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kick it off

Just back from the game

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I won''t even try to emulate the great Ricardo''s in-depth match analyses, so just a collection of vaguely ordered bits from the game.
- This stupid tippy-tappy possession football needs to stop. It''s not effective and we''d have beaten Bham if we''d had a go, they were there for the taking. I understand why Farke didn''t go out all guns blazing, but the amount of backwards passes is unreal. We must be one of the few teams in the league who can turn a throw in on the edge of the opposition box into our own keeper having possession in our area, in under 10 seconds without the opposition touching it.
- The wide players were stood alone on the touchline about 42 times today and we failed to hit them almost without fail. Hanley kept trying 60 yard cross-field balls and they missed the mark by an average of about 10 yards a pop, and nobody else seemed willing to try and get them in. Was really frustrating to watch.
- The team looks to have the makings of a very good side, if we can change the possession mentality. Several players showed glimpses of real class today. We were crying out for some direct play today, and we missed Maddison''s ability to carry the ball and link the defence and attack together. McLean provided that when he came on and it really changed the game. 
- Farke made the right subs today, at the right time. I don''t like the mentality and the starting 11 was conservative for me, but I thought his in game adjustments were good.
- When McLean came on, we turned into a juggernaut. We were unplayable going forward. A bit more time for the players to gel, and a bit more
 focus on this side of the game at 0-0 rather than waiting until we''re behind to stop the pretentious tippy-tappy cr*p and go for teams, and we''ll do some damage this year. Pukki, Hernandez and McLean were at the core of the result today and they linked up beautifully several times.
- Not the worst ref we''ve ever had but a few really questionable decisions - Marshall knocked it past the defender, who then clattered him. Marshall would have been through if he hadn''t been cynically taken out yet the ref inexplicably gave the free kick to Birmingham. The timewasting started in the 57th minute and he did NOTHING about it, despite Blues players blatantly kicking the ball away etc. Like I say, not the worst we''ve had, but a totally spineless ponce nonetheless.
- Russ Martin was in with the fans today.
 - Krul looks a very astute bit of business. Nothing he could do for the goals, and he looked comfortable and confident all day long.
- James Husband is not a footballer. He just isn''t. There is not one ounce of footballing intelligence in that guy''s brain, and even less talent. Useless. He was useless every game last season and he''s determined to prove he really is that shyte. Never want to see him in a City shirt again, not good enough for Norwich United, let alone us and better teams will exploit him time and again (like they did last year). Had a chance to clear the rebound on the first goal too, but even aside from that, he''s just abysmal. Got booed off the pitch when he was subbed, by a large section of fans and it was understandable.
- Klose had a decent game, didn''t do too much wrong and picked up the pieces for errors by other defenders a couple of times. Nothing spectacular, but he was decent.
- Hanley was atrocious. Don''t know what was wrong with him, but he was all over the place today. Missed several headers, including the critical one for the second goal, played their striker in with woefully misplaced passes twice in the space of about 15 minutes in the first half. The guy is an absolute warrior, and picked up quite a few bumps and bruises during the game, and made one or two critical blocks but overall it was pretty poor from our new captain.
- Marshall was a bit of a mixed bag. Some very good moments and some very poor ones, but he was involved in an awful lot of the game. Definitely not somebody who will hide when the pressure is on. Good attitude, works hard, seems to have a bit about him but needs a bit of time to gel with the team.
Tettey and Trybull - largely ineffective and offered us absolutely nothing going forward. I like both of them but it really didn''t work today, neither seemed willing to pass forwards at all. It was like having 2 Fotheringhams (minus the fozzy flick) on the pitch at times. Every single pass was backwards or sideways. Very frustrating.
Hernandez - Came in and out of the game due to the lack of service, but was absolutely the catalyst that got us a point today. The last 10 minutes or so he was absolutely electric. Really pleased with what he offered as he looked a real threat every time he got the ball, and when we finally started to capitalise on that, he scored 2 and was an inch away from a hat-trick. 
Stiepermann - Absolutely ineffective going forward. Worked hard and won us the ball back with his hassling defenders a couple of times, but I don''t see any reason he should be on the team sheet next week (unless it''s at Left Back because Lewis isn''t fit). Was decent enough at Left Back and was a massive upgrade on Husband, but he''s never going to stake a claim there over Lewis.
Pukki - Worked tirelessly, and looks a real handful but again wasn''t given enough opportunities to show it because every player behind him was obsessed with getting the ball back to Krul as quickly as possible. You could see from some of his touches and movement that he is very sharp and has a good footballing brain. Quite small but deceptively strong. One of the Bham players tried to foul him to stop him breaking away after we cleared the ball, and he had to go in cynically twice because the first attempt at barging Pukki over resulted in him bouncing off him and Pukki not even breaking stride. Think he''ll be an important player for us this season, possibly THE most important player.
Rhodes - We have a striker again. Really should have scored the diving header, but that aside, he looked a real threat and was in the box every time we went forwards. He will score goals for us, no doubt about it. Very physical, clever touches, strong, quick and unlucky with his (non-diving) header in the first half which forced a great save out the keeper. No concerns about him whatsoever, he will come good.
McLean - Not sure why he was shifted into a defensive role as he looked very good when he came on, and probably should have scored but defender made the block. If he had started, we probably would have won the game, he was exactly what the midfield lacked with Tettey and Trybull in there. Looks a good signing.
Leitner - I like Moritz but he didn''t have much (if any) impact today. Not good, not bad, just a bit anonymous apart from giving it away in good positions a couple of times unnecessarily.
Srbeny - Looks a different player to last season. He''s been stacking the weights during the offseason, and it looks like time well spent. Almost has the Grant Holt frame now, a long way from the weedy kid that we signed. Big, strong, quick, and created the second goal by running directly at the defence and playing Onel clean through, but had a few other nice moments too. Really good display from him today, very encouraging.

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Good read to help someone like myself that does not go to the games. Pleased McLean has had a decent debut and it seems individually we have potential.

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Good report buddy

On the wireless it sounded like Srbenny and Hernandez clicked. Could there be a partnership forming?

Oh and apparently Russ was in the back row. Was it a centre seat or out on the right?

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Have never understood booing our own players. There is a possibility Husband will start the next game so completely counterproductive to give him a verbal kicking and erode his confidence.

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[quote user="Gordon Bennett"]Have never understood booing our own players. There is a possibility Husband will start the next game so completely counterproductive to give him a verbal kicking and erode his confidence.[/quote]
I don''t think his confidence is the issue, it''s his ability. Start Max Aarons there if Stiepermann and Lewis are both out. Husband will get destroyed by Matt Phillips and that matchup could quite possibly decide the game if he starts.
He isn''t even good enough to be a squad player.
If he doesn''t like to get booed then maybe he should stop being absolutely useless.

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Great Report that cconfirmed my fears good team some good players that need unleashing with a more direct tactic''s from Farke

i just hope we can get rid on the Tippy Tappy stuff until we are seeing a game out we need to be more direct and by the sounds of it when we were we had success

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Totally agree with Kickitoff  This stupid tippy-tappy possession football needs to stop
To be fair we did mix it a bit, but always looked better when we lost the possession play. 
We didn''t even start the second half until we were one down, what happened there ?
When we needed a goal late on, there seemed to be more purpose to our play, why can''t we always play like that ?
And yes, I was there.

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Top quality report Kick It Off and was pretty much as I ''saw'' it via Rodeo Norfolk. My away debut this season will be at the ''spicy'' Bramall Lane in two weeks quickly followed, of course, by ''The Journey to Hell'' (well Ipswich anyway!).

The boy Farke is a typical pragmatic, possession infatuated German coach and that shone through all last season. Whether he has learned to adapt (or is even willing to) will determine his future at FCR. Spot on about the ''tippy tappy'' football.

Of all the foreign imports the boy Onel even in his brief appearances last season looked to be the most likely to come good as he has an ''edge'' about him and is willing to work and with some aggression. That is 100% essential in this league. A team packed full of ''fancy dan'' footballers will get rolled over in what is one of the most demanding leagues in the world. Now Onel has started to show what he can do.

I hadn''t written Srbeny off but was 90% of the way there I''ll admit. If he''s now looking how you (and others) have described then that could be a huge positive for us and will give us the foil / partner JR needs. It will also greatly increase Srbeny''s confidence and potential for knocking some goals in.

Biggest annoyance for me was the that Farke couldn''t bring himself to ultimately trust our young players with Godfrey and Aarons not even making the bench. How galling to see Tettey waltz straight back in after virtually nil pre season activity whilst Godfrey and Thompson were ignored despite being hyped up in the media by Farke in recent weeks.

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Thanks KIO. Very thourough and interesting points. Hopefully the problems Hanley had today were a one off and not the result of some sort of burden he is feeling from the captaincy. Seems like there were a lot of misplaced passes, they said on the radio that the pitch hadn''t been watered, perhaps we had a bit of trouble getting used to the pace of the surface.
The big point though is the style of play, we were warned that we would have to have patience, and I was happy to go with that, but the style does not seem to have an end product, yet with backs against the wall we show we can play a more attacking style and score goals.
A good result nevertheless and the sort of finish to a game that can give the team a huge boost at the begining of the season.
Looking forward to WBA

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Great report kio. Thank you. A very comprehensive analysis and comments fair too. I hope Jamal is fit for the next game. And for me McLean a must probably for Stiepermann ...who has the physicality for this league but McLean looks like he can take the game by the scruff of the neck. Perhaps Thompson too would be good in the mix. Agree about Pukki. A sound signing. Srbeny indeed has come on a lot. It was his drive, strength and skill that set up Hernandez. The latter seems to have started to fulfill the promise from odd games he played last year. He was v good pre season too.

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How can people say great report and then say they weren’t there and watched it on the radio ? No offence to kio but I think I’ll go with Michael Baileys video.

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[quote user="FenwayFrank"]How can people say great report and then say they weren’t there and watched it on the radio ? No offence to kio but I think I’ll go with Michael Baileys video.[/quote]

Er - because it WAS a well thought through, objective yet ''cutting'' analysis from a guy who was at the game. Why should Bailey''s report be more accurate?

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I was at the game as well today and have to agree almost wholeheartedly with what KIO said only thing different was I thought Leitner looked hungry when he came on, good touch and pass but as KIO said didn''t do much just seemed to change the pace although did come at the same time as Mclean who totally changed the game. Does this also mean my opinion is wrong Frank?

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To be fair I agree with a lot of that KIO.

The bit i dont necessarily agree with is the possession game being wrong. We passed backwards a little too often maybe with Tettey particularly guilty but equally it was passing play that created two chances for Rhodes and the missed one from Hernandez, i think. And we did try and mix it up even during those passing moments. The problem was Hanley wasnt on it and was missing the precision for the long balls and its also not Tetteys or Trybulls game.

Overall today has to be seen as a positive. Created clear chances, scored two of them. None of the new signings looked like they wouldnt be able to cut it at this level either, although it is of course early days.

Husband was poor, but didnt deserve to be boo''d off in his first game of the season! He knows hes not first choice but hes come in and tried to do a job. It was a bit naive from Farke maybe to trust him with Onel in front offering little assistance defensively.

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So we looked unthreatening whilst playing tippy tappy, went behind, changed it up to go more direct and scored 2 goals.
Story of last season all over again. Farke has to realise these are not Bundesliga defenders, if you attack teams you WILL win games.
Also confirms my analysis of Husband from last season, totally unimpressed by him and can''t believe we brought him back. Playing Trybull and Tettey together in the team is uninspired and doesn''t create chances, just pick one or t''other.

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Thanks KIO. Much appreciated. I watched it on the wireless. Cedric tends to make too many comments.

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Yes, Srbeny was involved in both goals. Physically powerful and ran with the ball. Til will be gutted.

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Not much has been said about the first twenty minutes when we quietened the crowd, had several decent shots and made a solid start. Yes, the tipppy tappy stuff is a bit overdone at times - but it is needed because it keeps possession.  Overall it is about the balance between keeping possession and attacking - it got us a point today and as long as we pick up points away and win home matches, we will do well this season.
It was great to see Onel play well today - and really, as the confidence grows in the ability of him and Rhodes and Pukki, all of whom look good to me, it will encourage defenders and midfielders to trust them to be able to do something if they pass it forwards. I thought it was a good game and Birmingham were not going to roll over - and we got a deserved point. Yes, it could have been three, but also, yes we could have lost.
For a first game of the season I thought it was a good effort - good performances all round and Husband did do well at times too, some link up play on the left from time to time.  I applauded him off, as did quite a lot of people near me.  The boos at his substitution were ridiculous and pathetic.
 

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Yes, worth mentioning Rhodes is an actual striker and it was nice to see clear movement and diagonal runs to give us a long ball option rather than hands-on-hips sulking Oliviera.

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[quote user="hogesar"]Yes, worth mentioning Rhodes is an actual striker and it was nice to see clear movement and diagonal runs to give us a long ball option rather than hands-on-hips sulking Oliviera.[/quote]
The problem today was that nobody was willing to give him that killer ball, and when they did, it was generally poor quality. Thought Leitner would provide that when he came on but he was pretty quiet. Totally agree he looks like a proper striker though. 
No flouncing, willing runner, and really intelligent movement to create space for others too... he chased lost causes and the flick to Hernandez in the first half was sublime (it''s on the highlights on Skysports website for those who weren''t at the game). He''s got a fantastic touch on him.
Another point to note is that when Rhodes goes up for a header off a goal kick - he actually directs it to a team-mate, as opposed to Nelson and Jerome who invariably flicked it forwards to no-one. It''s a small point but one worth making as it is definitely more positive.

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[quote user="hogesar"]To be fair I agree with a lot of that KIO.

The bit i dont necessarily agree with is the possession game being wrong. We passed backwards a little too often maybe with Tettey particularly guilty but equally it was passing play that created two chances for Rhodes and the missed one from Hernandez, i think. And we did try and mix it up even during those passing moments. The problem was Hanley wasnt on it and was missing the precision for the long balls and its also not Tetteys or Trybulls game. [/quote]
I think it''s a balance thing. It''s not the possession football that Im specifically opposed to, it''s posession football at the expense of any kind of forward intent. We showed it in a brief spell in the first half, and towards the end, but much of the 20min - 80min timeframe was trying to get it along the halfway line or back to Krul. Bit more attacking intent throughout the game and we''ll start to see things click. Take your point about trying to mix it up, but my perception was that often Hanley was only trying the long passes because the crowd were getting so frustrated with 28 5 yard passes in a row, or he had no other option as Bham were pressing.

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For all the criticisms, it was ultimately a decent enough result, clearly with things to work on.

Whoever (with hindsight) is now criticising the Tettey:Trybul partnership is distinctly at odds with thoughts at the time the team was announced and it was also seen as a big plus that Tettey had been selected (he had been back in training 10+ days which seems enough).

I agree with some of the comments but booing any player in the first game of the season, that is just ''support'' that no one needs, surely.

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Disagree about Leitner. Thought he looked class & our closest replacement for Maddison''s creativity. McLean was also excellent.

I''m ever the optimist, but I thought there were some real grounds for excitement today..

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Plenty to be positive about.
The intent to develop players over a longer period is beginning to bear fruit. Sir Benny looks like he has taken up a ''Charles Atlas'' course - and is certainly not the gawky kid of six months ago.
Signing Krul was a shrewd move. A goalie with the same physique as Gunn (and De Ghea?) and inspires the same confidence.
A team needs a good spine so the saying goes, and with Krul, Hanley, Tettey and Rhodes we have that. Though Hanley did look out of sorts today. Something was up as Klose seemed to be reassuring him rather than any castigating.
To me the idea seemed to be one of sit deep, tire out Brum then step it up in the latter part of the game, reasoning that the pre season training would prove City the better men. All going to plan until Brum scored which required us to take the ball to them earlier than intended. Thankfully McLean, Onel and Sir benny were well up to that.
On a better day Rhodes would have scored, and maybe with Lewis and Pinto back at least on of their goals would have not one in.The team was picked on the basis (as ever) of horses foe courses, not as some imagine who are our ''best eleven''. It is about who are best suited to counteract Brum''s threats and who is best suited to exploit their weaknesses.
If the coaching staff can revive Rhodes (as it appears),Trybull and Leitner ..... develop the like of Sir Benny and Onel and bring on the talents of Lewis and Aarons coupled with the ability to find players like Marshall, Pukki and McLean then we are in safe hands.
With no mention of the waiting talent of Cantwell, Godfrey and Thompson ................... plus Tristan Adams, who came off the bench to score a 95th goal for Exeter.
Much to look forward to this season, methinks

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[quote user="curious yellow"]So the booing and negativity starts on day one by people still unable to understand the harm it does the club.[/quote]
Husband was abysmal. He has been abysmal every game he has played for us. He has never even had an adequate game for us, let alone a good one.
If you''re that upset for him, write him a letter of support to boost his morale and make sure he''s feeling chipper.
It didn''t seem to do us much harm today - we won 2-1 after the booing incident. Think your premise is a bit thin.
He''s sh1t. Should we all pretend he isn''t so we don''t hurt his feelings? The rest of the squad can see he''s sh1t, they''re not idiots.

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