Can we do the last seven days again please?

It’s difficult to know where to start about last night’s match, the transformation in the team in the last week has been amazing. Seven days ago, we were gaining results through sheer belief and will power as we ignored a horrendous injury list and just got on with things – the football may not have been that great to watch, but it was still impressive stuff as mentally we looked as strong as any team in the league. Now we look broken, bereft of confidence and you wonder where the next point is coming from.

There was some disagreement among messageboard users about my use of the word “outclassed” in the title of my piece on the Fulham game, well those who thought I was wrong then don’t need to worry this time, because we weren’t outclassed at all last night, but, in a way, I wish we had been.

I say that because I see less reason for alarm in us being well beaten by a Fulham side that played very well on the day, than I do in in what happened against Preston.

No, Preston certainly didn’t outclass us last night. I thought they were pretty ordinary in fact, one of the least impressive sides to come to Cardiff City Stadium so far this season and yet they were still good enough to be, comfortably, the better of the two teams. That’s the truly worrying thing about what happened in our latest match, we managed to look so poor against a team which, I suspect, was some way short of their best themselves.

Of course, when a team is beaten by a scrappy last minute goal to nil, there is always a case for saying they were unlucky. In truth though, I find it very hard to begrudge Preston their win because, right from first minute to last, there was a feeling that, if a side was going to conjure a goal from somewhere out of the mess of misplaced passing, aimless hoofing and general incompetence those at the ground or watching on Sky were being forced to endure, it was always going to be the visitors.

For nearly four months now, we have been having spells on a fairly regular basis of complete footballing ineptitude when we looked unable to get the simplest of tasks right. We make no claims to be among the Championship’s best passers of a ball, but, during these spells, we seldom look like being able to pass the ball from one blue shirt to another at all because we never seem to have it under control.

The result is that the ball is just hoofed vaguely forward and, hardly surprisingly, it keeps coming back at us.

Up until recently, we have been able to get through these periods when the last thing we look is a side in the upper reaches of the table and keep them down to something like twenty minutes duration. However, gradually these very poor spells have been getting longer (against Hull for example, it was around half an hour before we managed to start playing a bit of football) until in our no shots on target showing at Bolton and our capitulation against Fulham, they went on for more than half of the game and culminated last night in a performance where we were in that awful football free mode for almost the whole ninety minutes.

People, including me, said wait until Kenneth Zohore is fit again, then we’ll be able to recapture some of the style that even those who have been critical of our play during the first half of the season would have to admit we showed at times before, and occasionally after, he was injured.

However, I would now argue that our first choice strikers return has been counter productive. I say that while not being too critical of the man himself, as it’s very difficult for anyone to come straight back into first team football to play whole games after some ten weeks or so out injured. No, for me, the blame lies with team mates who think that now Zohore is back, we can just knock long balls forward in his general direction for him to chase.

Zohore is in need of match fitness and I would have thought the last thing he needs is to be running around chasing punts forward or back passes to keepers with no real hope of getting any joy from them. Surely, what we have seen from Zohore in the almost two years he’s been with us is that he is more effective when the ball is played into his feet, as opposed to his head, and that he can cause havoc when given proper passes, rather than overhit punts, to run onto in the channels.

It was so telling for me that, just like Fulham, Preston played with a high line. With the sort of attacking pace we have in Hoilett, Mendez-Laing and Feeney (who started in place of Hoilett last night) to go with Zohore, you would have thought this would have been asking for trouble, but, in both cases, they had goalkeepers who had a double role as a sweeper as they came outside of their penalty area quickly to deal with balls played into space behind the back four.

Would Fulham and Preston been prepared to push up so far if City’s midfield had possessed somebody with the range and accuracy of passing of a McPhail or a Whittingham I wonder? I doubt it, but the truth was that City’s inability to get either Ralls or Damour (Gunnarsson and Bryson were absent injured again) on the ball meant that they were unable to show us whether they had it in them to match those midfield pass masters from our recent past.

No, most of the balls played in behind the Preston back line were overhit hoofs forward from defenders and, just like Bettinelli on Tuesday, Welshman Chris Maxwell had no problem in dealing with such poorly played “passes”.

For example, I thought the Bamba/Manga partnership at centreback played quite a lot better defensively than they did on Tuesday, but, for two players who have shown they can use the ball pretty effectively when playing out from the back in the past, their passing was pretty woeful.

So, I’m forced to conclude that the management of both of our most recent opponents figured that playing with a high line against our attacking pace was a risk worth taking because they did not believe we had the passing ability to be able to exploit the acres of space (okay, that’s a slight exaggeration!) in our opponent’s half available to us.

That said, Preston did need some luck when we actually did play to Zohore’s strengths for once and he was able to set Lee Tomlin free some forty yards from goal. If it had been one of those four pacey players I mentioned earlier in that position, they might not have gone on to score, but they all would have been able to stay ahead of the chasing defenders to give themselves a one against one with the keeper, but, as it was, the cover was soon able to catch Tomlin up and what looked like a golden chance at first just fizzled out without the Preston goal coming under any threat.

Now, Tomlin has never been a speed merchant and so it would be wrong to be critical of him for not having something that he does not possess, but I thought it was telling how quickly he was caught and it goes to the heart of what I think is the dilemma the Tomlin of 2017/18 poses compared to the one of, say, two or three years ago.

I thought it was noticeable last night that nearly every time Tomlin was able to show his undoubted ability to beat opponents in one on one situations, the other player was able to recover and put him under pressure again. In the sort of positions Tomlin worked for himself, that ability to get by other players in tight spaces would normally result in someone being taken out of the game, but, too often, it doesn’t – with his ability, you shouldn’t need lightning acceleration to do this, just a normal little burst should do the trick, but I’m not sure he has even got that in his locker these days.

This brings me on to the one bright spot of the two miserable home games we’ve had over the Christmas period. Against Fulham, Rhys Healey came on and showed a little of the creativity that we had so been lacking before his introduction and he did his cause no harm at all again last night as he showed a brightness and sharpness that contrasted vividly with what was on offer from his team mates.

I’ve always looked on Healey as an out and out striker, but Neil Warnock seems to think he can be effective as a number ten and I must say that last night he showed a footballing intelligence that taken together with the lovely weighted pass he gave Zohore against Fulham, suggests he might prove our manager right – based on the level of performance seen from all City players over the past seven days, Healey will be in the team on merit if he starts at QPR on Monday.

With no disrespect to Healey, who is another striving to get fully fit after a significant injury, this really does show how far some players have let their standards drop from the heady days of August. It should never be forgotten that we seem to be cursed when it comes to injuries (Joe Bennett joined the queue for the treatment room again yesterday), but that can only go so far towards explaining away the downward spiral which appears to be getting more dramatic by the game – until a week ago, it seemed we had the strength of character and downright cussedness to come through almost anything, now too many of our players are like rabbits caught in the headlights when they see the ball at their feet.

 

 

 

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15 Responses to Can we do the last seven days again please?

  1. Colin Phillips says:

    Well, I plucked up the courage to go – not a good decision as it turned out.

    Paul, I agree with every word of your excellent report.

    No argument with the statement that Preston were better than us but they were crap.

    Ref bashing is always the easy way out but I did feel that he did us no favours yesterday.

    Another tough game on Monday and I hope our travelling fans have something to cheer. Fair play to last night’s Preston fans, with the weather the way it is and the game on Sky it would have been easy to make the decision to stay at home – at least the enjoyed the trip back oop North.

    Hoping now that some dealing by Neil in January will invigorate the team.

    p.s. I assume Etheridge is under team orders over his distribution from hand. Number of times last night a quick throw to Peltier looked a better option than a punt out to the right.

  2. Anthony O'Brien says:

    I think Zohore must have metal feet which keep him magnetically connected to the earth’s core – unless there is some other reason which prevents him jumping whenever a defender is close.

  3. Russell says:

    Thanks Paul, your summary once again hits the spot , and leaves little for me to to add , other than a few observations and suggestions :

    Healey should start at QPR and certantily against Mansfield.

    The team looked devoid of confidence, they are unable to control the first ball of win the second.

    To back up my “”" devoid of confidence “” comment , you only have to compare our sides value ,experience and capability v Preston on paper , and you’d think we had all the cards to play, but, no were a busted flush at the moment

    Our midfield is not competing game on game , you only had to compare any of our lads with thier single lad Patterson to see the problem.

    Where is plan B ( gosh, my first management team negative comment )

    Tomlin you have summed up completely , at best he’s a 20 minute sub, you can visually seeing in blowing air, even after a few early runs , he’s a luxury player ,however we can’t create that vacumn spot , as were all running around chassing a lost cause in midfield , and that’s not his game.

    Patterson for me has not moved on, perhaps its too soon ,yes he is a trier, however he isn’t playing that well, and what is his best position .

    I do think Warnock and the team need the up and coming break , plus a nicked win at QPR which us possible , perhaps playing away will releive the pressure ?? Mansfield game can be used as a relaxer then the break, followed by a home game against Sunderland, that’s not a scenario ,and if we can’t take advantage of that we will be out of the top 6 very soon .

    I do think teams have worked us out and our
    supprise element that took us to the top has gone.

    I would try Camp now, only to test the “having a conversation ” and better distribution,doubts .

    The next break nd transfer window can’t come quick enough ,however my head is telling me we will fade away this year, hope I’m wrong , as I always thought in that play off dog fight with Warnock and tge fight we were showing , we would have a chance against anyone.

  4. paul rabone says:

    I am always the first to blame the ref and yep once again he missed a challenge through the back of bogie which led to the goal. A few minutes earlier he penalised Patterson for same thing.
    BUT.
    Let’s not blame him for our midfield just pinging the ball on rather than getting it under control and picking a pass.
    We have been sussed as opposition are not giving any of our players chance to settle, from 1 to 11. Or whatever it is.
    We need a Crainey type. Under pressure he was able to turn out of it and play it to another player.
    We need Harris back! Lang is not doing it at the moment. Feeny has had his day.
    Tomlin, for all the criticism, it was 2 professional fouls that perhaps stopped him from playing someone in and us scoring first.
    What annoys me is that we are being out muscled and yet refs penalise us. Is that because they listened to all the hype earlier in the season about us being over physical. That started after the wolves game and yet I read a national newspaper article that the physical notion was unjustified.
    Can we turn this around?
    Why not, get our unfit players up to speed, a couple of signings and who knows. Plus other teams may go through a similar blip.
    p’s.
    Watched on TV last night as in bed with flu. It is good to hear unbiased commentary occasionally rather than my biased brain telling me how good we are, how poor the ref is etc. Mind you we are not getting the rub of the green from refs , , but have we ever.

  5. Mike Herbert says:

    Again I agree with virtually all the comments made. I have only seen the TV games so far I don’t have the breadth of game experience that you and others have but I have been underwhelmed by our goalkeeper once again. I think his command – verbally of our defence is poor. Other than that our defence is competent and we do have forwards who can be “played in” to have a chance of making goal threats so I would spend any money available on two midfield players – one creative and one more defensive – the latter needs to be able to read a game and plug the gaps in our current midfield (Preston may not be that good but their better passing through our midfield seemed to mainly down to the gaps we left.) A Joe Allen type of player would be ideal if we can afford a championship level equivalent.

    Happy New Year to all!

  6. Richard Holt says:

    Thanks for the write up Paul. Watching last night was bad enough but to then have to go and write about it afterwards takes stoicism to a new level !
    Watching the match at home (I decided £7.99 for a one-day Sky sports pass was a better bet than a £40 round trip) was painful and embarrassing. It was as you say ‘football free’ with the mere notion of passing the ball to a team mate being an alien concept to most of our players. You could almost hear the mocking derision of fans of Wolves, Bristol City, Villa, Derby and others. Our sheer ineptitude would have kept them glued to their screens !
    It is certainly worrying how many of our players are looking like mere shadows of the vibrant confident footballers they were not long ago (Mendez-Laing a prime example) but equally worrying was our inability to adapt or remotely change things tactically. All three substitutions were like for like which suggested that the management team were far too satisfied with their tactics for my liking.
    One other thought. These two shocking home performances seem to have coincided with Vincent Tan’s attendance. He wouldn’t be the sort to go into the home dressing room and give one of his unique team -talks would he ?

  7. Jeff Blight says:

    Cheers for the write up Paul, agree with everyone’s comments. Poorest home performance of the season.

    Laing, Damour, Paterson and Etherington are now struggling at championship level where as previously they were thriving. Perhaps now we realise why the manager has been reluctant to play Tomlin, an unfit luxury player.

    Priority has to be new midfield recruitment along with the return of our unfit contingent and a return to keep playing the ball on the floor.

  8. Matt N says:

    Hi Paul, all,

    Well, that was depressing! I forgot to mention after the last match how poor the fullbacks had been and yesterday was more of the same. For a while now I’ve thought that Peltier seems constantly surprised to actually be on a football pitch and when he gets the ball he takes that surprise to the point of terror. The problems last night went way beyond fullback last night. I was thinking it was a point well gained from the way we played but it wasnt to be.

    Hopefully the FA cup will give some of the lads coming back from injury some minutes to get their match sharpness back and maybe, just maybe, we mights see an Academy player or two give Warnock something to think about…

    All in all, its been a good 2017 for Cardiff – here’s to an equally successful 2018 (with a quick reboot required in January).

    Matt

  9. HarryKirtley'sGhost says:

    Top marks, Paul, as ever. And, thanks for giving us a heads-up as to the gravity of the situation.
    For if the wheels come further off at Loftus Road, then it will be a case of us having to borrow (and adapt) the title of John Reed’s famous book: TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE CARDIFF CITY WORLD.
    Before I tell you why I think this has happened, let me say that the scales have come off my own eyes this last week. Some of my cherished notions have gone the way of my Christmas wrappings …i.e. straight into the dustbin.
    First, Lee Tomlin. A player I so wanted City to buy when he was performing miracles at London Road. A player who later on performed equally mesmerising feats with Middlesbrough. Who can ever forget this: not many players make a mug of Vincent Kompany…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q53D-MVEO84
    But I have to face it…the £1.8m that Neil says he paid for him (rather than the £3m initially reported) is now beginning to seem to be money down the drain. I fancy Neil realised this soon after buying him…hence his burning desire to reduce that sum somewhat,with his revisionist take on transfer history.
    Sure, the nonsensical “let me teach you a lesson, subbing of a sub” business at Bolton, did not help, but methinks that his lifestyle has caught up with Tommo.
    Then there is Zahore. He reminds me of his fellow Dane, Martin Braithwaite (and not just physically). Neither is a centre forward. They both need a big chunky bustling front man to feed off. At Boro, Braithwaite has Britt Assombalonga. Zahore has nobody.
    Last night, how he could have done with the Preston number 9 alongside him. What a player this boy Jordan Hugill is…!! Yes I know we could have done without his histrionics in injury time, but that apart…WHAT a player. To me, he was comfortably the Man of the Match…he constantly needed the two big City centre backs TOGETHER to attend to him…thus leaving gaps for his fleet-footed teammates to run through.
    Indeed, such was Preston’s superiority, that if I were to name my top 6 players on the pitch, they would all be wearing a yellow jersey.
    And it is a sobering thought that the whole team was assembled for £2m. I hope that “Sir” Vincent thinks hard about that and refuses to give Mr Warnock more money to throw away. Jordan Hugill cost …wait for it…
    …twenty five THOUSAND pounds from Port Vale, yet Bamba and Manga will be seeing him in their dreams.
    Contrast his fee with the close on a MILLION that we paid for Omar. A couple of Blundell Park season ticket holders I know here in Grimsby, still have not picked themselves up from the floor…where at the time of the Wigan transfer, they fell laughing.
    I do not share their scorn, as I think the boy is a trier, and is not untalented. But he needs a playmaker behind him and a Jordan Hugill alongside him: i.e. someone with the sheer chunkiness to take the ball down on his chest, and Mark Hughes style, stick his posterior into the centre back behind him, to either draw a foul, or to allow himself to turn and quickly lay the ball off to fast advancing inside forwards.
    But it is a sobering thought that if City paid “only” the £700K still owing the Mariners by Wigan…that is still TWENTY EIGHT times what Preston paid for Hugill.
    Whatever the merits of Bogle the centre forward, he assuredly is not a full back…yet that is where our manager put him for that corner resulting in the goal. Oh dear Mr Warnock: it is not as though Omar does not have some “previous” here. Just cast your mind back to the 11th of December, and how he failed to jump as first man for the corner that resulted in the Paterson own goal. Last night instead of hoofing the ball away, he instinctively tried to control it…with disastrous results.
    If you had decided you wanted to WIN the game in injury time, rather than hold on, you would have left him up on the halfway line. And there is a good chance that a certain Mr Tom Clarke would have stayed back to mark him.
    I used the word hoofing there…more on that later.
    I also mentioned Callum Paterson. Now here again I am having to wise-up and eat humble pie. The truth is that he bears no relation to the superman I several times saw performing miracles for Hearts. I honestly wonder if we have been sent a twin brother, or George Weah’s “cousin”. If not, then it must have been the knee op wot dun it.
    But now we come to the real problem…Neil’s psychology.
    Now I have always been a fan of the bloke…back in the days when he was coming through the ranks as a manager. I thought he could do no wrong.
    Alas I have had a rude awakening of late.
    And I can put my finger on what I perceive to be his biggest mistake.

    Before the season started, I would have settled for a top half position in the table. I never thought we would have made the playoffs in a million years, with our squad.
    Then came our amazing start, and an ability to keep up there in second position, despite lots of lucky wins like the one against Hull being the most recent.
    And what was Neil saying all along? Well words to the effect that “this is a winning run, but trust me a losing run is going to come”.
    No, no, NO …!! Did you hear the egregious Mr Malky Mackay say this when we were mysteriously running away with the Championship five years ago? Of course not.
    And why not?
    Easy-peasy. It is Psychology 101 folks. For when you tell players that you expect them to fail…trust me they will do just that.
    No…tell them instead that they are in the top 2 BY RIGHTS, and you expect them to stay there. That way, they will not let their game slip.
    All over the pitch last night, Preston wanted it more. And I loved the energy of their first two subs: especially the ex Man Utd boy, Josh Harrop.
    Incidentally, while I remember: let us hope that Mr Warnock will fine Tomlin a week’s wages for his outrageous dive (which alas the diving committee cannot act upon as it did not lead to a goal). I do not want to see anyone sully the Cardiff City jersey with such base dishonesty.
    And now a last point on Mr Warnock’s curious psychological approach. I refer to his letter to the husband and wife celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary yesterday.
    Guess what? Instead of using it as a recruitment tool for last night’s attendance, he goes and puts his foot in it, by uttering some platitude about “family coming first” …which of course it does…and that is what indeed makes it a platitude. (After all a platitude is only a truth worn out by constant use.)
    But what an open goal he missed here. Here was a chance for him to say “no, come and see your high flying potential champions, and bring all the family…and on the evening, you can have a party in our hospitality suite”.
    If he had said that, it would have been so much better than “be with your wife…we will see you AFTER the Preston game”.
    Judging by last night’s disappointing attendance, a lot of other fans took Neil’s advice and stayed away…presumably to be with their wife (or maybe somebody ELSE’s wife…!!)
    And now before I sign off, a word on our keeper’s dead-ball kick outs. Why the dickens is he always aiming for a team mate in his own half (just) and over with chalk on his feet on the touchline? Often the ball sails into touch being a few feet too high each time. Get it down the middle of the field, man! And no it won’t come back to you every time, especially if our non jumping center forward last night decided to “do a Hugill”.
    My respect for Pep Guardiola has increased somewhat of late: no not for his repeated proud kamikaze decision to continue to play potentially suicidal backpasses, but for what happened when he bought Edison.
    Bravia was taking short goal kicks, that inevitably led to the likes of John Stones losing possession and handing the opponents a goal on a plate. In Edison he bought a goalkeeper with a prodigious and accurate kick (not hoof, please note), and immediately he dispensed with short goal kicks…not least because he knew the Laws of Association Football. He knew what most football fans do not know.
    Has he been sitting at the feet of the great Charles Hughes? No of course not…though that methinks, is Pep’s loss. But he knew the laws of the game alright.
    And that is something that a great many football fans do not. My own dear eldest brother, who could win any quiz on the 70 years he has been watching The City, and recently having his name on the big screen at the CCS as “supporter of the day”, and given the big hospitality treatment…even HE did not know when I asked him to name the occasions when a player cannot be ruled offside, that you cannot be offside from a goal kick.
    So now you see Edison winging the ball 75 yards…even though they play without an obvious target man. And football is all the better for it.
    Right, must dash to watch The Old Firm match.

  10. Clive Harry says:

    Well said Matt – you’ve echoed my thoughts on Peltier. I don’t think any side with ambition should have a free kick waiting to happen like him in the team. He gives everything but is simply too limited at this level. I would also blame him for last night’s goal having run the replay several times because when the corner is about to be taken he is busy rugby tackling the scorer to the ground rather than watching the ball. Unfortunately, Clarke got up quickly and had a free header at goal because Peltier was still on all fours. The frequency of wingers getting behind Bennett to the goal line is also causing concern (not last night obviously).
    We also seem to be going stale en masse and some sort of freshening up needs to take place whether that be from within or by bringing in new blood. I’m not sure how fit Healey is yet but he must be pushing for a start. I’m looking forward to the Mansfield game with a changed team and hopefully players giving everything to get a first team place.
    Happy new year to Paul and other contributors.

  11. huw perry says:

    Thanks again Paul and others for analysis with which I agree. Doesn’t feel any better 24 hours later. That’s as depressing a week as we have had all year. As Paul states, could see how much better Fulham were, but Preston were just capable and happy to let us play head tennis in the middle of the park.
    Definetely think we have been rumbled re our approach and cannot cope if out-muscled in midfield without on form wingers and poor distribution from the back. . How about putting Sol in the middle to give it some drive and urgency until Gunnarson returns or we bring in recruits?
    Also agree that only bright spark in these 2 festive disasters has been Healey’s enthusiasm and general sharpness in the limited time he has had available. Deserves a start from the off against QPR.
    Still been a better year than we could have expected, but the hard work really starts now to even keep us in the top 6!

  12. Barry Cole says:

    A great report Paul but this is match number three when we haven’t been at the races. Can I try and put this in perspective. At the Bolton game I made the comment that NW had picked the wrong team and yesterday it was much the same.
    Leaving Pilkington on the bench and playing Mendez Lang was nothing short of a miscarriage after the way ML has played over the three matches. Not playing connelly at right back was another question mark. Bringing him in and moving Paterson to midfield on the right creating a 4-4-2 would have had a better effect on Preston walking through the midfield continually throughout the game. The final part of the problem was the withdrawal of Tomlin just as he was having an effect on the game. What on earth is going on here.
    Let’s be honest Preston were by far the best team and moved the ball about far better than us. I couldn’t see their goal coming but we gave it to them.
    Finally I wonder how many times Eldridge actually found a blue shirt in all of his kicks. As soon as it landed the ball was back in our half and we were unable to make any movement forward.
    Both manga and Bamba played well as did Ralls but you can see Damour is shattered and Paterson really needs to find his position and it’s certainly not right back.
    I just wonder who will turn out against QPR as we continue our plight.
    What it has shown is that Morrison and Gunnarsson are real misses.

  13. MIKE HOPE says:

    Great piece as always from TOBW.
    From my viewpoint the heading would have been-’Seven bloody awful days that ruined my Christmas’
    Warnock said recently that when he was interviewed for the manager’s job at Norwich he was asked whether he thought Norwich fans would like his type of football.
    He replied, ‘you mean winning football?,’
    I think this sums him up.Like most fans I love it when we win and can cope with the fact that the opposition might have looked more stylish.
    However when we lose and particularly when we lose three in a row, it is easy to start thinking that a visit to the dentist might be more enjoyable.
    Our success this season has been based on a solid defence and brilliant counter attacking inspired mainly by our two wingers.
    It is surely not a coincidence that our dodgy defending,especially from set pieces,started with the injury to Morrison.
    The only positives I can take from our two home defeats was there was no lack of commitment from our players for the full 90 plus minutes which indicates that Warnock still has their support.
    Similar performances and defeats in our next two league games against QPR and Sunderland is unthinkable-isn’t it?
    I am optimistic that the return of Morrison will stabilise our defence and that our wingers will recapture their early season form.
    I disagree with the view that Tomlin no longer has the pace to get clear of a tackle.
    The ability to accelerate from a standing position is still one of his strengths.
    He ‘won ‘ two yellow cards with this skill against Preston.One in the first half when he was pulled by the shirt as he broke clear and one in the second half when he was cynically tripped.
    The ugly cliché -’taking one for the team’ applied and was obviously pre planned to nullify Tomlin’s threat.
    I thought Zohore’s contribution was again very disappointing.
    I can imagine the steam coming from fellow blogger Anthony O’B’s ears when he wrote his short piece about Z’s aerial prowess!
    As most of the service to Zohore comes from the boot of Etheridge it is inevitable that the ball will be to his head rather than his feet.
    My suggestion for this tactic to have a better chance of success would be for Zohore to move well clear of Etheridge’s target area allowing Paterson to compete with the centre half while Zohore looks for the second ball.
    One final thought if Warnock thinks that Bryson (whose main skill seems to be like a mosquito irritating the opposition) is vital to our midfield, why did he get rid of O’Keefe?

  14. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Some great and varied comments this time, which I’m sorry I haven’t got enough time to mention individually, so I’ll limit myself to making one point which I first mentioned on a messageboard yesterday. When I read through all of your comments, it seems to me as if virtually every member of Friday’s side is singled out for criticism. Looking at the Fulham and Bolton matches as well, I’ve got to ask who are the individuals who have played well in any, never mind all, of our last three matches? We are suffering from a collective loss of form, rather than a few individuals going through a poor spell – I posted my marks out of ten for the Preston match on the messageboard I referred to above yesterday and, while there will always be disagreement about individual ratings, they do say a lot about the level of team performance as well (if anything I think I was a little generous);-

    Etheridge 5

    Paterson 5
    Manga 6
    Bamba 6
    Peltier 4

    Mendez-Laing 4
    Damour 4
    Ralls 5
    Feeney 5

    Tomlin 4

    Zohore 5

    Subs
    Hoilett 5
    Healey 7
    Bogle 5

  15. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Just thought I’d make a few quick comments on three of the points raised. First, I’m not convinced about Tomlin’s acceleration Mike – for me, he was a diver at Bristol City and I’ve not seen anything to make me change my mind about how, to use the current parlance, he goes to ground very easily.While I’d say that the first yellow card for fouls on him was deserved, the Preston players close to the incident were very annoyed with him. If you are defined as a “luxury” player, then quite often team mates are expected to take on his share of the unglamorous things needed from any team and, as long as he is delivering. then they are generally happy to it – it would be interesting to know whether the feeling in the dressing room is that he is doing enough to warrant this favourable treatment?
    Dai, I agree about Hugill, but I would also say that Preston seem to have a good scouting system which has seen them bring in players from the Irish League at a good price as well as buying shrewdly from the lower divisions (e.g. Barkhuizen), while I have a feeling Moult from Motherwell is going to be a good signing – with non of the usual hullabaloo, Peter Ridsdale is doing a good job at Deepdale.
    Richard, I felt some embarrassment at our performance on Friday as well and, for the first time this season I had an experience I’m all too familiar with – I was angry at the team.

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