I was going to make fun of you and call you a nerd for producing your stats but I'm actually going to do the opposite. You've probably spent more time collecting that information than Woodgate has preparing for a game all season. Well done 👍🏻
I probably haven't watched as many games as you this season but what I've seen and read I think we've maybe looked a bit vulnerable in those positions when the two young players have had to defend.
That doesnt mean to say they should be dropped from the team though, Coulson reminds me a bit of a young Alexander Arnold in the fact that he's great going forward which obviously leaves him a bit exposed. The obvious thing to do would be to have a holding midfielder in the team who can drop into that position when we are being countered but a good tactician should be able to do a number of things to counteract against that.
Rather than focus on what the young full backs don't do well I think the manager should focus on what they can do. Both give us energy and an attacking outlet. The easy thing to do in this situation is bring all the older players back, having a confirmation bias about young players not being ready for a relegation fight is something I'd level at the manager more than the fans though.
I don't think walking away from a mess you've helped to create is a decent thing to do, to be honest. I don't personally get that point of view, I know you're not the only one who has said it and I know it was said plenty last season under Pulis too but if he isn't doing his job properly, it's not on him to judge himself so badly to walk away in my opinion. It's on the club to remove him. I think it shows a lack of character to walk away and take yourself away from the responsibility of it.
Sounds like he really, genuinely is at a loss, rather than just being stubborn. Seems like he's saying what he'd like to do, versus what he's actually able to do with the squad he has, then getting confused between the two.
He's having to play high stakes poker with a pretty average hand (while also being a novice player) and no matter what he tries, he keeps getting taken to the cleaners.
Also, experienced isn't necessarily the same as good. Unless, as rumours suggest, he has lost the dressing room and they just aren't trying anymore.
Feeling the tiniest twinge of sympathy for him, but really this is 90% on him (at this stage - 100% on Gibson for hiring him in the first place). If he had any decency he'd have handed in his resignation weeks ago and forced Gibson to find someone who actually knows how to manage.
Quite honestly, at this stage, I think its irrelevant what team he puts out. The youngsters will maybe lack the experience to deal with what Leeds throw at us and the senior players won't put in the effort. Either way, the end result will be the same.
(Now I've said this, watch us scrape a flukey draw)
These are just stats. I don't claim the give they answers to everything or even anything. It's just information that can be used to look at things. It's entirely possible that Coulson and Spence both just happened to be in the side when it became better defensively and started gaining more points. So it would be no more than a coincidence and over time the stats would revert to the teams average. But it's also possible that them being in the side made us better and that this is reflected in the stats above.
In the past I've spoken about the mind playing tricks on people because of received/conventional wisdom. So in this example, received wisdom would be that younger, inexperienced players make you weaker defensively because they make more mistakes. I'm sure most would say that's fair enough, at least to some extent. And because this thought is already in people's minds then that's what they 'see' or 'look' for in games and therefore it becomes true and reinforces the received wisdom. I do wonder if that could be the case here? Our worst defensive efforts this season came in games where neither of the youngsters played (Sheff Wed at home, Leeds away, that shambles of a game at Birmingham come to mind) and yet I read on here (and now from Woodgate) that they are to blame for us conceding goals with the reason that's often give that it's because teams are attacking those areas. They've been attacking those areas all season long and every other area. But that's not the problem anyway. Because our defensive record this season is the 12th best in the league. The issue is that our goal scoring record is the joint worst in the league and that's why we are in trouble.
You'd have to assume he's blaming Coulson and Spence, since those are the two he dropped after Luton. Fry is injured rather than dropped and Tavernier hasn't started the last couple, although he started the two before that against Brentford and Blackburn. As Spence didn't make his debut until the beginning of December, it would be harsh to blame him for our ills, unless Woodgate thinks we were doing ok beforehand!
Here's a few stats to consider (league games only):
Spence has started 11 games. We've conceded 8 goals in those games at an average of 0.73 per game
Spence hasn't started 23 games. We've conceded 36 goals in those games at an average of 1.57 per game.
Coulson has started 15 games. We've conceded 18 goals in those games at an average of 1.2 per game.
Coulson hasn't started 19 games. We've conceded 26 goals in those games at an average of 1.37 per game.
Spence and Coulson have started 8 games together. We've conceded 6 goals in those games at an average of 0.75 per game.
Spence and Coulson haven't started 26 games together. We've conceded 38 goals in those games at an average of 1.46 per game.
In the games Spence has started we've gained 19 points at an average of 1.73 per game. The games he hasn't started we've gained 18 points at an average of 0.78 per game.
In the games Coulson has started we've gained 20 points at an average of 1.33 per game. The games he hasn't started we've gained 17 points at an average of 0.9 per game.
The games they've started together we've gained 14 points at an average of 1.75 per game. The games they haven't started together we've gained 23 points at an average of 0.89.