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ricardo

Ricardo's report v Sunderland

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It was a lovely sunny start here in Norwich but the clouds rolled in during the morning and by the time I ambled up Pottergate it was fairly well overcast. I was surprised to see Naismith straight in to the starting eleven but there was still no place for Olly and it looks like Wes and Alex Tetty could only be slated for bit parts this season.I brightened up and was quite warm as City kicked off towards the Barclay End and immediately displayed the new ethos of pass and pass again. Wildshut had a run down the right but went to ground too easily and Jerome almost got in on a couple of quick darts forward only for the Wearsiders defence to clam shut at the last moment. Just before the ten minute mark the big man was felled on the edge of the Sunderland box in a nice position for a Maddison special. Unfortunately the kick didn''t clear the wall and the resultant corner eventually came to nothing as Wildshut shot wide.There was little from the visitors who seemed content to keep everyone behind the ball at this stage. City were weaving some nice patterns and there were some clever touches, none more so than when Naismith found Jerome who slotted the ball into the corner only for the home crowd to stifle their cheers as the offside flag was raised. It was pretty to watch and even Martin got in on the act when Steele had to go full length to keep out a twenty yarder.It was all looking quite satisfactory and with the match a quarter gone the only thing lacking was a goal. In the 27th minute one eventually arrived but from a totally unexpected direction. Sunderland had been remarkably quiet until a high punt forward  caught Zimmerman in two minds and Vaughans header fell nicely for Grabban to side foot past the advancing Gunn to score and make a mockery of the balance of play.To their credit a stunned City continued to play their football but the rest of the half every movement forward foundered on the edge of the Sunderland box after a dozen or more passes. The possession was slick and tidy at times but it seldom looked like taking defenders out of the game. In contrast, Sunderland had rarely come forward but when they did a quick free kick caught the City central defenders dozing again and only alert action from Gunn prevented a second goal. Sadly, it was all the old familiar stuff with the failings of the last couple of seasons still there for all to see. When the halftime whistle blew we were left wondering how over 70% possession still left us looking second best.W3hen the second period began Wildshut might have done better on a couple of occasions but seemed to lack the confidence to go on with his initial drive. Maddison clipped some nice crosses in as the corner count mounted but a compressed Sunderland defence was first to every ball be it ariel or on the floor. The visitors made a few more forays forward as City committed more to the attack and on the hour McGready had all the time in the world to put his foot on the ball and bang an unstoppable shot inside Gunn''s left post before anyone could close him down.It was utterly disappointing, City dominated possession but Sunderland were far more efficient using the little that fell their way. Farke threw Olly and Josh on to liven things up but in truth we could all see which way the wind was blowing at this stage and it was no surprise when Grabban added a third on 67 minutes after making something out of nothing while the City defence stood like statues.For the final quarter hour Wes came on and a series of corners and free kicks came in as City swarmed round the Sunderland box. They finally got on the score sheet when Franke''s header across the box was inadvertently turned in by Grabban. It elicited a bit a charge as the crowd got behind them and although the woodwork was struck twice I think we all knew it wasn''t going to happen and we were proved right when it didn''t.So a disappointing first home game but to put things in perspective I can recall a couple of promotion seasons beginning with first game setbacks. We are a long way from all hope being lost and there were some positives to take from the game with good performances from Gunn and Maddison, but the negatives from the recent seasons still remain negatives. You can have all the possession you like but if you can''t keep your goal intact you are fighting a constant uphill battle.

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Reality check. We are short on quality. Expect a mid table finish at best. You can''t expect to sell your biggest assets and still be towards the top of the league. We have enough quality to survive but not to be challenging for promotion. Sad reality is we are mediocrity. Not convinced by Webber or Farke. Respect is earned. Time to deliver gents.

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[quote user="The Big Bad Wolf"]Reality check. We are short on quality. Expect a mid table finish at best. You can''t expect to sell your biggest assets and still be towards the top of the league. We have enough quality to survive but not to be challenging for promotion. Sad reality is we are mediocrity. Not convinced by Webber or Farke. Respect is earned. Time to deliver gents.[/quote]

You may be right BBW, but to early to tell IMO.The pretty patterns make for entertainment but I would certainly like to see more emphasis on being hard to beat. You can''t win anything with a fragile defence and we have had no solidity for several seasons now.Give it a dozen games to settle down before making predictions.

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I''m willing to give Farke and his new players ten games. But you would have expected them to get the basics right in defence after a long pre-season of being drilled in Farke''s methods.  Personally, I didn''t find any of our play remotely entertaining and got thoroughly bored by the sight of our three centre backs passing the ball back and forth on the half way line.

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I was hoping for Forster transition from defence to attack, it only happened when we got Wes and Oliviera on the pitch.

Maybe early doors but we need to be a tad faster moving forward.

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Funny thing this.

Some people are happy with the way we played and kept the ball

Some people (including me) find the keep ball style incredibly boring. Yes we kept the ball never got close to scoring

I thought we were slow and incredibly easy to defend against

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Agreed Indy and that is the sort of thing we can work on as we develop our new style of play. Its going to take time.

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[quote user="Rogue Baboon"]Funny thing this.

Some people are happy with the way we played and kept the ball

Some people (including me) find the keep ball style incredibly boring. Yes we kept the ball never got close to scoring

I thought we were slow and incredibly easy to defend against[/quote]I''m very happy with the style of play and the priority attached to keeping the ball, and if what was missing today i.e. a faster tempo (as we saw second half against Fulham and first half against Swindon) had been added I doubt if you would have been bored and the scoreline would likely have looked much better. 

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Familiar traits on show from recent and distant past. In particular a perceived contentment to play nice football with no cutting edge up front.

70% possession producing 3 attempts on target is a concern for me.

3 at the back doesn''t seem to be effective either.

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Many thanks ricardo.

Do the Maritn bashers have a point? They''re out in force tonight. Though that''s nothing unusual in itself of course.

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All of these comments are valid, but we seem to have changed everything about the club in less than 3 months and it will take longer than that for any results to be produced.

I don''t think any of us really expected us to do a Huddersfield did they? We are miles away from the top 6 on today''s performance, but the raw material I saw today is promising - apart from Watkins who seemed to fall over every time he stood up, I thought every one of our new players looked OK.

The German centre backs didn''t look great in the air, but then Ryan Bennett was but overall he was a useless defender - these two have barely played 6 games together so to condemn them as useless is a bit premature.

Farke''s command of the language is not quite 100% either, but he seemed to identify the problems we all saw. I think we''ll be no better than mid-table this season though because this whole new way of doing things is going to take some time to gel.

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[quote user="ron obvious"]Many thanks ricardo.

Do the Maritn bashers have a point? They''re out in force tonight. Though that''s nothing unusual in itself of course.[/quote]Not really, some people just need a scapegoat. He probably came closer to scoring than any other City player on the pitch. It was not a game where anything much fell to us in the box and although Sunderland were more economical with their efforts fortune was undoubtedly smiling more in their direction than ours.I continue to be more impressed with Maddison every time I see him. Reed looked decent but Watkins was a bit all over the place on todays evidence.I know I harped on a bit last season about the defence but you need to concede no more than a goal a game average to do any good in this league. So far I am unconvinced that we are capable of that.

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[quote user="ron obvious"]Many thanks ricardo.

Do the Maritn bashers have a point? They''re out in force tonight. Though that''s nothing unusual in itself of course.[/quote]Manger changed, coaches changed, players changed.Everything changed except - there is only one common denominator

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[quote user="Making Plans"][quote user="ron obvious"]Many thanks ricardo.

Do the Maritn bashers have a point? They''re out in force tonight. Though that''s nothing unusual in itself of course.[/quote]Manger changed, coaches changed, players changed.Everything changed except - there is only one common denominator[/quote]Yep, the tune remains the same.

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Refreshing to read something so balanced.

Today wasn''t a good day and there will be others like it but let''s not write people off after two fixtures, particularly the head coach. Let''s see where we are in a couple of months.

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I thought we played generally very well in midfield and since we have a new team playing a new system is really promising. Funny how some expect all this to happen overnight but it won''t. I thought Maddison, Reed, Wildshutt and Russ vere v good. CJ fed off scraps, poor fellow. But we dominated most of the game despite having Naismith busy but ineffective and Watkins a bit all over the place. We were undone by some moments of poor defending but I saw enough to think that when it does fit into place the future could be good.

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[quote user="Jack Flash"]But doesn''t "doing a Huddersfield" mean we come 19th this season and promotion next season?[/quote]
[Y] People can''t seem to get it out of their heads that last season wasn''t Wagner''s first in charge of Huddersfield! It took a good part of the 2015-16 season to implement the change of style, then a couple more transfer windows to fine tune the squad.

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thanks Ricardo a good read as usual - although  I couldn''t face it until this morning! I''m consoled now by self-reassurances that it is early days still and that we are missing key personnel (either injured or not fully up-to-speed) both meaning that we are a long way short of the finished article.

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