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El Convento

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  1. Watching the Leeds game I couldn't help but remember how much stick Bamford got here. But he looked like the striker we can't afford yesterday.
  2. Strange game. You would have thought that the Leam Richardson had thrown it from the off by setting up to play us with so much respect. They stood off us for 25 minutes, up until around the time of the Krul save, when it seemed to dawn on them that they didn't need to. After that, the game was much more like last week: an uncreative and unphysical side with a modicum of individual talent versus a mob of unthreatening cloggers. Hard to see how either side would score. It wasn't that we had a great first 25 minutes: it was that they let us play without interference. Yet Smith, like Richardson was also guilty of showing too much respect - in his case for Teemu. Like many on here, Smith evidently feels that Pukki is nailed on for 90 minutes every week. Pukki is an OK finisher if provided with enough through balls into space, but that isn't going to happen much this season. He's not so useful in a scrap or a footrace against the usual agricultural centre back. His decisions often weren't that good today either. In the absence of any other physical striker (I don't count Sargeant, although he's physical) I suppose we should be putting Hugill on (probably starting him) - at least he (like Hernandez) can hold his own and would be an aerial threat (since we seem to be crossing nowadays). He finished respectably in pre-season. I suppose that there will be days when we are luckier with the ref, and may get a penalty or two (Wigan will certainly concede some) but we can't rely on it, and there are plenty who will apply the same ethos as today's ref, who evidently considers it's 'a man's game', so no need to apply the rules.
  3. Yes, I thought so. He'll hopefully learn from it. Poor old Hanley went off for about half a yellow.
  4. It's always difficult playing against cloggers, and we tend to find it more difficult than most. For once, today, I don't even think we can feel aggrieved at the ref, who looked after us reasonably well. But with all our attacks continuously broken up by niggling fouls, we really needed a good stream of chances if we were to finish enough. And that is my concern. I know it's heresy to suggest it, but I'm not sure it will have been wise not to recruit a Pukki replacement this season. Even last time in the champs, and despite the golden boot, Pukki squandered more one-on-ones than I have ever seen in a season - but fortunately Buendia created them with such regularity that it didn't matter. But with Buendia gone, it's hard to see who will replace his 15 goals and 17 assists (which should have been on 30). Also, Pukki is a couple of years older and a yard slower now (it was a caution to see how easily Cardiff's massive centre backs were able to nullify Pukki, and even to outpace him to the ball). Whilst I've got my tin hat on, I'll also mention that Hugill is a real nuisance in the box, and I'd probably play him ahead of Pukki for the lack of anyone else. This was evidenced in pre-season - he could easily have had a hat-trick against Cambridge United, for example - and was harrying defenders in possession furiously (somethink Pukki has lacked even in his heyday). OK, I know it was 'only' Cambridge United, but they outplayed us in the first half - a half in which Pukki had only one long-range chance. OK, I'll get my coat. I know it's only the first game and so very early days. Things might gel yet, and I really hope they do - and that I will be back with my tail between my legs to congratulate Pukki on another golden boot!
  5. Yes, 2017 apparently - it feels like a couple of years ago.
  6. I don't think so - I believe he was released at the end of last season.
  7. I'll be there with two of my sons, if it's still on. We're looking forward to it - it's our first outing of the pre-season. I recall a lot of unfriendly challenges last time there, so I hope we will avoid injuries.
  8. I do sympathise with the OP regarding the circular petty squabbles. It's frustrating to wade through a thread which purports to address an interesting topic, only to find it full of that c**p. Still, that's forums (fora?), I guess...
  9. The problem with the no-investment (aka self-funding) model is that squad inflation causes you to sink progressively in 'real terms'. This is exacerbated as willing investors are gradually buying their way down the divisions. At the moment, we are yo-yo-ing in and out of the prem, suffering weekly humiliation in our prem seasons owing to the gulf between prem and champs. We won't have to bear this for long - we will soon be able to enjoy a period of stability and competitiveness as a mid-table champs club, until we enter the next period of transition as the champs becomes more heavily invested. Football has become a part of the hard-nosed entertainment industry, absorbed into the ecosystem of merch, hospitality, gambling etc. There is no room for enthusiasts. Sooner or later, after the demise of S+J, we will attract an investor - unless we have become too unattractive by then.
  10. This. But might have needed to repurpose more cash than that. Perhaps the Gunn money...
  11. I think that the bigger problem was the failure to recruit a prem-quality striker, which I'm afraid Pukki isn't (for reasons mentioned here and in other threads, and demonstrated last time around). So it wouldn't have been a good idea to arrange recruitment around him in my opinion. Obviously prem-quality strikers are expensive, and maybe we couldn't have run to one, but the favouring of recruiting quantity over quality was particularly damaging in this regard.
  12. I agree with most of this. Of particular importance, I think, is the ability/inclination to press higher up the pitch. We don't do nearly enough of this, and didn't in the champs either - but it didn't matter so much then since we had the ball most of the time. It's vital in the prem: it relieves pressure at the back as well as creating more chances at the front. Top teams in the prem succeed as much by tough pressing (and early fouling to break up anything coming over the half way line) as they do by spectacular individual skills. Normann and Sargent (despite other issues) can improve this, as I believe could some of the other newcomers so far largely benched. Pukki, for whatever reason, doesn't press with conviction (and thus perhaps probably restricts his own chances). Cantwell, ironically, does (as far as I can remember). Who knows what the new manager will bring. It'll be interesting.
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