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8 hours ago, Richard said:

Dubious Team Selection

That makes me shudder. It would get walked all over. With what we have I think Bruce is making it work. Tish from what I've read is struggling to make an impact in the u23s. Few eyebrows raised when we signed him. Still I agree in that I'd like some clarification on why he is not involved.

Poor Game Performance

Totally agree with you. We should be putting teams like this to the sword if we want to get back up. I think we've been dull and sloppy for a while. But he's getting results I guess. Fair play.

Highly Questionable Substitutions

Agbonlahor:

I agree. But I think he has one eye on the ACN. Jan is a really bad window to get decent cover in. If he can't at least gabby will be up to speed with game time. He could be our only cover. RHM (again from reading) isn't ready at all - even with the hype.

Westwood on for Baker again sorry but I'm not seeing it:

You didn't see it. He came on for Gardner.

 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, jackbauer24 said:

The big problem we've got is that we started the season with a bad/ unbalanced squad being badly managed, now we have a bad/ unbalanced squad being well managed. But to make any dent on the playoffs we either need to turn the bad/ unbalanced squad into a good/ balanced one or get Bruce to manage us exceptionally. Otherwise the gap is just too big.

We will not go up playing as we are as the results will not be consistent enough. We are currently fighting with one arm tied behind our backs, Bruce is doing a good job keeping us competitive but not an exceptional job in making us play well/ thrash teams. Either the squad needs improving or Bruce needs to hit upon the magic formula. And the most likely way we'll improve is with further investment in January.

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SB is polishing a turd.

The Turd is

Hutton, Elphick, Westwood, Gardner, Gaby & Gestede

and a frontline Grealish, Ayew, McC, Adomah, Kodjia, Gaby & Gestede who somehow are not gelling together.

I'm with @Richard that our performances will come short against organised teams and if we have the "mistakers" like AH AW and Elphick in defence our "1 bit of individual get out of jail brilliance" wont be enough cos it wont work every time.

I dont know how the players are amongst themselves & in training. But the use of Hutton over Bacuna at RB, AW &/or GG instead of Tish and Gaby ahead of many other options is baffling.

There are a lot of shit teams in Ch. But Toon & BHA are not shit and the pack contending 3-6 Reading, Huddersfield, Leeds, Shef W, Derby, Norwich, Fulham & Us are 8 teams chasing 4 grails.

To be withing touching distance within the next 10 games is the easy part. Staying there till May and then beating 2 of the above pack in the playoffs will be the hard part.

Playing like we do now may not be enough for top 6, Winning the playoffs definately not.

Edited by Grasshopper
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Well done to Bruce getting some decent fight and commitment out the players after some lack lustre performances. It can't be overstated how difficult it can be to turn round these things once a dip starts so, again, well done.

McCormack poor but I wanted to see him up top with Kodja so can't complain, except maybe it could've been changed sooner as it didn't work from the off.

Pleased also to see a bit more commitment to get players forward- we need more of this.

Not much quality around and (since I disagree with those who think our players are crap) I still think he is struggling to get the right blend ......glad to see the changes made in an attempt to do so though.

As far as optimism goes, if we can keep Baker and Chester together and Kodj stays fit we can, with that level of application, still give it a go.

Edited by terrytini
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Bruce made the right decision to drop Westwood for Gardner. Gardner was closing down their back four first half and tried to prevent them playing out from the back, which was good work ethic. Gardner's trouble is his lack of quality,  much like Westwood. Once we have replaced them two with a couple of better quality midfielders we will see a big change in how much possession we have and chances we create. You can't create anything if you haven't got the ball! 

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5 hours ago, Grasshopper said:

I dont know how the players are amongst themselves & in training. But the use of Hutton over Bacuna at RB, AW &/or GG instead of Tish and Gaby ahead of many other options is baffling.

Is it?

Hutton is a better right back than Bacuna in my opinion, I think you'd find a lot of people that would agree - Hutton's not brilliant, but his selection over Bacuna is hardly baffling.

Westwood (or Gardner) over Tshibola again is hardly baffling - I'd have expected maybe Tshibola to feature a little more, but he's been very flat for the reserves and if he's training in the same way then you can see why he wouldn't get a game. Westwood is our most mobile midfielder and possibly our best passer of a ball too - he's also got a dreadful mistake in him, Gardner is less mobile but less likely to cost you a goal. Our midfield is terrible, but selection wise you'd expect to see Gardner and/or Westwood regularly based on what we have to select from - I don't see that as baffling.

On Gabby, I'm surprised we're seeing so much of him, we've Ayew and Grealish who can play the same position - there's the ACN thing though so I guess it might be as much to do with that.

I agree with pretty much all of the rest of your post, we're reliant far too much on individual brilliance, and it means we'll struggle for consistency - but in terms of how far we can go as a team that wins without playing well (without a midfield) - then I think the selections have been pretty good and pretty much as you'd expect.

 

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5 hours ago, OutByEaster? said:

Is it?

Hutton is a better right back than Bacuna in my opinion, I think you'd find a lot of people that would agree - Hutton's not brilliant, but his selection over Bacuna is hardly baffling.

Westwood (or Gardner) over Tshibola again is hardly baffling - I'd have expected maybe Tshibola to feature a little more, but he's been very flat for the reserves and if he's training in the same way then you can see why he wouldn't get a game. Westwood is our most mobile midfielder and possibly our best passer of a ball too - he's also got a dreadful mistake in him, Gardner is less mobile but less likely to cost you a goal. Our midfield is terrible, but selection wise you'd expect to see Gardner and/or Westwood regularly based on what we have to select from - I don't see that as baffling.

On Gabby, I'm surprised we're seeing so much of him, we've Ayew and Grealish who can play the same position - there's the ACN thing though so I guess it might be as much to do with that.

I agree with pretty much all of the rest of your post, we're reliant far too much on individual brilliance, and it means we'll struggle for consistency - but in terms of how far we can go as a team that wins without playing well (without a midfield) - then I think the selections have been pretty good and pretty much as you'd expect.

 

Fair enough

But I think Hutton & Westwood have mistakes in them

Bacuna has been consistantly OK everywhere he's played

Gardner is as non productive as Westwood

As for Gaby - He's unbelievably shit

Tish has been inconsistant but has more to his game than AW & GG

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Bruce will strengthen in midfield he has to!

Whether this will be possible in January I don't know as players of the calibre that we need will be required to play for there present clubs for the rest of the season.

So we have two choices in my opinion

1. Blow clubs out of the water with massive fee/wages for their top player - Lansbury at Forest for example.

2. Get players out of top clubs that aren't playing - Loftus-Cheek from Chelsea maybe?

Whatever happens if he gets this right we will go on a serious run and go close with automatic promotion as the midfield is so weak, I think it will be the main reason for not reaching the play offs as it stands.

Di Matteo will have to do some explaining about his recruitment policy at his next interview that's for sure!

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37 minutes ago, MarkLillis said:

Bruce will strengthen in midfield he has to!

Whether this will be possible in January I don't know as players of the calibre that we need will be required to play for there present clubs for the rest of the season.

So we have two choices in my opinion

1. Blow clubs out of the water with massive fee/wages for their top player - Lansbury at Forest for example.

2. Get players out of top clubs that aren't playing - Loftus-Cheek from Chelsea maybe?

Whatever happens if he gets this right we will go on a serious run and go close with automatic promotion as the midfield is so weak, I think it will be the main reason for not reaching the play offs as it stands.

Di Matteo will have to do some explaining about his recruitment policy at his next interview that's for sure!

I'm with you on all points

however, RDM wont be applying for any jobs soon. More to the point he wont be on any clubs shopping list apart from Swindon

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I said a few weeks back, it's not how we are doing on that run - but how we bounce back when it ends.

Although I might not have said that on here... but still. And with the shit we have in the squad, he has worked wonders.

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14 minutes ago, Richard said:

McLaren is doing better with derby than Bruce is with us 

Hardly surprising though is it given that he signed most of the players and they are suited to the way he wants to play. It's a huge contrast to what Bruce inherited.

He has got better results, granted. I think it's more debatable who is doing the better job.

Oh and over the last 10 games he has 3 more points than Bruce so even the difference in results is marginal, that's without even looking at the respective fixtures.

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10 minutes ago, Richard said:

McLaren is doing better with derby than Bruce is with us 

I'm quite confident derby will hit the rocks soon. Mcclaren did the same in his first run. Started well then went on a really poor run. I expect the same soon. 

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5 minutes ago, Richard said:

McLaren is doing better with derby than Bruce is with us 

I was thinking the other day that McClaren has done a good job so far at Derby.

However, didn't he manage them not so long ago? I would imagine that he knows most of the players there quite well, and he probably bought a few of them to the club. I would think that probably gives him a bit of a head start on Bruce who is picking up a mish mash of players thrown together by RDM. I am still shocked that as a former midfielder, that RDM left us so weak in that area.

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2 minutes ago, TrentVilla said:

Hardly surprising though is it given that he signed most of the players and they are suited to the way he wants to play. It's a huge contrast to what Bruce inherited.

He has got better results, granted. I think it's more debatable who is doing the better job.

Darn it, now it looks like I copied you. Stupid slow typing skills. :)

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47 minutes ago, NeilS said:

I was thinking the other day that McClaren has done a good job so far at Derby.

However, didn't he manage them not so long ago? I would imagine that he knows most of the players there quite well, and he probably bought a few of them to the club. I would think that probably gives him a bit of a head start on Bruce who is picking up a mish mash of players thrown together by RDM. I am still shocked that as a former midfielder, that RDM left us so weak in that area.

18 months ago in that time 13 have left and 12 arrived 

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Pleased for McClaren and Derby. The results have been better, whether he's 'doing better' is subjective. I'm not close enough to their situation. 

Pleased for them nonetheless, always had a soft spot for Derby.

Also worth noting Conte is doing better with Chelsea?

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