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priceyrice

Results against the lower prem teams cost us this season

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So, we are currently in a dreadful position and something which most fans have seen coming now for at least two months. We have set up to draw away games and to not lose against the teams around us, rather than going out there to win - this has cost us hugely this season.
I am not going to pull a list of all our wins this season against all our wins last season, but it appears to me that the major difference is that last season we were beating those teams around us. I think i am right in thinking we gained 12 points against fellow promoted teams. Now in stark contrast from last season, this season has seen us fail to win the majority of our games against lower prem teams, however we have seen a couple more ''lucky'' wins against the big boys.
There is no question that winning a game against a relegation rival is more advantageous than beating the likes of Utd and Everton, but IMO, i don''t think we have set out to win those games this season. Take the recent games against Stoke and Wigan, two sides who performed dreadfully against us, yet we didn''t have a shot on target. I believe the main reason behind this is because the players were told to go out and not to lose, to ensure our rivals didn''t gain ground on us, however, as we know, that didn''t happen and we lost both by a goal to nil. The same came be said for the majority of our games against the bottom half clubs, we have looked to try and stop them gaining 3 points at the lose of 2 points for us.
Now that sort of thinking is what has cost us, perhaps if Hughton had got the draw in those games as he desired then we wouldn''t be in this position, but if we had gone in too every game against the bottom half clubs, home and away, with the desire to win, rather than not lose i am certain we would have won more points. As it stands Hughton''s plan to gain draws to see us over the line has failed and i cannot for the life of me understand why the man just didn''t set out to win these games, we may have suffered more losses, but as everyone is aware, 2 draws and 1 lose is worse than 2 losses and 1 win, points wise. 
Even when we were on our unbeaten run, we had 6 draws and 4 wins, add a couple more wins in there and some losses and we would be safe by now. The problem under Hughton is this draw mentality, especially away from home. I remember looking at the guys record last season and i think he had drawn 13 games in the season with Birmingham. That is a crazy amount of draws and obviously shows us something about how he sets his teams up.
Now i have supported Hoots 100% this season and i was sure he was the right man for the job, but with 2 games to go and whatever the outcome at the end of the season, the man has to go. His style of football is dreadful and the teams mindset against other bottom half prem club is just wrong. We should be going out to win every one of those games, not going away with the hope of gaining a point every game. Our fate has been in our hands for months now and only the manager and the players can take responsibility for what has happened- did they think the job was done, did Hughton go extra safe with the hope of preventing teams around gaining 3 points against us? I think our management team have spent too long this season worrying about the strengths of other clubs, and how to set up to nullify them, rather than setting up in a way which brings out the best in our own players.
Now i will support hughton for the final two games of the season. Let''s be honest this Saturday coming up will decide the last relegation spot and IMO it''s between us and Newcaslte, unless Swansea do us a huge favour today. I wish i could be at the game this saturday and just hope everyone there continues to get behind the team for one final game then in the Summer the Hughton-Out campaign can begin!
Sorry, this was meant to only be a few sentences long, ended up a bit of a rant!

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Its one of the main differences between last season and this, sure we didnt beat Arsenal or Man U... but we beat the other 2 teams that came up with us home, and away and took points from Bolton, Wolves, Blackburn and Aston Villa. Beating the teams in the mix is as much about picking up points as it is dennying them any. Losing to Wigan away now is looking like a disaster, not only would we be a point better off, but so would wigan be really in the mire. Same with Villa on Saturday, if we cant take full points then you have to deny them the luxery of full points and the chance to jump over us in the table. The only thing I can say is that we had 2 fairly strong teams come up this season in West Ham and Southampton, no real cannon fodder like if a Blackpool had come up.. I suppose Reading count, but really you want the 3 teams coming up all struggling themselves and being easy points. And it gives me hope if we stay up the teams coming up dont look quite as strong as West Ham and Southampton, especailly the teams in the playoffs. Debt free, RVW coming in, and able to replace the no quite there players with upgrades, next season should (on paper) be easier, especially when it comes to get points off our mid to lower table rivals.

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Agree that it is the beating of the teams around you that is crucial, Mr Chops mini relegation league I always find worth a look, this is something Hughton failed to grasp by seeing a draw in these fixtures as a good result.

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[quote user="Vanwink"]Agree that it is the beating of the teams around you that is crucial, Mr Chops mini relegation league I always find worth a look, this is something Hughton failed to grasp by seeing a draw in these fixtures as a good result.[/quote]
Agree 100% Wiz

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[quote user="birchfest"]Its one of the main differences between last season and this, sure we didnt beat Arsenal or Man U... but we beat the other 2 teams that came up with us home, and away and took points from Bolton, Wolves, Blackburn and Aston Villa.

Beating the teams in the mix is as much about picking up points as it is dennying them any. Losing to Wigan away now is looking like a disaster, not only would we be a point better off, but so would wigan be really in the mire. Same with Villa on Saturday, if we cant take full points then you have to deny them the luxery of full points and the chance to jump over us in the table.

[/quote]

Agree with this.  I don''t understand our approach at Wigan compared to how we approached the Sunderland game.  At Sunderland we went for it and took the lead, and even with dreadful refereeing we could easily have come back with 3 points.  At Wigan it was clear they had a poor defence but some good attacking players.  Yet we basically sat back, even when we went behind we didn''t really go for it.  That game was winnable but even if we''d got a point, it would leave Wigan on 33 points right now and us on 39.  If we do go down, that will be the game when we lost it for me.

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[quote user="It''s Character Forming"]

[quote user="birchfest"]Its one of the main differences between last season and this, sure we didnt beat Arsenal or Man U... but we beat the other 2 teams that came up with us home, and away and took points from Bolton, Wolves, Blackburn and Aston Villa. Beating the teams in the mix is as much about picking up points as it is dennying them any. Losing to Wigan away now is looking like a disaster, not only would we be a point better off, but so would wigan be really in the mire. Same with Villa on Saturday, if we cant take full points then you have to deny them the luxery of full points and the chance to jump over us in the table. [/quote]

Agree with this.  I don''t understand our approach at Wigan compared to how we approached the Sunderland game.  At Sunderland we went for it and took the lead, and even with dreadful refereeing we could easily have come back with 3 points.  At Wigan it was clear they had a poor defence but some good attacking players.  Yet we basically sat back, even when we went behind we didn''t really go for it.  That game was winnable but even if we''d got a point, it would leave Wigan on 33 points right now and us on 39.  If we do go down, that will be the game when we lost it for me.

[/quote
Yeah, i will never comprehend the way we set up and played in that game, it was as if we were told not to worry about shooting, just ensure we do not concede- something we have struggled with all season. That game is what has inspired Wigan''s revival as well, if they had lost that then they were as good as down.

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yep the games which cost us were the winnable ones against newcastle, qpr, west ham (home) and reading and qpr (away) and arguably saints away as well

reading and newcastle games were the worst ive seen in 20 years, ive not watched any duller games in my life, you would have got more quality in a random blue square match

in all of those games hughton sent them out for draws, to keep it tight and take no risks, which is pitiful and sure as hell would have inspired no confidence in the players. We would have won them under lambert (or any other positive thinking manager)

"alright lads, theyve got some real quality, i think we are a bit 5h1t at scoring goals and have clearly not analysed the squads strengths and weaknessess based on the last 2 or even 3 seasons, so dont bother trying, lets keep it tight and hopefully we might nick one, if we are lucky"

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This mess all stems from the failed transfer window followed by the ''settle for the draw'' mentality exemplified by the Newcastle game and institutionalised thereafter. Those advocating essentially the same approach vs West Brom will no doubt be rewarded with the same outcome - most likely a draw. If we think 39 points are enough this is the strategy which should be pursued. If not we need a team that might generate more than two shots on target.

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[quote user="Highland Canary"]This mess all stems from the failed transfer window followed by the ''settle for the draw'' mentality exemplified by the Newcastle game and institutionalised thereafter. Those advocating essentially the same approach vs West Brom will no doubt be rewarded with the same outcome - most likely a draw. If we think 39 points are enough this is the strategy which should be pursued. If not we need a team that might generate more than two shots on target.[/quote]
I don''t think people are right to put blame on the transfer window, read that a fair bit on this board recently. While we all expected our strikeforce to be less successful than they were last season, having failed to bring anyone in in the summer, we still had the same personal who were scoring freely last season. Add to that Becchio, a player at his prime and with an unbelievable scoring record in the championship, and the athletic Kamara, i think we had/have enough up front. The problems stem from the way the team is set up, i have argued before this season that we are not as defensive as people make out, but that''s only in about 25% of games. As you stated, we set up to draw too many games and that has ultimately cost us, i really don''t know who we could have signed who would change that. 
Even if RVW had come in in Jan, i don''t see him scoring in a team which creates so little chances in the final third and resort to cross after cross after cross. Can anyone think of a time this season when any midfield player has played a defence splitting ball? I saw Snodgrass give it a go at the weekend, but can''t think of many other attempts, let alone successful ones!

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