Finally, some entertainment and a home win at Cardiff City Stadium.

Coymay

Dave Jones left Cardiff City more than half a decade ago, but, in recent years, it’s become increasingly common for Cardiff City fans to look back wistfully to when he was in charge.

You know, those times when Steve McPhail was threading balls through for Michael Chopra to race clear of the defence and score from, Jay Bothroyd was beguiling us with his unique, for a Cardiff City target man anyway, blend of power, pace, sublime skill and intelligence, Chris Burke was turning left backs inside out as a right footed winger caused havoc on the RIGHT flank, Ross McCormack was showing flashes of why he would come to be described as the Championship’s best player in later years and, of course, we had someone who did what he wanted out on the left!

Now, like so many other things in life, there is a tendency to look back and only remember the good times. The truth is though that, apart from the bloke who was doing what he wanted, all of those in that forward line of all of the talents had moved on by the time we finally ended our fifty year plus wait for a return to the top flight – a fourth place finish and a defeat in a Promotion Play Off Final was the best a Dave Jones team ever managed.

I suppose having so many players in a team to which the adjective “mercurial” could be applied always carried a risk and, certainly with some of those named, you never really knew what you were going to get in terms of attitude from one match to the next, so the City teams either side of the onset of this decade sometimes had a frailty to them which gave far less talented outfits a belief that they could still get the win on any given day.

However, when those Dave Jones teams got it right, they were tremendous to watch and you could come away from something like a quarter of the games they played having not only seen your team win, but also having been right royally entertained.

Dave Jones was dismissed by City after a 3-0 aggregate defeat by Reading in a Play Off Semi Final in 2011, with all of the goals coming in the home leg after we’d gained a good draw at the Madejski Stadium in the First Leg.

That comprehensive defeat came on the heels of another loss by the same score against Middlesbrough in the final home game of the regular season  just as City fans were allowing themselves to think this could be the year we made it up after so many narrow misses.

When it all ended to ignominiously, there were many supporters, myself included, who thought Jones had taken us as far as he could and, as I recall, there were few among the club’s support at the time who thought that the decision to change the manager was a wrong one.

I wonder how all of those people would have felt though if they had been able to see what was to become the norm over the next five years on the entertainment front in home matches in particular?

Now, I always maintain that, especially in the early parts of his first two seasons with us, Malky Mackay’s City sides were able to get that balance between results and entertainment right and I’d also say that, although it all went so wrong, there was almost a sense of wonder to our Premier League season which meant that the frequent defeats. along with a lack of any real entertainment was somehow bearable.

It also should be said that I’ve been to very few City matches as exhilarating as the 3-2 win over eventual Champions Manchester City in our first ever Premier League home game, but how many matches at Cardiff City Stadium since then have passed the test whereby you could say that a winning City team had also entertained you?

Actually, scrub the bit about winning, how many home matches have you been to since that glorious afternoon in August 2013 where you left the ground feeling that you had been entertained by what you’d just watched?

For myself, I’d say beating the jacks that season was great, as was going toe to toe with Manchester United in a game where we ended up with a deserved point thanks to a very late equaliser and I suppose you cannot help but be entertained to an extent when a match finishes Cardiff 3 Liverpool 6.

Since we were relegated however, your typical City home game has become something to be endured rather than enjoyed. I still say that the only home fixture I really enjoyed during the dreadful 2014/15 campaign was the 1-1 draw with title winners Bournemouth, while last season, Russell Slade’s team  were able to provide regular wins, but little in the way of entertainment – there was that strange 4-1 win over Brighton (Lord knows where that came from!), but, for me, the best and most attractive games of football at the ground were those two matches at this time of year when we twice let 2-0 leads slip in draws with Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday.

If anything, this season had been even worse than our first year back at this level – beating the wurzels in Neil Warnock’s first game in charge was a memorable occasion rather than match, the Shane Duffy game had an oddity value and I suppose Sheffield Wednesday was an okay match, but, for the most part, it has been turgid in the extreme with the added frustration that we were getting beat all of the time!

So, while it was far from perfect for reasons I’ll go into later, what a pleasant surprise yesterday’s 3-2 win over Huddersfield Town turned out to be as it passed the test on both the result and entertainment criteria.

It was a surprise to hear Sean Morrison confirm that it was a week short of a year since his last goal for City. As so often has been the case so often in the past, he relied on a quality dead ball delivery from Peter Whittingham for this one - a Huddersfield defence which struggled to cope with high balls into their penalty area throughout also helped mind.*

It was a surprise to hear Sean Morrison confirm that it was a week short of a year since his last goal for City. As so often has been the case so often in the past, he relied on a quality dead ball delivery from Peter Whittingham for this one – a Huddersfield defence which struggled to cope with high balls into their penalty area throughout also helped mind.*

Truthfully, I was fairly optimistic about the outcome of this game beforehand because it seemed to me that there were similarities between a Huddersfield team which had topped the table for much of the first three months of the campaign playing a bright passing and effective high pressing game and the Dave Jones team which were at one time five points clear at the top during the early months of the 2006/07 campaign.

As we now know, that City team hit something of a wall going into November and, although they were able to maintain a challenge for a Play Off place until quite late into the season, were never able to recapture the intensity and style which had them top of the table on merit at one time  - Huddersfield’s recent results had me thinking that they might be going through something similar and now seemed to be a good time to be facing them.

That said, although I fancied we might win, I thought we’d be looking at a ground out 2-1 or 1-0 – I certainly didn’t expect us to leave the field to a standing ovation at half time 3-1 up, having had the chances to have doubled our goal tally!

At this stage, I want to talk for a while about Neil Warnock. With him having been in management for so long, I daresay we all would say we knew him pretty well already when he was appointed – I was going to say he was something of a “Marmite” figure, but that’s not right, because the whole point of that term is that many people love Marmite!

As I’ve said before on here, I was most definitely not a Warnock fan, but after six weeks or so with him in charge of my club, I now realise that feelings can change when the person concerned is in charge of your team as opposed to sat in the opposing dug out – many of the reasons why I disliked Neil Warnock in the past are the very ones why I’m appreciating him so much now!

We may have thought we knew our manager already, but, if you are a Cardiff City World subscriber and can regularly watch his press conferences and, in particular, the question and answer session he had with a couple of hundred supporters on Thursday evening (the videos of it on the club website last the best part of an hour, but are well worth watching if you can find the time), you get to see what really makes him tick.

Warnock’s a shrewd cookie who has mastered the art of saying what the supporters of any new club he goes to want to hear, but, get him talking about the game for some time (like he did on Thursday) and you can see that the shrewdness extends into football as well – to write him off as just a motivator (as I have tended to do in the past) is to ignore his tactical acumen and ability to judge a player.

Our manager was very persuasive when talking about the modern preference for “passing football” as opposed to the long ball approach he has always been accused of favouring, Our manager recalled how he had watched England take a free kick on the half way line. pass the ball backwards and across among the back four for a while, then get into trouble and end up almost conceding themselves – to Warnock, free kicks on the halfway line are an opportunity to get the ball into the opposition penalty area and put them under pressure.

Listening to our manager, it was hard to argue with him and it was harder still when Lee Peltier planted a free kick, taken from in front of the opposition dug out, on to the head of Sean Morrison. from where it dropped to Rickie Lambert who swept in his first home goal from ten yards out to restore our two goal lead at 3-1.

It was fascinating and encouraging hearing Warnock talk about the game. I say encouraging because he spoke of getting some Academy players training with the first team and spoke of one youngster at the club who has really impressed him – as he mentioned striker Mark Harris by name in his pre match press conference on Friday, I’m presuming it’s him.

Going back to his tactical approach, Mr Warnock was adamant that although he firmly believes in getting the ball forward quickly, he is happy for his team’s to play their football high up the pitch and, for the first time since he came here I’d say, there was  evidence of this because I thought we played some good stuff in the first half as we proved that it was not just from set pieces that we were a threat.

Much of this unexpected fluency stemmed from a tweak Warnock said he made after seeing Huddersfield’s team sheet. Giving the outstanding Junior Hoilett licence to roam infield and play further forward certainly worked and, again, it was really interesting after the game to hear the manager say it was a change designed to get Peter Whittingham into the game more.

I’ve talked before on here about the dilemma every City manager since Dave Jones has faced about getting that man who does what he wants into the side and, judging by his comments in the past week, it’s one that is occupying Mr Warnock  as much as the four men who did the job before him.

What still seems to be the case though is that they all feel we are a better side, certainly in terms of goalscoring, with Whitts in there and, with a corner placed on to Morrison’s head for our first goal and a fine, volleyed pass out to Hoilett as part of the build up to a rare goal from open play for us for our second a couple of minutes later, our longest serving player again showed that we lose so much in terms of a goal threat when he isn’t on the pitch.

Although Junior Hoilett's first  Cardiff City goal was little more than a tap in, it was, in many ways, the most satisfying of the three we scored.  I say this because, first, it came at the end of a fluent move from open play and, second, because, unlike for the vast bulk of the season, we had a forward following in on a ball which squirmed loose within a few yards of our opponent's goal.*

Although Junior Hoilett’s first Cardiff City goal was little more than a tap in, it was, in many ways, the most satisfying of the three we scored. I say this because, first, it came at the end of a fluent move from open play and, second, because, unlike for the vast bulk of the season, we had a forward following in on a ball which squirmed loose within a few yards of our opponent’s goal.*

However, I said that yesterday’s win wasn’t perfect and I’d guess Neil Warnock will have noted how, as Whittingham, like one or two others, began to look more of a passenger, his team were clinging on at the end despite having, largely, been in control for a good two thirds of the match .

Before developing this theme, I’d just like to quickly mention that the BBC stats for the game showed that Huddersfield enjoyed seventy one per cent possession. My assumption had been that the possession figures given after each match were a measurement of the amount of time a team had the ball during the game expressed as a percentage. However, as this piece shows, Opta, the recognised brand leaders when it comes to football stats, do not do it that way any more and their figures are a reflection of the number of passes a team makes rather than time spent in possession.

Therefore, I now find myself in agreement with Neil Warnock, who has expressed his scorn for possession  stats in the past, because it seems to me that having a figure over, say seventy five per cent possession, is counter productive in many ways, because it is indicative of a team which passes, passes, passes and gets nowhere – Neil Warnock’s, and Russell Slade’s before him, Cardiff teams tend to have possession figures around the thirty five/forty five per cent mark which reflect the more “old school” get it forward quickly approach they favour.

Nevertheless, the truth is that, yet again, us poor souls who sit at the Canton End of the ground saw barely any attacking play from our team when they were playing towards us. After a bright start to the second half when we really looked as if we were hunting a fourth goal to make the game safe, things soon reverted to the norm whereby people at our end of the ground spend the entire ninety minutes peering one hundred yards into the distance to see nearly all of the meaningful goalmouth action.

This usually happens because City have run out of attacking ideas by the time the second half starts, but, this time, with a two goal lead to protect, the virtual non existence of any attacking threat was more explainable. Even so, City are going to have to do a better job of retaining possession in the closing stages when holding on to a lead than they did yesterday if we are really going to start climbing the table – poor old Frederic Gounongbe. on as a sub for Lambert, was handed a very tough task as the striker in what sometimes resembled a 9-0-1 formation, but turned in what I thought was, by some way, his best performance for the club so far.

Huddersfield showed themselves to be quite a slick passing side going forward and scored two great goals (I’ve long since given up seeing us score a goal like their first one, while their second was a club goal of the season candidate I would have thought). However, they were pretty ropey at the back in open play and terrible at defending set pieces (Mark Hudson should, surely, have been on the pitch throughout rather than sat on the bench) and, although it was understandable given that time was running out for them by then, I thought their decision to go more direct played to our strengths.

So, although it was exciting and ultimately enjoyable to see the way we repelled Huddersfield’s late pressure, I think it was more a case of an entertaining first hour or so, rather than for the whole game. However, we’ve now taken at least three points from  a trio of very daunting looking fixtures this month and at least we can head into games against Villa and Brighton (who both looked decidedly useful in their 1-1 draw on Friday) knowing that there are a now a few signs of us being able to pose a counter attacking threat, which has been absent for nearly all of the season so far, to go with the problems we can cause from free kicks, corners and throw ins.

*pictures courtesy of http://www.walesonline.co.uk/

 

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11 Responses to Finally, some entertainment and a home win at Cardiff City Stadium.

  1. Barry Cole says:

    Paul I totally agree that yesterday’s match was back to the good old days of entertaining football. The most entertaining game since the early premier days I would say.
    I will go as far as saying this was what I wanted from my season ticket and it will get better because unlike you I have always admired Warnock and knew what we were getting. More importantly, Warnock likes Cardiff and is happy to say it unlike our previous managers.
    Give me that entertainment most weeks and I will be happy, not delighted but happy. I say that as we were still clinging on to a game we should have finished in the first half. The good news we will get better and I am sure that strategically Warnock already knows what he needs in January and who he needs unlike the now defunct slade and co.
    Those players will be the same players we needed three years ago, maybe with the addition of a goalkeeper.
    Don’t get me wrong I thought Huddersfield were very good going forward but their defence was a complete shambles. Had they not scored that spectacular goal I believe we would have got a fourth.
    What I have stayed with is the improvement in the team since Warnock took charge and I am still confident that from January we will move quickly up the league and finish in the top six.
    I have a proviso in this comment and that is we have to get results against Aston Villa and Brighton . The good news is I believe we will, I am sure a number of people on here will remind me of this as the season goes on.
    The real purpose of this positive tone is that I see a different approach both in the way the team are playing and the fight in their belly and that’s all you can ask. They deserved the half time standing ovation and look forward to a standing ovation at game end instead of the eating heart I experienced yesterday.
    As I watch from a different part of the ground I really do have some sympathy with the canton end, but there is an option next year to get a better view and move to the all action area of the ground lol.
    One last positive note was the cameo of Fred G ( not honey) , what a difference a good manager makes, liked what I saw and he is starting to change my mind.

  2. BJA says:

    Paul, As always a most thoughtful article on yesterday’s game and how it might compare with events of the last ten years or so. The very mention of Messrs Chopra, Bothroyd and McCormack had me yearning for a current attack with a bunch of individuals capable of scoring 20 plus goals a season, but I think even that trio would find it difficult to match their previous totals with our current set up which is totally over reliant on a set piece delivery. We somehow have failed to remember that pace and a through ball that has defenders turning are just as capable, or perhaps more so, of producing successful attempts on target. It may well be that our current personnel up front or in midfield do not possess the priceless asset of pace that will create the situation that I yearn to witness from the men in blue. I can only hope that Mr. Warnock recognises this deficiency and has plans for appropriate recruits in January, funds permitting.
    However, there were times against Huddersfield when I thought we were capable of scoring more than the odd goal from a set piece. Hoilletts’ goal relied on his sharp reaction to a goalkeeping error, and Lambert’s quick sweep of Morrison’s knock down was encouraging. Incidentally, I thought Lambert looked leaner and consequently fitter and worked hard, but at the wish of being boring, also wish there were others being alert enough to give him the support that he deserves and needs.
    We are still suspect defensively. When 3 – 1 up, to lose the ball on our left hand side was careless, and although the resultant cross was cleared, it went straight to their midfielder who volleyed spectacularly into our net.
    Our Icelandic warrior continues to put in a monumental shift, and has clearly been revitalised with Mr. Warnock’s arrival. But I do wish he wouldn’t chance his arm when harrowing opponents by his tendency to ‘lean’ on them. Sooner or later, if he continues this practice, particularly in the penalty area, some referee will punish him.
    And Huddersfield’s big German defender managed to irritate Bamba who for a while afterwards was playing in a somewhat agitated state. Thankfully, no harm done in the end.
    I too sit in the Canton end, and was bewildered by the referee’s failure to stop the game with a Huddersfield player lying in our penalty area clutching his head. The referee even looked at him, but allowed play to continue at our opponents still had the ball in what was perceived to be an attacking situation. However, as soon as we regained possession and were about to break out, the whistle went and play was stopped. I had the notion that if a player had a head injury, play was to be stopped immediately. Am I correct?
    Looking at yesterday’s results, we have made no progress up the table, but we are closer to a few other teams, and were we to avoid defeat in our next two matches, I think the future looks a little more promising than it did at the end of September.

  3. Russell says:

    Thanks Paul , in terms of seating and goals perhaps a move for you is long due ?.
    I am one who thinks DJ sides were the best of recent years. I do wonder if we had have gone up with those exciting players , how better we would have faired compared to Milky Malky side.

    I felt after the valiant Newcastle effort and the fact Huddersfield had shipped 8 goals away from home before this game we were in with a chance.

    Love I’d hate him NW is a football nutter and credit to him at his age, I finally feel after so many years we gave a real manager who knows the game inside out and how players tick I’d get them to tick. Gunnerson, Whitt’s, Sol Bamba , Bennett, Hoilet , now potentially Fred are testament to that.

    Possession is overrated and misunderstood in my view, passing it around in non dangerous areas or in one’s own half is simply another training environment (please take note Paul Trollope ).

    Possession football just outside the opponents penalty box is a different matter as per Hoiletts build up goal.

    I do wonder how Harris or Healey works fair in that inside position?

    Finally I understand NW stayed on after the official QnA’s the other evening, top bloke in my book, as they can be a challenging events , especially if fans such as Dai Hunt is looking to express himself in his forthrightly manner.

  4. Anthony O'Brien says:

    A win at last, though as usual we remained under pressure and effectively at panic stations by the end of the game. Hoilett showed the value of pace in open play and speed in the follow-up to a loose ball in the area, and it is worth emphasising that his new freer role allowed him to wander to the RIGHT, to run on to what our Blogmeister perceptively calls Whittingham’s “fine volleyed pass”, to juggle the ball before passing to Pilkington who got in a shot, and to follow-up and score. It should also be noticed that one other player had made the same sort of incisive forward run on goal at the same time as Hoilett, and that was Whittingham. (It’s a pity he ran out of steam as the game progressed, but he did show what he is still capable of achieving, as did Lambert),

    The game also highlighted the value of aerial dominance as an attacking element, and in this respect Morrison was outstanding, even if he was not always as dominant in defending the high ball in the second half.

    I was pleased to see, too, that on a few occasions Gunnarsson actually varied his trademark long throw, but sadly he missed his tackle on the two occasions when Huddersfield scored (although our left back was also culpable for being caught unawares by the scorer of that first goal.)

    Despite the praise for their second goal, I thought that the opening Huddersfield goal, in spite of our defensive lapses, was equally the result of a very clever short pass and brilliant movement by the scorer). I live in hope that, eventually, our beloved Cardiff City will also play in the same exciting manner as a matter of course. And above all, we actually gained three very precious points and, we hope, a renewed sense of confidence for the immediate future!

  5. MIKE HOPE says:

    Perhaps I am too easily pleased but I always feel I have been entertained when we win.
    I thought Saturday was great entertainment not even spoiled by the traffic snarl-up afterwards.Why does the council think it necessary to pedestrianise the whole of the town centre when international rugby comes to town?
    If we are looking back nostalgically at Dave Jones’ entertainers my best memories are of Jason Koumas on days when he treated defenders as slalom positions.Koumas had fantastic ability and Jones,to his credit,was one of the few-perhaps only-manager who seemed to understand what was going on between his ears.
    It was a great loss to us and I think to Koumas that we were unable to convert his first loan into a permanent signing.
    Could Warnock get the best out of such an unusual talent?
    Didn’t he do just that with Taarabt-or was it Taraabt?

  6. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thank you all for your replies.
    Barry, there have been seasons (the one we spent in the Premier League is one which springs to mind) where I sympathise with those in the Family Stand because we barely ever seemed to score down that end, so, perhaps, those of us at the opposite end of the ground have had this coming!
    BJA, yes, I think you are right about treatment for a head injury. I had planned to mention that incident you describe in my piece, but, as usual, I went on about other things too long and had to shelve a few other topics I’d thought of. Whether it was a head injury or not, his handling of the situation was woeful and I also thought he was weak when it came to the sort of grappling at our attacking dead ball situations that has become the norm in the game unless Mike Dean is in charge. However, apart from that, I thought he was something of a “Homer” because there were plenty of times I expected to him to whistle for a Huddersfield free kick, but just played on instead.
    Russell, I’d say possession of the kind Neil Warnock talked of is definitely over rated because that incident where England turned a free kick on the halfway line into a near miss at their end of the pitch would have seen them racking up their possession percentage under the OPTA method of measuring it. However, I still think that, if you are talking about measuring the time a side has the ball, then twenty nine per cent is a figure a manager, and his coaches, should try very hard to improve – we managed to hold on for the win on Saturday, but there’ll be plenty of times when we’ll concede and drop points in the closing stages if we keep giving the ball back to the opposition as quickly as we did during the last fifteen minutes or so.
    It’s strange how the previously so dominant Morrison started to lose headers in the last few minutes isn’t it AMO – as alluded to earlier, I’m with you about the way we nearly always seem to end up hanging on desperately in matches that we were well in control of for long periods. A real bugbear of mine, which I’ve mentioned on here before, is how we have a tendency to head towards the corner flags in the dying minutes to try and wind the clock down when we are a couple of goals clear. I’ve seen plenty of other teams go hunting for more goals as they try to improve their goal difference (something which could really cost us at the end of the season if it remains as bad as it is now), but the mentality at Cardiff always appears to be a defensive one when were leading, no matter what the circumstances behind it and I maintain that such an approach is a counter productive one.
    I also agree with you about Huddersfield’s first goal – having now seen highlights of the game which back up the impression I gained at the ground, I must say Kasey Palmer (who is one of the what seems to be hundreds of Chelsea players out on loan from that club this season) looks to have a fine career ahead of him if he doesn’t go off the rails.
    Mike, I used to be like you, but two years of Russell Slade changed my outlook. I’ll never forget that night when we were 2-0 up, without playing well at all, at half time against Reading thanks to a Shane Duffy like performance from Alex Pearce who scored an own goal and then was sent off for giving away the penalty which put us two up – Slade sent us out to hang on to what we had and we ended luckily scraping home by 2-1. Funnily enough, Slade teams didn’t do 1-0s much, but I used to go home after 2-0 and 2-1 wins trying to remember anything good that had happened. “Worthy, but dull” was the description I applied to us for much of last season when we putting together a home record which was only slightly worse than the one we had when we won the league and yet it was all so bland for a lot of the time – the 4-1 win over Brighton apart perhaps, there wasn’t a single game as enjoyable as Saturday’s among them.
    Neil Warnock said Taarabt was the only player that has ever caused him to change his basic managerial philosophy. It seems to me that our manager is not one to indulge “luxury” players, but it sounds like he made an exception in Taarabt’s case. Would he have done the same for Jason Koumas? I think he may have if we are talking about the Koumas of 05//06 as opposed to the 10/11 version, but I couldn’t say for certain – I wonder how Russell Slade would have treated a Jason Koumas or Adel Taarabt?

  7. Clive Harry says:

    I think if dear old Russ had been managing him, it would have been Tara butt rather than Taarabt.

  8. Colin Phillips says:

    Very good, Clive.

    Bit late to the party I’m afraid but it’s only now my blood pressure has returned to somewhere near normal. Those five minutes of added time nearly did for me.

    When I saw the team sheet on Saturday it wasn’t obvious, to me, how they would line up, 4-4-2, 4-5-1 or any other configuration that started with four at the back and adding up to ten. Still not sure but I think it may have been a fairly fluid 4-4-1-1. The line-up also seemed to surprise Huddersfield, or they have a very poor defence. Two-nil up and coasting until they got a very well-worked goal, a lovely run by Smith the right-back or right wing-back (did they play a 3-5-2?) that Butler missed (not surprisingly). It all went quiet for a while but for once we didn’t cave in and Ricky ’shinned’ one in of a post (we’ll take ‘em any day). So 3-1 up at half-time and I said to those around that I’d settle for a boring 0-0 second-half or the game should finish then.

    Well the way we started the second-half suggested that Wagner, the Huddersfield manager, gave a Russel Slade-like team talk. Their defence was no better and we looked the more likely to score. Then came the “super-goal” out of the blue and all the bad memories of losing a good lead came flooding back, it seems on the pitch as well as in the crowd. Falling back into a deep defence conceding mid-field and putting ourselves under ever increasing pressure. Very, very relieved to hear that final whistle.

    I thought Huddersfield were excellent in mid-field and carved us open with ease on many occasions, I feel sure that if their defence had been anywhere near as good we would have lost.

    I think some credit must go to the management because whoever had scouted the opposition must have noted that they liked to restart from a dead ball with a short pass, to counter this we had three players, one on the right and left flanks and one in the centre to prevent that happening. On one occasion their keeper was shrugging his shoulders and appeared to be at a loss as to what he should do.

    A couple of bye-the-byes. How is it that professional footballers are not coached into using both feet? We have two players, at least, who are not able, or very reluctant to use their right foot, you know who you are Joe and Craig! Why when you are facing your own goal and the ball is bouncing would you just blindly kick it over your shoulder into open play? – put it out you idiot!!! The referee, as someone (Paul?) let a lot go that he could have given against us, makes a refreshing change, but what happened to the initiative at the start of the season to clamp down on the back-chat? Their No. 44 should have been off for receiving about five yellow-cards, their keeper was another serial offender and Nakhi Wells they were really an awfully whingeing bunch of divers.

    Can we build on this? Villa are an improved side under Bruce but they are still beatable and if we can have a repeat performance of last season’s demolition of the Seagulls perhaps we can make some progress up the table.

    As I came on site that Paul has created another masterpiece for us to read, I’ll get on with that now.

  9. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Methinks you’re right Clive. Thanks for the return of that flash drive – were you able to install the website?

  10. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Huddersfield switched to a back three Colin and, apparently, it was that which prompted Neil Warnock to make the late change that saw Junior Hoilett switch to play in a far more attacking role than he had occupied beforehand. It wouldn’t be with much confidence, but I think I would describe our formation as 4-1-3-1-1! Gunnar roamed a bit more out towards the wings than he has been doing, but, essentially, his job was still to sit in front of the defence and Hoilett had what was almost a roving number ten role just behind Lambert – I suppose after a couple of years where you could identify what formation we were playing within a minute or two of the game kicking off, it’s quite good to have a few occasions where you’re still not sure what system we played even a few days later, that’s as long as things don’t reach Ole proportions of course!

  11. Dai Woosnam says:

    My dear Paul and fellow bingo addicts…
    I beg of you all, with every fibre in my body…
    Worry less about formations…
    …and more about…
    …FORM.

    Yes, of course, one does not want a team running around like headless chickens, but the best thing any manager can do is NOT fill a player’s head with tactical overkill – like those lunatics who are still frantically drawing diagrams to show to a substitute as the Fourth Official is checking the guy’s studs (!) – but instead, fill his HEART with courage.

    As the Pride of Upper Cwmtwrch – pumping his chest – used to say to his red shirted egg chasers before they took the field…
    “CALON, boys. CALON !!”

    And in Neil Warnock we have a manager who players will clearly give their ALL for. Whether their “all” is enough, is another matter. But for the last three managers certainly, many of those players would not only fail to attempt to give their ALL, but far more damningly, they oftimes failed to give a TOSS.

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