A first among equals!
At the end of the day we can debate all day about the team or manager but results are what we will be judged by.
The main cause for concern last year was two-fold, our defence and what I consider the main fault, our failure to beat the teams around us.
Despite a very kind start to the fixtures this year we are already falling into the habit of performing badly against our 'equals', home games against teams who came up and teams around us at the lower end of the table.
Last year it was offset by us performing well against the teams at the top end of the table, can we again be expected to do this? or as I suspect, this season teams will be prepared for us and will not again underestimate us?
Buying one central defender was I fear not enough and buying again in January when prices are at a peak and good players at a minimum will probably be our only course of action.
I will be the first to admit Ward has surprised me and has performed really well at left back, the problem areas I think are another centre back and a good defensive holding midfielder to protect the back four.
In our three seasons back in the top flight we have so far won only 22 games and lost 44, this trend has to be reversed otherwise I fear for us this term.
Wigan, Sunderland and Norwich are home games that we simply have to win to retain any sort of points total, 18 points was I think the total at the turn of the year last year, looking at our away fixtures Everton and Bolton look to be our only 'glimmer' of a chance at an away point though they are not exactly happy hunting grounds for us!
By the turn of the year if we don't reach that 18 point mark I think it will leave us to much to do, we all remember last seasons last day finish, well it could all be over way before that if we continue as we are!
No one knows what funds were made available to Merlin in the summer, if he spent only what was available then blame cannot be solely his, but if funds were there and he chose not to sign any more personnel then he surely must be accountable?
It could be ironic that the home game against one of his former clubs, Sunderland could be his final one in charge?
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