Saturday, 25 October 2014

"We score one, now we must step on neck"

A big TSW welcome for debutant Jonathan Weaver. With the dust now somewhat settled after a very disappointing result on the weekend, He felt like putting down some of his thoughts. 

Before carrying on, there has been some excellent analysis from other bloggers including and, and also on this site, so I won’t go deep into tactical analysis or talk too much about Monk and Cheatgate.  Yes Moses went down easily, but that's far from the first and last time we will see that in the Premier League unfortunately.

My viewpoint basically comes from the stance that, we have in general equipped ourselves rather well over our three and a bit seasons in the Premier League now, and generally we've made strides along the way.  We have now been in this league long enough to consider ourselves a solid mid table team, and we have the players to back that up, but we - at times - still seem a little naive.  If you look at any of the games over the last few weeks, they all follow a similar pattern.  Play like Germany for the first 20 minutes and steam roller teams, either to not score, or if we do, be pegged back by half time.

The number of goals we are conceding between 40-45 minutes is criminal.  I know this weekend was a penalty, but knowing our luck and seeing the way we invite pressure on ourselves at times, you just knew that Moses was going to do that.  Sometimes you just wish in those situations a couple of the senior players would realise our weaknesses and focus on shutting a team out, or better still just playing keep ball as we had been doing for the previous 40 minutes.

I suppose my biggest gripe in terms of the naivety thing is this.  We are playing with two of the quickest wingers in the league, with an even faster player on the bench.  Now within the first 20 minutes of these games, Dyer or Routledge will skin someone and draw a yellow card for them.  In the game against Stoke, it was Shawcross who got booked for his “challenge” on Bony but you get my point.  Bardsley followed later into the book. Against Newcastle it was Coloccini with half an hour left and in the game against Sunderland it was Cattermole within 20 minutes, and against Southampton 3 out of their back 4 had been booked within 48 minutes.

Now most of these players are defensive minded players most of whom have some history of rash challenges, so would someone please tell me why on earth we aren’t getting the ball to Dyer and Routledge and sending them one on one against these players.  Shift formation, move positions, anything.  We saw the exact happen with Rangel for us.  He got a silly yellow, and then they targeted him again.  

Now i know this sounds very cynical of me, but every one of the other teams in the league does it, and I’m in no way saying we need to start cheating like that Stoke lot, but honestly, your telling me that if you or I were playing against Shawcross or Bardsley or Colocinni you wouldn’t be thinking the same, “right give me the ball, I’m gonna sell him this time and this donkey will kick me up in the air”  Its bound to happen.  But instead we seem to get a goal up or look comfortable, get a couple of their players booked and then be content to playing the ball around without going for it.

Sometimes this is where I think at times we would almost be better off at times having a second gear or getting players to really go for it.  I for one was quite unexcited by the signing of Marvin Emnes. Despite Matt Harrison's man crush on him [Ha! - Ed] I thought we signed a journeyman from the lower leagues, but the thing I like with him, is that he comes on, runs at people, tries to shoot, create stuff and is intelligent in the way he wins free kicks and penalties. Montero is much the same.  He comes on, and runs at players and crosses balls in.  Some games our wingers seem to forget the ability to do that at times, and luckily we have two wingers on the bench to remind them to keep on their toes.

The man, the myth, the legend that is Hazelton Wang once said “we score one, now we must step on neck” and he was right.  We need to kill these teams off before they even know its 30 minutes gone. I would love to see us heed his advice and keep up the tempo.  Look at the Champions League victories in midweek - did the aggressors let up? No, and their coaches were urging them on to score more, like with Koeman and Southampton last weekend too.

This business of moaning about decisions from the ref, yes I agree we have been hard done by, but we shouldn’t even be allowing teams a chance to turn a whole 90 minutes of football with one decision.  Against Stoke yes it was a dive, but we still had 45 minutes to score, and we hardly created anything of note.  Too often we get to the end of a game and moan about one decision, when in essence we have only ourselves to blame that we haven't created more.  Until they bring in video refereeing, there will always be dubious calls - the key for us is to not have those decisions affect our results.  Margins are tight in this league yes, but I think we have more than enough quality to string together the wins.

I wrote another blog recently about the things we need to change to succeed this season (link), and one of the points I made was about taking our chances.  We saw it this weekend again.  You don’t get many clear cut chances in this league.  We have to take them.

Whilst this may sound negative,if we can just get a result or two in a row the confidence will come flooding back, and I am 100% sure we can have a great season.  We have an amazing team, an amazing manager ...I mean, anytime I see Sigurdsson and Bony in a Swans shirt I still rub my eyes in disbelief.

Onwards and upwards.  In Monk we trust.

Thanks to Jonathan for that great debut piece. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Weaver. It's a sentiment I agree with - we need to be more streetwise, and go for the kill when on top. Agree? Disagree? Get in touch!