The Watford Gap
Andy Munro on what’s going wrong at Blues, and how it should be put right.
Yet another depressing performance, and one where Watford were made to look world beaters. When Martin ‘Tiny’ Taylor has apparently time to spare against our ‘attack’ it’s time to start worrying.
In fairness the team that Lee Clarke picked is probably the one I would have chosen and bearing in mind we’ve unsuccessfully tried 4-4-2,4-3-3 and 4-5-1, it’s obviously not the tactics. So what is it? I watched some of the body language and it didn’t look good to be honest. In fact it looked as if the side expected to lose. Maybe the players have been shaken by the young eager promotees of Charlton and Wednesday when on paper they must have expected to roll them over.
Unfortunately, it’s probably too late to do anything about it transfer-wise with the only possibility on the horizon being that we lose Ziggy. We certainly seem to have no appetite or enthusiasm and there are problems all over the pitch. We relied on the offside and were undone by good movement and furthermore the penalty was warranted – strictly speaking, Caldwell should have been sent off.
In doing something about it, it really is down to Lee Clarke and, at present, he looks a bit sorry for himself. It’s no use him saying that they’re a great bunch of lads who will sort it out. My view is that they need a reality check and the proverbial rocket up their backside. I think he was on record of saying, after one of the matches (Charlton?), that the players locked themselves in the dressing room to sort it out they were so frustrated. Never mind that, in reality Lee needs to burst in and show he’s in charge, not a senior players co-operative. I’m particularly disappointed by Mullins and Ambrose. The latter is letting games pass him by whilst Mullins is not showing the sort of muscle and dominance that we saw last season when N’Daw was on song. In the knowledge that we have no pace up front, we have to move the ball around quickly and unless these central two are on their game, our wingers only get the ball when the opposition defences are well and truly marshalled
I was also disappointed by Ben Gordon, who looked decidedly average while the defence generally appeared shaky, allowing Watford to get behind them leading to the penalty. It seems that the opposition managers only need to tell their wide players to take on the Blues for panic to ensue in our defence.
Obviously there is no easy solution, but if we don’t pick our heads up soon, I would take radical measures. If Smurf and Carr are fit they’ve got to play but I would play Mitch Hancox at left back. His positioning needs work but it is no worse than Ben Gordon’s, Mitch overlaps like a young Terry Cooper and would die for the cause. I would then play the Smurf at left of midfield and bring in Ravel Morrison to play in the centre, dropping either Mullins or Ambrose; their pairing is proving to be ineffective in midfield. I would then move Nathan to a central attacking role and play him just behind Ziggy or Marlon. I would also add the raw but pacy Aswante to the bench as a different sort of option.
All the above may seem extreme but if we lose any more on the bounce then radical action has to be taken before we go into complete decline. I certainly think that we need to turn over Coventry because we desperately need a confidence boost.
By the way, can somebody please tell me why Gomes was brought on to pair with a fellow holding player like Mullins when we’re trying to get back into the game/ Surely it should have been Morrison?