my tactical observations / musings.
Why we took so many short corners. They were playing 5 across the back with three central defenders, all very tall, very strong in the air. I understand going short to try to change the angles and timing. But we should have put more shots in from outside the box then.
Crosses: at least 80% of our crosses landed on the far side of the 18 yard box (overhit) This can happen if you're hoping to switch the angles, hit a runner on the weak side (avoiding the 3 big tall goons clogging the middle). So it may have been deliberate. but it can also happen when you have too much Adrenalin. I suspect some of both.
I've not seen anyone else comment on this, but one of my frustrations was how often we rolled the ball slowly to a teammate. It gave WBA time and opportunity to step in and cut out the passing lane, which happened far too frequently, or at least it meant our player was already closed down before receiving the ball. It's one of the reasons we got into so much trouble trying to play out of the back early in the second half. It's also why many of our attacks, stalled out. I'm not talking about playing the ball quickly in the sense of one-touch play, but in the sense of hitting the ball with pace. As I pondered this, to me obvious and alarming trend, I noticed that the balls we hit that went too slowly were always on the ground. So what causes that? An overly long turf, or an overly watered pitch. I've known coaches to deliberately take an opponent out of a strong passing game by over-watering the pitch so those rolling balls on the ground, die. it makes the defensive task much easier. I have no way to know if WBA left the turf a little long or over-watered the pitch, but I did notice that they watered it pretty heavily at halftime and quite a few players lost their footing at different points all over the field. so I am suspicious at least.
Wembley won't have the "home" groundskeeper on their side.
In the first match, the referee clearly wished to protect the players, especially the "stars" in this match, the referee clearly wanted to let the players play quite physically. (witness the no call against Mings that led to their goal, the no card to Brunt for the first heavy tackle on McGinn, and many others. The problem is, WBA players are largely Hosses. Big, strong, physically agressive. It's much more their style to bully and beat the opponent into submission. Similar to Junxs, I didn't think he had any particularly horrible calls, and he had several that were very good. However, the referee's approach to the game gave the WBA game plan an advantage.
All that tactical pondering aside. DAMN ! what a match, what a win. We only need one more.