I have to say, that was the worst performance Iâ€™ve ever seen. We were clueless going forward (1 attempt on target) and the back four were disorganised.
The game didnâ€™t start well and went downhill after that â€“ defensively, all four goals were real gifts, and you canâ€™t afford to do that in any league.
More worrying though was the lack of any creativity. Jolly looked out-of-sorts, hardly daring to take his man on, Toks was MIA, both Moores looked ineffective, and whilst Minsh hustled and bustled, we didnâ€™t buy him for his forward play.
I had hoped that the normal bollocks 1st half would be replaced with a more positive Dons in the 2nd, but I couldnâ€™t have been more wrong.
And whilst Terry Brown has said Macc played well, the truth is, they were decidedly average, with several passes flying off the pitch. They had 6 chances all game â€“ they took 4 of them. And that was the difference â€“ they created more chances, and finished them.
Plus points: Not sure there were anyâ€¦
Minus points: Everthing between the 1st to the 90th
The Refereeâ€™s aâ€¦: complete arse to be honest â€“ didnâ€™t see a lot of fouls on us, blew for the slightest touch on them and missed a blatant hand-ball. But that wasnâ€™t the worst â€“ the worst was playing advantage for a non-foul on one of their players, then pulling play back when they hoofâ€™d it out of the pitch with a wayward pass. Iâ€™ve never seen that before â€“ anyone else?
Them: Big and strong, but able to put a pass together when they needed to. Took their chances when we gifted them, but shouldnâ€™t be in any trouble this year on the pitch. Thought their crowd were very quiet, (unlike their announcer who loved the sound of his voice) and only 1800 including the 400 or so we took for a Bank Holiday League 2 game is a bit shit.
Point to ponder: Macclesfield werenâ€™t as good as 4-0 â€“ we werenâ€™t good enough to deserve to even lose 4-0. It comes to something when youâ€™re chanting about the number of shots on target. My next game is Bradford, and I just hope we get some shots on target.
Doesn’t get any easier to read, does it?
OK, we’ve had poor performances before in the AFCW era : games at Chelmsford in the rain and any trip to Bootham Crescent spring to mind here. This one seems to hurt more than most though. I guess it’s something we’ve yet to fully experience from 2002 onwards, but is now coming home to us.
Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, we’re a bit crap?
There’s being crap of course, and being dangerously crap. Especially at the back. And this is why I’m a bit disturbed by TB’s comments this morning that he’s not going to dip into the transfer market before Wednesday.
As mentioned yesterday and at various points before that, there’s been a weakness in defence/defensive midfield since the Crawley CC game, although others may point out that the occasion of Eastlands hid some deficiencies in the playoff final.
Perhaps we might be a little unkind with Jamie Stuart if he does have a hip injury, but there’s a lot of reliance on MMK at the back already. A player who missed a lot of pre-season isn’t going to be the ready-made replacement we need right now. Yes, he’s a new signing (both in actual playing time and the way a player coming back from injury always gets labelled), but what if he has a bad start too?
OK, that might be a bit doom-mongering, even by this site’s standards, but it seems TB is already taking a big risk on somebody that made WFC-era Gareth Ainsworth look the world’s fittest man. That MMK is still a week or two away from being available according to his comments isn’t going to make Saturday feel any easier.
And his comments do suggest even that is a hope rather than an expectation…
So, why no plans to dip in the transfer pool before Wednesday? Well, it’s down to four likely reasons:
– TB is genuinely happy with what we’ve got, that he has faith in BJ dragging himself upwards with his form, that Max Porter and/or Toks make the step up to DM, and that MMK and FF will be fit and rating to go sooner rather than later.
– There’s nobody suitable available before Wednesday, and whoever we bring in won’t plug the gap.
– There’s too little in the transfer kitty to get anyone in. Any transfers will have to be done in January.
– We might be going for loanees when that specific window opens (8th September to the 25th November, according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia).
Out of all those, I would hope the inaction before is down to the second or fourth one. At the risk of contradicting everything said, you don’t want to panic-buy if you can help it, although your scouting should help out here. And it doesn’t mean bringing back Yaks and Ed Harris from wherever they came from – we would have to get more League experience in, not less.
And despite our past experiences on occasions, who would object to us getting in CB/CM from now until January from a Prem or Championship side? This might be the most likely scenario of all – TB clearly has faith in MMK/FF coming back, but right now we only have Chris Bush in the back line.
By the sound of it, BJ should be benched right now as he’s done a Paul Lorraine-esque regresssion. But can you drop him at the moment? With a loanee, you more or less have to play him as part of the conditions of getting him, and that’s probably what we need right now.
The one scenario I hope isn’t the case is the third one. It would raise reasonable questions about our transfer policy, and especially signing KD. You get the sense with him that he’ll need to win people over PDQ simply because people are unsure why we’ve signed him. It’s unfair on him of course, and apparently Palace have asked for a sell-on clause for him, so they obviously think he’s got something to offer us.
How true the Marcus Bent rumours were, and whether we did offer him a contract or two, we’ll probably never know. But I bet he wouldn’t have been cheap, and that would suggest (on the surface) we do have some money available.
While you shouldn’t splash the cash for the sake of it, at the same time you can’t just sit back after a 4-0 defeat and think there’s nothing wrong. Especially if it’s been a scoreline that’s been inevitable for a while.
All this could be proved bollocks, of course, and by Wednesday night we could be all rushing out to get Sol Campbell’s name on the back of our commemorative shirts. After all, TB isn’t always one to stick by his word in print.
Just hope it’s nobody from the Arsenal rearguard who played at Old Trafford yesterday…