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Salopian

The importance of having pace

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In the match at Manchester we saw the importance of pace - as when Rodwell, even controlling the ball as he ran, outpaced Whittaker.

 

Even more we saw it in the final goal, when Howson ran at the centre of the Blues defence. We have suffered in this was ourselves, as the occasions when Bale has run at our central defence. Many defenders are reluctant to tackle someone running towards them at speed, perhaps because tackling needs to be more accurate and well-timed, or you bring down the opponent and probably earn yourself at least a yellow card after a very dramatic tumble. Whatever the reason, the tackling was half hearted and not resolute. I have seen our central defenders like this on many occasions.

 

We knew that Howson has pace over a short distance, but on this occasion he seemed to maintain it over half a pitch length, for a very impressive goal. We wasted this most of the season as we forced him to play back just in front of the back four!

 

We know that our fullbacks lack pace, - not just Whittaker, but also Garrido and Martin. When they are goal side, they have enough skill to "shepherd" the attacker, but when the ball is played through or over, and they have to chase, they are likely to be found wanting. I hope that CH will sign a quick LB, because undoubtedly the word will have gone out.

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You moan about Whittaker and then say CH should sign a quick LB (when Whittaker is primarily a RB)?

Pace is fine going forward but you either need an exceptional player who can beat the entire opposition defence or several quick, inter-passing players. We do lack pace up front, although not essential, the addition of a couple of pacy forwards will give us more options.

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Whittakers no slouch. He got caught cold and surprised thats all. Also if you notice, he was very close in getting back and blocking the shot, another step and he would have made it I think.

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Joanna Grey wrote:

"You moan about Whittaker and then say CH should sign a quick LB (when Whittaker is primarily a RB)?

Pace is fine going forward but you either need an exceptional player who can beat the entire opposition defence or several quick, inter-passing players. We do lack pace up front, although not essential, the addition of a couple of pacy forwards will give us more options."

I was aware that Whittaker is usually a right back, but I am also aware that that all our fullbacks are lacking a little pace, with Garrido perhaps the slowest of all and virtually our only playable left back. I assume that CH will try top sign a left back, and I was expressing the hope that he would find one with pace.

 

If we are going to play high up the pitch, as most reckon we should, and also encourage our backs to get forward, there will be acres of space left down the wings. We need backs who can return quickly and who should be able to compete for any ball lofted over the top into the space. Otherwise we shall find ourselves wanting.

 

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Nickd sais

"Whittakers no slouch. He got caught cold and surprised thats all. Also if you notice, he was very close in getting back and blocking the shot, another step and he would have made it I think."

I quite agree that Whittaker is no slouch, although his reputation among Rangers fans as expressed on this board is that he is not quick. He has other qualities, especially in reading a game and getting into position, but he is short of pace compared with many of the wingers he will meet. If we are to maintain a high level of defence, and also encourage the backs to raid forward, then we could become vulnerable to balls played over the top and into space.

I am not sure that Whittaker was making much headway on Rodwell, and nearly caught him only because the latter slowed down to gather himself before shooting. He was still behind in a somewhat desperate tackle and brought Rodwell down, and I suspect that there could have been a penalty if the goal had not been scored.

I would be surprised if he had not narrowed the gap slightly since Rodwell was controlling the ball as he ran, which clearly will hinder him.

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Howson neatly illustrated one reason why this season has been a struggle and that is pace in the middle of the park to get up and down to support the attack as well as chase back when required. It is one reason why Wigan are capable of being more of a threat than they should be- their ability to break at pace and cause problems. The  Prem is increasingly about either pace or neat quick one touch interplay largely through the middle. Bassong has made a huge difference because he is deceptively quick as well as strong.

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As Whittaker trailed in Rodwell''s wake, it occurred to me that Otsemobor would have caught him, no problem.

The problem would be what on Earth he would do when he got there...

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Not neccesarily pace in the middle but stamina too.

I watched the Lampard thing on Sky last night and he said that from a young age, his dad made him work on his stamina so he could get in the penalty area and score goals. He said that he''d just be one of those midfielders who hang around the centre and don''t do much more than the basics otherwise (see Gareth Barry for example).

If we could train Howson to use his excellent stamina and work rate like Lampard has over the years, the last couple of weeks from him could be a regular occurence.

As for the pace out wide, my suggestion of Henri Bedimo stands still. Decent outlet at left back or left mid.

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This is the truth.  But don''t let the truth get in the way of another pop at the squad an Hughton "no pace" "not attacking enough" blach blah blah.[quote user="Nicko"]Whittakers no slouch. He got caught cold and surprised thats all. Also if you notice, he was very close in getting back and blocking the shot, another step and he would have made it I think.[/quote]

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