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About frastheowl

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    AFC Owlstalk - Double Premiership Champions
  • Birthday 17/09/1986

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    Wadsley, S6

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  1. I think the only decision Monk has to make, is whether it's Lees or Iorfa at centre half alongside Borner. The rest picks itself after yesterday. I'd personally go with Iorfa, so it'd be: Dawson Palmer Iorfa Borner Fox Murphy Bannan Lee Harris Forestieri Wickham
  2. I think we all assume this will be Forestieri's last year with us. Over his time here, there's been injury injuries, disciplinary issues, off-the field issues and also, at times, his attitude has been called into question. But something I was thinking about the other day... Forestieri has been here for five managers. And all five of those managers has trusted him, and selected him when he's been available. We've seen two managers isolate and exile two other players who has been plagued with similar issues during the same timeframe...but Forestieri has always been selected, when available. So perhaps issues over his attitude have been overplayed by us, the fans. I hold my hands up, I've been one of those, who at times, have criticised him for his desire to play for the club. But, given two manager's have bombed two players with similar (although not identical) issues, maybe I, and others, have got it wrong. If Monk can get Forestieri performing regularly, maybe his future here isn't set in concrete as we all believe. Who knows, but out of all of those higher earners out of contract at the end of the season, as it stands, Forestieri perhaps has the best chance of earning a new deal. That's not me saying, I think he should get a new deal. But I think Monk will give him every opportunity to earn one.
  3. Dawson - 6 - No chance with any of the goals. Looked confident and assured dealing with the continuous long balls/throw-ins into our box. Thought his early kicking was good today as well. Pelupessy - 6 - Surprised to see him play at right back, but I thought he did alright, all things considering. He didn't venture forward very much, but he kept Bellingham (the £50m superstar) very quiet. Can't make my mind up whether he should've done better, in the build up to Birmingham's 2nd goal. Iorfa - 5 - You can usually rely on Iorfa to be dominant aerially, but he really struggled yesterday, especially from set pieces up against Roberts. Lost far too many basic aerial duals, but unless he picked up a knock, I can't understand the rationale for taking him off instead of Lees, who had a torrid time. Lees - 4 - He's really struggling at the minute. Looks bereft of self-belief. Jutkiewicz had the measure of him from the 1st minute right until the last. He's directly at fault for the 2nd goal, and he should be doing more to prevent the striker from nodding the ball down into Hogan's path for the equaliser. Borner - 6 - 1st half, I thought he was the pick of the defenders, and won a great header to initiate the turnover which led to Bannan's opening goal. Really settled down in the 2nd half, and looked assured for the mostpart. That said, I think he should be a lot closer to Lees for the equaliser...if he is, Hogan doesn't get to the ball, and doesn't score. Palmer - 6 - Did alright, without ever doing enough in the 1st half. Grew into the game in the 2nd half, and was involved in some nice interplay down the right hand side. But, for the equaliser, he's switched off, which is criminal in the dying minutes of a game, and allowed Hogan to get a run on him. Both Lees and Borner could have done more to prevent it happening, but Palmer's direct lack of insight into whats going on around him, has allowed the goalscorer to get to the ball before him. Bannan - 8 - Much better. In the 1st half, I thought it epitomised Bannan's strengths and weaknesses. With the ball, he looked in the mood, probing, trying to make things happen, and often with good end results. Took his goal well, but also set Murphy and Harris away on a number of occasions. But, without possession, was too passive, too reserved and allowed Birmingham to get at our defence far too often. 2nd half, he and Lee found a good balance, and dominated the midfield, and as a result, Birmingham really struggled to create anything. Lee - 8 - Man of the Match - It was like watching Lee from the 2015-16 season. Neat, intricate touches, making third man runs, and exploiting the half spaces. Wonderful touch to bring the ball out of the sky over his shoulder in the build up to Murphy's goal, and of course, won the penalty for the equaliser. He's obviously getting back to full fitness...lasting 90 minutes and looking strong throughout. The key to getting the best out of him...is to play football through the thirds, which is what we did yesterday. Two assists and a 2nd assist for Lee yesterday...not a bad day at the office. Murphy - 8 - Another really positive performance, and out of this dreadful run, I think he's been the only consistent shining light. He's getting himself into good goalscoring positions, and is looking like the wide man with a goal threat we've all been craving. Took his goal superbly, but has to score the one-on-one to seal the game. Harris - 7 - Real threat in the 1st half on the counter, and gave Colin a tough time. As often the case, his final ball or decision making can be questioned, but I do feel, that we are a much better side when he plays and gives us that width and ability to stretch teams. Forestieri - 7 - I saw the comments on here and Twitter before the game, about how Monk had lost the plot playing FF up front on his own. But it's all about how you play to that front man. By playing Forestieri up top on his own, it forced us to play through the thirds, and negated the long ball option. And, as a result, I thought we played some of our best attacking football of the season. He was busy, got himself into some good positions, and his general play was decent. Took his penalty well also. Fox - 7 - Came on, and was positive in his mentality. Looked to win balls by been aggressive, and it set the tone for the half. Wickham - 7 - Linked up well with Forestieri, was a handful for the defenders and showed glimpses of quality. Fletcher - 6 - Just good to see him back out there ahead of schedule. Overall... Monk has taken some stick recently. Some justified, some not, and some damn right ignorant. And before the game yesterday, he copped a load more. And again, he could be deemed guilty of playing round pegs in square holes (this time with Pelupessy at right (wing) back). But we didn't concede those two goals in the 1st half through Pelupessy playing in an alien position...the first is an unfortunate own goal that you can't do much about, and the second comes from our captain, and most experienced centre half playing with as much nous and aggression as a ballerina. The system in the 1st half forced us to play in a certain way, that ensured we got the best out of our attacking players. Forestieri drifted about and dragged their centre halves around, and Murphy and Harris stayed high and wide, and continually exploited the space left by their full backs. Bannan had clear instructions to release the ball early into those dangerous areas, and Lee begun to get in and around the play to pick up those 2nd balls. And, full credit to the players, to have the belief to play that way, considering their confidence levels and barren run of results. That said, his changes at half time improved things further. Wickham allowed Forestieri even more freedom, and he began picking the ball up across the pitch, Bannan and Lee got on top of things defensively, because Wickham had pushed Birmingham's back line further back for 5 -10 yards, and we really began to play on the front foot. We scored a great goal to get us in the lead, and had a couple of other good chances to kill the game after that point. Of course, it's disappointing to throw more points away, so late on. But there was encouraging from yesterday's display. As much as I can see Monk's idea to play the 3-4-3 (or to be honest, it was more of a 5-2-3 yesterday), defensively we just don't seem organised or resilient enough at the moment. The switch to 4-4-2 reverted back to basics, and the pairing of a pseudo-target man in Wickham (or Fletcher) alongside the more dynamic Forestieri, should also give centre halves a problem. But the key to all these formations, is the centre of midfield. Yesterday, Bannan and Lee both put in good performances, and it was no surprise our overall performance improved, as well as our attacking outputs. If we can get a midfield pairing (or trio) working as effectively as those two did yesterday (for the mostpart), then our results will pick up. Because we've got enough quality in other areas. And of course, if our defence can show the type of resolute resilience their showed earlier in the season, that would be much appreciated also!
  4. It's nothing new. He's fine when things are going well, and he's got a centre half alongside him in form. But upset that formula, and he becomes the shadow of the player he can be. He needs a fresh start as much as anyone. I think a change of club would be beneficial to both parties.
  5. Match fitness for what? Even if we paid up their contracts and released them, they couldn't play for anybody until next season anyway. So, like I said, there is literally, no point, playing them in the Under 23's... unless Monk changes his stance, and starts to consider them for the first team.
  6. If Monk has deemed them surplus to requirements, for whatever reason (it's irrelevant whether you agree or not as to why), why would you deny our very own youngsters the opportunity to play in their own age level, in preference for two overaged players with no future at the club? It makes no sense whatsoever to play them for the Under 23's.
  7. Exactly. People were calling Monk clueless for playing Fletcher in an FA Cup tie after he got injured. It's got to the point now, where some fans will just not accept any decision Monk makes. And it's ridiculous. The Barnsley game was a prime example. All week on here, post after post, people stating the NEED for him to start with the front four he picked. After the game, he's "tactical inept" for picking that side.
  8. This guy managed to get Wayne Hennessey off his "nazi gesture" allegation. If he can win that case, ours must be a walk in the park!
  9. Fair point to be honest. Our centre halves will be disappointed with the goal, but the assist was absolute perfection. Not only threaded through a small opening, but weighted perfectly also. Thought Ejaria and Swift looked top players for Reading today, and we're the difference in a game of little quality.
  10. Not for me. Cowardly on the ball. Showed no composure. His only intention when he got the ball was to launch it forward in the general direction of Nuhiu. I'm not saying he was the worst player...but just because others were poor around him, doesn't make him any better.
  11. Palmer was poor today. But he's not at fault for the 1st goal. Borner and Iorfa HAVE to stop that ball.
  12. To be fair, I think he's said enough already. If the fans cannot read between the lines, then more fool them. I don't think it needs spelling out anymore than it has already. But, even if the fans back Monk vs. "The Exiles", he still needs results. And the longer those results take to come, the less support he'll have.
  13. Dawson - 5 - He'll be disappointed with the 2nd goal, but the deflection off Puskas didn't make it easy. No fault for the other two goals, and made a superb save following Palmer's error late on. Urhoghide - 3 - Another tough examination at Hillsborough. He was on a tightrope after the first booking, which I thought was harsh (especially following several similar incidents that didn't warrant a booking). But, showed his naivety, and could have no complaints with the 2nd yellow. Iorfa - 4 - Set the tone really with his first touch of the game, and seemed pretty unsettled throughout. At times, he showed his qualities, but the penalty at the death, is another mistake that was totally unforced. They are starting to add up. Borner - 5 - He seems to have lost the ability to suss opponents out. In the early season, he'd take the 1st five minutes to analyse things, and then go on to dominate. But that doesn't seem to be happening of late. That said, he's probably the best defender out of the lot of them at the minute. Back handed compliment if there ever was one. Both he and Iorfa will be disappointed to have allowed the through ball to get through for Reading's 1st goal. Palmer - 4 - Really frustrated me in the 1st half...made no attempt to play any football whatsoever. Everytime he got the ball at left ball...HOOF. Infuriating. The fact he's our captain is such a sad inditement of this situation. Aside from a really good cross in the 1st half which just eluded Da Cruz, it wasn't a performance with any positives. Pelupessy - 5 - He lacks quality, we know that. But yet again, we seem to have totally left our midfield out to dry. Out numbered, with no support, no outlets. The change at half time was never going to yield any change in our fortunes, and so it proved. Lee - 5 - Tough day, up against Reading's three man midfield, but I have to credit Lee for trying to be brave and play some football in poor conditions in amongst a sea of little composure. Da Cruz - 5 - There's bits to his play I really like. He looks strong, and direct, and he's obviously a good player. We've just yet to get him in positions to use it. And that's where we need to sort our midfield out. Unlucky to be withdrawn, but to be fair, his replacement, really improved things. Forestieri - 5 - Fizzed about, didn't throw the towel in, but lacked any effect on the game. Harris - 6 - In the 1st half, as he often is, I thought he was our best player and main threat. Unlucky with the effort in the 1st half, and looked to get to the byline on a number of occasions. Faded badly in the 2nd half however. Nuhiu - 5 - I mean, give the man a break. Just give him something to hold on to, instead of just aimlessly hoofing it up to him, and asking him to chase his own flick-ons. Bannan - 5 - I'm losing patience with him now. I thought dropping him after Luton's pathetic performance, would give him the kick up the backside he needed. But, he went deeper, and safer than ever. He was brought on to instigate some attacking impetus...instead he stands on Iorfa's toe, and passes sideways for 45 minutes. Passing the buck, when we need big players to stand up and be counted. Murphy - 7 - Man of the Match - The type of performance we need from more of our key players. He came on, when the heads were down, in a position he's never played before...but stood, took the challenge on, and put in a really positive display. Murphy could've been forgiven for coming on, and just trying to do enough, after been asked to play right back...but no, and for that, he's gone up in my estimations. Type of character we need at the minute, must start at Birmingham. Wickham - N/A - Not on long enough, but showed little desire or interest. Overall... Look, a 3-0 defeat at home against a side who haven't won in eight is never going to be a game where you look upon favourably. And it was another performance that highlighted the same failings. Monk needs to get this midfield sorted. We haven't been able to play 4-2-3-1 for years, because we haven't got a midfield pairing capable. We brought Windass in, with that system in mind, but without him playing, it's a complete non-starter. Our back four look full of errors and fragility. And going forward, we just cannot get our creative players into the right areas, often enough. That said, at half time, we were unfortunate to be 1-0 down. They scored with their only real attack, and we had a decent share of the game, and could've easily gone in level on another day. But it comes back down to those margins, many of us talk about. Two months ago, we were winning games by coming out on the right side of those margins...often with a bit of quality from Fletcher or Harris, or an heroic bit of defending fro Iorfa or Borner been the difference. Fast forward, two months, and we aren't able to get those creative players in the game enough to provide that difference offensively, and our defence are making basic errors which are costing us goals. There's no easy way out of it. It's back to basics, defend resolutely, stay in games. I've not changed my mind...I really hope Monk manages to turn this round, and is given the opportunity to sort this mess out. But, the longer this goes on, the less likely he's going to be around to make those changes. Birmingham away might not be a bad game to put things right...they, like ourselves, play the margins. It'll be nip and tuck, and we'll have to hope we manage to come out on top. That's said with more hope than expectation.
  14. If you actually read the post, you'll see I've said, Monk is beginning to make mistakes. But the only mugs here who are falling for it (again), are the ones who are solely blaming the manager for whats going off (again!). Seriously, how many times does it need to happen until these "beloved, can-do-no-wrong" wasters we've got that pull on the shirt every Saturday, are actually seen for what they are? Of course Monk isn't blameless, he's feeling the pressure, and is making some rash decisions. But if you think the same thing won't happen under another manager, once they figure out what the problems are, then seriously, there's literally no point having a discussion.
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