Writer: OyVeh Maria
Date:Saturday December 7 2013
You would be forgiven for thinking that Wednesday nights Premier League Match was actually a Cup Tie the way it was played. Really good match to watch but who wasn`t holding their breath for the last 26 minutes as the game could have swung either way? Still no goals from the striker but loads of chances!
The bottom line is we are making clear cut chances in front of goal but we are not taking them. Spurs conversion rate after the Newcastle United defeat stood at 4.4%, the worst in the Premier League. Spurs average a goal every 111 minutes. We share the same statistics as the bottom 3 clubs! Up until that Wet Spam and City result we had looked like AVB had concentrated on the back to make Spurs difficult to beat. That plan has been derailed because we can`t settle on a back four when Verts keeps having to cover the Left Back position. We need consistency. Our last 5 League results are all over the place. Sunderland at home are now a different proposition to the team at the beginning of their season with wins over Southampton and Manchester City and the goal fest on Wednesday. When Wes Brown and John O`Shea are paired together Sunderland normally keep clean sheets. Danny Rose was named Sunderland`s Young Player of the Season last season but he will not be back in time to feature in Saturday`s game.
So let`s talk combinations. I don`t think we have really settled on a side for home games or a side for away games because we have not agreed the main spine of the team. Many on here thought we should have kept the same side as drew with Manure and, true to form, we had three changes with Defoe, Capoue and Lamela playing at Fulham. I am beginning to like the Lennon and Walker combo on the right. I do like Holtby in the pocket with Paulinho and Sandro alternating the deeper positions with Paulinho going box to box. Curiously enough you would think that Sandro would have the highest tackle count but up until the City game it was Dembele.
It looks like Vert will be out which means Kaboul and Dawson could pair up and it would be interesting to see if AVB would put Chiriches in the left back position rather than Naughton? Lamela looks like he wants to play but he does keep coming in field so is he too much of a risk with a makeshift Left Back in place against Sunderland? We may be attacking Phil Bardsley at Left Back who is not the fastest so Lamela could cause him problems whilst Adam Johnson could also cause us problems with whoever we play on the left, especially Naughton.
Sunderland proved that they have plenty of belief after they fought back against a Chelsea side, whose defence it has to be said was pretty chronic. However, the Black Cats do face a Spurs teams whose away form is keeping us in the hunt.
Momentum! You remember that word? We created it at the end of last season and we nearly crossed the line, except Newcastle decided to lose at home to the Scum on the last day of the season! We have a run of games, and lot`s of them, in December, but so does everyone else, and it would be nice to say that our games are in the "we should win" category. That is why it is important for AVB to dig deep for players from the squad for the game on Thursday against Anzhi Makhachkala as its Liverpool, or should that be: Suarez FC, on Sunday. The following Wednesday its the League Cup Quarters against Wet Spam and then a tricky Southampton away!
So while all the clubs above us are about to slug it out with each other we have some lower half of the division teams to meet. Apart from Liverpool at home and Southampton away we go on a run that includes; Sunderland, Stoke and West Brom until we come to Manure on New Year`s Day at Old Trafford. We have to be honest and say that we have not quite found a balance to the side but the belief we showed against Manure and the way we came back at Fulham after they scored showed that we are developing character. The reaction of the players to AVB after the Fulham game was good to see too.
The Stadium of Light pitch is a good size and it`s a good surface, if we do play Lamela, Sandro will have to defend the left side of the pitch which means Holtby could play to provide some defensive duties like he did at Everton on Leighton Baines. Up until the midweek match Sunderland had created an average of 9 chances a game where as we are top of the possession and chances stats, which is why we are all probably so frustrated about the lack of goals upfront.
At the moment we are all settling for a result over performance just to get points and get a run going. But when you look at the Spurs side, and who we have brought in, we still play like an invitation 11. Perhaps the squad is too big! Perhaps we have too many options! Maybe we should build the team around a standard spine through the middle? But how do you get the mix right? Against Citeh our players were letting themselves get out of position which allowed Citeh to exploit the spaces left behind. At Fulham we played on a small pitch and that let Fulham close us down. Dembele has said that WHL is too small a pitch! Do we have players who like playing their football in a field rather than in a shoe box? Whatever the answer is we do not seem to be able to find that balance or combination and the more changes we make to the side for each game the more we will continue to search for that continuity.
We need to get a run going Tromso - Manure - Fulham - Sunderland? Two wins on the bounce would be more than good because we need confidence going into our next home game against Liverpool.
So who does AVB play on Saturday this time?
Written by OyVeh Maria
Date:Saturday December 7 2013
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WBA v Spurs: The Report! (Sunday April 13 2014)
Supporting Bayern Again... (Sunday April 13 2014)
West Bromwich Albion Vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Friday April 11 2014)
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VIDEO: Uncertainty Always There - Sherwood (Wednesday April 9 2014)
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