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The missing ingredient


plymouthram
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Having watched the Brighton v Newcastle game tonight. The top goalscorers of the championship won 2-1 They had 19 attempts at goal and 8 on target. Derby had 18 attempts but only 2 on target against Blackburn. The Villa game we had 13 attempts and just 1 on target. Cannot fault our defence, very few teams have conceded less in the league. The stat that sticks out is shots on target to ratio of attempts. When you look at the top 4 to 5 teams they have produced a better ratio in most games.

Well the answer in my opinion is a natural goalscorer in midfield and up front to up our ratio of chances. I feel we need a clear out of some of the fringe players in the summer and find 2 goalscorers who get majority of their shots on target. These players cost money, so we might have to take a gamble with a lower league player. At the moment our chances of promotion have gone barring a lot of luck which I don't think will happen. So lets try out some of our youngsters with our remaining 12 matches. If no one shines or shows promise then over to you Mac and the rest of the coaching and scouts at the club. Go and find that missing Ingredient.

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8 hours ago, r_wilcockson said:

Brings flash backs of Pearsons tenure. We conceded 0 or 1 goal each game, yet the defenders get hammered and the midfielders and strikers / wingers get off Scot free.

Not from McLaren though he said the problem is the other end. Even though I don't have confidence in Pearce Christie or Baird. Also think Lowe doesn't deserve the rave reviews he's been getting.

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1 hour ago, Simsy said:

Not from McLaren though he said the problem is the other end. Even though I don't have confidence in Pearce Christie or Baird. Also think Lowe doesn't deserve the rave reviews he's been getting.

Pearce is pants and Lowe is nowhere near as good as Fozzy. I wonder what some people are seeing sometimes, main reason I get wound up at the Keogh scapegoating.

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Hi, long time visitor but first time poster...

Whilst I would never dismiss reviewing our striking options, for me the problem isn't necessarily the forwards..Both Ince and Benty have shown that they can find the back of the net although neither are what one might call 'team' players....and Martins return whilst being 'on strike' at Fulham is pretty healthy. Given an opportunity I'm sure that Vydra could start firing too...although I've not seen enough of Blackman to make an assessment.

For me, the problem is our style of play and the how the players are deployed....some might call this tactics..it might also be players default safe mode.

Let me firsty introduce the caveat that I don't go to all games, I have however been to over a third of home games this season.

What strikes me is the lack of movement and options that we offer when we have possession...everyone has an opinion of what the Derby Way is. For me, I guess it stems to SM's first stint in charge. Free flowing, high energy and slick interchange. For this to be effective we need a certain type of player(s). Players who make space and angles offering themselves as outlets and indeed others running off them ready for the next pass....pulling the opposition out of shape and creating further pockets of space for us to exploit.

So we had Bryson and the at times maligned Hendrick who had this energy...this drive to run and offer themselves and at the time they also weighed in with their far share of goals too.

So Hendrick sold for £10m and Bryson can't get near the starting 11 for whatever reason. Their places taken by alleged ball players and/or destroyers. Well destroyers break down the passage of play and give the ball to ball players whilst ball players are only effective if they have options available to them and for me this is where it all breaks down and becomes so frustrating. Yes it's easy to watch from the stands but at times we are so painfully immobile which is why teams are so content to set up their 2 banks of 4 safe in the knowledge that we will not try to pull them around and invariably can't supply our forwards with the quality of service that they need.

 

 

 

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Hi Hector. Great post. 

I agree completely about the lack of mobility. Even more so when you consider the type of player we have. There are no hulking Giants in this side. Yet we are static. When someone does make a run (not often enough) we rarely play the ball that the crowd easily sees. At throw ins no one dodges about looking to receive the ball. There is an absence of zip. We are reactive rather than proactive. Pass and move has to be one of the oldest mantras in the game. We have the players who could do that, but they don't. All that is before I even start on the lack of quality in our crosses and the pedestrian pace at which we move the ball. Yes we can get the ball in the middle .. But where are the dangerous fast whipped in balls, where are the swingers that the goalie has to stretch to reach, where are the first time balls. 

It isn't all bad news, some games we have had it but at home the eagerness that should be there just isn't often enough. I have watched other teams press us successfully from front to back yet we so often fail to reciprocate. 

We have good players, we can be a team but if this was a school report it would have in big letters .. Must try harder. 

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7 minutes ago, HectorsHouse said:

Yes it's easy to watch from the stands but at times we are so painfully immobile which is why teams are so content to set up their 2 banks of 4 safe in the knowledge that we will not try to pull them around and invariably can't supply our forwards with the quality of service that they need.

This is pretty much it.  The 2013/14 playoff team had Martin dropping off the front, Dawkins, Ward and Russell who all come deep as often as they make runs in behind, and Bryson/Hendrick making runs from deep.  Now we have midfielders who all sit deep looking to recycle possession and forwards who all look to make runs in behind every single time.  That's not to say you don't need midfielders to recycle possession and forwards to make runs in behind, but you can't have all of the squad doing it all of the time.

This is what's causing the low shot-on-target counts - the quality of chances is much lower that it should be.  We're not moving the ball quickly enough, so teams have a chance to get set in position, meaning that we're having to play through teams.  And the chances are then all either shots from distance or the shooter is under pressure when he's taking them.

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52 minutes ago, duncanjwitham said:

This is pretty much it.  The 2013/14 playoff team had Martin dropping off the front, Dawkins, Ward and Russell who all come deep as often as they make runs in behind, and Bryson/Hendrick making runs from deep.  Now we have midfielders who all sit deep looking to recycle possession and forwards who all look to make runs in behind every single time.  That's not to say you don't need midfielders to recycle possession and forwards to make runs in behind, but you can't have all of the squad doing it all of the time.

This is what's causing the low shot-on-target counts - the quality of chances is much lower that it should be.  We're not moving the ball quickly enough, so teams have a chance to get set in position, meaning that we're having to play through teams.  And the chances are then all either shots from distance or the shooter is under pressure when he's taking them.

To add to this we also had Thorne that season acting as a lynch pin holding the middle of the park together. Not many players could get past him giving Bryson, Hughes, etc that extra bit of insurance and confidence to go roam and create trouble for the opposition. 

We don't have that "insurance policy" now, hence why we seem to be much more adverse to risk in the final third. 

Neither Thorne or Eustace have been replaced adequately IMO. The closest we have is Johnson who does a decent job there but it isn't his best position. 

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23 minutes ago, StivePesley said:

If I were McClaren or Rush/Morris I wouldn’t be spending too much time looking at what we are doing wrong, but spending more time right now looking at what the likes of Newcastle and Brighton are doing right. Then put a plan in place to emulate that.

In regards Brighton, sticking with their manager through good and not so good times (when they wobbled last season)

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47 minutes ago, Ramarena said:

To add to this we also had Thorne that season acting as a lynch pin holding the middle of the park together. Not many players could get past him giving Bryson, Hughes, etc that extra bit of insurance and confidence to go roam and create trouble for the opposition. 

We don't have that "insurance policy" now, hence why we seem to be much more adverse to risk in the final third. 

Neither Thorne or Eustace have been replaced adequately IMO. The closest we have is Johnson who does a decent job there but it isn't his best position. 

do you think we have missed johnsons presence in the holding midfield rolel i know his passing wasnt good and he gave the ball away a lot but i think he put himself about quite a bit we kept clean sheets mostly when he played and went on agood unbeaten run and looked very balanced, since  he hasnt played we seem to be going to pieces i thought in the newcastle game he put shelvey out of the game in the second half and we were really unlucky to lose that game

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3 minutes ago, barnsley ram said:

do you think we have missed johnsons presence in the holding midfield rolel i know his passing wasnt good and he gave the ball away a lot but i think he put himself about quite a bit we kept clean sheets mostly when he played and went on agood unbeaten run and looked very balanced, since  he hasnt played we seem to be going to pieces i thought in the newcastle game he put shelvey out of the game in the second half and we were really unlucky to lose that game

I agree. I suppose that's the problem with a weak squad, try to fix one thing ie poor passing from DM and we spring a leak somewhere else!

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57 minutes ago, Ramarena said:

To add to this we also had Thorne that season acting as a lynch pin holding the middle of the park together. Not many players could get past him giving Bryson, Hughes, etc that extra bit of insurance and confidence to go roam and create trouble for the opposition. 

We don't have that "insurance policy" now, hence why we seem to be much more adverse to risk in the final third. 

Neither Thorne or Eustace have been replaced adequately IMO. The closest we have is Johnson who does a decent job there but it isn't his best position. 

I've said on here several times, that when we've tried to replace/cover our key players, we've replaced the wrong things.  We've replaced Thorne's passing with Mascarell and De Sart, and we've replaced Martin's goals with Bent and Vydra.  What we need to replace was Thorne's discipline and positioning, and Martin's hold up and link play.  Thorne's passing and Martin's goals are a lovely bonus, but they aren't what makes the team tick.  That's why we were able to play fantastic football with Eustace in there, but have struggled with 'better' players like Mascarell.  Johnson did okay, but he's not great positionally - he likes to go charging around tackling people, rather than reading the game.  His passing lets him down too often as well.

First signing in the summer for me would be a 30+ year-old holding midfielder (like Eustace) that we can use to cover for Thorne, or to throw on for the last 15 minutes when we need to see a game out.  I haven't seen enough of Nugent to know if he can cover for Martin, but he's certainly a closer fit than Bent and Vydra are.

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1 minute ago, RoyMac5 said:

I agree. I suppose that's the problem with a weak squad, try to fix one thing ie poor passing from DM and we spring a leak somewhere else!

i had high hopes for De Saart. he looked like he could play a pass and was positive on the ball. It isn't working. He IS good but is early in his development and is getting dispossessed too often. I like his skill and positivity but I don't think he is strong enough against physical sides. ... needs to be picked but selectively depending on who we are up against. Otherwise Johnson makes the best overall as a patch and some silicon for that leak  

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25 minutes ago, barnsley ram said:

do you think we have missed johnsons presence in the holding midfield rolel i know his passing wasnt good and he gave the ball away a lot but i think he put himself about quite a bit we kept clean sheets mostly when he played and went on agood unbeaten run and looked very balanced, since  he hasnt played we seem to be going to pieces i thought in the newcastle game he put shelvey out of the game in the second half and we were really unlucky to lose that game

Yes. 

For me Johnson would be one of the first names on the list for CM or CDM.

You're right his passing isn't up to the standards of the other midfielders, but he's the only one who can provide a screen for the defence. Have you noticed how many of the first and second balls he wins from opposition goal/free kicks? He is also a good assets at set pieces (both offensive and defensive). 

A lot get's made on here about we need players who can play not thugs and Johnson has been heavily criticised. However he's the only midfielder in the squad at the moment he seems to show the desire to fight for the ball. His aggression, work rate and influence compensate for his lack of technical skill. 

 

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2 minutes ago, jono said:

i had high hopes for De Saart. he looked like he could play a pass and was positive on the ball. It isn't working. He IS good but is early in his development and is getting dispossessed too often. I like his skill and positivity but I don't think he is strong enough against physical sides. ... needs to be picked but selectively depending on who we are up against. Otherwise Johnson makes the best overall as a patch and some silicon for that leak  

Yes I agree, I'm hoping that Mac sees that too and only BJs injuries have meant he's missed out.

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28 minutes ago, duncanjwitham said:

I've said on here several times, that when we've tried to replace/cover our key players, we've replaced the wrong things.  We've replaced Thorne's passing with Mascarell and De Sart, and we've replaced Martin's goals with Bent and Vydra.  What we need to replace was Thorne's discipline and positioning, and Martin's hold up and link play.  Thorne's passing and Martin's goals are a lovely bonus, but they aren't what makes the team tick.  That's why we were able to play fantastic football with Eustace in there, but have struggled with 'better' players like Mascarell.  Johnson did okay, but he's not great positionally - he likes to go charging around tackling people, rather than reading the game.  His passing lets him down too often as well.

First signing in the summer for me would be a 30+ year-old holding midfielder (like Eustace) that we can use to cover for Thorne, or to throw on for the last 15 minutes when we need to see a game out.  I haven't seen enough of Nugent to know if he can cover for Martin, but he's certainly a closer fit than Bent and Vydra are.

I agree, next season I'd love to see Thorne back, but realistically we have to plan for a scenario without him. So as you say an experienced Eustace replacement (hopefully Thorne) with Johnson and Bryson competing for the box to box CM role (Johnson when we expect a battle, Bryson when we are on the front foot) and Hughes and Butterfield competing for the creative link player role. 

I would also be happy for us to sign another CM, preferable a young up and coming player.

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1 minute ago, Ramarena said:

I agree, next season I'd love to see Thorne back, but realistically we have to plan for a scenario without him.

I'm much more positive on Thorne.  We knew his other knee was going to go at some point, so that *shouldn't* happen again.   Last season, he basically played the whole season without issue - the broken leg is just pure bad luck, there's nothing anyone could do to prevent it, and any other player would suffer the same in the same situation.  If he gets back in time for preseason, I don't see any reason why he can't be a regular starter next season.  Obviously we do need cover though, like we do for any other position.

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