|one fifth of the way in|
Written by basilrobbiereborn on Tuesday, 30th Sep 2014 12:28
Nine league games in and our season shows no real sign of picking up. A lot has been made in the last fortnight of the better performances we have been seeing since the first international break. We are undeniably playing better, and can say with some justification that we are probably not getting the rub of the green. But the stark fact is that this perceived improvement has yielded two points and one goal in four games. Whichever way you look at those statistics, they clearly don't give much cause for optimism.
It's not all that easy to put your finger on precisely why we are failing to get results. We are not the only side in the Division who lack quality, but most people who have watched us regularly this season would probably agree that some basic building blocks are in place. The goalkeeper has been very good, the two centre backs more than a pleasant surprise, and if we have lacked creativity with the ball, we have at least been well organised and hard to break down when we don't have it.
The main problems, for me, start when we do have the ball. For one thing, Zenjov apart, our front players are much of a muchness, and any opposing back four who get tight to our front two and make them play facing the wrong way have contained us pretty well. Ranger has pace, but rarely gets chance to use it ; Miller has muscle, but rarely has the inclination to make it count. I like Zoko, who has something about him. But playing him wide may be dissipating his ability to influence games. Delfouneso continues to be at best an ephemeral presence, and the unwillingness to consider Barkhuizen completely baffles me. It's only six months since we watched him terrorise the best defence in the Championship.
Midfield though, is the real worry. There isn't much in the way of incisive passing (although when Perkins did find one on Saturday, we promptly scored). The physical presence doesn't seem to be there either, and whilst I like Edu Oriol (and to a lesser extent Orlandi), players like them need to be backed by a sitting midfielder with the ability to put his foot in when we do lose the ball. Cubero might be that man, but on the basis of one appearance, he clearly wants to be on the ball as much as he can. Whatever way we play, we need to be quicker to stop sides counter-attacking at source, because as things stand we are making life more difficult for our back four than they need or deserve.
I am still unconvinced by the manager - he doesn't seem all that tactically innovative to me, and whilst he would argue that he is doing the best with what he has, so far he has failed to impress. The unpalatable truth is that much of our most threatening football this season has been played when we have been two down, and revert to lumping it long to the forwards. So much for systems. New personnel changes all this somewhat of course, and with at least a couple of triallists at the club we may have something different to talk about in the next few days.
It should be said that , it is still early days , and at the time of writing (before the "Boro game), a third of the League are averaging a point a game or less. Whilst it is like this, a couple of wins is all it takes to get back into contention and give us something fresh, and a lot more tangible, to fight for. Let's hope that this is precisely what we are talking about by the weekend.
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Blogs by basilrobbiereborn
Blogs 29 bloggers
Matches of Yesteryear - Cardiff v U's 11/4/98 by wessex_exile
Here we are then, after a reasonably solid but distinctly dull semi-final first leg lit up by a moment of sheer brilliance by Bramall, just one match away from a socially distanced Wembley play-off final. We may have a slight advantage, but there is of course still much to do, and I can’t imagine for a moment that Exeter will be that shot-shy again at t’other St James’ Park. It’s all about the result though, performance is irrelevant, so I’ll take an even duller 0-0 every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I hope you’re all keeping safe and well, and for those of you blessed with progeny – Happy Father’s Day!
Matches of Yesteryear - Reading v U's 11/11/2000 by wessex_exile
So, after months of uncertainty, here we finally are at the start of a well-deserved play-off campaign. I say well-deserved, though in truth the play-offs ought to have been our minimum aspiration back in August. But sometimes life throws you a curve ball – no one could have predicted back then what the world was going to become, that hundreds of thousands would perish, and that most clubs today are probably fighting for their very existence. In fact, as already mentioned by [b]MFB[/b] and [b]Durham[/b], no one could have predicted that were it not for a stirring 3-0 victory at Carlisle in our last match back in March, we wouldn’t have even been in the play-offs. During lockdown, I have been reassured by the honest and stateman-like announcements from our Chairman keeping us all updated, and never more grateful that we have him looking after the club.
Matches of Yesteryear - Millwall v U's 14/4/99 by wessex_exile
And so here we are, at what would have been the last match of the domestic season, at home to FGR, and almost certainly still in with a shout of making the play-offs – maybe even already guaranteed by now. As I look out this morning, it’s a beautiful sunny day, and I would almost certainly already be on the first leg of a train journey to be amongst the faithful at the Jobserve Community Stadium. Given the location of our opponents, I’d probably be sharing the journey with a few hundred FGR supporters too, but they’ve always been a friendly bunch whenever I’ve met them, so I wouldn’t have been too concerned about that. Instead, we sit and wait to see how and when the season may (or may not) finish – strange times indeed…
Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Accrington Stanley 13/1/04 by wessex_exile
Happy Saturday everyone…well, less of the happy actually, with rain falling freely since yesterday afternoon. Still, good weather to be in lockdown for, takes away that feeling that you might be missing out on some quality time outside. In an open letter yesterday to all supporters of EFL clubs, chairman Rick Parry stated “[i]…with or without spectators, delivering a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season remains our goal to ensure the integrity of our competitions[/i]”. If that can be achieved, it appears almost certain these will be matches behind closed doors, streamed live to all supporters – which inevitably will break the long-held Saturday 3pm blackout for televised matches. We all know why that blackout was in place, but this is a difficult time, and it requires an innovative solution.
Matches of Yesteryear - Swansea v U's 7/3/06 by wessex_exile
Good afternoon everyone, I sincerely hope you’re all doing well, and hopefully not going too cabin-feverish! Today would have been a home match against Oldham Athletic, and after our surely guaranteed epic 3-2 victory at Sixfields on Good Friday, it would be just one more victory needed to guarantee a play-off place…think I might have been out in the sun a bit too much over the last few days 😊