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Ante's Bubbly

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  1. Amazing ain't it Mr Tom, how different mangers (and now, more and more chairmen) can come and go and add players for specific reasons, apparent only to them at the time, sometimes without building on, or improving the squad a great deal. Having players that can consistently put the ball in the net 20 times or more a season seems to be a thing of the past for us. I love Nuhiu for the spirit he brings to the team, the not inconsiderable amount of skill he shows on the wings, when he goes into a ruck of two or three defenders, comes out with the ball, while they all look at each other and then delivers the kind of ball that he would love to be on the receiving end of. Maybe that is just it, we don't have enough players in the team at the moment, with sufficient quality and workmate, to carry a striker, whose only job is to put the ball in the net. Nuhiu scored 11 goals in half a season when he was being picked to start nearly every game, like Fletcher is right now, so you would expect that throughout a full season he could score 22 or more, given the same playing time, maybe more, considering that we are now creating more chances throughout the game. I have pointed out several times, like other posters on here, that Fletcher at his peak only ever scored 13 a season, so we should not expect too many goals from him, again despite all his hard work off the ball. Fernando still gets cult status despite doing next to nothing for us for two years or more, yet in his first season he was electric and scored more goals for us in a season than he had ever scored before with 15 goals and 6 assists. The next season he scored 12 with 5 assists, but since then, in the next two seasons he has only scored 11 goals and even more disturbingly only had one assist! Sam Winall is the last striker to score 20 goals or more a season and that was 23 goals with 8 assists for Barnsley, when he played 46 games that season. The knack then for any manager would appear to be to play your chosen striker for as many games as it takes to see their confidence grow and then watch the goals flood in. We have not had the strength in our convictions to do that (or a favourable enough return of goals) and have constantly messed around with our strikers so that we have never had a player get into the kind of goal scoring form that you need to have a high scoring goalscorer. As soon as Fletcher started looking like getting goals regularly he came up against defenders who were better prepared to cater for him and the fact that he is played mainly on his own. Short of playing Sam Winall and/or Jordan Rhodes EVERY game for 14 games or more, the way Fletcher has been played recently, we will never know whether Winnall or Rhodes are still capable of scoring circa 20 goals a season. Of the two strikers that we have played with any regularity in league games this season Fletcher has started 14 (of 15) games, scored 5 and assisted 1, Nuhiu has started 3 games scored 1 and assisted 1, which suggests that Nuhiu is worth a try, if only for the number of pro-rata assists and goals we would get by him having 4.5 x more starts and discounting the effect of having a consistent run of 14 games, which has been shown to boost confidence and goal ratios in goalscorers going back donkey's years. This is not rocket science it is common sense, but the increasing impatience of some of our negatively over vocal fans over the last few years seems to have had a very negative effect on our once prolific goalscorers. They need to be given a chance like Fletcher has had recently, whereby they play for 14 games out of 15 even if the net goal effect of having them in the team is only 6 goals (goals + assists). Knowing how things go at Hillsborough for players like Winall, Rhodes and Nuhiu, irrespective of how many goals they score, there will still be a disproportionate number of fans who would rather boo them to failure rather than cheer them to success and unfortunately those noisy idiots are the ones that catch the ear of the manager. Thick skinned managers like Brian Clough, who realised that he knew more about how to play football than 100 or so gobby fans and stuck to his guns, are hard to come by these days. I might send GM some earplugs if he decides to ever give JR a run of a dozen games or more in the starting line up.
  2. We would have saved a shed load of money if he'd gone for nowt. This is again down to the chairman. He wasted all his, then manager's, resources on one player that we actually had on loan first and could have let go without wasting all that money. Then he spits his dummy out and refuses to let Norwich have him at a far more realistic price than we paid.
  3. And there you have it in a nutshell. The excuse for having a go at Reach is that, "in their opinion", he does not look convincing in the tackle! Well sorry to break it to all those who truly believe that this is a good reason to have a go at Reach, but next time you want to have a go at players for not making good tackles have a go at Luongo, Borner, Fletcher, Winall, Tom Lees, Forestieri, Murphy & Harris, all of whom are less effective at tackling than Reach, who is carrying a knee injury which requires strapping when he is not playing. What excuse do the others have? You see, Reach is a winger, yet he eclipses the other wingers in his tackling ability and this is in tackles won, not tackles attempted. So as a winger he is our top tackler, but combine that with the work he does in midfield and he successfully tackles the same number of players as Kieren Lee per match and in front of defenders Tom Lees and Julian Borner. In two of the toughest battles we have had before last night, against Hull Reach's tackling was only topped by our two fullbacks who each made one tackle more and in the tough home game against Wigan, Reach was the top tackler alongside Pelupessy, who had his best game of the season for us. When you combine all this with the fact that he has the most assists, (alongside Bannan now), his goal, his midfield, wing and defensive duties, his constant running, his link up play etc, I hate to think how we would do without him. Despite all this I still reckon the Odubajo swap could give him the bit of a rest he obviously needs, because as good as he is, he can still play a lot better when fully and fit and hopefully on the left side too. Now OK he does not go in for many ridiculous challenges that he cannot win, or from behind like Hutchinson and Pelupessy, for example, but maybe that is more down to having some good football intelligence, rather than any footballing deficiency. I am pretty sure that he got his player of season awards when he was playing predominantly as a fullback/wingback so with tackling being one of the pre-requisites for such a job, luckily enough people who do not hold an illogical grudge against him, actually voted for him and he won the award on merit.
  4. Reach had our best shot of the first half and made several penetrating runs into the box, defended, hussled players on the ball, made and won a couple of good tackles and headers yet yes a couple of people who sit near us were yet again moaning about him. It doesn't matter how many tackles he wins, how many headers or how many goals he scores, these idiots just don't like him, for some bizarre reason. Maybe their girlfriends/wives/boyfriends/husbands fancy him and they are just jealous, who knows, but their dislike for certain players is as illogical and incorrect football wise, so it has to be something else. Adam Reach had his own goal of the season competition for us last season, he wins more tackles than several of our defenders sets goals up and runs players down right through the game, playing on the opposite wing and in midfield, yet still some idiots still moan about him. These are the same kinds of people who moan about Fox, who yet again got the highest marks for achievement last night (whoscored.com), joint highest actually, alongside Luongo who got his total by scoring from one of three excellent balls forward that Fox played, which Fletcher then headed on to Massimo. Reach had a bad knee injury last season which he played with for too long in my opinion and he has been wearing protective strapping on his knee this season too, while still playing out of position and still playing above average in the majority of games. The big problem that we do have is that Reach will not get better by playing every match of the season with a knee injury, but unfortunately Monk does not yet think that there is anybody better to play in that right wing position. For Reach's own good as well as our long term good, I would try playing Odubajo on the right wing, because he has always been successful when playing there and I believe that the three bad knee injuries he has picked up have left some mental scars which may explain his unwillingness to tackle with his feet and preference for rugby tackles, pulling and pushing (which Iorfa, also has a worrying habit of doing). Reach can always come on for Harris or Odubajo if need be and if he replaces Harris, he actually gets played in the role that we originally bought him for! Actually our stupid panic mode button seems to get hit with 10 to 15 minutes to go too often recently and everybody starts to give away stupid free kicks, which piles on the pressure and gets everybody worried (including me and a good section of the crowd). I can't believe we nearly did a Cardiff again last night by bunching together and giving the ball away every two minutes against Stoke who only had 10 men! Can't they spread out and find space so that passes are easier and play keep ball the way we do for the rest of the game?
  5. We've talked a lot about this over the past few years, but this season in particular we have suffered more grief from officials than ever. We get too many bad decisions (none fouls, bookings, sending offs) against us and not enough good decisions (actual fouls, bookings sendings off) for us. The bloke who sits near us has gone on about the quality of the referees that we get and their seemingly one sided approach as a group and he has something to do with assesment of referees. He was very agitated recently about us having two referees from Lancashire refereeing games we played against Lancashire clubs. I will ask him where fans should complain to officially because I am fed up with it. We never get so many game changing decisions for us, but they pile up against us in every game. Unfortunately Iorfa, who everybody is going over the top about for some reason, is very poor at tackling with his feet and does give a lot of needless free kicks away by handling players, often using both hands or arms. OK Palmer was doing this type of lazy tackling last night and even Fox, did a couple, but Iorfa and Odubajo are the main culprits for us, which combined with our smaller players trying to compete could account for a rew extra fouls, but there are still plenty of free kicks and yellow cards given against us that are not given equally against the opposition. The free kick for their "goal" last night was a prime example, another was the referee standing in line of site of the offside Flint obstructing our goalies view, not in open play where it could be missed, but before the ball was kicked with our players bringing it to the refs attention and the linesman perfectly positioned to see that Flint is offside. Clear cheating from Cardiff, against the rules of the game and well rehearsed, but allowed against us because nasty Colin, who has been in charge of so many disgraceful cheating teams and nasty moments in football, somehow or other is favoured by the footballing hierarchy! Disgraceful.
  6. Kin cheated out of it again! Do we ever get that from a ref once in a season?
  7. Both can play on either wing, they look very similar, have the same general physicality, although Jacob is 6cm taller and 7kg heavier than his bro. Football wise Josh has started 4 more games than Jacob, resulting in playing nearly a third more minutes than his twin bro, due to Jacob having a couple more subs appearances. Josh has three assists to his name as well as a goal, whereas Jacob is yet to provide an assist. The football stats site whoscored.com has Josh just ahead of his bro ratings wise on 6.86 out of 10, with Jacob on 6.66, but Josh has appeared 39 times for Cardiff as opposed to Jacob's 9 for us, so familiarity with his team members will be higher. Over their careers, Jacob has scored 30 goals to Josh's 21. Both have played for England youth teams, although 10 out of 11 appearances for Jacob have been made U19 and older, with most (6) appearances at U21 level, while Josh has made 15 appearances for England, but his last 3 appearances were for the U20s and the bulk of his games were at U19 level. So up to now both players have shown promise, without exactly ripping the leagues apart, but both are very capable players with similar styles of play. As I said earlier, in the second half I would mix it up a bit and even play Jacob on the same side as his bro, if possible, just to give us a slight edge late on and possibly bring the best out in Jacob and finish off Josh's legs, the way we have seen Jacob tire, when playing from the start.
  8. If Josh Murphy starts for them, if I were Monk I would keep Jacob Murphy on the bench and get him all wound up ready to go on for half an hour or so in the second half, so that he can come on fresh and hopefully outperform his bro and steal the show. I would start with Harris on the left with Reach on the right and keep swapping them over until Jacob Murphy comes on, preferably on the right, so that Reach can play on the left and get his sweet left foot putting those killer shots and crosses in. I would do it this way around (not starting Murphy), because you then get more out of Murphy, in my opinion and by the time he comes on Harris will have run himself into a crawl, hopefully having either, or scored assisted a few by then! I also think that we are more likely to take the lead this way and win a few more late free kicks to click the clock down, because it is vital that we do not concede first. We need to keep in front of Cardiff and keep them on the rack, because they never stop until the final whistle goes.
  9. Never mind. They obviously knew you were likely to blab. I heard this from several football and none football sources at the time, just after and years after.
  10. He had the team on steroids (allegedly) to get them pumped up, because he thought they were a bit too wimpy! We just missed relegation to the 4th tier that season. After that we just went from strength to strength (literally).
  11. Nah, Carlos tried that. Scrapping the injured list is far better, because then everybody is classed as fit to play, unless, like Hutch and Fessi they are ineligible after being naughty boys.
  12. I was told that the injury list had been scrapped in the interests of positivity! (Funnily enough Ian/Owlstalk the word positivity is coming up as an unknown word/spelling mistake, while the word negativity is absolutely fine! Sort it out please )
  13. I read on one of the local SWFC news websites today that 8 out of the 9 goals against us have come from our right side, which is just a little bit worrying. As I have said several times after bad defensive displays on the right side of our defence, we could play:- Three at the back when Tom Lees is fit with Hutch as the third centre half, on the right hand side. This leaves us with attacking full back options. Play Palmer in his natural right back position, in the back four, with Fox as a natural left back. Play Iorfa at right back with Hutch or Bates at right sided centre half until Tom Lees is fit again. A couple of those options leaves Odubajo available to play a winger role on the right, or an attacking wing-back if we play with 3 at the back. Either way this utilises his dribbling skills where they are best used, further up the pitch away from our goal and near to theirs, while also limiting his poor tackling and giving away of free kicks, to positions further away from our goal. Win win for us and for Moses, whose strong points are not being utilised while his weak points are currently being stretched to the limit.
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