I know it's unpopular with many on here (and an obsession for others) to crticise Gerken but let's be honest, what is he doing for the first goal? For goodness sake man, it's floated across your goal five yards out but you are rooted to the line. It was a keeper's ball 100% and that's why Tommy is caught on his heels. Dear oh dear Deano. Many will blame Tommy. They are wrong. Oh but he is a great shot stopper lest I forget!
Just a pity we could not hang on. Deja vu from last year. Gerkin just cannot get it right. Crosses go into his six yatd box and he is rooted to his line. Suddenly there is one 9 yards out, defenders in position and out he comes, clatters his own defender and punches down into the ground instead of wide, high and long. Some will point to two decent stops in the first half. That's all very well but his inability to command the defence is totally destabilisng. Bru makes a big difference and Douglas looked far more competent alongside him when he came on than he has when partnered with Skuse. Murph might just be turning a corner but he still looks only 70% of the player he was last year. Berra looking better. Great support, vocal and lively despite what I thought was some over zealous stewarding when we scored. Glad I went, was seriously considering giving it a miss after Blackburn and Hull.
Chambo's distribution was appalling. Knudsen just constantly caught out of position and Parr basically brushed off the ball too easily. We are too slow to move the ball and simply don't know the meaning of a swift counter attack. Murphy not at the races and currently the word lumbering aptly describes his form. For all his running, Toure has less end product than Lee Martin. Maitland-Niles is still lightweight. On the positive side, Bru will improve us, Douglas more effective without Skuse (but Skuse is the better player). Been to Blackburn and Hull and we have shadow boxed our way through both games. Tough times but will be at Forest on Saturday nevertheless.
Something isn't right. Either Mick doesn't think he is fit or he doesn't think his head is right. His comments on Douglas are just bluster. That central midfield partnership makes me yearn for the energy of Hyam ffs!
The Germans break with such pace and players move from defence into attack when the opportunity presents itself seemingly without exposing the side defensively. All about great movement off the ball too.
Who would have believed that these two players, our star performers over the last few seasons, are currently letting the side down so badly. Both are ponderous and their touch is poor. It was so odd to see Berra bullied by Rhodes physically and Murph plodding around looking almost lost. Every time Blackburn got the ball they broke with pace. Quite simply, we had no pace and it was embarrassing to watch
Much is being said of Berra's form right now. From the mainstay of the team, in the eyes of some his place is in question. The slip against Birmingham was unfortunate for me and he was undoubtedly caught on his heels for the second yesterday. However, if you watch the footage of that goal you may notice something I think is more telling about his current form and state of mind. Once the striker has beaten him, Christphe effectively gives up and stands still on the edge of the box. Had Gerken blocked it or the ball hit the woodwork etc, he would still have been nowhere near ready to pick up the pieces and clear the ball. I think that's very telling that his never say die approach just isn't quite there right now and something isn't quite right either physically or mentally.
No, not the dive from Byram late on but the blatant handball by Smith early on right infront of the Town fans and less than 15 yards away fro the clear line of sight of the lino. We all saw it and how he didn't flag I'll never know! Glad he didn't as it was a fine performance by Tommy (and all the boys) throughout. You got to ride your luck and make it count as Tommy did.
Wind him up and watch him go. He was magnificent in the second half and a constant threat. Maitland-Niles very impressive and both a hard worker and a cool head. All of back four outstanding. Tommy can take Wood out of his pocket now! Credit to Douglas too. He was effective with Skuse in protecting the back four after Friday's atrocious effort.
Not so long ago players were running down contracts and leaving for nothing. We seemed desperate to sign has beens and pay big sums both in fees and wages with "managers" bemoaning the troublesome location. Mick has turned all this around. Business is done quietly, the loan market is used judiciously and our best players are almost all tied to longer term contracts. Hope this serves as a lesson to Mr Evans and the club as a whole as to the importance of the right management team. This represents our best chance in a decade to have success and a longer term plan.
I have been critical of him in the past but he worked his nuts off today and quite possibly has earned himself a new deal. He is a player that Mick will like for his industry alone. A deal for Ando might limit Tabby's chances though depending on the progress of one or two youngsters, signings and the mysterious Cameron Stewart.
Need to give Tyrone some credit. Yep, bit of a sloppy pass for first goal but he actually recovered from that and made a positive tackle which unfortunately richocheted to a Budgie and we were in trouble. He can g sometimes lose his shape but he is very much learning the game and if we can keep hold of him he will be even better for the 40 odd games he has played this season. Cut the boy some slack.
Don't often comment on events at other clubs but if it's true that Sterling is likely to leave Liverpool after rejecting contract offers of reportedly 100K per week, it shows just how bloody out of touch with reality young 'stars' are becoming. He may end up on the bench at one of the European 'giants' seeing his career stall. Money really is the be all and end all for these players it seems.
and gone out fielding a somewhat weakened team? Seems like all the hulabaloo around those two games might just have impacted negatively on our league form. Don't get me wrong, I love the Cup and every year I think about a decent run with some decent draws (and it's been so long since we got beyond rounds 3 or 4) but can't shake the feeling that this year we could have done without playing our best 11 in those two games. Also, the poor performance on national tv in the replay will have surely knocked our confidence somewhat.
No way should we have been down at half time. We played well for 45 minutes with the exception of appalling defending of two short corners. Hope Gerken is ok but again showed how vulnerable he is to crosses. He did not get off the ground and can't punch for toffee. Second half we were toothless. Bamford too good for Smith and Berra. Mings no conviction going forward and subs made no impact. Bishop looked good and Skuse was quietly effective. Sears fairly anonymous and our set piece delivery simply poor. Our strengths from before Xmas - defensive solidity and attacking threat at set pieces has been completely turned on its head. We are now poor at both!
The stats and other managers may say we are a threat from set pieces but it somehow doesn't feel that way at the moment. Our "threat", for me, is inspite of our appalling delivery, especially from corners. Tabb is in the Leadbitter league of punts or hit the first man yet we allowed him to take nearly every one last night. Anderson is a bit better but nothing great. WTF was that last night in the 2nd half. Free kick intheir half, big men up and suddenly Tabb knocks it down the RIGHT wing to, wait for it, Tommy feckin Smith - who can't quite get control of it on his right foot and we lose possession. Imagine what damage we could do with decent delivery a la Whittingham at Cardiff. Our delivery is, quite frankly embarrasing. The lack of goals from direct free kicks is equally rubbish!