Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Middlesborough. Home.

It has always been interesting listening to the various managers after the games over the years, the little phrases they use and how some just seem to have watched a totally different game to the rest of us mere mortals. Now this isn’t a gushing review of Aidy but I like his honesty and the way he outlined his game plan after the game on Saturday was refreshing. We all knew when he was appointed that he was one for the more direct approach, and while I think there is slightly more to his game plan than that, it can sometimes just boil down to us going from back to front quickly. However, sometimes we can fail to perform the instructions laid out by Aidy well enough for it to be a good sceptical.

Football is about partnerships and there are to many partnerships which just haven’t clicked.
Saturday 4th December – 3.00 pm In Front of Singer Corner.

Three Parish Notices
Firstly, as alluded to at the top, Aidy explained that we aren’t a possession side and that the game plan doesn’t involve 45 passes before a shot. Now I accept that and even though I have been criticised for not being happy in the way we are playing I think people are miss understanding my grumbles. On Saturday we by passed the midfield an awful lot, now that is fine if we still get plays containing attacking penetration, there is no point Platt winning all the headers he is winning if he just flicks it on to the oppositions centre back, now partnerships will be discussed in part two, but Platt and MK9 spend most of their game time about 20 yards apart. I can continually flick the ball on to the space behind me, I’m six foot three, over 17 stone and anyone who has played football with me will now that I’m pretty immobile yet I doubt very much that MK9 would want to play upfront with me. If you are playing upfront as the target man you need to start offering more than just flicking it into the same space all game, the ball needs to go out wide, back in to the midfield or more than once again bring the ball under control and actually spread it wide. Now I don’t want us to start trying to play like Barca, but there has to be more than just smacking it forward and there has to be, sorry, joined up thinking. Without Turner the defence lack the ability to aim the ball with any accuracy, with Turner in the side we went from left to right and Platt, Juke and Gunnar were brought into the game. If the ball is just smacked straight down the middle how the hell is it ever going to get to the wide players? It is only the fact that Sheffers can resort to his old playing of Dele days that he can get involved in the game.

Secondly, the game is slightly easier if you have partnerships that work, the centre backs don’t look like they are comfy together, Wood and Cameron don’t cover each other, the whole left hand side issue is a University thesis waiting to happen, Carsley and Doyle fluctuate between working and looking like a dogs dinner and then you have the strikers which is just frustrating the living hell out of me. MK9 and Platt play a different game, and without Juke doing all the useful running for Platt, the Tree is looking worse and worse. As the front two aren’t clicking it highlights the more agricultural aspects of our game, it means we lose the ball an awful lot and it prevents the wider players getting into the game. With the lack of penetration caused by us not winning the second ball it can mean we aren’t particularly pretty to watch. Yet when it does click we can look a more attractive side and it is enjoyable to be there.

Thirdly, after another poorish performance and after another strange defensive performance, it resulted in another victory and another clean sheet. I would like to see one of either MK9 or Platt dropped for the game at Reading.

Coventry: Westwood, Keogh, Wood, Cameron, McPake, Gunnarsson, (Eastwood 68), Carsley (Cpt), Doyle, McSheffery, (Clarke 83) Platt, King,(Jutkiewicz 82)
Subs Not Used: Ireland, Bell, Baker, Cranie
Booked: Jutkiewicz, McSheffery
Sent Off:
Goals: King (78),

Player Ratings
Westie – 8 The penalty save was fantastic, Lita tried to halt his run up at the last second and outwit Westie, luckily Westie was brighter than that and he pulled off a brilliant save, yet after that he really showed the class that he is. With whole goal to aim at Lita blasted the ball goalwards from about 7 yards, the speed with which Westie regained his feet was ridiculous and that as much as anything meant Lita had less time with which to pick a spot, but the touch on to the bar was different class. After that he made the sort of regulation saves of a slippery ball under pressure that we expect.

The Sky Blue Cafu – 7 With Gunner getting very little of the ball there was no one to play off, added to the lack of possession that the central midfield enjoyed there was just no one to bring him into the game in an attacking sense. Dealt with Arca with ease and the right hand side of our defence was very solid.

Wood - 5 I want deal with his late charge other than to say that it summed up his lack of composure when he had the ball at feet, the lack of confidence he seems to be showing and the lack of idea of what to do when in possession. Defensively he was poor and once again the opposition winger had the beating of him, a late callous hack in the first half said every thing. Shouldn’t be at left back and with Cranie on the bench and Cameron looking out of depth I don’t understand why this is being persisted with her.

Cameron - 6 Grew into the game and by the end of it was looking solidish, but started very slowly and the penalty was just daft. I’m sorry but just like Keogh against Leeds if you are beaten and out of position get back and help out but accept that for the moment you are out of the game, don’t just try and rectify the mistake because you will just compound the error. Lucky not to get a yellow for his kick on Lita and, IMO, he needs games but I’m not sure he wouldn’t be better off getting games at a lower level and coming back when he has matured into his body. I like Nathan and I can see a very good player there but he is a mistake waiting to happen and less goal shy strikers than we have faced in the last two games will make him suffer.

McPake - 7 Just the sort of game James was built for, we all know he loves a challenge and a fight and he got that on Saturday. With Boro lacking a striker of any physical presence he wasn’t under pressure on the high ball like he has been in recent weeks and his no nonsense approach helps us when under pressure. However, without the accuracy of Big Ben, James can just lump the ball forward with out any guile and he needs to calm down and look to see not just a target but where the rest of his team mates are before launching it forward.

Gunnar – 5 When our system works it works well, the attacking and creativity is provided by Gunnar and Sheffers and in some games it has really been a pleasure to watch the young Scandinavian in full flow. Against Boro Gunnar just wasn’t involved, neither of the central midfielders won the ball high enough up the field to get Gunnar one on one and as no one in a Sky Blue shirt was stamping their authority on the ball Gunnar was starved of decent ball he tried to hard. Gunnar needs to pissing around at times and just get the ball in but when you don’t get much of the ball there is obviously a temptation to hold on to it just that little bit longer.

Carsley - 5 The battle of the middle third was won by the more mobile and more easy on the eye Boro. Carsley has learnt the art of standing in the right area and that is his biggest assest, it is not something that many players are born with and there is no doubt that the clean sheets have begin with the Captain. Yet only a 5? Well he didn’t make many tackles, he didn’t pressure high up the field and his passing was chronic, just little thought put into many of them and it was quite infuriating to watch a play of intelligence just passing it to no one. Now Keogh gets a bit of stick for his crossing, no one gets more frustrated than myself, but on Sat he actually pulled the back to Carsley. Yes it was slightly behind Carsley but with no one around him as he collect the pass on the edge of the area he had multiple opinions, I could list them all but why bother, lets just cut to the chase, instead of adapting to the pass arriving slightly behind him Carsley just swung his foot and hoped, the ball looped aimlessly over the bar, it was a decision lacking credence.

Doyle - 6 Nearly scored for the second home game as he broke into the box after being played in by Freddie. With a nicely hit half volley it would have been a wonder strike, unfortunately the ball nearly hit me in row M. Never got on the ball, never spread the ball and whilst he did do a lot of work, it just wasn’t a performance which caught the eye.

Sheffers - 7 I have been critical of how much Sheffers adds to the game when he isn’t scoring and now my mate is keeping count of his contributions in the wide positions. He counted two, one when he got booked and the other when he got brought down for the pen. Add that to the shot from the edge of the area Sheffers, until the introduction of Freddie, was the only play who gave me the idea that we were going to break Boro down. When he got moved to the right he was suddenly given a little more confidence to run at the full back and he deserves credit for his application. Like Gunnar needs to drift inwards to make more use of Platts flick ons and there is a case that if Platt is to keep his place drop MK9 and play Sheffers of the big man.

Platt – 5 One trick, one plan and there was no evidence that he noticed that his flick ons weren’t actually working. Needed to start heading the ball wide, or demanding that MK9 stood near him to read the flick ons. Was surprised that he remained on the pitch after the first substitution and for what its worth I think its time to take him out of the firing line, has one goal in 11 games and he neither looks like creating a goal or scoring one at the moment.

MK9 - 7 For the stat people MK9 finally broke his Coventry duck on Saturday with a coolly placed penalty. Full credit to Sheffers for handing the ball MK9, it was just the sort of selfless act that Sheffers is increasing doing at the moment. Away from the penalty, MK9 was only given scraps to feed on and a one point he went ballistic at Cameron for taking so long to get the ball to him. If you watch MK9 when we have the ball at the back and you notice the positions he takes up it is no wonder that Platt isn’t his ideal partner.

Freddie – Changed the game and deserves a chance to see if he can produce the ammunition for MK9.

Juke – Another good cameo but was the wrong substitution, after going one nil up and reverting back to 442 a natural wide player would have been a better bet.

Clarke – Stood there.
The Manager

Boothroyd - 7 Boro had twice as many corners, had more shots and if they had any sort of thread would have come away with a goal and possibly a result. The fact they didn’t points to the hard work Aidy is putting in away from CV6 during the week.

In short. Whilst the game didn’t really enthral it was a victory none the less. Nice to hear the prat before kick off introduce Singers Corner

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