West Bromwich Albion
A big three points in the bag as WBA wins on the road. Great to see the squad to finally win one eh? To be honest, I wasn’t able to catch the game (it was on at 7:45 stateside), so I have relatively little to say, aside from apologizing that this post is so late as well. Anyway, here goes:
-This win comes at a very important time. We play Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea in three of our next four games, and we needed some sort of good form to hopefully get something out of those tough games.
-What does Carlos have to do to start? Goals in his past two games, both grabbing points for us right at the death. If anyone deserves to start right about now, it’s him.
-I’m glad we have been playing more of a 4-2-3-1 rather than a 4-4-2. I think our team is built around our midfielders, and they need to be able to express themselves more, and this formation allows for it. Lets hope it stays this way.
-Quite the goalazo from Morrison. We know what he can do, and he does it. If Dozza’s injury is bad enough to keep him out for a decent amount of time, his play will be key.
Thats about it, like I said unfortunately I missed the game so I’m sorry it’s not much but at least its something. Great win, keep the faith.
The boys travel to Birmingham for a lunchtime kickoff tomorrow.
-Well, all seems to be fine on the injury front. Always seems that somebody has to get injured before the day before any given match, and today is no different. It appears Dozza is now a major doubt after picking up an ankle injury today. Goes without saying how crushing of a loss this is for the squad. In my humble opinion, he is our best player by a mile and losing him really hurts out chances. Hope I’m wrong, but you can’t argue we are better off without him (just watch the West Ham games highlights, as painful as they are in the end). In better news, it appears that Petey is now fully fit and should be in line to start. He’s better than Fortune, so I hope he does.
-Not so much injury news but more thoughts on the squad. Meite played well against Stoke, and since Birmingham will probably use Zigic in some way, I think he should be due for another start to combat that. If he performs like last week, that’s a good thing. As for the goalkeeping situation, Carson played last week as a counter to Stoke’s increased aerial threat, but Myhill is better, so I hope he comes back into the first team. Thanks to his recent scoring streak (and his heightened ability to actually make the right runs-though Dozza missing out means they may not get noticed as much) I think, and pray, that Carlos starts and continues on his scoring streak.
-With all that being said, here is how I think we will line up:
-I think this is a pretty good time to take on Birmingham. They just won the cup, and if they perform like most other teams then they will still be on a high (especially since it was their first in like 50 years) and prime for a loss. Uncle Roy has gotten our defense into a better shape, and while it hasn’t been a joy to behold we did get a nice result against Stoke last week. I think we continue our upward climb and beat them 1-0 in a scrappy encounter. Goal by Petey, but the assist will come from my boy Carlos.
Well, that one was interesting. First half wasn’t much to watch, and honestly I found myself yawning afterwards. Then, at the end I almost had a heart attack. Well, that’s football I guess. Anywho,
-Well done to Uncle Roy using Meite today. I admit that I almost forgot he was even on the team, but he was the perfect counter against the threat of Jones and Carew. And, he played pretty well to boot, which doesn’t hurt his future chances.
-With that, the defense played another solid game. Yeah, we failed to hold a clean sheet yet again, but that being said they coped with everything Stoke threw at them.
-The announcers picked up on this, and while it may be obvious I’ll state it anyway: any chances we get are going to have to come from our attacking middies (Thomas, Brunty, Dozza). Their play will determine whether we stay in the prem or crash out.
-Conceding a goal from a set piece to Stoke is nothing unheard of. Hell, that’s how they score 90% of their goals. But to concede it to Rory Delap of all people? That’s a shame.
-A couple of times it was weird how we would just clear the ball when we seemingly were away from any pressure and had a few pass lanes open. But those are the tactics of Uncle Roy, so I guess we better get used to them.
He deserves his own section after his cameo tonight yeah? After scoring against Wolves, I really wished he would start. You could tell at the end that he knows what runs to make, and even if he only finishes some of his chances (example: today) we still wind up with points in the bag. Granted, I wasn’t so proud of him after those misses at the end, but without him we wouldn’t have taken a point so I hope that he gets his chance soon enough.
So, all in all I think it’s a nice point. Would be a lot nicer had we beaten Wolves and or West Ham, but hey, I’ll take it. We can build on that for next weekend.
We travel to the Britannia to take on Stoke this Monday.
-Here’s how I see us lining up:
-It appears that everyone will be fit for the match. Mulumbu is fit again after missing out on the game against Wolves, and hopefully will slot right back into the squad. Also, Vela should be in line to start after rescuing a point for us against Wolves. Other than that, not much else to report on squad fitness.
-This is a tough one to call. Stoke have had our number recently, and it certainly doesn’t help that the club is going through some changes. Because of the coaching switch, we’re going to be playing in a similar style to Stoke, and given that this is an away match, things don’t look good for the boys. While it kills me to say this, I think it will be a scrappy 1-0 loss with their goal being some sort of garbage goal.
Well, it just wasn’t meant to be. Credit Wolves for scoring with their only shot on target, credit the boys for bouncing back and scoring when it seemed like we wouldn’t get anything, and credit Roy with actually saying something smart (essentially he thought we should have won). That all being said, personally I feel let down that we didn’t manage to get a win.
-We had plenty of chances. When Uncle Roy took over, I thought our offensive force was gonna go south, and results would have to be eked out in 1-0 fashion. Granted we only scored once, but that, in my opinion, was due more to poor finishing (and occasional good defending/goalkeeping as Hennessey had ~7 saves) rather than a lack of opportunities.
-Our defense played a solid game and didn’t concede more crap goals like those against Wet Spam. I’ll be real happy if the goals like the goal today are the only ones we give up in the future (though not if they come on a regular basis).
-We had a measly 45% of the possession at home, against a team that is in no way superior to us. If we had just played arsenal then thats one thing, but come on this was Wolves. Hopefully not a sign of things to come.
-We failed to convert all those chances. If we remain as futile in the future as we were today, its gonna be a long end of the year for the squad, let me tell you that.
Unfortunately, it was just one of those days where nothing seems to go your way.
Anyone else excited bout this match? If there is any team that I love seeing lose, its Wolves (well, and Chelsea, but thats neither here nor there). That makes tomorrows match all the sweeter. We have a great chance to make up for that poor second half last weekend, and I have a really good feeling about this match.
Here is how I see the boys lining up tomorrow:
If any of you ever saw a Liverpool match under Hodgson, you’ll know that he loves the 4-4-2, and will not deviate from that formation, so that’s the way I see us lining up next weekend. It appears that Mulumbu will be out with the thigh injury that saw him come off last weekend, with nobody wanting to rush him back. Thus, I think Scharner will move up into midfield (or hope rather, since the Morrison Dorrans combo there leaves us really weak defensively, and we know how that turns out), with Tamas coming in at center back. It also appears Cech will be back, but Uncle Roy loves Shorey so I don’t see him breaking back into the first team (unfortunately). Other than that, it seems like the squad is fully fit going into this crunch match.
I don’t think the importance of the derby tomorrow can be underestimated. We are hosting last place, our rivals, at home with a great chance to move further up the table. Wolves have been atrocious away from home this season (last win coming against Hodgson’s Liverpool side) and can’t seem to score when they play us (no goals in the last three games against us). The combination of their futility and Roy’s tactics, which generally a tight defensive unit and route one stuff (although I pray we don’t play that way, it seems inevitable), make this game seem like one where we can actually hold a clean sheet. Yeah, I know I said that last weekend, but there is a huge quality difference between Demba Ba and Steven Fletcher. Also, the squad should be riled up to rectify their mistake against West Ham (at least my boy Dozza is), as well as impress the new gaffer, and will be even more motivated to play. We need for Petey to get off to a good start and score, he had numerous opportunities last weekend and his finishing was, well, piss poor. If we want to stay up, somebody has to pick up the scoring slack and he is just the man to do it.
With all those factors weighing in, I think we will run out comfortable 3-0 winners. Big win for the boys on a big day, with the two of the goals being created by Dozza, and Olsson and Brunty benefiting from his great play. The third will be scored by Petey, capping the lads fine performance.
Just some things that have come to front in the past couple days, with my two cents of course:
-Roy Hodgson on the current squad, after seeing the debacle against West Ham and a practice session:
“After 90 minutes of working with them today, and 90 minutes of watching them on Saturday, I can’t answer the question of whether we will avoid relegation. I don’t know. I’d like to think so but it would be foolish of me to make bold statements. I’ve seen West Brom on TV but this is a bit too short a sample to judge them on.”
Well, glad we appointed a coach who doesn’t really know the squad and signed up for a team that does not play his way. He better hope we avoid relegation, as we’re bout to piss away our attractive style in the hopes that he can help us avoid it. Though I am pretty sure the only people who are actually happy about the sacking of Di Matteo/signing of Uncle Roy are the board, since they could care less how entertaining it is to watch the game so long as the money keeps flowing. Shameful.
-Apparently, in the most recent transfer window, there were no less than 29 strikers that we attempted to sign. Some weren’t fully fit, others didn’t wanna come. As you all know, we got Vela (just an absolutely perfect Roy Hodgson player), but we missed out on John Carew (the definition of a Hodgson player-hence why he is playing at Stoke). Thinking really wishfully (and against reason), maybe not having the right players will force Roy into not changing our style of play? Yeah, I know, silly me. While I do wish we could have potentially signed another forward, more important is getting Petey back in form. Last week, if he was on, he could have had a hatty. Lets hope Roy can do a better job with him than he did with Torres as Liverpool.
-Dozza thinks that a win against Wolves will make the draw with Wet spam not as bad. While I do hope we absolutely slaughter those bottom dwelling less than impressive mammals, it won’t completely right the ship. We need a win here, but then a few more positive results after that. We can’t get a big derby win and then get the hangover other teams get and let results go through our hands. But, Dozza being motivated is a very, very good thing. Against West Ham he was by far our best player, and I would love to see more of the same.
-Speaking of the Wolves match, it appears that the squad yet again are in full health. Bit risky of me saying that since there are two more days for the squad to get injured, but I’m a risky man. Marek Cech is back in training, and while he wasn’t fit for last week, it appears that he will be for this week (though he probably won’t play, seems Shorey and Uncle Roy have a little bromance). Youssouf Mulumbu was taken off early last week, but it appears now that it was only precautionary due to a hamstring injury. Hopefully the derby isn’t too soon for him to return.
Til then, I’ll just keep dreaming about how many goals we’re gonna put past Wolves.
No no no no no I just refuse to believe this is true. I blanked this out of my mind for the West Ham match, but that performance just makes this worse. Why any team would want to appoint Uncle Woy is beyond me. As any Liverpool fan will tell you (I’ve caught a few of their games), Roy Hodgson doesn’t know how to play anything other than route 1, hoof and hope football. In case ya haven’t heard, we play attractive, attacking football and not route 1. I don’t think we even have a viable squad to play route 1 stuff. While he is known for creating a well drilled defensive unit (which, being honest, would be rather impressive if he can pull it off which our porous defense), he will do so by sacrificing our squads natural talent. While he may succeed in moving the team up the table, and thus keeping them in the prem, is it really worth it to sacrifice what has taken so long to build? I enjoy watching West Brom football because of our attacking flair. I don’t want our club to turn into another Stoke, there are already enough of them out there. He took Liverpool, who are currently surging and showing the potential that they possess, and turned them into a middle of the table side. My younger sister could coach Liverpool to at least a Europa League place, and with the right manager (King Kenny) they are clearly a top 4 side. Why would we want a manager that could ruin a team like that at our club? People are still impressed with his run with Fulham in the Europa League and some stout performances in the prem. If Sparky had Ol’ Zamora playing out of his mind week in week out I’m sure he coulda done it too. We may as well kiss any away game goodbye, cause we sure as hell aren’t gonna win it with Uncle Roy.
I couldn’t disagree more with this appointment, and while I hope we remain in the prem, I hope Hodgson doesn’t do too well and is shown the door in the near future so that we may retain our style of play.
Cruel cruel world. One of our best first half performances, followed by possibly our worst second half all season. That, combined with the fact that it was at home, against a club at the foot of the table, make this result almost too poor to believe. We might as well have lost the game. I’ll update this later, I can’t think straight after that second half rubbish.
After a quick break to regain consciousness, I’ve still got that sinking feeling inside. We will get nowhere with second half performances like that. We were the better of the two teams in the first half, and while we were unlucky not to score a few more (and not to concede at least 1), I was generally pleased with the overall play of the squad. Dozza was a monster, creating chances for those around him and finishing off the ones he got. Jerome made me eat my words with a composed finish, and after going up 2 in the first ten minutes I knew this game was ours for the taking. If Petey didn’t have such a horror show in front of goal we could have been up 5 at the half. We kept possession well, and controlled the overall tempo (as we should at home against West Ham, but I digress). Mulumbu’s injury obviously hurt as we did not have anyone to replace him as the more defensive of the two center midfielders. The team still performed well and, when Winston put the ball into his own net, the game was done and dusted. Or at least that was what the squad thought.
The second half was the complete opposite. The spammers grabbed a quick goal, and with that everything changed. They had their confidence again. After the second, the squad finally woke up and started to play, and the game was wide open again. Pete again missed a couple, and the flowing rhythm the squad had in the first was nowhere to be found. It was end to end stuff, an exciting ending to a previously over game. When the team used their third and final substitution to bring off Dorrans, I got that feeling that we weren’t going to win today. Granted he just came back from an injury, but he was by far the best player on the pitch today. West Ham scored within the next minute, and our lead had completely dissipated. It was so frustrating watching the team squander a full three points that would have been huge in our fight against relegation. Especially since this is our last game before the calamity that is Roy Hodgson takes over.
Since Uncle Roy won’t be taking over until after the match, my feelings about this atrocious managerial change won’t be discussed til then. The team should be focused on this huge relegation 6 pointer and I am too.
-It appears that the whole squad could be fit for the match. Dozza is back in training after his ankle injury but whether or not the team decide to risk him is another story. Same goes for Marek (groin), Brunty (ankle) and Myhill (dead leg-really?). Other than that, the squad is at full strength. It’ll be interesting to see how Mr. Appleton decides to play and who not. If those players are fit, I see them all as players that should be starting, since they are the best options we have at their respective positions. Yet, something tells me thats not gonna happen. If only, if only. Anyways, here’s how I see us lining up:
(though I pray its more of a 4-2-3-1 than a 4-4-2)
Vela up top is more me being hopeful than reality. One of my mates has been telling me he’ll be the truth in a few years, and I’m not a huge fan of Unibrow (thats Jerome Thomas, yeah it looks like he has a uni). Vela is more attacking, and we need to come out of the gates and attack, because we have all seen how poor our defending is.
Thank the heavens this game is at home. On the road we can’t do anything well, but at home we are a completely different team. That, combined with the opposition being Wet Spam, makes me think that this game is ours for the taking. We drew 2-2 with them back in November, and although they have added some talent since then (Robbie Keane-yes he is still a decent center forward in the prem), they face a mini injury crisis at center back. All that being said, I think the squad is due a win in 2-0 fashion. They have the potential to hold their 2nd clean sheet of the season (woot), and I think Petey and Dozza will each score in a great second half for our squad.