City limitations laid bare, again, as dour Norwich take the points.

I’ve mentioned before on here that sometimes you can go along to a match expecting it to be a certain type of encounter and be proved completely and utterly wrong – yesterday’s 1-0 home defeat for Cardiff City at the hands of Norwich turned out to be a case in point.

Before the match I’d been ignoring the fact that we never win both games when the fixture computer deems that we should play at Cardiff City Stadium twice in a week (actually, it’s not quite true to say we never win twice in a week at home, but it happens so rarely as to make virtually no difference) and was predicting a win.

My reason for this had more to do with our opponents than us really, because, given their financial and playing resources, Norwich have been big under achievers this season. Albeit from a distance, they have struck me as the sort of team who can be very good once they get the foot on their opponents’ throat so to speak, but they’ll be the ones to take the first backward step when faced by a team which stands up to them mentally and physically – that’s to say, a bit like we were around those years when the noughties were turning into this decade.

Norwich’s away record going into yesterday’s game said so much about the team they have been – three wins, three draws and eight defeats, with goals let in at a rate of two a game and with a five conceded at Brighton, a four at Newcastle and threes at Reading and Birmingham.

Those figures suggested that there was a brittleness to this Norwich side that a home team putting in what I’d call a typical Warnock display could exploit – I saw us winning 2-1 and, if that didn’t happen, my next strongest prediction was 2-2.

In other words, I was expecting it to be quite an open and entertaining affair with Norwich coming here and showing a positive attitude. I couldn’t have been more wrong, because, for the first time this season, Norwich were able to record one of those, grim, 1-0 away wins that so many promotion campaigns are founded on – to emphasise the point, it was only their second clean sheet in an away game.

After a period early on when we began to look like we were getting on top as Kenneth Zohore forced John Ruddy into a routine save with a header, Norwich were able to keep us at arms length for the majority of the first half and then grab the vital goal just before the break. We had a go in the second half and put our opponents under a lot of pressure. but there’d always be a Norwich defender there to win a vital ball, get a good block in or earn his team a free kick.

Indeed, we were even able to win the possession stats as the BBC rated it 57/43 in our favour. So, it would appear that, finally, Norwich may have discovered the defensive resilience needed to net them an immediate return to the Premier League.

Manager Alex Neil enthused about his team’s ability to “win ugly” after the game and, with a visit to a Wigan side who have turned the 1-0 home defeat into something of an art form during their last two seasons at this level on Tuesday, the chance is there for his team to show him that they have turned a corner.

However, if I were a Norwich fan, I wouldn’t be getting too carried away, because I’d need more evidence yet that my team’s previously porous defence has discovered the knack of keeping clean sheets away from home.

As I watched us huffing and puffing away in the second half without forcing Ruddy into serious action until the game’s last ten minutes, I was asking myself whether it was Norwich’s good defending or our lack of quality as an attacking force which was consigning us to what was quickly beginning to look like an eighth loss on our ground in all competitions this season?

There is certainly a case to be made that it was more the second of these options than the first, because, let’s face it, games like yesterday’s have been a common experience in 16/17 for City season ticket holders haven’t they.

It rankles with me that, week after week, we have less of the ball than our opponents, but it’s even more galling to see that when we finally do have more than fifty per cent possession, the only thing it tends to do is lay bare some of our weaknesses.

To be fair to Norwich, it was only after they scored that they adopted a defensive approach – they were hardly gung ho when it was 0-0, but Allan McGregor was forced into two good saves from Cameron Jerome in the first half. However, when they invited us to try and break them down in the second half, we lacked the wit to do so as well as the ability to get sufficient players into their penalty area in open play,

While you can watch other teams in this league where full backs spend more time near  their opponents penalty area than their own in home games, full backs are very much full backs at Cardiff and, on the rare occasions they may find themselves close to the opposition’s bye line, what they produce hardly ever inconveniences defenders,

So, essentially, we are reliant on our front six for our attacking from open play. With us almost always playing with a single genuine striker these days, it usually means that one of those six (Aron Gunnarsson mostly) is more of a defender than an attacker and so a player whose strengths tend to lie in areas other than having the ability to open up defences with a single pass, has a limited contribution to make in an attacking sense.

In essence, therefore, we have more of a front five than a front six. Two of those five are wingers – Neil Warnock tends to use them as wingers, rather than wide midfield players, as well, hence the pitch, effectively, is made wider by the presence of two attacking players on either touchline.

I’m generalising here, but, for me, it’s in most “proper” wingers’ DNA that they must be inconsistent performers with their performance levels often varying wildly from game to game – the word “mercurial” could have been invented with wingers in mind!

Hence, there is always the feeling that you never know what you are going to get from a winger and I’d say both of ours have had more influential days lately than they did yesterday. That’s a little harsh on Junior Hoilett mind who, as on Tuesday, started well, before becoming less of a factor as the game went on. Nevertheless, I was surprised to see him taken off when he was, because he struck me as the most likely of our five attackers to do something “off the cuff” that would shake Norwich out of their defensive comfort zone.

Kadeem Harris, having a frustrating first hour of the kind which gives the critics who feel he is not worth a place in the team plenty of ammunition, seemed the more likely candidate to be withdrawn for Craig Noone to me, but, as it turned out, he became more of an influence after that as he featured in two of the only four instances I can think of where it felt like we might score.

I’ll address the two penalty claims that we had later, but, with Norwich dealing well with our free kicks and corners with few alarms, the only two sights of their goal came late on when Sol Bamba headed too close to Ruddy from a decent opportunity and when Noone slalomed past two opponents to work himself into a position where he probably should have scored. Ruddy’s save from Noone’s shot fell to Harris on the corner of the six yard box, but, when calmness and clear thinking was required, he produced a wild effort that flew high and wide.

That one incident encapsulated another attacking problem we have – if are going to play a system which can be described as 4-5-1 or 4-3-3, then the two wide attacking players need to come up with  a lot more goals than they do currently. If we say that two of Hoilett, Harris or Noone  are the specialist wingers we are going to use most often, then the two goals they’ve managed between them this season is nowhere near enough.

In one of his interviews last week, Neil Warnock talked about how he and his coaching staff had been working on getting our wingers into the sort of areas Kadeem scored from at Ashton Gate. So, at least he was in the right type of position as Noone was coming in from the other flank, but having seen him finish well during his time as a consistent scorer for the Development team, it was especially disappointing to see how Harris dealt with what was a great opportunity.

While I think our wingers deserve criticism for their lack of goals, I’ve got sympathy for them when they find themselves in a crossing position for a couple of reasons. First, if we accept that most crosses will be played in the air, yesterday only emphasised again that they have little or nothing to aim for because, although he worked as hard as ever and showed some neat touches when the ball was played to his feet at times, our main target man was turning in another performance where those contributors who talk of his lack of aerial prowess will feel vindicated.

City play a lot of high balls from the back and, as mentioned previously, a few crosses in the air come in his direction every game, but, as things stand, a ball in the air is effectively handing possession back to our opponents. I still say that, to get the best out of Zohore, you need to play it to his feet, but he needs to make life more difficult for centrebacks if we are going to continue with an aerial approach.

The second reason I sympathise with Hoilett, Harris and Noone is that, far too often, they only have Zohore or, possibly, the winger on the opposite flank as potential targets for their cross.

Perhaps a central midfield three of Gunnarsson, Joe Ralls and Peter Whittingham can be effective away from home, but when we are playing at Cardiff City Stadium in circumstances like we saw in the last half an hour yesterday, we need much more than they can offer in terms of getting themselves into goalscoring positions and offering themselves as targets for our wide players.

Whitts wasn’t far away from connecting with a Hoilett cross around the hour mark, but I’m struggling to think of another time when we had someone making the sort of run that, say, a Jordon Mutch (who scored for Reading yesterday in the first game of his loan spell with them) would make a as matter of course.

If I was doing a kind of school report on City so far, it would read something like

Goalkeeper – too many used, relationship with defence has suffered

Defence – generally sound.

Midfield (defence) – pretty good

Midfield (attack) – poor

Wingers – okay, but should do better

Striker – improvements made, but still not good enough in comparison to other clubs

If you go beyond the players available yesterday, then Anthony Pilkington looks such an influential player for us – the fact that he has been present for much of the time during a season of struggle which could still end very badly for us, proves he’s not a complete answer to our problems by any means, but, certainly at home, I believe he is the man best equipped to play a number ten type role, he’s also probably the player who will score most for us this season.

Even with Pilkington though, we look short of goals and an attacking threat and, as Warnock hinted in his post match press conference yesterday, we probably need to prepare ourselves for a few more matches like the Norwich one in the remaining three months of the campaign.

Just a quick word about those penalty claims. There’s always a split second between when a ref blows his whistle and he produces a yellow card for diving when you think he’s given a penalty and my reaction at that time was to think that it was a harsh decision on Norwich. So, it didn’t look a penalty to me, but then I’m not sure Rhys Healey dived either. As for the second one, I’m going to have to do a Wenger and say I didn’t have a great view of it and couldn’t really tell one way or another.

However, as I was seated directly behind the linesman and only about ten yards further from the incident than him, I fail to see how he could claim to have clearly seen the defender involved make contact with the ball when Harris went down under a challenge – I’ll watch the highlights on Cardiff City World with interest later today.

Many City fans, myself included, got carried away by the combination of pace, power, skill and finishing ability that was Kenneth Zohore’s goal on Tuesday, but, just over a decade ago, we had a teenager who was routinely showing these qualities. He may not have quite been able to establish himself in the top flight, but Cameron Jerome has always been a very good Championship striker and he continued his good recent goalscoring record against us with a header from a free kick to win the game in the fortieth minute.
From the moment he got the better of Sol Bamba in the first minute, Jerome was a big influence on the game, but he has never really been appreciated by many City fans who were not slow to criticise him after his Ayatollah aimed at the Canton End following his goal.*

I just want to say a few words on Cameron Jerome to finish on yesterday’s game. I must say that I’ve always found the attitude of many City fans towards him very puzzling. Yes, he did make some comments just before he was sold that he’d have been better off not making , but he was only nineteen at the time and I defy anyone to say that they never said or did anything that they later regretted when they were that age.

This is a player who, together with Jason Koumas, did the most to turn what was a team many thought were heading for relegation in Dave Jones’ first season with us into unlikely Play Off candidates. This is a player who had been picked by the club (he was also hung out to dry by them in some respects as well) as the one to be sold during the summer of 2006 to fund the arrival of stalwarts like Chopra, McPhail and McNaughton and, if, as was claimed by one of the many who queued up to have a go at him on the BBC Wales Phone In last night, he did say that Birmingham were a bigger club than us at the time he signed for them, then, as a newly relegated club who went straight back up in his first season at St. Andrews, he was only telling the truth.

Also, although I didn’t see it myself, this is a player who did an Ayatollah to the Canton End at the final whistle while also applauding them and I think I heard it said on the phone in that he had thrown his shirt to them as well.

Jerome also stood with City fans supporting the team at Leicester some eighteen months after he had left us and so I just don’t understand why he was, and still is, so unpopular.

Yesterday’s Ayatollah after he scored for the fourth time in four games for Norwich against us was not a particularly clever move. However, he was being booed by some right from the first whistle and, as someone who saw him tapping his head after scoring and was far more concerned about his goal, rather than his supposed lack of respect, I find it amusing that supporters who would have booed him if he had failed to respond to a chant of “Jerome, do the Ayatollah” are up in arms because he did the gesture that we normally like to see from our former players.

Just a few words about the Academy games which preceded the Norwich match to finish. I watched the first half of the Under 18s match against Coventry at Leckwith and it was obvious that, at 3-0 down,  they were heading for a heavy defeat. For a while they played a neat brand of passing football which Coventry could not match, but, with all of our age group teams having, effectively, stepped up a level since Christmas, this was, to all intents and purposes an Under 16 team and, after conceding a poor first goal, they rather fell apart once they went 2-0 down against much bigger and stronger opponents.

I later found out that we were beaten 7-0, which means that, since the shake up instigated by Neil Warnock, we have had two thrashings at Under 18 level (we were also beaten 6-0 at Charlton) to go with a 1-1 draw against Millwall and a 1-0 win at Colchester. So, there is evidence that a team which only contained Sion Spence (who went off at half time) and Isaak Davies who I recognised from previous Under 18 games I’ve seen can compete against their seniors and this is a group who were doing very well against the teams of their age that they played before Christmas.

Hopefully, the players will learn and develop as they face older teams over the coming months, but it has to be a delicate balancing act with them at the moment, because I think I’m right in saying that this is the group who Russell Slade and Ken Choo were so enthusiastic about in their meeting with Trust members about a year ago and you wouldn’t want to see them suffering a series of thumpings because they have been thrown in the deep end when they weren’t quite ready.

Of course,  the Under 16s will now have plenty of below age players as well and they found themselves under a lot of pressure as I watched the final half an hour of their game. In truth, Coventry had the chances to have won the match while I was watching, but there were no goals scored and, so, assuming the bloke who told me that it was 2-2 when I turned up was right, they ended up with a good result.

*picture courtesy of







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12 Responses to City limitations laid bare, again, as dour Norwich take the points.

  1. Barry Cole says:

    Very factual Paul and at this stage following that defeat I will fall into line and say my hopes of a top six place is now out of bounds. I go back to my January post when it was clear to compete with the other high flyers we needed that striker and creative midfielder we have never been able to find since the Mackay days.
    Yesterday’s game just proved the point and following the narrow defeats at Brighton and reading first and third in the league we are competing with the best but not creating and punishing those teams.
    Warnock is correct in everything he has said and done and I cannot praise him enough for his honesty and his development in improving the players attitude.
    Yesterday’s game I agree with you that hoilett maybe should have stayed on the pitch but the one I concentrated on was whittingham. On Tuesday against a team that allowed him to play he was so very good, against Norwich he was lost and to be honest maybe should have been on the bench for this game. He creates from set pieces but his days of creating from midfield are slowly disminishing. His effect on this game was nil along with a poor performance from ralls and you can see why we needed that creative midfielder. No complaints about the defence except I believe that Jeromes goal should have been stopped. Up front we are totally lightweight and as much as zahore is playing much better his failure to score goals is still a major problem.
    I believe we have more chance of scoring with pilkington and lambert playing with hoilett but it still is not the answer.
    So now we must produce the best football we can with the players we have and allow Warnock the proof that he needs to get the players he knows ( and I think we all know as well) in the summer.
    Tan has managed to get the team and fans working together with a brilliant decision by appointing warnock then looking to the future with Bellamy so the seeds are sown. What he must do is lose that impetus by failing to back the manager in the summer.
    I dont the believe Norwich will make the top six but you are right if they continue to play ugly they may scrape in.
    For the fans who booed Jerome you have short memories, yes he has a habit of scoring goals against us but that’s what he is paid for. Personally I watched him play for us a be part of a team that were destined for relegation and we nearly made the play offs. His type of player is what we are lacking but I never believe on going back so I imagine that when Warnock says he has tried to sign Jerome a number of times he knows the type of forward he needs.
    My only worry is that I haven’t seen any movement in the creative midfielder mode. I don’t think that whittingham will play too much a part next season and ralls needs to be a lot more consistent but that leaves us short in that department, but I do believe that Warnock will have sussed that out as well.
    Leeds next week followed by derby should give us 4 points and possibly a top 8 finish but at least the enjoyment is back the team are fighting and I the only thing missing is quality

  2. Russell says:

    Thanks Paul ,as you point we can’t seem to build on a home win and see it through to the next game ,if we had ig would have seen us sitting in thirteenth , but that would be a slightly inflated position for an average team who never looked like scoring.

    Worrying news from the under 18’s ,the upheaval is taking
    Its toll by the sound of it.

    Norwich I felt looked a mature side, well organised but unspectacular, we showed them to, much respect, at let them muscle us out.

    Of our players Mcgregore put in a fine performance with his quickness of the line.
    Zahore showed us he’s not so dangerous in the box surrounded by players not able to show his pace .
    As you pointed our wingers are indeed mercurial, Hoilet and Harris should get into the box more often instead of falling over outside or cross poorly .
    Your point about bodies in the box is a critical one , that strangles our attacking threat leaving Zahore as the lone man to mark for opposition ,our problems are our central midfield lacks pace and penetration.

    We’re fine if we play teams that play a high line,those teams that are compact,highly organised we are useless and don’t seem to have the nonce or skills to unlock them.

    Thank God we won over Tuesday as the next two games will be tough,I’d be happy to get one point from them,the remaining games look more manageable.

    One grateful output from yesterday lost again least we won’t hear those silly claims “the play offs are achievable ”

    Upward slightly , or downward slightly , I say as we limp on to the end.

  3. Graham says:

    What a grim afternoon – how can the same players five days later serve up such a different game? Compared to what we saw on Tuesday, yesterday gave us a crap boot-the-ball-up-and-away game. Show a film of it to someone who hadn’t seen soccer before and ask “is this game called football or headball?” .. the answer would be “what a silly trick question – it’s obviously headball and both teams aren’t very good at it, especially the one playing in blue shirts who, if they’re near the ball when it comes down just seem to want to bounce the ball off their heads – it might be better to try to aim it!” … anyway, when now and then they kicked the ball along the ground and sometimes even directly towards someone wearing the same colour shirt, it seemed they might stand a chance of getting near putting the ball in the net .. but that didn’t happen often so we saw a crap game and a crap ref. too!

  4. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Congratulations on an insightful report backed up by the comments (so far, but with more to follow, I’m sure) of Barry Cole and Russell.
    I’m becoming something of a cracked record in harping on about – to quote Paul — Zohore’s “lack of aerial ability” but it is manifestly the case. He did make a few backward headers yesterday, but they were essentially aimless, though it’s good to see him try. Apart from his habit of ducking under hoof balls, his timing in these situations is poor. I’m not sure that any amount of practice will provide the cure, although he does run forward with strength and speed. It’s just a pity that his colleagues are unable to provide the type of ball on which he can feed.
    In terms of centre-forward play, Cameron Jerome showed exactly what we are lacking, and his goal came not just from his brave heading ability but also his upper body strength in holding off a Cardiff defender to get to the ball.
    As for Cardiff’s substitutions, they were a long time coming and not what seemed to be needed. I admit that Noone made something of a difference, but I still can’t work out why all Cardiff’s most recent managers, including Mr Warnock, insist on putting a left-winger on the right and vice versa. If Noone had been on the left and Harris on the right, surely there would have been a greater opportunity to supply Zohore with the sort of cross into the middle that would help his style of play? Equally, if he had Gounongbe playing alongside him, wouldn’t there be an added element of threat from a two-man striking partnership, in spite of the lack of creativity from the men behind them?
    While on the question of substitutions, I should add that, like you, Paul, I was surprised that Hoilett was taken off, unless he had a slight injury of which we are unaware.. His pace and skill were evident yesterday, and of all the Cardiff front men (and even the midfielders) he is the one who strikes the ball most cleanly. It is therefore doubly surprising that he doesn’t score more goals.
    Winston Churchill called the administration which came to power after the removal of Lloyd George “a government of the second eleven”. In many respects we have players who also tend to be of the “second eleven”, and the failure — for whatever reason — during the recent transfer window to bring in players who would improve the team is accordingly rather worrying. Barry Cole is right when he says the only thing missing is quality, and Russell is equally correct in stating that, for the rest of this season, we have to “limp on to the end”. Nevertheless, hope springs eternal.

  5. Geoff Lewis says:

    Hi Paul,
    I enjoyed the game yesterday and felt that Norwich just edged it. They were professional and well organised in all areas. I felt that we puffed and puffed and just could not finish off our approach in the final third. And I think that made the difference. We had a number of chances as previously stated, but alas could not bring to fruition.
    Amazing Huws on loan to Ipswich and on his debut man of the match. When he came on for us, I was not that impressed by him.

  6. Jeff Blight says:

    Another enjoyable read Paul. There is no competition in midfield and with the injuries to both Pilks and Lambert we are lightweight up top as well. I don’t get playing two wingers when Zohore struggles to head the ball.

    At home a better option may be Healey alongside Zohore and Hoilett. Use Kadeem off the bench.

    Unfortunately Whitts and Noone’s days are coming to an end and along with Lambert their legs are going. They will be bit part players at best next season.

    Interesting to see that Huws played well and that Lawrence is on fire for Ipswich.
    Both had their problems with us, obviously playing to their strengths helps.

  7. Stephen Fairhurst says:

    As our wingers had seemed to lose their way I was hoping for Rhys Healey to be brought on as I felt Big Ken needed someone closer to lay off to, knock down to to get rewards. Mused over should we go to three at the back as losing 2-0 gives as many points as losing 1-0 but more strike force could give us the draw. Rhys sent a huge pass out to the wing and allowed Noone to have the chance to come inside and possibly score. I think we need this attacking mentality to make other teams have to defend. If the defence is deemed to be better kept as four then my thought would be to swop Ralls rather than Whittingham and I was also wishing it had been Whittingham taking the centrally placed free-kick as the attempt was well over where Whittingham I think could have got the ball a lot closer to being on target. Again with regard to being attack minded I think Whittingham plays the more incisive passes. A comment on Kadeem’s late attempt as I watched the replay on the concourse screen just after the game. I felt he was trying to place it in the top right hand corner away from the Norwich players and I think his game will only improve with being played regularly and Warnock’ is giving us youngsters that will be assets to Cardiff City long term.

  8. MIKE HOPE says:

    Paul’s headline to his match report supplemented by his up to date school report sums up our current position perfectly.
    I thought Norwich had about a 15 minute spell immediately before half time when they showed attacking quality that we do not have but otherwise there was little to choose between the teams and we deserved a point.
    I love Barry’s optimism about 4 points from our next two games.Personally I would settle for just one, if only to avoid the stigma of 5 defeats from our last 6 games.
    It will be interesting to see Neil’s tactics for our next game.
    Will he persist with our current 4-5-1 and 4-3-3 where the emphasis is on aiming for a clean sheet, or will he gamble with 2 up front?
    I think we would need a lot of good fortune to avoid conceding against Leeds and/or Derby so we have to be ready to play 2 up front even if not from the kick off.
    If we were to play 4-4-2 with our wingers the central midfield would have to be Gunnarsson and A N Other– definitely not Whitts and I doubt that Ralls would cope.Bamba would be my choice with a reshuffled back four.
    Regarding the Radio Wales phone-in where a caller tangled with Nathan Blake my sympathy is with the caller.
    There had been a general discussion about players celebrating when they scored against their former clubs when Nathan made the ludicrous suggestion that Jerome’s Ayatollah after scoring could have been intended as a mark of respect!
    Nathan admitted that he had not seen any of the game (apparently because he had been in the BBC studio) and the caller made the valid point that if he had attended he would have known that respect was not Jerome’s intention.
    The caller also alluded to a previous occasion (apparently involving Shola Ameobi) when Nathan gave his expert opinion when again he had not seen the game.
    This caused Nathan to throw his toys out of the pram and give a performance that would have produced the Lady Hamlet comment that Anthony O’ Brien mentioned recently.
    I think it is unacceptable and unprofessional for the BBC to hire and presumably, pay, someone to discuss a game without insisting that they actually watch the game!

  9. The other Bob Wilson says:

    As always, thanks all for your contributions. I’m running very late this morning, so this is going to have to be brief and I’ll only be able to address a couple of the various points made.
    I’m glad Stephen mentioned that pass by Rhys Healey out to Noone, because it highlights something which has surprised me somewhat about him since he’s got some time in the first team here. Based on the player I’ve watched in age group football over the past four years or so, Rhys seems to have improved his awareness and general play outside the box during his spell at Newport, because he was, essentially, a fix in the box type player before then. This was the reason why I thought of him as someone who would do his best work as an impact sub in the first team, but, based on a few things I’ve seen in the last three weeks or so, I’d like to see him given a few chances as part of an attacking two before the end of the season.
    Regarding Mike’s mention of the phone call which upset Nathan Blake so much on Saturday, it certainly wan’t Blakey’s finest hour and he ended up sounding a bit silly, but I still don’t get why there are some Cardiff fans who treat Cameron Jerome like they do – why is he booed from the start of every game he plays against us, when it doesn’t happen to so many players, who did nowhere near as well for us as he did, when they come back? Not only that, given his record against us since he scored for Palace at Selhurst Park in the Premier League, I don’t think it’s a good idea to give him stick, because he always scores us when that happens!

  10. Colin Phillips says:

    Thanks, Paul, a much too accurate report for my liking and some excellent and insightful posts from fellow followers.

    Not much more to add, I think Norwich were the better side, probably only Cameron Jerome making that difference, he seemed to have the referee in his pocket, but we showed a lot of fight (something that we haven’t under some managers) and perhaps deserved a point.

    As has been said above we are lacking in quality in quite a few positions but I hope we have enough to stay in this division and perhaps Neil can find a couple of bargains in someone’s basement. Pity we haven’t the funds that Villa appear to have, not that the new players appear to have settled in yet.

    Any thoughts on the fracas at Huddersfield yesterday? Surely there will be repercussions?

  11. BJA says:

    You may recall that for the four matches commencing with the Preston game, I had hoped for four points from this match and those against Norwich, Leeds and Derby. I anticipated that we would win one of our two home games, draw the other and lose the two away matches. I was clearly over optimistic.
    Your summation of our current set up is spot on, and our major weakness is the deficiencies of an attacking midfield. Never was that more evident than on Saturday where for once we had more possession than our opponents, but not the wit to create genuine scoring chances save for young Harris blazing over in the dying embers of the match.
    Now I do not know what goes on when we have training sessions, but there seems to be a distinct lack of quick constructive attacks emanating from defence through midfield. On Saturday, yet again, far too many hoofs forward seemingly aimed at no-one in particular and easy to defend against, The team is crying out for someone to support Ralls as an attacking midfielder, who, in my opinion, on his day is a perfectly acceptable performer, but he was having to chase far too many lost causes at the week-end with those behind him lacking in a basic technical ability to construct an attack.
    And sadly, he had little help from Whittingham who also suffered at the hands (I mean feet) of the defence. Hoilett and Harris have both had better games and it does cause me to wonder why Messrs Huws and O’Keefe were allowed to leave – money I suppose!
    The Norwich goal was disappointing. Jerome took it well, but I think it was Gunnars who was marking moved too slowly towards the ball to prevent the header.
    Quite why neither the two central defenders were given the task to attend to our former player is something NW must ask. A costly error.
    There is much work to be done at the Vale this week during training if we are to have any reward from our impending two visits north. Creating meaningful attacks and thoughtful clearances being priorities.

  12. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I thought the same as you about the Preston and Norwich matches BJA, I reckoned we’d beat Norwich rather than Preston though. As for the upcoming away games, I went for a loss at Leeds and a draw at Derby, but I’m less confident now than I was about that.
    Colin, I was in Bristol having a sixty first birthday meet up with my brother, his wife and their eldest daughter so didn’t watch the Huddersfield v Leeds game, but I did get to see the incident yesterday. I’m sure managers get quite territorial about their technical areas, so, in a way, Wagner was inviting trouble with what he did. Monk’s response didn’t surprise me, but that doesn’t excuse it, I reckon they both deserve two or three games in the stands to try to get them to behave – unfortunately, I cannot see Leeds being put off their game by what going on with their manager!

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