Date:Tuesday January 18 2011
As it turned out, drawing at the Keepmoat Stadium was a jolly good idea. Not only did it give our returning players match time but it also allowed our strike force to get in some welcome shooting practice. It ticked off one of Elokobi`s banned games too.
As long as no-one has suffered an injury that will keep him out of the game on Saturday, the match has proved to be the perfect tonic and an appetising feast. I just hope that MM`s tactic of winning every other game only applies to the PL, otherwise we are fated to lose against Liverpool. Even so, keep playing like this and we will not require any magical intervention.
As I only listened to the match on Beacon Radio, I have had to take Robbie Dennison`s impression of the match as the truth, that is, apart from what I could ascertain from the passage of play. It seems as though the team made fairly heavy weather of it in the first half, though generally keeping in control of the match. MM couldn`t have given them one of his legendary rollockings at the interval because they appeared to be even more lackadaisical at the opening of the second half.
Clearly, the team needed a second goal to settle their nerves and to build up their confidence. Mujangi Bia`s strike, when it came after fifteen minutes, did the trick, for it signalled the start of the goal rush. I was pleased MB scored and that his all-round play has enhanced his standing in the club. Perhaps we will not need another winger in the transfer window, all the better to spend the money on a left back. Presumably we can get one for less than £18m+. Like Guedioura (or Milijas), Mujangi Bia is not afraid to shoot when he sees an opening, though apparently he missed a sitter in the first half.
From the commentary it seems as though Mouyokolo acquitted himself well and that Craddock impressed too. Together with Henry in middle, we should be tighter in defence ... and have options at our disposal, should the need arise. And Zubar is becoming one of the most influential players we possess. When allied to the flourishing attacking partnership of Doyle and Fletcher, we seem to be progressing on every front.
All this is very encouraging. Even so, although we can take heart from the last two games, we have to recognise the problems we still face. As on Saturday, we failed to kill of the game in the first half in spite of dominating possession. That we remained in front was due to the fact that we faced a Championship side this evening rather than a team contending for the PL title. It meant that the defence had an easier time too. For all the praise heaped upon our performance on Saturday we let in four goals, all of which were avoidable. In spite of talk about chances to equalize it was never on. Indeed, we would not have got close without the fortunate penalty award.
It`s still not a given that we will survive, especially as other clubs are taking steps to extricate themselves from the mire. Villa are throwing money at their problem and will surely climb out of the relegation zone. Will the owners of WHU give the new manager a stack of money to rebuild the side? We have Arsenal and Manchester United coming up. It`s true that we have improved to the extent that we can genuinely contemplate picking up points - and even win - against such sides but against lesser teams our management, players and fans alike need to avoid complacency. We cannot afford the luxury. I`ll be there on Saturday to see that they remain focused.
Date:Tuesday January 18 2011
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