Before I start, this is not the beginning of the Silva-Out campaign. I welcomed him, as did almost all fans as a breath of fresh air, and hopefully a tactical advancement upon Phelan.
He has made some impressive signings, he speaks well and seems to understand English football.
However he has made fatal errors in the last two games that have certainly contributed towards us losing points. It is as if he never seen a VHS recording of any of our previous games during the season – all failings that had occurred under Phelan, and for which he received a fair fan-base hammering for.
Firstly against Burnley. It was established earlier in the season that playing 1 up front, namely Mbokani, was not a suitable tactic against teams for whom we should be competing to beat. Middlesbrough away was probably the epitome of this tactic, a dreadfully dull and depressing defeat, where we showed less attacking ambition than Jeremy Corbyn at PMQ’s when Jenny from Rochdale was sending in her questions to be read out.
This tactic does work against the bigger teams such as Man City – Mbokani was superb in holding the ball up on Boxing Day.
But against the Middlesbrough’s, Burnley’s, etc we should be playing two up front, or one just very slightly off – Snodgrass-esque style as we started to post-Middlesbrough. Our performances were much improved once we reverted to two up front, although we did not get our deserved rewards.
Mbokani is not a striker as such, he is a strong forward. This really was a mistake to play him up front against Burnley and I feel that it cost us the opportunity of the full three points.
Against a rejuvenated Leicester, the case is not so clear cut that his decision cost us points.
However, Vardy tore our defence apart on the wings, particularly giving Elmo a torrid time, who was all over the place when it came to their first goal – no attempt at a challenge, not even anywhere near him. Shocking defending.
We knew from the last time that we were in the Premier League that Elmohamady was not a right-back. It had been tried earlier this season and we re-learnt that Elmohamady was not a right-back. And why on earth did Silva feel that Elmohamady would now all of a sudden be a right-back? Especially when Elabdellaoui, whom I will never be able to spell without using Google for all the time that he is at Hull City AFC, seemed such a solid and competent performer.
I see the argument that he should give all the squad a chance, given that we actually do have a squad nowadays, but these were basic errors.
Elmohamady was close to useless yesterday.
Though marginally better than his replacement on the right side of midfield, Markovic. Anonymous for most of the game, except for that dreadful pass which led to their second goal.
And Jak? The first two goals he should have come much closer to saving. But before anyone discredits him, look at his statistics compared to Marshall:
Total Appearances 12
Total Clean Sheets 3
Avg. Goals Conceded 1.33
Avg. Saves Per Game 3.50
Avg. Saves Per Goal 2.80
Total Appearances 15
Total Clean Sheets 0
Avg. Goals Conceded 2.47
Avg. Saves Per Game 3.00
Avg. Saves Per Goal 1.32
On form this season, Jakupovic is clearly the better goalkeeper. There is no contest.
More statistics are available on the fascinating website, http://www.squawka.com
So, next up Swansea. I’d be willing to say that if we don’t beat them, we are as good as relegated.
We simply have to win. Defeat really would require a miracle.