Saturday, December 27, 2008

Back to back

Whilst we have put together impressive performances this season which have hinted at better things to come, the reality has been anything but as we have struggled to put together any sustained period of consistency.

A look at our results this season suggests consistency is something that we have just not been able to achieve, resulting in us languishing at the wrong end of the table for the most part.

Our six wins this season have been followed by the results in italics:

West Ham (h) 3-0, Sunderland (h) 3-0
Sunderland (h) 3-0, Chelsea (h) 2-3
Portsmouth (h) 6-0, Wigan (a) 1-2
Stoke (h) 3-0, Middlesbrough (a) 0-2
Arsenal (h) 3-0, United (h) 0-1
Hull (h) 5-1, Blackburn (a) ?

What is striking is that apart from the Sunderland victory at home, we have lost each game following a victory - notably two underwhelming away defeats to Wigan and Middlesbrough.

Blackburn will be a big test tomorrow given that the arrival of Sam Allardyce has seen a win and a draw against Stoke and Sunderland, without conceding a goal in the progress. Clearly we have the players and system to be able to post a victory at Ewood Park, but both Blackburn and Sam Allardyce have enjoyed success over us at the past. Form during the course of this season does not suggest we will be able to do this however.

With the victory over Hull being labelled a statement victory by Mark Hughes, it is time for the side to now put together the sort of consistent run that Hughes yearns for.

vote it up!


Anonymous said...

We beat Sunderland away!

Anonymous said...

...and it was 1-3 against chelski.

Anonymous said...

The difference to me, looking at where we've had success and where we've struggled is primarily based on the attacking mentality of our opposition. On Boxing Day, Hull came out and attacked us. You can see that in the territorial advantage stats. We hit them on the counter. We've always been successful when we are able to absorb pressure and hit on the counter. Where we seem to run into problems is when defenses get 10 behind the ball. We then expose our center halves (who don't seem up to defending counters on their own... we gave up against Hull on the counter) when the tables are turned: when the opposition absorbs our pressure and hit us on the counter.

I don't expect Blackburn (especially minus Dunn and Santa Cruz) to play positively. I expect them to sit back and force us to come up with the creativity we haven't shown, yet.

I have reason for optimism this time, however. I think the difference could be (believe it or not) an in form Caicedo. The difference that Caicedo can make up front is that, as a lone striker, he has the physical presence to occupy the two center halves. As we've seen over his last three appearance, if he becomes a handful for the center two, we open up the flanks for Robinho and Wrighty, not to mention Ireland making the late run (as he did on the first goal against Hull).

Caicedo may be young and naive in his play, but his physical presence is something we've been missing, and something which a lone striker must possess. Even if he doesn't prove to be a natural goal scorer (although he sure looks the part right now), his addition to the lineup may be just the tonic needed to free up our creative players... maybe free them up enough to break down a stubborn defense...

Blackburn will certainly put that theory to the test.

Danny Pugsley said...

Apologies for the errors in the post. The premise of it runs true though and JYak makes a good point re the types of teams we have struggled against and consistency will never be achieved until we can overcome the type of sides who set out to make it difficult for us, rather than allow us opportunities.

Tomorrow will be a good test for this.