The Tuckster tries to raise his spirits after the dire defeat against Stoke…
I’ve been thinking all weekend about writing the match report for this game and I’ve kept putting it off – for the simple reason that Saturday’s display against Stoke was so wretched that there is really very little to write about, except our failings.
CH went with the same side that started against Arsenal with just the one change, Ryan Bennett for the injured Turner.
Stoke play 4-4-2 and it seems that the idea was to have an extra man in our midfield to help retain possession.
As it turns out this didn’t work. Stoke don’t use midfield too much and a ball player like Charlie Adam is wasted in their side (but he had the last laugh).
With Kamara on one wing and Snodgrass on the other and neither performing well (must be one of Snoddy’s first off days) and our inability to keep possession or do anything with it, Grant Holt played an isolated role throughout. I don’t think he had a single goal scoring opportunity.
Howson was appalling and Tettey not far behind. The first half was one of the scrappiest you’ll ever see and not an advert for Sky TV’s premium product.
Begovic was completely untested in this match and did little other than take poor crosses out of the air – his pre match warm up was tougher.
At the start of the second half, a long ball from Shawcross was flicked on by Crouch into the path of Adam in the area, who had lost Whittaker.
He controlled with his head and as the ball dropped hit a crisp left foot shot past Mark Bunn as Jerome held Bassong out of the way.
And that was it – City offered nothing, absolutely nothing in this match and it’s incredible that this game wasn’t last on MOTD – not a single shot on target.
CH changed it on 67 mins with the arrival of Hoolahan for Tettey, shortly followed by Bennett for the out of sorts Snodgrass.
We went 4-4-2 but still nothing was created. With the arrival of Pilkington at the end we finished with only three at the back, so I don’t think that CH can take much blame here for trying to change it.
The players play as instructed and should do what he tells them but the lack of quality and perhaps effort in this respect from them was woeful.
We have a terrible record at The Brittannia, of course. Not since it opened in 1997 have we won there so I was expecting the worst.
BUT, I hoped for a lot more here than the players gave us. The finishing line is in sight, a win at Stoke and we’d be on 41 points and looking down with only amusement, not concern.
Next up are the Villains and I said a couple of weeks ago that I didn’t want to play them still needing something, but that is exactly where we are.
Paul Lambert is not a tactical mug, as we know, and there is plenty to fear. I will be cheering on Sunderland tonight if the pair of them cannot help us out with a draw.
This week will be full of apprehension but also excitement – I am a positive thinker and although this article has been neagtive so far (I had no choice in that) imagine if we defeated Villa and sent them deep into the mire as we rocketed to safety?
We have to be positive and we have to have the same sort of effort that saw Reading dispatched in the last home game. That means all of us, the players, the fans, the staff, the tea lady, everyone.
Come on lads, put us clear and out of our misery!