Saturday, 14 February 2009

Portsmouth 2 - 0 City

  • I'm used to getting hit by 'new manager bounce', but 'no manager bounce'? That's the second time in 2009 that we've lost to a managerless side. It wasn't quite as bad as Nottingham Forest - away Premier League games are tougher than home FA Cup games against bad second tier teams. But let's be realistic about Portsmouth's plight: they hadn't won for nine league games in the league, and were plummeting down the table.
  • And we gave it to them on a plate. We weren't as bad as the Stoke game, or even the Bolton and Middlesbrough games, but this was still a poor performance. There was so little energy or purpose to our play that we struggled to great anything going forward. As such, we failed to kill a poor game waiting to be put out of its misery. We did look, just before Johnson's goal, that we were on course for at least a point, without ever playing well.
  • Even more disappointing than the concession of Johnson's goal (the third goal Wayne Bridge has been responsible for in his five games) was the collapse that followed. Rather than fight straight back, or even slow the game down for a minute or two to regain our composure, the defence let Hreidarsson put Portsmouth two goals ahead: Kompany lost him in the box, Logan drifted away from the far post. 2-0 and it was game over.
  • Until the goals our defence was pretty good. Bridge, Onuoha, Kompany and Shaleum Logan on his league debut all played acceptably well. The same cannot be said of the midfield. Ireland, Zabaleta and de Jong may all be quite tough but they're all under six foot tall. Elano is 5'9" but is also weak. The four of them were physically dominated by Sean Davis and Angelos Basinas in midfield. Maybe Kompany in defence isn't the answer?
  • I'll write more on this later, but our away form is simply atrocious. 1 win, 4 draws and 7 defeats. Seven points from a possible thirty six. Only Fulham, Stoke and West Brom have fewer. If we are to improve this, we must surely come up with a new way of deploying Robinho in these games (and 'from the bench' is as legitimate an option as any other). He was more anonymous than usual today. This is getting worse, not better.


Gary Nolan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary Nolan said...

I have to disagree this was easily as bad as the boro game if not worse, they are learning nothing from previous bad performances.

As for playing Robinho from the bench thats really not an option for me, he needs bringing more into the middle as an out an out striker rather than being on the wing where he seems to have started hiding.

Wayne Bridge needs dropping, he has brought nothing to the team that Garrido did not do or even Ball for that matter.

And to finish off Mark Hughes did not have a clue how to change things up again today, he needs to book his ideas up or do one.

(previous post had a mistake sorry)

Wigan Blue said...

Words fail me...

I honestly thought that this was the big one, the one that would show the difference between Sven's misfits and the Hughes own 11. I really thought we would win this 2 or 3 nil.

I don't think I'm going to live long enough now...

Anonymous said...

We are and still remain a soft touch away from home.
Hughes cannot motivate gifted players.
They see through his threadbare power play tactics.
Two more away games to come and Nil points to follow.
A club aiming to be a major european force needs a major european league manager, Hughes would not make the top twenty on the prospect list.
The forest game cemented my view a manager with tactics on a par with Pearce-non existant, intelligent and gifted players laugh at his medieval management skills and attitude reinforced by his self important but ignorant welsh back up team.
Hang on till the season end and bring in the special one, pay the guy a kings ransom, money talks and at the end of the day you get what you pay for.

trinder said...

This blog and its followers have been as patient as any with Mark Hughes but I sense a thinning of that support. It was hugely frustrating to spend such an enormous part of my day travelling to and from Fratton Park when so many of the team appeared not to have bothered coming. I'm afraid Hughes has to bear the blame for much of that. The problems are threefold:

Motivation - some were poor but worked hard; others, Elano and Robinho, were poor and lazy, unwilling to sweat their way to any kind of performance. Hughes is getting so little from his players that he must have lost their support. Where is the endless running, the desperation for the ball, the heroic defending?

Organisation - City's defence was caught flat and exposed three times by Nugent, a very limited striker. In the first half, Crouch was left at the back post to be marked by Logan, who is almost a foot shorter. For the second goal, Herman was left by Kompany and the post was left by Logan. These are basic errors brought about by a lack of preparation and instruction.

Tactics - how many more times are we going to have to watch the unimaginative and casual play of City away from home? We have a 1-4-2 back line that pulls Ireland and Robinho deeper to get the ball. Bellamy is left all alone, asked to chase long balls out wide, where he's doubled-up on and relieved of the ball or where he finds he has no support in the middle. We must play 4-4-2, with Robinho up with Bellamy where he can open the defence; with wingers right up on the full-backs and with one shielding midfielder (De Jong) supported by one runner/ passer (Ireland). I know we're short of wide men without Petrov and SWP but we could have played Weiss and got 90 minutes of non-stop effort.

Hughes has seen how limiting 4-5-1 is and how little it brings fron Robinho but still he keeps the system and does so little to foster spirit. I'm beginning to wonder whether he really knows what he's doing.