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|Match Thoughts.... Ipswich 1 Lincoln 0 - 25th Jan 2020|
at 19:14 25 Jan 2020
Well I really enjoyed that Town performance, where at times some of our passing and movement was as good as I can remember for some years. Yes I get those who worry we didn't score more, killing the game off, and hence leaving Lincoln with a chance. But those saying we over passed? well that's why we limited Lincoln to two chances of note (albeit good ones), 63% possession is what we want. Just great to be out passing and dominating teams at Portman Road again, for how many seasons have we looked the inferior technical side? Hopefully we can avenge Rotherham's humiliation of us at home this season, on a key fixture this Tuesday.
Lincoln were actually a good side, they defended really well, great shape and commitment. Albeit why they tried to play out from the goalkeeper in the second half, with Jackson and Judge, then Norwood pushing up and negating the benefit.
It was a great team performance, every player did well. I'll go through them individually in a moment, but it was interesting listening to Lambert on the radio restating that now its all about performances getting you in AND out of the team. I really agreed with our manager's point of view that Edwards and Norwood had been off form. I thought the former was so improved today, I'm not his biggest and crave the return of KVY, but the 3-5-2 is really suiting our Welsh wing man.
To continue the team performance vibe... what about Wilson? he is so the direct, no nonsense guy of the team, but he made some key headers and interceptions, and almost got a goal!
Man of the match? well that's the point - its hard to pick a stand out player. I thought Downes, The Wolf, Garbutt, Keane, Jackson were excellent... and Judge and Edwards work rate were notable.
I have to mention Jackson, yes he didn't score and like other forward players he found it hard to create clear cut chances against the resolute Lincoln lines, but today I thought Jackson looked like a Championship capable forward. His touch was sharp and he retained and used the ball well.
As for a sharp touch - Will Keane - WOW, he had a spell in the first half when he really impressed. The TEAM move (how many passes? 30?) for his low driven chance that went wide was fantastic. And it was his close control that carved out the final passage of what was a brilliant move. What a shame we didn't score.
Now to my concern - if a Championship or Premiership scout was at that game, then they're frankly incompetent if they don't just suggest a big money move for our two young prospects when they get back to base. Did you see that dink over the opposition player from Wolfenden? on the edge of the Lincoln box? mental. And again Downes was just so cultured at times, he played like his first half performance against Blackpool. But today, he also had the aggressive mode on. Some really hard tackles and play.
Around me in a boisterous North Stand... there were so many incredulous groans of pleasure (!!!) from people just loving how Town were spraying the ball around, and those individual moments of quality. Some real characters around me today, and it felt a little like the early days of Burley when you paid to go to see Town, and you had moments where you were wowed by things the players and team did, that you could never hope to do yourself.
Now we of course did not quite match the first half performance with our second, but there was still a lot of good play. I did want Judge to come off for Bishop (who had three moments of class in a short spell) - and perhaps Bishop will provide that bit of spice to stretch the lines and break down teams going forward, and start. But Judge looks a different player, and deserves his place, and seems more mobile.
So to the team:
Norris - good all round, one fantastic save, the front three look very settled in front of him which is clearly helping him
Wilson - as stated he's just so no nonsense, but he also can pass a few short ones quite nicely when needed
Chambo - he's so got his mojo back, looks much more confident in his game, got forward for some OK distribution, loved his positive shouting at Norris after a good save
The Wolf - he was I thought sensational today, he is a ball playing centre back, he's better than the £3.5m Webster
Edwards - much much improved, he doesn't seem to be giving the ball away as cheaply and his crossing was far more effective
Garbutt - this is my second concern, we are so reliant on him for set pieces etc. he's a key player for us. He was far more dynamic today as well, running with the ball. We need to sign him
Downes - words fail me... fantastic
Huws - interesting game, he was more dominant in the first half, but got pegged back, I think he was doing that 'unseen' work.... his form is a big reason for our Renaissance. Also as at Oxford he is really throwing himself about, injury concerns really are receding
Judge - good solid display was everywhere, but in the right places, needs to get deeper into the box
Jackson - he came too early to us to be effective in the Championship, but I feel he could now cut it in that league
Keane - like Huws, the injury woes have gone, and he is in fine form. He looks real class, I like what Norwood brings, what I'd keep with Will for now
[Post edited 25 Jan 20:09]
|20K + on Saturday|
at 22:15 23 Jan 2020
Let's hope the team finally put in the performance the attendance deserves
|Revenge is a dish best served cold....|
at 22:20 21 Jan 2020
... well around 4 weeks!
Let’s destroy Lincoln on Saturday.
6 of us going in the lower North.., let’s boil a cauldron of noise.
|4 games to define a season|
at 14:06 20 Jan 2020
Sat 25 Jan 3:00pm Lincoln City H
Tue 28 Jan 7:45pm Rotherham United A
Sat 1 Feb 3:00pm Peterborough United H
Sat 8 Feb 3:00pm Sunderland A
Going to be tough; lincoln, rotherham and sunderland are in the top five of the form table
And The Posh have arguably one of the best squads.
Come through this with a good points haul and we'll be looking healthy
Also perhaps KVY will be coming into the reckoning after this spell.
All starts with Lincoln, who should not be underestimated!
|Match Report - Oxford 0 Ipswich 0, Jan 14th 2020 - memorable!|
at 10:02 15 Jan 2020
Well that game will go down in memory, not for the score or the result, but more for the gale, the downpour, the 18min delay, and the amusing reaction from the 1,300 Blue Army, “get your fork out for the lads”, “we’re Ipswich Town, we play in the rain”, “sh!t ground, 3 stands”. The Town performance was also memorable, in difficult conditions, to a man the Ipswich players put in a real shift, energy and closing, real effort in difficult conditions. It was not our most polished or ‘on the deck’ display. When we did get it down and pass/move in triangles we had real joy, but due to the conditions and a fear of mistakes (and perhaps an instruction) we tended to go direct and long in the majority of situations. I think also Lambert had seen that Rotherham’s more direct and physical play had unsettled Oxford on the weekend and wanted to replicate.
Oxford’s ground is well out of Town and suffers for it, with only a cinema/bowl complex offering a pre-match option. It is also only fed by a single road in the final approaches and this was completely jammed, even with an 8k crowd, which must have been lower than expected due to the weather putting off locals. Beers and food in Oxford much the better option, and it’s a city with some really good pubs.
I liked the look of Oxford as a team, they were technical. Every player could control the ball, lay off short, head with accuracy, move into space. They are clearly very well coached and trained, and their manager Karl Robinson is one to watch. Their left winger was unplayable. And they looked threatening on the edge of the box (13 shots, 4 on target). But it was credit to the Town players that we in general nullified them. I think to get 51% possession at their place is impressive. When Oxford did go up a gear we did struggle to get close to them, and in some ways the conditions suited us better than them. They’ll push for an automatic spot and will spank a few teams on the way.
I think we’ve had worse refs this season, and he was getting real stick when he was kicking the ball over the wet area of the pitch to test it ahead of the restart. A real talking point was the penalty shout in the first half with Norwood running through, I felt there was a definite pull back on the edge of the box and then the arm on shoulder by the penalty spot would be given 7 times out of 10, more so with the contact earlier. Robinson himself stated he thought it was a penalty, but the ref was balancing out a Norwood foul at the beginning of the exchange. In a way it was a move that justified our more direct style. Jackson may have suited the game better, with more mobility than Norwood. Norwood’s touch was little off during the game, he still did a lot of hard work and the defenders must have hated him. But Keane was the better of the two, and probably our man of the match.
I thought it was positive that Town stayed out on the pitch and passed and trained whilst the delay was on, also receiving a team talk. We carried on being the better team in the first half after the enforced break mid-way through, whilst Oxford had retreated to the dressing room during the pause in play.
Robinson and the Oxford pundits on local radio felt that Ipswich and Rotherham were by far the best teams Oxford had played and a draw was fair given their better chances and improved second half display. They were impressed by our strong midfield and waxed lyrical about Norris’ second half save from a 25 yard Oxford blast.
Despite Oxford’s better second half, I felt the last 10mins was when Town looked most threatening with Sears on and Keane continuing to cause havoc. We started to get it down more and play triangles on the right wing, with Downes now in his full pomp. Multiple corners, but probably didn’t carve out a clear enough chance in that period. But encouraging to finish so strongly. 5-3-2 is clearly suiting us as a team and should be continued.
I should add that Lambert received good support from the away fans, with multiple songs from and waves back to the travelling blues. Especially of course when he got into his usual touchline shenanigans with the 3rd official and Robinsons staff.
So, to the individual player’s performances:
Norris – justified his selection, with a good display. The Oxford keeper was struggling with kicking, albeit wind against. But Norris handled the conditions well. He made the key save and should continue in goal on that display.
Chambo – back in form for sure. A few errors but more up the pitch. He and Wolfenden only made one or two forays forward, where it looks like they’re about to get vertigo. But the centre backs had to be and were on their game tonight.
Wilson – he’s the deeper, no nonsense defender, and at times he just does launch it. But perhaps you need that at this level.
The Wolf- this boy is class. You can see the other teammates know he’s a ball player and move into space when he’s on the ball, as he has the ability to find them. He was good out wide defending. And his clearances were the best of our centre backs. Please stay, and I loved Lambert’s comments on the referenced Blades valuation – “you can’t get a flake for 3million”.
Edwards – I’m one of his biggest critics, but he was much better defensively. Like all the midfield it wasn’t very crisp as times, but he did cause problems. And his work rate and focus were much improved.
Garbutt – for me the loanee has been one of our most influential players this season. This was one of Luke’s weaker displays, more that he was a little error prone in passing, and the conditions did not favour him. He was also under pressure. He still did a lot right.
Huws – well if he comes through that game without a niggle, then we have our Welsh star back with a vengeance from his long-term injury!! I never thought I’d see him play like that again. In his position he was right in the BOG! And was running like a nutter, flying in. A big difference tonight. Now I have to say it was a bit headless at times, and he went down blind alleys and misplaced some passes, but it was a more Skuse performance, against a good opposition. He’s a must starter. And against lesser teams he can also feed Judge and the wings.
Downes – he’s as big a prospect as The Wolf, and despite not being as visible tonight he was working hard. Probably only showed real influence on the game going forward in the last quarter. But when he and Huws hunted in packs, we can dominate midfields.
Judge – again like so many players in the position, it wasn’t as polished and as technical a display from our number 10. But he’s clearly relishing the number 10 role – why the feck did Lambert play him wide in midfield. One memory of the night – apart from the monsoon and pre-match Masala Dosa - was Keane’s three chest down for Judge’s blasts from the edge of the box (they were all wide, but I liked the intent). Did he hurt the opposition enough? Perhaps not, and whilst the front 3 did look menacing, there’s more to come in cutting teams open – again conditions hampered this.
Norwood – as stated, probably not his best night, missed some flicks and short passes in key areas/passages of the game. But he is just such a nightmare for the defenders which freed up Keane.
Keane - one of the best games I’ve seen him play for us. He looked fresh and far more mobile than I can remember. His close control really causes problems to the opposition. Wish he’d had more chances. But the Oxford defenders stopped our attackers ‘inside the area’ activity with real energy.
It was a good physical performance in trying conditions, against a good technical team. In some ways our display was in a McCarthy stylee, when Mick was doing well. Physically dominating better technical teams with energy and a direct style. Nothing wrong with that, albeit you’d say the style Robison is embedding will reap greater rewards in the long term, and we should mirror.
Overall it feels like Town have their mojo back and we need to turn this revised confidence immediately into points, to drive to the top of the table. Tranmere (a), Lincoln (h) and Rotherham (a) in the remainder of January, needs to see 6 points to turn this near-term form into real momentum to take Town into a crucial February. February looks a month where we’ll decide our promotion fate. I really hope the Tranmere game is on, as these boys want to get back on the pitch. COYB.
[Post edited 15 Jan 12:27]
|Ref saying it was penalty|
at 22:08 14 Jan 2020
Oxford manager agreeing
Oxford manager saying that was the championship level gane
|Radio Oxford - thought we were very good side|
at 22:03 14 Jan 2020
With a strong midfield
And are waxing lyrical about Norris save
Think Oxford has the better chances
Felt Rotherham and Ipswich are streets ahead of other teams in the league
My view - it was a good physical performance in a Mick McCarthy stylee
|Would be concerned about Skuse replacing Huws...|
at 14:10 14 Jan 2020
... Dozzell would be better. And would prefer Huws to continue.
Skuse is good. But when we have three centre backs behind him, with Wolf and to a lesser extent Chambo able to come out and pass.... we need to feed somone who is going to look forward and pass wide or to Judge. Skuse's passsing is just too conservative I'm afraid.
Anyway, excited about tonight. Rain and wind seem to easing off for the match itself.
|Oxford pub recommendations|
at 12:09 13 Jan 2020
Pretty slim picking near the ground.
I've had the Oxford Retreat and Watermans Arms recommended near the station. Its a quick £8 cab up to ground after a bite and beer for those going by train.
Bus back after game will be fun!?!
|Another Must Win game...|
at 10:43 11 Jan 2020
.... you do lose count. We need to reverse the slide and do it now.
Let’s back the team, and Paul and get behind them. COYFB
Imagine how we’d all be feeling come Oxford final whilstle if we’d 6 points on the board.
|Hallelujah Marcus - TECHNICAL TECHNICAL TECHNICAL|
at 08:35 10 Jan 2020
Great messaging and direction from Marcus. And obviously a veiled criticism of previous managers, who had styles that were not sustainable as a product to get fans through the turnstiles, but did bolster Marcus' lack of investment!
However, has he chosen the right manager to implement the technical approach? I do think Paul does not want to play "a more physical, direct approach". But does he have the acumen to play the style of football we want and being played by the likes of Oxford? Ask me at Oxford after 90mins on Tuesday!
Must beat Accrington!
“I believe we will have a really exciting footballing team over the next five years,” Evans writes. “I mention the term ‘footballing team’ as I indicated 18 months ago that to get to where we all eventually want to be, we need to be a footballing team.
“In my first years as an owner, I believed a more physical, direct approach was the way to move forward. Football has changed though. Clubs in the Championship and definitely in the Premier League are playing a much more TECHNICAL game now.
“I feel there is also a duty to the supporters that we play in an entertaining manner. I want to enjoy watching the team play. I’m sure the fans do.
The stakes are highest at first-team level of course and there will always be a plan B, plan C on how to win a football match but the foundations of how Ipswich Town will play - while I’m owner - will be around the TECHNICAL approach - and that desire to play a brand of football that entertains supporters.
“I think we have played that way for much of the time Paul has been here. Perhaps we have dropped off a bit over the last month or so and this league is more physical in style than the Championship but having been party to the different approaches I can see that a more TECHNICAL playing style is more complex than developing a direct approach. It needs more time for everyone in the squad to feed off each other
|Anyone have a spare Oxford ticket?|
at 08:47 7 Jan 2020
Was waiting on a mate, having already booked my train/hotel. And they sold out again. Nightmare.
Thanks in advance.
Am continuing to check for returns on the Away Tickets section of site. Will call ticket office to see if anymore being made available from Oxford; they can house 5000 away fans. Not sure how many we've sold to date.
Unbelievable we're selling this out on a Tuesday night in January, with the form so poor, and Oxford flying.
|Tweet of the day|
at 19:52 5 Jan 2020
The original tweet from the Orange Tw@t is so mental, and yet it seems normal.
You imaging if a satirical comedy show had put that up as a parody tweet from a US President.
It would be seen as too fanciful. Crazy times.
|To be fair to Lambert.... he inherited a weird squad|
at 23:03 2 Jan 2020
We had a long term full back issue, which he fixed well with KVY and to some extent Garbutt (albeit Garbutt is more a midfielder, and now someone we need to sign as so dependent on him). Donacien is a back up defensive right back. But not a game changer.
Then a mixed bag of centre mids, a fading Chambo, and a woeful Nsiala. And a brilliant prospect in The Wolf. Wilson was a good cheap buy who is so much more reliable than Chambo and Toto. But perhaps not a long term option.
Out wide we are struggling. With Rowe injured on top of lankester, we have to play a weak edwards and judge out wide. Great prospects in dobra and el Mizouni but they’re young.
Now it gets weird - centre mid!!! I think because Huws, bishop and dozzell were injured we’ve now ended with a log jam. We’ve also got judge, skuse, downes and Nolan. All these players have a case for starting. And I think this is why Lambert is talking rotation and squad resting so much - how does he keep that lot happy?!!
We then have Norwood, Sears, Keane and Jackson and a fringe Roberts.
That smacks of a midfield diamond, to try and keep our central midfield jewels happy. Also time to drop skuse, not enough forward drive.
But you know it means the likes of judge, Bishop, Huws and Dozzell are often benched. And we’re scrabbling for defenders and width.
So whilst I share the massive concerns on Lamberts tactics and rotation; perhaps this squad is not helping?
Time to cash in on a centre mid???
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