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  1. I don't think his shin pads are unusually small. He just wears his socks low, which is probably fine. On the transfer debate, I wonder how much Euro 2020 will figure in his thinking? Spend a full season playing with Kane, Alli, Trippier, Dier, Winks, and Rose and surely you're in contention? Returning to the shin injury thing - I wonder if he would also get a bit more protection in the Premier League. In the Championship, putting a few reducers in on Jack has become a bit of a cliche. I can't see that happening in the Premier League, where teams will be less scared of him, and the refereeing is a bit tighter. Point is basically: we need to go up this year.
  2. I can confirm that you have already successfully achieved this.
  3. In the long term, yes, the score is all that matters. In the short term, if you just use the score to measure the ability of a manager, you will miss a lot of the nuance -- was his team being dominated, was there an unlucky bounce, or a bad refereeing decision? This focus on short-term results is how Alex McLeish has a Premier League Manager of the Month award. You also seem completely deluded that Dean Smith's bad results have been mainly down to his bad decisions, and his good results mainly down to good decisions. That's a dramatic improvement over the course of a month isn't it? Or maybe, just maybe, football's more complicated than the "FFS PASS IT FORWARD" fans realise.
  4. **** them. Player just back from injury and he's gone in to maim him. Braver ref would have given him a red. Sadly, Paul Mitchell isn't the first thick, scummy, inbred word removed to violently assault Jack while he's looking the other way. Happens every **** game. Doubt the charge will have any major consequences though? Small fine? Will pay for a nice evening out for the FA boys.
  5. Our record was W2 D7 L4 Pts 13 Stretch that over a season and you have 46 points, which isn't relegation form. It's not great, but there were a lot of mitigating circumstances. Take Nyland's blunders out of the equation, and you'd have been looking at more like 19 points, which would have you on ~67 points if stretched across a whole season - so around 10th/11th. As I said, "respectable" form - especially with your star player out. Even top managers go through spells like this when their squad is depleted. (Also, this reminds me - why is everyone in football associated with Win % when you also get points for draws? If a manager has a depleted squad and is facing a close rival away from home, then a draw is an important result.)
  6. It's not just 3 good results, though, is it? He's actually got a respectable record since he joined. All managers drop points when their star player gets injured. It's not like we were showing relegation form without Jack, but we had no natural replacement for him, and his absence exposed weaknesses in other players (especially Hourihane). Several previous managers have had Grealish and better players across the squad, and haven't achieved this kind of form, so DS must be doing something right?
  7. Updated race and fixtures. I can't see Wednesday doing it with -5 goal difference and that string of fixtures. They could definitely take points off us, though. Bookies odds shortening massively again (top 6 finish on Betfair Market): Bristol 7/5 Villa 19/10 Derby 12/5 Factoring in bookies' margin, that's putting us on about 30-35% chance of 6th place I reckon. I actually think Bristol are overpriced because they have so many nasty fixtures, and am more worried about Derby, despite their form.
  8. Betfair odds for Top 6 finish: Bristol 7/5 Derby 19/10 Forest 14/5 Villa 3/1 Factoring in bookies' margin, I think that puts us on about a 15-20% chance of 6th place now. A lot shorter than it was a couple of weeks ago. We're definitely in the mix. And as for Dean Smith's PPG with Grealish - bear in mind he has also significantly improved the defence since he last had Grealish available (Axel's injury notwithstanding), so we could easily be looking at even higher than the 2.1 PPG mentioned above. The "tough" fixtures don't bother me, because several of them offer chances to take points off competitors for 6th place, and I think we're at our weakest in games we expect to win. Summary: no, we probably won't go up. But it wouldn't be the craziest thing that's ever happened.
  9. KentVillan

    Glenn Whelan

    I think one of the most important roles of a DM is to hold the team's shape - always be available to receive passes at the back of an attack, or from short passes out from the defence, and be in a good position to tackle and intercept. Whelan does that pretty well imo, and certainly a lot better than anyone else we've tried in that position this season. He's calm receiving the ball under pressure, which you can't say for most of our midfielders. On the flip side, I also agree that his pace and general signs of ageing make him a limited footballer. We need to look around for a younger, sharper DM this summer, but for now I think Smith is using him appropriately. His immediate reaction to the pitch invader was an example of why we benefit from having him on the pitch. He immediately realised that there was a risk of one of our players getting sent off -- possibly even arrested -- and made sure that didn't happen. Imagine if one of our lads had been able to really swing a few punches at him and bust his face open or knock him out? Part of us wishes that had happened, but we know it wouldn't have ended well.
  10. Just updated my previous post with the Derby-Wigan result. If Bristol lose to Leeds, then you'd probably have Derby as favourites for 6th, because their run-in is so much easier. Betfair have got us at around 12/1 for 6th place, so it's unlikely for now. Need Brucey to do us a huge favour on Saturday
  11. You're right, my memory was playing tricks on me.
  12. It does make a bit of a difference with the natural out ball, the switch / diagonal passes, and with recovery tackles (a right-footed RCB and a left-footed LCB will tend to hook the ball out towards touch). Mellberg (right-footed) and Laursen (left-footed) was a good example. Edit: my memory is playing tricks on me. Laursen was right-footed. But plenty of examples of successful same-footed partnerships: Vidic and Ferdinand both right-footed Terry and Carvalho both right-footed, but as we know, Terry was almost two-footed and usually played LCB Adams and Bould both right-footed Pique (right-footed) has mostly partnered other right-footers at Barcelona (Puyol, Toure, Mascherano) I think it depends on the individual players. Some CBs have no strong preference, while others feel uncomfortable on the "wrong" side. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
  13. Two of those teams are irrelevant (Sheff Utd and Middlesbrough). All that matters is sixth spot, and I think Bristol City can be caught (and will be caught by someone, because their fixtures are brutal). 6. Bristol City.........P 34 Pts 54 GD +8 7. Derby County.........P 34 Pts 51 GD +1 8. Small Heath Alliance.P 35 Pts 50 GD +8 9. Nottingham Forest....P 35 Pts 50 GD +7 10. Hull City...........P 35 Pts 50 GD +2 11. Aston Villa.........P 35 Pts 48 GD +8 Fixtures (I've marked in red any team above Villa): Bristol City: LEE (H), IPS (H), SHU (A), MID (A), WIG (H), WBA (H), AST (A), REA (H), SHW (A), DER (H), MIL (A), HUL (A) Derby County: WIG (H), SHW (H), STO (H), ROT (H), BRE (A), BLA (A), BOL (H), BIR (A), QPR (H), BRI (A), SWA (A), WBA (H) Small Heath: AST (A), MIL (H), PRE (A), WBA (A), LEE (H), SHU (H), IPS (A), DER (H), ROT (A), WIG (H), REA (A) Nott Forest: HUL (H), AST (H), IPS (A), SWA (H), ROT (A), SHW (A), BLA (H), SHU (A), MID (H), QPR (A), BOL (H) Hull City: NOT (A), NOR (A), QPR (H), IPS (A), REA (H), WIG (H), MID (A), WBA (A), SHU (H), SWA (A), BRI (H) Aston Villa: BIR (A), NOT (H), MID (H), BLA (H), SHW (A), ROT (A), BRI (H), BOL (A), MIL (H), LEE (A), NOR (H) That looks like a lot of potential for points to be dropped - significantly more than the 6-point gap we need to close. Bristol have 7 stinkers to look forward to. Derby have by far the easiest run-in, but their squad has been decimated by injuries We have three very tough games coming up, and if we can get 7 points from these then I think we have a chance. We then need to beat the teams below us, and win the six-pointer against Bristol. It's a very big ask, but I think it's doable. As others have mentioned, those last two games against Leeds and Norwich might be more winnable than they look if both teams have secured automatic promotion.
  14. You couldn't make it up. Literally the worst player in the team was the goalkeeper. Probably the worst player in the division. The player who'd cost us about 10 points single handedly. The number one, drop everything, break the bank, don't pass go, don't collect £200 priority. And you've managed to twist that into an example of Dean Smith being a crap manager. Have you been smoking crack all day? Has Vladimir Putin outsourced one of his troll farms to Garry Monk? I need to lie down.
  15. There's no like-for-like replacement for Jack in the squad, so him being out disrupts everything tactically. Hourihane doesn't like being the focus of the opposition press... when Jack's in the team, he gets more time on the ball to use his obvious talents. The whole thing just comes together better. Should also point out: Bristol City losing 1-0 to Preston SHA losing 1-0 to Hull Forest losing 1-0 to Stoke If these results stick then we are right back in the mix for 6th place.
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