and Nahki Wells can be considered nailed-on starters, or at least certifiable regulars.

There has been a rotating cast in the middle of defence with plenty of strength in depth but, Ashley Williams aside, no defining first-choice pairing or trio. Ditto in midfield, where the system changes, as does the individuals used. Unlike previously where, a formation switch, would still result in Marlon Pack and Josh Brownhill being present.

A total of 16 outfield players have made 10 or more starts over the course of the season, and below that Jamie Paterson, Smith, Wells, Filip Benkovic and Markus Henriksen should all reach double figures by May.

That's likely to mean that, by the end of the season, 21 outfield players would have had significant roles. In 2018/19 that figure was 16.

Compare and contrast with play-off rivals Brentford (12 outfielders with more than 10 starts), Nottingham Forest (12), Fulham (13), Preston (12, but with Scott Sinclair likely to take it up to 13) and Blackburn (16).

Of course, there are mitigating circumstances to this and Johnson will undoubtedly point to the fact that individuals haven't been performing to levels that compel them to be considered regulars but, at the same time, the lack of familiarity among teammates evidently isn't healthy.

 

Will consistency in defence and midfield solve anything?

Which brings us onto two fundamental areas of the field that have previously been beacons of strength and efficiency but are now, in many ways, the root cause of so many problems.

The Robins concede too many shots to too many teams, ranking only behind Luton (15.4) and Charlton (15.3) for attempts conceded per game with 15.1 and, the concern is that if things continue, they'll soon be bottom of the Championship for this overall statistic.

Now, conceding shots isn't the only signifier to a below average defensive team, as if they're bad quality or speculative shots from 25 yards, but City's expected goals against is 52.54 - again, only Charlton (53.59) and Luton (58.38) are worse. That's 1.50 a game.

Compare and contrast with last season when, anchored by Adam Webster and Kalas, City were averaging 13.0 shots against and 1.266 xGA per game. It's a stark contrast and, clearly, they're not strong enough in an attacking sense to offset it.

It may not be sexy or fun to watch but City need to get back to basis and being a good defensive team, otherwise what happened at Huddersfield - where they lost to an underperforming, supposedly inferior team, will happen again (something that, in all honesty, has been forecast for weeks).

Granted, removing Webster, Kalas' injuries and taking Brownhill out of centre midfield has hurt the collective defensive structure significantly but it's not as if the individual talent isn't there: Ashley Williams, Nathan Baker, Benkovic, Henriksen, Adam Nagy, Han-Noah Massengo, Smith, Tommy Rowe are all strong defensive players in different ways, it's just, as mentioned above, it's been a rotating cast.

Creating a strong defence is as much about chemistry and organisation as it is talent. And you can't build those physiological connections without familiarity in who you're playing alongside. Successful defending has an element of the subconscious about it, too many times City's players are having to stop and think, and it's costing them.

Williams and Baker had the beginnings of building a partnership, only for Benkovic to then be introduced - bringing a different skillset in terms of his distribution - but did that then damage the collective strength?

Ahead of them, pick any combination of the central midfielders listed; all bar Smith are new to the club and, with slight exceptions to Rowe, the Championship, while Henriksen had barely played any competitive football before he arrived on deadline day.

It's not quite a group of strangers but, quite clearly, the collective chemistry isn't there to create foundations in restricting the opposition and stop making Bentley (116 saves, 62.93% wiuth reflexes) the second-busiest goalkeeper in the league.

 

Can Wells and Diedhiou play together?

Signing that "proven No9" was supposed to be the answer to all City's problems in an attacking sense having scratched an historic itch that had been present for several transfer windows.

Adding additional firepower from one of the Championship most in-form marksmen showed the club meant business, could lighten the load and pressure on Diedhiou and Andi Weimann and give City an additional threat following Benik Afobe's unfortunate issue.

Wells got off the mark against Derby but since then there's a growing feeling that is arrival has presented just as many questions as it had thought to have answered.

The 29-year-old is a central striker who, like Afobe, wants to play on the shoulder of defenders and make runs behind. Four of Afobe's starts before his ACL injury were in tandem with Weimann, with Diedhiou used as impact substitute.

Such was the Senegalese's form - and he, of course, scored again against Huddersfield - that Johnson couldn't drop his No9 into what was a successful 4-1-4-1 but, equally, had to fit his new £4m man into the equation.

As a result City have flipped between a 4-4-2 and 3-5-2 to get Wells into the team but the impact, Derby aside, has been minimal; admittedly with the caveat of having to face the two best teams in the division in Leeds and West Brom.

But, as we know, the Robins aren't a team who create an abundance of chances - ranking 22nd for key passes, only above Charlton and Luton again - and unless that changes, with Wells and Diedhiou together, they have to feed and work off each other.

As mentioned, partnerships take time but the two strikers are having to learn on the job in the intense pressure of a play-off challenge with a team that isn't producing a consistent amount of opportunities.

It's concerning that in their three matches starting together, as per Wyscout, there have been just three pass combinations [a pass combination being 3 or more passes in one direction between two players] between the two initiated by Wells (and a big fat zero at the John Smith's Stadium), with eight in the opposite direction from the Senegalese.

That should (and you would sincerely hope) improve but time is very much of the essence and if Diedhiou and Wells in the way forward, they need to gel quickly.

Of course, this can be helped by the introduction of greater creativity behind them and the name "Kasey Palmer" is increasingly being demanded (deja vu from the same situation last April when it was just Diedhiou).

But finding a formation that fits Palmer, Eliasson plus Wells and Diedhiou is difficult, especially when you consider the current lack of protection in the middle of the park.

The 3-5-2 as deployed against Huddersfield, excludes Eliasson; a 4-4-2 has no place for Palmer; City are yet to really push a 4-2-3-1 but that then means one of Wells or Diedhiou have to miss out.

Johnson could opt for a 4-3-3 but that means Wells will have to play wide left or wide right, something he can do, but if that's to be the case, what was the point in signing him in the first place?

 

Is there a lack of leadership in the squad?

There was a clear lack of leadership on the pitch last night. When the Robins failed to press from the front there was no-one yelling at Diedhiou to put more effort in and close down the full-backs as Huddersfield looked to build from the back.

Or directing Jamie Paterson and Wells when to come short to receive passes to feet, rather than rely on Kalas, Hunt or Benkovic to launch the ball long (53 long passes in the game; just 17 on target) bypassing the overrun Henriksen who got nowhere near Emile Smith Rowe and namesake Tommy who was anonymous for the most part.

Johnson bellowed at Kalas, who looked uneasy upon his return to the team, as Harry Toffolo scampered down the line, but the club record signing was not shouting at the midfield and strikers on where to be placed and neither did anyone else. And by the end of the game too many Robins had let their heads drop and looked unbelieving that any comeback could be on the cards.

Further, there was a lack of fight in the team in the first-half - and no-one to deliver the simple kick-up-the-behind needed to fire up some of the City players, or to lambaste team members when simple passes went astray or the wrong passing option was taken.

Part of this was likely down to the experienced (captain at the weekend) Ashley Williams being on the bench, and partly no doubt to a loss of natural leaders at Bristol City in the last month. Smith was out injured, while Bentley captained the team and has been the seventh skipper of the campaign, following Josh Brownhill, Bailey Wright and Taylor Moore all departing BS3 last month.

And the same issue was in evidence at home against West Brom and away at Leeds United. Smith has been much missed in the last few games. "You hope for inspiration - maybe from an individual. Korey Smith, for example, and it proves how important he is," said Lee Johnson after the Huddersfield loss.

Johnson needs to sort out that senior hierarchy and new leaders need to take control. That will happen naturally, but can the club and coaching staff do anything to help that along? More team-building days out? Team-bonding exercises? A good old session in the pub (seriously - it worked in days of yore)?

 

Is fitness an issue?

As mentioned too by Lee Johnson following the game, his side looked statuesque and immobile at times. There was a lack of energy with the aforementioned Smith Rowe finding the ball in dangerous positions time after time (nobody created more chances in the game last night), when surely City's Rowe should have been snapping at his ankles in Terrier fashion to shackle the Terrier's chief creator.

"It felt like 100 actions whether it was to play a simple 10-yard ball, or play a simple 10-yard ball into the front man or slide a ball down the side, it was underhit, it was topped - as in they weren't getting under the ball - and we were static and looked immobile," mused Johnson after last night's defeat.

Why was there such a lack of energy? The midfield battle has been lost in the four recent defeats, with the opposition achieving more shots on target in each of those games.

Getting Markus Henriksen and Filip Benkovic up to speed quickly is the clear order of the day, or else the season grinds to a halt in March. LJ hinted at similar in his talk to radio interview after saying that: "I think a couple of the new players need to have a look at themselves for different reasons and quickly get themselves into the programme." .

Here are two guys who have played little football in the last six months and are now in the cauldron of Championship intensity with the pressure on.

Of course, the Catch 22 is that they need to play to get match sharp.

Henriksen only played five international games up to January, and has not looked ready to play three matches in 10 days.

While Benkovic had at least played at U23s level and had three cup games for the Leicester City Academy in the Leasing.com Trophy as well as a game for the Foxes in the FA Cup against Wigan.

However, both new signings need time to reach full match sharpness and to integrate with the system, teammates and line-up. Otherwise a lack of coherency leads to players taking up the same positions, not knowing their roles and not passing the ball quickly enough (as they weigh up options and over-analyse, lacking fluidity).

Further, a knock-on effect could be the slight destabilising of the dressing room, as in-form team members Nathan Baker and the ever-present Andi Weimann have been consequently shunted to the sidelines. That is acceptable if the new men come in and make the difference but so far that has yet to happen.

Edited by Kykoliko
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3 minutes ago, Kykoliko said:

Respectfully disagree, Major. The finest article in the world would still not warrant that cesspit of a website.

That’s the world we live in I am afraid . It’s like panning for gold you need to go through a lot of dirt to find a nugget !

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2 minutes ago, Kykoliko said:

The issues Johnson must address to reinvigorate City's play-off challenge


 

It's been a chastening and challenging 10 days for Bristol City who, in the space of three matches, have gone from being within sight of the automatic promotion places to looking nervously over their shoulder and the very real threat of mid-table.

Defeats to Leeds United and West Brom were, in the main, anticipated and that helped ever so slightly gloss over worrying signs in their performance but Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield has brought those worries front and centre.

The Robins are in the grip of yet another losing run and with the competition for the top six as wide as ever, with anyone ranked first to 11th essentially in contention, and the swing from best case to worst case scenario is stark.

Put bluntly, City aren't playing very well - neither individually or collectively - and perhaps that's been the case for too long and it's finally catching up with them but, to counter, head coach Lee Johnson clearly has the tools at his disposal to turn things around.

This is still a deeply talented squad with ability from front to back but a number of key weaknesses and problems need to be addressed quickly to prevent City's season from fading into mid-table obscurity.

 

Exactly what is Bristol City's core?

One relentless criticism of Johnson is that, "he doesn't know his best team", which does have some merit, given the amount of changes in selection he tends to make each week but is also devoid of almost all nuance and context.

Injury issues to key players over the first half of the campaign, and into the second regarding Tomas Kalas and Korey Smith, have made it hard to establish a regular XI plus the fact the attributes of a number of individuals mean it's fair and reasonable to alternate your playing approach depending on the opposition.

There are 23 other teams in the Championship and most have strengths and weaknesses that mean certain line-ups work for some but not others e.g there's no point having the starting XI when you're facing Millwall - given their physical strength and power - compared to the neat, technical play of Brentford.

 

Therefore making tactical tweaks along the way can be the difference in results over the course of a season and the idea of a "best team" is a bit of an outmoded concept.

However, there still needs to be some consistency and continuity and a core to build around; right now, it's hard to know what Johnson's best seven or eight is: only Dan Bentley, Jack Hunt (albeit with fresh reservations over his place), Famara Diedhiou and Nahki Wells can be considered nailed-on starters, or at least certifiable regulars.

There has been a rotating cast in the middle of defence with plenty of strength in depth but, Ashley Williams aside, no defining first-choice pairing or trio. Ditto in midfield, where the system changes, as does the individuals used. Unlike previously where, a formation switch, would still result in Marlon Pack and Josh Brownhill being present.

A total of 16 outfield players have made 10 or more starts over the course of the season, and below that Jamie Paterson, Smith, Wells, Filip Benkovic and Markus Henriksen should all reach double figures by May.

That's likely to mean that, by the end of the season, 21 outfield players would have had significant roles. In 2018/19 that figure was 16.

Compare and contrast with play-off rivals Brentford (12 outfielders with more than 10 starts), Nottingham Forest (12), Fulham (13), Preston (12, but with Scott Sinclair likely to take it up to 13) and Blackburn (16).

Of course, there are mitigating circumstances to this and Johnson will undoubtedly point to the fact that individuals haven't been performing to levels that compel them to be considered regulars but, at the same time, the lack of familiarity among teammates evidently isn't healthy.

 

Will consistency in defence and midfield solve anything?

Which brings us onto two fundamental areas of the field that have previously been beacons of strength and efficiency but are now, in many ways, the root cause of so many problems.

The Robins concede too many shots to too many teams, ranking only behind Luton (15.4) and Charlton (15.3) for attempts conceded per game with 15.1 and, the concern is that if things continue, they'll soon be bottom of the Championship for this overall statistic.

Now, conceding shots isn't the only signifier to a below average defensive team, as if they're bad quality or speculative shots from 25 yards, but City's expected goals against is 52.54 - again, only Charlton (53.59) and Luton (58.38) are worse. That's 1.50 a game.

Compare and contrast with last season when, anchored by Adam Webster and Kalas, City were averaging 13.0 shots against and 1.266 xGA per game. It's a stark contrast and, clearly, they're not strong enough in an attacking sense to offset it.

It may not be sexy or fun to watch but City need to get back to basis and being a good defensive team, otherwise what happened at Huddersfield - where they lost to an underperforming, supposedly inferior team, will happen again (something that, in all honesty, has been forecast for weeks).

Granted, removing Webster, Kalas' injuries and taking Brownhill out of centre midfield has hurt the collective defensive structure significantly but it's not as if the individual talent isn't there: Ashley Williams, Nathan Baker, Benkovic, Henriksen, Adam Nagy, Han-Noah Massengo, Smith, Tommy Rowe are all strong defensive players in different ways, it's just, as mentioned above, it's been a rotating cast.

Creating a strong defence is as much about chemistry and organisation as it is talent. And you can't build those physiological connections without familiarity in who you're playing alongside. Successful defending has an element of the subconscious about it, too many times City's players are having to stop and think, and it's costing them.

Williams and Baker had the beginnings of building a partnership, only for Benkovic to then be introduced - bringing a different skillset in terms of his distribution - but did that then damage the collective strength?

Ahead of them, pick any combination of the central midfielders listed; all bar Smith are new to the club and, with slight exceptions to Rowe, the Championship, while Henriksen had barely played any competitive football before he arrived on deadline day.

It's not quite a group of strangers but, quite clearly, the collective chemistry isn't there to create foundations in restricting the opposition and stop making Bentley (116 saves, 62.93% wiuth reflexes) the second-busiest goalkeeper in the league.

 

Can Wells and Diedhiou play together?

Signing that "proven No9" was supposed to be the answer to all City's problems in an attacking sense having scratched an historic itch that had been present for several transfer windows.

Adding additional firepower from one of the Championship most in-form marksmen showed the club meant business, could lighten the load and pressure on Diedhiou and Andi Weimann and give City an additional threat following Benik Afobe's unfortunate issue.

Wells got off the mark against Derby but since then there's a growing feeling that is arrival has presented just as many questions as it had thought to have answered.

The 29-year-old is a central striker who, like Afobe, wants to play on the shoulder of defenders and make runs behind. Four of Afobe's starts before his ACL injury were in tandem with Weimann, with Diedhiou used as impact substitute.

Such was the Senegalese's form - and he, of course, scored again against Huddersfield - that Johnson couldn't drop his No9 into what was a successful 4-1-4-1 but, equally, had to fit his new £4m man into the equation.

As a result City have flipped between a 4-4-2 and 3-5-2 to get Wells into the team but the impact, Derby aside, has been minimal; admittedly with the caveat of having to face the two best teams in the division in Leeds and West Brom.

But, as we know, the Robins aren't a team who create an abundance of chances - ranking 22nd for key passes, only above Charlton and Luton again - and unless that changes, with Wells and Diedhiou together, they have to feed and work off each other.

As mentioned, partnerships take time but the two strikers are having to learn on the job in the intense pressure of a play-off challenge with a team that isn't producing a consistent amount of opportunities.

It's concerning that in their three matches starting together, as per Wyscout, there have been just three pass combinations [a pass combination being 3 or more passes in one direction between two players] between the two initiated by Wells (and a big fat zero at the John Smith's Stadium), with eight in the opposite direction from the Senegalese.

That should (and you would sincerely hope) improve but time is very much of the essence and if Diedhiou and Wells in the way forward, they need to gel quickly.

Of course, this can be helped by the introduction of greater creativity behind them and the name "Kasey Palmer" is increasingly being demanded (deja vu from the same situation last April when it was just Diedhiou).

But finding a formation that fits Palmer, Eliasson plus Wells and Diedhiou is difficult, especially when you consider the current lack of protection in the middle of the park.

The 3-5-2 as deployed against Huddersfield, excludes Eliasson; a 4-4-2 has no place for Palmer; City are yet to really push a 4-2-3-1 but that then means one of Wells or Diedhiou have to miss out.

Johnson could opt for a 4-3-3 but that means Wells will have to play wide left or wide right, something he can do, but if that's to be the case, what was the point in signing him in the first place?

 

Is there a lack of leadership in the squad?

There was a clear lack of leadership on the pitch last night. When the Robins failed to press from the front there was no-one yelling at Diedhiou to put more effort in and close down the full-backs as Huddersfield looked to build from the back.

Or directing Jamie Paterson and Wells when to come short to receive passes to feet, rather than rely on Kalas, Hunt or Benkovic to launch the ball long (53 long passes in the game; just 17 on target) bypassing the overrun Henriksen who got nowhere near Emile Smith Rowe and namesake Tommy who was anonymous for the most part.

Johnson bellowed at Kalas, who looked uneasy upon his return to the team, as Harry Toffolo scampered down the line, but the club record signing was not shouting at the midfield and strikers on where to be placed and neither did anyone else. And by the end of the game too many Robins had let their heads drop and looked unbelieving that any comeback could be on the cards.

Further, there was a lack of fight in the team in the first-half - and no-one to deliver the simple kick-up-the-behind needed to fire up some of the City players, or to lambaste team members when simple passes went astray or the wrong passing option was taken.

Part of this was likely down to the experienced (captain at the weekend) Ashley Williams being on the bench, and partly no doubt to a loss of natural leaders at Bristol City in the last month. Smith was out injured, while Bentley captained the team and has been the seventh skipper of the campaign, following Josh Brownhill, Bailey Wright and Taylor Moore all departing BS3 last month.

And the same issue was in evidence at home against West Brom and away at Leeds United. Smith has been much missed in the last few games. "You hope for inspiration - maybe from an individual. Korey Smith, for example, and it proves how important he is," said Lee Johnson after the Huddersfield loss.

Johnson needs to sort out that senior hierarchy and new leaders need to take control. That will happen naturally, but can the club and coaching staff do anything to help that along? More team-building days out? Team-bonding exercises? A good old session in the pub (seriously - it worked in days of yore)?

 

Is fitness an issue?

As mentioned too by Lee Johnson following the game, his side looked statuesque and immobile at times. There was a lack of energy with the aforementioned Smith Rowe finding the ball in dangerous positions time after time (nobody created more chances in the game last night), when surely City's Rowe should have been snapping at his ankles in Terrier fashion to shackle the Terrier's chief creator.

"It felt like 100 actions whether it was to play a simple 10-yard ball, or play a simple 10-yard ball into the front man or slide a ball down the side, it was underhit, it was topped - as in they weren't getting under the ball - and we were static and looked immobile," mused Johnson after last night's defeat.

Why was there such a lack of energy? The midfield battle has been lost in the four recent defeats, with the opposition achieving more shots on target in each of those games.

Getting Markus Henriksen and Filip Benkovic up to speed quickly is the clear order of the day, or else the season grinds to a halt in March. LJ hinted at similar in his talk to radio interview after saying that: "I think a couple of the new players need to have a look at themselves for different reasons and quickly get themselves into the programme." .

 

Bristol City top stories

Here are two guys who have played little football in the last six months and are now in the cauldron of Championship intensity with the pressure on.

Of course, the Catch 22 is that they need to play to get match sharp.

Henriksen only played five international games up to January, and has not looked ready to play three matches in 10 days.

While Benkovic had at least played at U23s level and had three cup games for the Leicester City Academy in the Leasing.com Trophy as well as a game for the Foxes in the FA Cup against Wigan.

However, both new signings need time to reach full match sharpness and to integrate with the system, teammates and line-up. Otherwise a lack of coherency leads to players taking up the same positions, not knowing their roles and not passing the ball quickly enough (as they weigh up options and over-analyse, lacking fluidity).

Further, a knock-on effect could be the slight destabilising of the dressing room, as in-form team members Nathan Baker and the ever-present Andi Weimann have been consequently shunted to the sidelines. That is acceptable if the new men come in and make the difference but so far that has yet to happen.

Another click for the Post boys !

:me?:

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1 minute ago, Major Isewater said:

That’s the world we live in I am afraid . It’s like panning for gold you need to go through a lot of dirt to find a nugget !

Again, respectfully disagree. I am a Software/Web Developer that is able to make money without resorting to the above. We are able to make a change by sharing the content, not the platform on which that content is served. I have now done this for everyone else's benefit. The sooner the likes of BP get the message, the better the internet becomes a better place.

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"It's been a chastening and challenging 10 days for Bristol City who, in the space of three matches, have gone from being within sight of the automatic promotion places....."

We haven't moved

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1 hour ago, Redstart said:

It's refreshing to see a lot of the issues we have been raising on this forum actually acknowledged and in the domain of an outside audience now.

That's because he spends his working day reading this forum and taking notes!!! 

Hi Gregor 👋

Edited by Merrick's Marvels
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21 minutes ago, RedLionLad said:

"It's been a chastening and challenging 10 days for Bristol City who, in the space of three matches, have gone from being within sight of the automatic promotion places....."

We haven't moved

Yep, it's not very well written is it. As per.

"neither individually or collectively" - shouldn't this be either "neither...nor" or "either...or"

"beacons of strength and efficiency" - wtf?????

Etc., etc.

We could go on all day but best not. 

Edited by Merrick's Marvels

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9 minutes ago, Merrick's Marvels said:

That's because he spends his working day reading this forum and taking notes!!! 

 

That was my thoughts exactly...pretty much all of that has been debated on here beforehand.

What can be said after reading it...is that our Squad is a complete headache. I look at it now, and like LJ, think what would be our best team or system? 

Too many options...yes a Club for every eventuality, but all this does is create uncertainty. 

We've tried pretty much every player and every formation. It's like our 'Celebration' shirt...a complete mess. 

You look at it and say...' what is it?'

It's neither this, it's neither that....a sad reflection of our football imo.

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Over the last three games we've appeared to be scared of the opposition and unable to perform the basics, pass and move. Until the confidence returns, starting from some real leadership on the pitch, expect more of the same. 

Its like the old Eric Morecambe sketch with Andre Preview, "I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order."

The talent is there, but can LJ get a great tune out of his squad for the remaining games?

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16 minutes ago, Merrick's Marvels said:

That's because he spends his working day reading this forum and taking notes!!! 

 

Must be where he gets his spelling mistakes from...

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I feel quite depressed reading that, it seems worse seeing it in black and white and all in one (Bristol) post. 

I,  like many others I expect, find it hard to disagree with much of it. We’ve all written similar over the days, weeks and even months.

Yes injuries and departures haven’t helped, but the churn and tinkering is of our own doing. I’ve said many times before that the more choice of players we seem to have the worse our results and performances seem to be. 

What really struck me was what seems to me absolute madness of bringing in the two January loans. They might be good players but with no game time we are almost setting ourselves up to fail. Ok it’s hindsight now but I would much rather have gone with what we had, even with the departure of Brownhill, and got a couple of our players out on loan back, at least they had been playing and match fit.

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1 hour ago, maxjak said:

Ha!   I admire your optimism..........but  am not holding my breath 🙃

Just as well ... that can be dangerous

 

 

🙂

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23 minutes ago, RedLionLad said:

"It's been a chastening and challenging 10 days for Bristol City who, in the space of three matches, have gone from being within sight of the automatic promotion places....."

We haven't moved

Position wise no, but we are much further away in terms of points to the top two, and the chasing pack are slowly gaining on us albeit slowly. 

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4 minutes ago, pillred said:

Position wise no, but we are much further away in terms of points to the top two, and the chasing pack are slowly gaining on us albeit slowly. 

That also coincides with the top two teams picking up 10 out of 12 points, after a bit of a slump in form from both.

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Decent read. Reinforces what many on here have said and provides stats to support the facts and as LJ is fond of stats he will know them already.

What particularly intrigued me was the timing of the piece, tbh it could have appeared anytime in the last few weeks. So does it maybe suggest that the largely benign and loyal EP is falling out of love with a LJ? 

 

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16 minutes ago, Jerseybean said:

So does it maybe suggest that the largely benign and loyal EP is falling out of love with a LJ? 

 

None of it matters as long as LJ has the confidence and support (+/- love)  of SL. We know he thinks that this a long-term project but as it stands, he has continued to support LJ. Nothing will change until the end of this season at earliest. 

The manager/head coach is the most important role in any professional club. If an owner wants to see change that’s usually the best way to achieve it. The question is will SL finally lose patience with LJ if as currently looks likely and he delivers another mid table finish? I’m not sure he will and if he did, I’m not that confident about who he would bring in as a replacement. I certainly wouldn’t want elevation from within the current coaching set up. 

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4 hours ago, spudski said:

That was my thoughts exactly...pretty much all of that has been debated on here beforehand.

What can be said after reading it...is that our Squad is a complete headache. I look at it now, and like LJ, think what would be our best team or system? 

Too many options...yes a Club for every eventuality, but all this does is create uncertainty. 

We've tried pretty much every player and every formation. It's like our 'Celebration' shirt...a complete mess. 

You look at it and say...' what is it?'

It's neither this, it's neither that....a sad reflection of our football imo.

He signed them though , so he’s created the problem. As I’ve said before. He must have a system and style he’d prefer to play. Play it and recruit players to suit. He complicates everything. 

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3 minutes ago, Major Isewater said:

Bravo to you as well then .

:winner_third_h4h:

 

It's just I think some thought I was slagging off Wells so just explaining what I meant was what McGregor says here 🤣

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5 hours ago, Merrick's Marvels said:

That's because he spends his working day reading this forum and taking notes!!! 

Hi Gregor 👋

Does his daughter still play football?  😎

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Nice enough article, however it pretty much states what we know. 
 

As the op said. Everybody can see it except the bloke that matters. 
 

We are shoe horning Into the side a bloke we can’t find because we have no attacking threat this has lead directly to a lack of confidence and the ball being within range of our goal almost constantly. 
 

My opinion from the last few games is Weimann would make a difference if he was starting with Wells as we need that extra running. If we can win the ball and move it to some one behind the striker/s that also has a goal threat (Weimann) what GJ termed the luxury player, we might hurt teams more. Anything is worth a try as this current bullshit can not go on. I suspect SL put that in an indirect way when they met yesterday as well

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43 minutes ago, REDOXO said:

Nice enough article, however it pretty much states what we know. 
 

As the op said. Everybody can see it except the bloke that matters. 
 

We are shoe horning Into the side a bloke we can’t find because we have no attacking threat this has lead directly to a lack of confidence and the ball being within range of our goal almost constantly. 
 

My opinion from the last few games is Weimann would make a difference if he was starting with Wells as we need that extra running. If we can win the ball and move it to some one behind the striker/s that also has a goal threat (Weimann) what GJ termed the luxury player, we might hurt teams more. Anything is worth a try as this current bullshit can not go on. I suspect SL put that in an indirect way when they met yesterday as well

But all he does is run around. 👀

One might suggest we’ve had a lack of legs / looked lethargic in the last few games.  Andi started the Leeds game, but was obviously not right.  Didn’t start last two.  Just saying 👀

Interesting stat (someone else gave it to me) is that Massengo has a very effective points per game from the games he’s played. third highest of any player who’s played 1000 mins plus!!  This point was a secondary point to the person suggesting we missed Massengo’s legs.  Couple that with Smith’s energy, also missing....and we missed 3 of our players with legs!!

Out of interest, Benik has the best ppg followed by Korey, Pedro, Marley, then Tommy Rowe and Han-Noah.

Having said all that, if you leave a gap of 60 yards between attack and defence you’re gonna need more than legs!!!

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5 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

But all he does is run around. 👀

One might suggest we’ve had a lack of legs / looked lethargic in the last few games.  Andi started the Leeds game, but was obviously not right.  Didn’t start last two.  Just saying 👀

Interesting stat (someone else gave it to me) is that Massengo has a very effective points per game from the games he’s played. third highest of any player who’s played 1000 mins plus!!  This point was a secondary point to the person suggesting we missed Massengo’s legs.  Couple that with Smith’s energy, also missing....and we missed 3 of our players with legs!!

Out of interest, Benik has the best ppg followed by Korey, Pedro, Marley, then Tommy Rowe and Han-Noah.

Having said all that, if you leave a gap of 60 yards between attack and defence you’re gonna need more than legs!!!

Yes certainly one might suggest that a bloke that just runs around would help :laugh:

I like Massengo, however at the moment LJ doesn’t. Not sure when Smith is back but two out of three could put the energy back as we clearly miss it. 

Afobe’s injury has been the issue since September along with obvious other injuries, which may cost LJ his job. To be fair to LJ he is not lucky with injuries.

One of the reasons of my though about playing Weimann behind the front two was to fill that Gap as the bloke will get up and down (So Wells can play further forward and not have to keep coming back to collect the ball) and at this point we have to try something different. 

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3 minutes ago, REDOXO said:

Yes certainly one might suggest that a bloke that just runs around would help :laugh:

I like Massengo, however at the moment LJ doesn’t. Not sure when Smith is back but two out of three could put the energy back as we clearly miss it. 

Afobe’s injury has been the issue since September along with obvious other injuries, which may cost LJ his job. To be fair to LJ he is not lucky with injuries.

One of the reasons of my though about playing Weimann behind the front two was to fill that Gap as the bloke will get up and down (So Wells can play further forward and not have to keep coming back to collect the ball) and at this point we have to try something different. 

He played behind Afobe and Diedhiou away at Hull this season. Won 3-1.

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