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p_mards last won the day on August 15 2015

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  1. I saw it on Thursday in Sunderland too. It was incredibly funny. Did they slip in the brexit joke again?.
  2. It's my first chance to post since the game so apologies for the lateness. My main observation from the game is that the positions of McNair and Saville were really restrictive to our ability to pass effectively in the first half, especially after we fell apart after 20/25 minutes or so. They just weren't doing the job for the team that we needed. I think they're looking at pushing forward far too early which leaves our deeper lying core of Howson, Shotton, Ayala, Bola and Clayton short of a simple passing option and often led to trying to force a pass through to them or another attacker, and subsequently losing possession unnecessarily. It's staggering really considering 4-3-3 should provide a solid midfield base to build possession based attacks through. McNair in particular was always regularly positioned way too far forwards when our deeper players had possession. Even box-to-box midfielders need to hold their position at times. A calming intelligent head like Howson linking everything up in CM looking to link up with Clayton and the fullbacks would have benefited us massively. I think we would be far more effective if McNair and Saville would hold their position for the initial phase of passing out of defence - such as when Clayton and their nearest fullback is on the ball - and then when we're past that first phase look to make them runs forward. We improved it massively in the second half as Saville and McNair kept either side of Clayton. In the second half the shape was far more clear with them two often drifting over to a wing back position with Bola or Howson ahead of them as an option, which gave us an overload in wide areas - though that was also helped with Johnson coming on for Browne who looked pretty out of his depth at this level. Our midfielders always pushing forward left us very vulnerable at times too. The balance between goal threat, defensive solidity and ability to pass through midfield is poorly balanced and inconsistent at the moment. Hopefully Woodgate learns quickly as we're miles off being promotion material at the moment.
  3. Bola looks a fantastic prospect. His close control and ability to run with the ball looks very good considering he is still 21 and just came up from League 1. In particular I like his trait of quickly releasing the ball on his weaker right foot as it's hard for defenders to read it. Wing had a very poor performance. Hopefully he can turn it around soon as he's one of our very few sparks of attacking quality so we're far worse of a team when he isn't performing to the high standards that we know he can.
  4. The first half performance was as bad as anything I have witnessed from us in many years. Them defenders cannot pass out from defense. We're going concede a ridiculous number of soft goals if Woodgate keeps thinking they can. In the second half we looked far less error prone - though that was largely due to Wigan stepping up the pitch and pinning us into a defensive shape. Also the tactical switch to match Wigan's 3-5-2 seemed to give us far more organisation. That's the only thing I can give Woodgate credit for. I think that system suits our players far more. Best performers were Howson, Bola and Fletcher. Both CB's snd Browne were awful.
  5. The club is in a period of transition at the moment as Gibson is clearing wanting us to go in a direction which moves away from him continuing to pour loads of money inefficiently into the club. A consequence of this is that it's going to be a tough job for any manager - especially an inexperienced manager like Woodgate. Woodgate is straight talking and talks the talk about wanting play great football and giving academy players first team football - which got him the job and got the fans excited post-Pulis - but he strikes being too similar to someone like Tim Sherwood who talks the talk but is ultimately not good enough. Give me a Karanka over someone like that every time. If we lose on Tuesday v Wigan then things are going to turn toxic quickly as it will be very difficult to imagine us being able to turn things around.
  6. We're at the start of a new direction so there was always going to be lots of bumps in the road. We had a lot of mess to clear up after the Pulis area so it was always going to take time and it's why I had low expectations coming into this season, especially in the first few weeks, so I'm not getting too disheartened by todays defeat and very poor performance in the second half. Coulson had a few very good flashes but he was positionally very bad at times, which led to our CB's having to drift across and left us vulnerable. He has a lot of the defensive side to learn so if we're going to stick with him then we're going to have to be patient. Woodgate has now got a good reason to give Bola, Dijksteel, Browne and Tavernier an opportunity to break into the team.
  7. Dijksteel at RB will help get the best out of Tavernier at RW so I think he's going flourish this season. Tavernier isn't the typical pacey and powerful winger so him having Dijksteel bombing forward down the line will open up lots of space for Tavernier to play within.
  8. Gestede was lined up for weeks before the start of the January 2017 window. I wouldn't even give the club the slight mitigation of panic. It was a long planned signing that was just awful judgement by the club.
  9. Great news about Bola. The new direction of shrewd longterm signings that we're heading in is starting to take shape.
  10. Glad to hear Coulson impressed again. He looks a very tidy footballer that can link up well in passing moves. It's looking like Friend has some serious competition at LB this year.
  11. Stuart Webber at Norwich is continuing to do a fantastic job as their Technical Director by getting Sam Byram for £750,000.
  12. £20 million is a massive amount of money so I can imagine us getting tempted by it. However, considering Harry Maguire costs £80 million and Lewis Dunk costs £45 million, Dael Fry for £20 million isn't all that much in todays ridiculously inflated market. He has so much potential in him so his price is only ever going to increase. Hopefully we can keep him for one more season.
  13. A few thoughts on the Hartlepool game yesterday. The Evening Gazette giving Braithwaite a 5 out of 10 is simply disingenious and can't be a honest opinion. He was instrumental in the build up to Gestede's goal and also teed up a similar opportunity with another cross-field ball to the right flank. His attitude seemed great with his tracking back - such as early into the game he full sprinted to chase the a Hartlepool player down who had the ball, which was met by a loud applause by the Boro fans. Tavernier looked very good too. If he keeps his feet on the ground this season then he's going to be a joy to watch. I think he looks best at RW with the freedom to come infield as his technical ability, link up play and movement is better than most wingers so he can find dangerous pockets of space for him to exploit. The central defensive partnership of Flint and Shotton looks fundamentally floored in our new style as they're both not good enough on the ball. We're going to concede so many sloppy goals unless something drastic changes. I'm desperately hoping for Fry to be available for the start of the season as he has far more composure on the ball than any of our other centerbacks. Djed Spence looks very exciting going forward but he is concerningly slender, which is hardly surprising considering he's still only 18. I hope I'm wrong but at his current size he could struggle with the physicality of mens Championship football this season. I have a very good feeling about Malley as he looked very assured and confident on the pitch despite not having much chance to impress in the fairly disjointed second half. One moment of real class which impressed me was when he effortlessly pivoted away from a Hartlepool player with the outside of his boot. It looked effortless but it is a very high skilled movement to pull off to such a high standard. I can understand why many behind the scenes are excited about his potential. Coulson done well also. He's not very tall but he certainly has lots of energy, grit and bravery about him. Reading looked good when he came on too. We seem quite well stocked with young LB's to provide competition to Friend. It might explain why McGinley was sold seemingly without much concern.
  14. Yeah lots of players can do well in Scotland but struggle in England, however it isn't an absolute rule. Effective scouting - something which we struggle with - should filter out the spuds like Boyd. There are still the likes of Robertson, Van Dijk, McGinn and Fraser in recent years who show that there is quality in the Scottish League so nobody from there should immediately be wrote off.
  15. I watched a few Hibernian games late in the 2017/18 season and Kamberi really impressed me. I think I may have even mentioned his name on here at some point last Summer as a potential target. That Hibernian side had John McGinn pulling the strings in midfield and loads of movement down the wings around Kamberi, which he seemed to thrive within so maybe they changed style last season or just didn't perform as well going forward - which is likely considering the lost McGinn this Summer.
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