I drank far too much beer on Friday night and decided that my sanity, levels of joy and general mental health, also needed the same amount of punishment as my body and pounding head had received.
So I ensured I was tucked up in bed in time to watch the game.
Whilst last week against Bournemouth I was expecting a thrashing – this time I had a really good #typicalcity kind of feeling and even backed us to win 3-0.
Maybe I was still drunk.
That said, I thought the first half was a creditable performance, albeit creditable if we were playing one of the bigger teams away from home – we contained Stoke pretty well, and were only behind to quite an exceptional goal.
Though whether we should be aiming to just contain teams like Stoke is another question.
Once we were 2-0 down, we changed to 3-5-2 (Phelan clearly still hasn’t discovered my blog as he could have read my advice on this matter last Monday – I would consider the assistant manager role, by the way if you are now reading, Mike, though it would need to be significant money and I don’t want to have to do any exercise), where was I? Oh yeah and we played much more expansive and controlling football. Well, compared to what we were doing. Scoring a goal no longer looked as impossible as picking up 10 grams of cocaine in Dubai.
That said, we should not have been 2-0 down. It was a very clever free-kick by Shakira, but Marshall should have had it covered. A Premier League goalkeeper should not have fallen for that.
Which brings me onto the subject of my post.
Since Marshall came into the team, we have let 15 goals in in 5 games. Jakupovic let in 7 goals in 4 games, 4 of those against Arsenal, oh when men became gods. Vomit.
The first goal against Bournemouth was a clear lack of concentration. The second goal against Stoke was poor positioning. These were two key conceded goals, in key games.
I know that there are lots of factors to blame for defeats in recent weeks – formations, personnel choices, effort, motivation, defensive positioning, set-piece marking…
Though the latter two are also partly Marshall’s responsibility as the goalkeeper – Marshall should be, for want of more unique wording, marshalling his defence. Is he doing so sufficiently?
I actually thought he was a good signing. We certainly needed another goalkeeper, and if we do get relegated then he would certainly be a good goalkeeper for the championship or whatever the hell it is called nowadays.
But did Jakupovic do anything to deserve dropping to the substitutes bench? If I was Eldin, I would be wondering what I had to do to become first choice goalkeeper. We all know he has a moment of ‘wonder’ in him, but he can be a formidable shot-stopper, and plays with passion.
So far, I have not seen so much of those aspects in Marshall.
But how do you drop him?
I feel quite awful for doing so, but I’m almost wishing for a slight injury to Marshall, to give the perfect excuse to bring back Jakupovic.
As signing a new first team goalkeeper, playing him for 5 games, and then dropping him, is the Mourinho style of player-management, and boy we could do without adding dressing room disappointment into the mix right now.
Luckily we have an away match against Bristol City in the Rumbelows Cup first – a chance for Jakupovic to shine – or otherwise, and make that decision for the coming weekend that bit easier.
Tuesday is also a chance to practice 3-5-2, or alternatively give Tymon and Lenihan a chance at the respective left and right back positions. We could even try playing 2 up front.
Keane clearly is not a centre-forward that is able to hold the ball up and distribute as Phelan is trying to play him. Neither is Hernandez, mind. Diomande can play that role – not brilliantly, but he can. He has the strength and ability in aerial duals. I am not even sure if Keane is any more than a League 1 striker.
I never missed the Premiserable League. Did you?
Oh just realised that the assistant head coach role has gone. Maybe I could be the director of football – you do need one don’t you, Ehab? You know, someone to suggest and negotiate the signing of players?