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ricardo

Ricardo's report v Wigan

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There was barely a breath of air to stir the flags at CR tonight and by kick off time the temperature was still in the mid twenties. Olsson made a welcome return at left back for the injured Brady as City kicked off towards the River End with an otherwise unchanged side.We didn''t have long to wait for some action as the Wigan keeper dallied too long on a back pass and Murphy nipped the ball away from him and turned it into an empty net. It was a great start and it got even better when a neat passing move between Wes, Dorrans and Johnny Howson threaded its way through the opposition penalty area leaving defenders as static as traffic cones.. Wes''s shot from the angle was palmed up by the keeper only for Murphy to nod it into the net from almost under the bar.At this stage it looked like any sort of score might be possible as City began to look a class apart. The marauding Jerome was kept out by a desperate last ditch tackle and a low Wes drive looked goal-bound until Bogdan made a diving save at the expense of a corner and with Jerome again  sniffing at the far post. Wigan looked full of running and endeavor but despite reasonable possession they seldom looked dangerous. There were fully 31 minutes on the clock before McGovern was called upon to make a block save at his near post.Murphy, buoyed by his two goals was full of running but twice showed the weaker side of his game when almost running into Olsson when the fullback had made good ground to be available for a pass and then when spooning wildly over when Wes was waiting totally unmarked on the edge of the area.Just before the break Pinto seemed to slip and injure himself, leaving the Wigan winger free to pick out his striker in the centre. With the goal gaping, Olsson did superbly to nip the ball away for a corner.  To be honest it was a rare moment of danger for City in a half where they had looked far superior and well worth their lead.Pinto was replaced by Bennett at the break and Pritchard was also brought on for Tetty. An injury maybe but I confess I didn''t notice anything serious. For the first fifteen minutes things buzzed along much as before with Wes having a close range shot well saved and Martin pinging a low angled drive just wide of Bogdans far post. Then very suddenly the balance of play seemed to change as City began to get very careless and lethargic while Wigan still had plenty of juice in the tank.McGovern was finally called upon to make a good reaction save when palming a shot over the bar that almost caught him out. It was a warning for City and AN responded by bringing on Mulumbu for Wes. The City sub almost brought about the third goal with a strong run into the Wigan box only to pass behind Jerome with the goal gaping. It was a bad miss and City paid the penalty almost immediately when Wigan broke clear and Gomez was all on his own to beat McGovern with a low twenty yarder into the corner.Oh dear, some things never change. The City defence was now at full stretch as the ball buzzed around our penalty area like an angry bee. Olsson again had to clear up on the six yard line as the pressure mounted and the minutes ticked by. City had several opportunities to nail it but Jerome, twice over the top and Pritchard, over the top and wide wasted good chances.You could tell how the balance had swung when the added time board showed 5 minutes and a groan went up from the City faithful. From total control we were now hanging on for dear life and McGovern again had to be alert to push a close range header away for a corner. City struggled to clear it and a Wigan forward looked bound to score but muffed his shot at the City goal only for McGovern to spill it. Fortunately Olsson, my MOM was alert  enough to shepherd the ball away from danger. The cheers at the final whistle were of relief more than anything else. I think the loss of Tetty had the biggest effect because we never had a real grip of the midfield during the second half.So looking at it in the round its difficult to be too critical because winning while not playing that brilliantly is never to be sneezed at but we are still some way from things being all sweetness and light.

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Where the hell did 5 minutes of extra time come from, in the 2nd half? 4 substitutions, 1 goal, and I am pretty sure the physio wasn''t called upon.

Oh yeh, nice report Ricardo...............

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I have heard questions over the players general fitness levels. Under Lambert we got stronger as games wore on. Can you see any signs that suggest we are simply running out of energy?

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[quote user="Katie Borkins"]I have heard questions over the players general fitness levels. Under Lambert we got stronger as games wore on. Can you see any signs that suggest we are simply running out of energy?[/quote]

Surely the heat and humidity may have had something to do with it last night?  Energy sapping conditions, unless Norfolk missed that warm weather the rest of us had?  We ended the game on a frantic note, having worked hard all match.  Not surprising that they were exhausted.

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For the third home game this season we''ve been handicapped by early injuries meaning we have been restricted on substitutions late on. Had Pinto & Tetts not had to go off I''m sure Jerome & Murphy would have been replaced having run themselves into the ground.

Also Pritchard coming on should have been a positive move, unfortunately it meant we lost control of midfield. Might have been better to have gone with the status quo & bring on Mulubu, instead of bringing him on when Wigan had established control.

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Ta muchly Ricardo.

I can''t help thinking we''re gonna absolutely tonk a team one day - trouble is I''ve been thinking that for years! We almost seem not to want to humiliate the opposition too much. Highlights showed some beautiful football though.

LDC, the problem is - why weren''t Wigan affected just as much? It doesn''t make sense. Once again, our players'' fitness levels seem inferior compared to the opposition''s. Weird.

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[quote user="ron obvious"]Ta muchly Ricardo.

I can''t help thinking we''re gonna absolutely tonk a team one day - trouble is I''ve been thinking that for years! We almost seem not to want to humiliate the opposition too much. Highlights showed some beautiful football though.

LDC, the problem is - why weren''t Wigan affected just as much? It doesn''t make sense. Once again, our players'' fitness levels seem inferior compared to the opposition''s. Weird.[/quote]

Good question.  Maybe we were running rings around them in the first half to the extent we were expending much more energy than them first half.  Also what can happen in those situations is that the team trying to get back find energy levels beyond what you would expect, through sheer adrenalin.

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I just checked back and Bristol City and Birmingham are the only games where we haven''t had to make a change enforced on us by injury. This is definitely limiting our ability to substitute our more tired players at the end.

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"Surely the heat and humidity may have had something to do with it last night? Energy sapping conditions, unless Norfolk missed that warm weather the rest of us had?"

Whilst it''s good to avoid negatives there were two teams on the pitch last night, as has been pointed out.

One reasonable excuse for our somewhat inconclusive home displays thus far has been that teams come to Carrow Road to defend more than usual due to our status as one of the league''s favourites. This makes it harder for us, as with the Sheffield Wednesday display.

Perhaps as the season progresses we will start to have more success away from home consider Birmingham a bad day at the office and recognise that our narrow set-up at Portman Road played into the opposition''s hands.

The game at Forest might well be a portend to the season''s away performances and results, or the opposite.

We are picking up so many in-game injuries. Is it precautionary substitutions by and large or are we having an unlucky spell? These never help fluidity.

In the conflict between the Neil "inners" and the Neil "outers" we seem to be in a phoney war stage. The next half dozen games might resolve the debate so let''s hope we are top of the league by then.

Outside the top six and the tremors will be heard as far away as South-East Kent.

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Missed a paragraph to make the point: (no edit facility!)

One reasonable excuse for our somewhat inconclusive home displays thus far has been that teams come to Carrow Road to defend more than usual due to our status as one of the league''s favourites. This makes it harder for us, as with the Sheffield Wednesday display.

With early goals this excuse cannot be applied to last night, yet Wigan apparently finished the stronger. Fitness issue, complacency or injuries disrupting? They are one of the league''s weaker outfits after all.

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There is no mystery here, complacency was the main issue, then having to work much harder than we needed to late in the game because of it.In the first half I can''t remember the last time we were so on top of a team.The exception was Olsson, who on his first game back from injury, looked ballbagged by the end.

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Thanks to the early goals, our confidence went up, and we were so in control, that we almost had a spare man over, every time we started an attack.

2nd Half, Wigan seemed to be the team who had a spare man waiting to receive a pass. This probably, was due to us closing down, and pressing, so much in the first half, and, as has been said, injuries, forced subs, which severely restricts options and thinking.

We will tonk some one soon, no doubt. Until that time,I am comfortable with the fact that, any mistakes we are making, is not costing us points. Good learning curve (as long as the players learn!)

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I think in football generally, when a team has gone to 2-0 up, it''s partly about mental strength to not let the other side back in, but partly down to chance whether that 3rd goal goes in, which kills off the opposition in almost all cases.  Last night we had good chances but didn''t get the 3rd.


If the 3rd goal doesn''t go in, teams often start to get a bit nervy and drop deeper out of a subconscious feeling of caution.  Bringing on a defensive midfielder , although tactically sound, can make this worse by giving more possession to the other side.

 

If the other side get a goal back, the mentality flips over and they have belief they can get back into it, while ramping up the nerves for the team in front.

 

This doesn''t just happen to City.  A textbook example is the World Cup quarter final 1970 when England were beating W Germany 2-0 and comfortably on top.  Bobby Charlton was taken off to rest him for the semi and we lost 3-2.

 

The solution I would like to see is that the manager makes one or two changes when it''s becoming clear the other side are getting on top in this sort of situation to try to freshen things up.  Over the years I''ve often been watching City when we''ve been in front with 60-70 minutes gone and the other side are looking likely to score, but the manager rarely changes things until it''s too late (frustratingly).  Of course, that wasn''t really possible last night having had two enforced changes at half time.

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I see what you are saying but the flip side of that strategy is when the manager makes changes and everything subsequently goes to sh!t, which does happen. Then he is castigated for changing a winning formula.

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[quote user="Chip20"]I see what you are saying but the flip side of that strategy is when the manager makes changes and everything subsequently goes to sh!t, which does happen. Then he is castigated for changing a winning formula.[/quote]

 

True, plenty of fans are happy to criticise with the benefit of hindsight.  But I think the manager should be looking at what''s happening on the pitch, and if we''re having a poor spell with the other side looking likely to score, thinking about whether he should change it.  This needs to allow for the fact that a new player will often need a few minutes to get up to speed with the game, so it''s rare to make a tactical change at CB.

 

The change can be a like-for-like swap of a player who''s clearly flagging (especially if you''re playing one up front and you need an outlet), and/or a tactical change to try to counter what the other side are doing.  That''s what the manager is paid for TBH.  Personally I''d rather have a manager who tries to tackle these issues rather than one who just leaves it.

 

This has frustrated me watching City for many years, going back to Mike Walker''s days.  Hughton used to be particularly bad, often leaving changes until it was too late to make any difference (it''s soooo annoying when you''re a goal down and a striker comes on in the 88th minute).  Lambert always used his subs aggressively which I loved about him.  If we were behind with 30 mins left, he''d make 2 changes and often it would work.  I remember when we were beating Sunderland at home and he''d used his 3rd sub on 80 minutes, then Vaughan went down injured and we ended up squeaking out the game with 10 men.  Which was an example when he clearly was over- aggressive in using the subs, but I''d still rather have his approach than a more Hughton-style approach.

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This is usually the most sensible thread to post on, and is again today. So I''ll chuck my hat in with this...

I thought the first half was utterly under control. Wigan looked uncertain at the back, lumped it a bit to a very small target man , and passed the ball (poorly) in front of our midfield. We really should have scored more . 3.0 and it would have been all over.

It was clear that something was up at half time as the team took such a long time to come out, and so it turned out that Pinto and Tettey were injured. Tettey, as usual, was his dominant self , and in so being allowed Howson to play a forward role from the right of midfield. Taking those two off, and putting Howson back into a holding role changed our dynamic considerably.

We then had Pritchard , who wasn''t as effective as Howson, and a tiring Murphy , leaving great space between Jerome and his "supporting" players. We ended up simply giving up possession every time we cleared the ball, or had a restart. even when Jerome did win a flick on , we were so deep it just kept coming back.

Neil tried to restore Howson first half contribution but putting Malumbo into a holding role. it worked to some extent , but by now most of the team looked knackered, worse than any NCFC I have seen for ages. I know it was a hot night, but it did seem extreme. AN made mention of this is his post match , but it does seem remarkable (as my daughter pointed out) that a professional footballer cannot run for 90 minutes these days (cue a 4 page diatribe from Parma Ham and Olives stating the obvious in slightly broken English)

It wasn''t great, and despite the points you do have a nagging suspicion that a team that didn''t give us a head start might come away with a bit more than Cardiff and Wigan.

But hey, I''ll take 6 pts all day long.

And if Tettey has done his ankle again we are in the Karzee.

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AN mentioned in his after match reaction about the fitness of his players, citing players getting more fit and stronger  the more regular they play, but that the half time forced him into 2 changes as Pinto / Tettey were lost, hence  quite a few in the 2nd half were players who have recently had injuries and only just got back in the team so their fitness lvls  suffered by the end. Ok, if thats Alexs answer i guess we have to go with it. Feel for Jerome, as most of us knew weeks ago, with failure to get in more strike options, added to the way Alex likes a one man up front style forever and ever, Cam Jam is indeed running himself to a standstill.

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[quote user="GPB"]This is usually the most sensible thread to post on, and is again today. So I''ll chuck my hat in with this...

I thought the first half was utterly under control. Wigan looked uncertain at the back, lumped it a bit to a very small target man , and passed the ball (poorly) in front of our midfield. We really should have scored more . 3.0 and it would have been all over.

It was clear that something was up at half time as the team took such a long time to come out, and so it turned out that Pinto and Tettey were injured. Tettey, as usual, was his dominant self , and in so being allowed Howson to play a forward role from the right of midfield. Taking those two off, and putting Howson back into a holding role changed our dynamic considerably.

We then had Pritchard , who wasn''t as effective as Howson, and a tiring Murphy , leaving great space between Jerome and his "supporting" players. We ended up simply giving up possession every time we cleared the ball, or had a restart. even when Jerome did win a flick on , we were so deep it just kept coming back.

Neil tried to restore Howson first half contribution but putting Malumbo into a holding role. it worked to some extent , but by now most of the team looked knackered, worse than any NCFC I have seen for ages. I know it was a hot night, but it did seem extreme. AN made mention of this is his post match , but it does seem remarkable (as my daughter pointed out) that a professional footballer cannot run for 90 minutes these days (cue a 4 page diatribe from Parma Ham and Olives stating the obvious in slightly broken English)

It wasn''t great, and despite the points you do have a nagging suspicion that a team that didn''t give us a head start might come away with a bit more than Cardiff and Wigan.

But hey, I''ll take 6 pts all day long.

And if Tettey has done his ankle again we are in the Karzee.[/quote]
Good post Beardo. That''s pretty much how I saw it. Apart from the last bit because I believe whatever point in the game a team scores 2 goals they''d be in trouble if they didn''t score them. Oh and the unneccesary attack on my buddy Parma. Who I happened to meet again last night which is always a pleasure.  Both of you post copious sense but he shades it....

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nutty nigel wrote the following post at 14/09/2016 1:17 PM:

GPB wrote:

This is usually the most sensible thread to post on, and is again today. So I''ll chuck my hat in with this... I thought the first half was utterly under control. Wigan looked uncertain at the back, lumped it a bit to a very small target man , and passed the ball (poorly) in front of our midfield. We really should have scored more . 3.0 and it would have been all over. It was clear that something was up at half time as the team took such a long time to come out, and so it turned out that Pinto and Tettey were injured. Tettey, as usual, was his dominant self , and in so being allowed Howson to play a forward role from the right of midfield. Taking those two off, and putting Howson back into a holding role changed our dynamic considerably. We then had Pritchard , who wasn''t as effective as Howson, and a tiring Murphy , leaving great space between Jerome and his "supporting" players. We ended up simply giving up possession every time we cleared the ball, or had a restart. even when Jerome did win a flick on , we were so deep it just kept coming back. Neil tried to restore Howson first half contribution but putting Malumbo into a holding role. it worked to some extent , but by now most of the team looked knackered, worse than any NCFC I have seen for ages. I know it was a hot night, but it did seem extreme. AN made mention of this is his post match , but it does seem remarkable (as my daughter pointed out) that a professional footballer cannot run for 90 minutes these days (cue a 4 page diatribe from Parma Ham and Olives stating the obvious in slightly broken English) It wasn''t great, and despite the points you do have a nagging suspicion that a team that didn''t give us a head start might come away with a bit more than Cardiff and Wigan. But hey, I''ll take 6 pts all day long. And if Tettey has done his ankle again we are in the Karzee.

Good post Beardo. That''s pretty much how I saw it. Apart from the last bit because I believe whatever point in the game a team scores 2 goals they''d be in trouble if they didn''t score them. Oh and the unneccesary attack on my buddy Parma. Who I happened to meet again last night which is always a pleasure. Both of you post copious sense but he shades it....

Thanks Nutty.

PS Not always easy to "attack" a poster when your tongue is so firmly in your cheek. :-)

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As LDC points out, we were full of running once we went two ahead. At times we were playing total football, by which I mean to see Ollson in an attacking position about 5 yards away from the Wigan keepers left hand post !! These efforts should ideally produced another couple of goals whereupon we could have taken the foot off the pedal for the second half. Unfortunately football is not as simple as that and so when the inevitable opponents goal came we had little left in the tank. I would not say we particularly missed Tettey it was a case that very unusually we had four players up front. Jerome, Pritchard. Howson and Murphy but the quality of the final ball was not good enough.

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The fitness thing.

I think Butler made the statement on Radio Narfolk and it seemed to cause a lot of people to sort of go - oh yeah.

It''s not overly rocket science for me. When at the very precise and well oiled end of professional football, I would say small things can make quite a difference.

So lets look at the back four.

Pinto and Olsson - both have been out injured relatively recently. Martin - this is his fourth game in two weeks after injury (I think?), Klose too is probably still playing a little catch up.

Midfield - Ja Murphy, played his socks off and gave it everything. Problem is, that whilst that is sublime, sometimes you have to make things a little easier on yourself and let the ball do the work. As Ricky said, a couple of occasions he took it on himself when playing a ball would have arguably led to a better chance and used a lot less energy. Rather than burning himself out. Kept fighting and stuff like this is to be expected of such a youngster.

Tettey - I think we all knew from the last championship season that he will struggle to play a lot of games in close succession.

Dorrans - just back from injury.

Howson - played every game so far.

Jerome has been out injured.

Hoolahan - as Tettey.

So in many ways, when you take into account that 6 of our starting 11 have recently been out with injuries and perhaps lacking that little bit of fitness, match sharpness that usually goes along with it - that''s before you consider the likes of Pitchard who himself is returning from injury to come off the bench. It is somewhat understandable that on one of the most humid and warm nights that they are likely to play in - that some of those lads were feeling it a bit.

I would be more concerned if these little injuries continue to occur and that the lack of energy towards the end of games continues.

The comparison with Lambert teams are null and void in some ways. The players he had then were not as good as the players we have now. When you are a more limited team you try and do one of two things in most cases - park the bus, defense first like the likes of Stoke, Bolton and Blackburn of days gone by - or you get your chaps to get through a lot of running and literally try to outrun opposition teams in terms of work rate.

I think those teams had a crazy stat about scoring goals late on in games . . . . .

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if tettey is out, it''s a chance for mulumbu to take or perhaps even louis Thompson... we haven''t sent him out on loan if I recall so surely he must be needed here.

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While it may be true that aiming to be fit enough to out-last the opposition is one strategy available to less talented teams, it doesn''t mean that you shouldn''t aim at similar fitness levels even if your team has bucket loads of talent. Having that capacity was a crucial weapon of all Manchester United teams under SAF -- think of the European Cup win against Bayern -- while many Arsenal wins against stubborn defences are achieved after working the opposition into the ground. So a comparison between our current fitness levels and those of Lambert''s teams is not at all "null and void" even if not particularly relevant to Tuesday''s game. Fitness has been an issue prompting questions on here season after season.

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Fitness was also mentioned in Hughton''s reign- there were questions over what Trollope and Calderwood were doing on that front.

But one important aspect is to pace oneself. I know from my own games even at my level if you start sprinting madly too much too early you generally do run out of steam quickly. OK if you get the reward but if you don''t then lack of energy later in the game becomes an issue. Maybe we just need to be more measured at times?

I wasn''t at the Wigan game so can''t comment except for the fact that the heat etc was the same for both teams, so did they take it easy earlier allowing us to take control, presumably hoping to keep it tight and then go hard in the last quarter? Could that have been a deliberate trap which we fell into?

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