It still quite hasn't clicked for us yet. A consequence of transition. Although a fair few (media included) seem to expect a continuation of what Harry Redknapp left behind to spark our season into action. Even though what Harry left behind was a side that crumbled mentally like a dunked digestive for the last quarter of the season throwing away all the work achieved in the early stages. I guess that's a cheap shot and I shouldn't sit here comparing the past with the present but it seems that the people already on the managers back or slating Daniel Levy for his lack of effort in the transfer window are happily citing Villas-Boas Chelsea tenure and the fluidity of Redknapp's side as reasons for this transition to be renamed a crisis. I guess that makes me an apologist for daring to remain balanced. Probably no reason for me to do so what with the support VB will obviously enjoy from the friendly tabloid hacks.
The pressure will be quite enough from out side the club, I see no productivity in joining forces with the outsiders.
Seems Villas-Boas promise not to change too much hasn't blossomed well. Probably because the reality is things do have to change and it's not a fluid transformation from old to new. If we wanted him to play the way we played before he arrived he might as well just tell the lads to get out there and kick the ball about a bit. Worked for the last gaffer. Is he still available, the last gaffer? We could bring him back in as an advisor. Organise a proper handover.
So are we playing well?
No, not across 90 minutes. In patches we've shown encouraging signs of focused attack and intent but we've been a little too static in shape. The lack of creativity from the middle of the park means we're pushing our efforts out to the wings and it's not quite paying off with neither Bale of Lennon quite finding form. New players in will need to bed in. The same can be said for the system which seems to be very slow in positive movement. No much sign of the high-line either at the moment and far too much sitting back towards the end of games which has cost us (although individual error has been just as responsible).
Lack of leadership on the pitch? Sure, there has been no true accountability. But then there's no King (forever) or Parker currently. Those new players will inject that extra something we're lacking. Shake up a few of the current batch that seem to think it's still pre-season.
The rhythm, the tempo. Its lethargic, disjointed. Ghosting in for a cameo and then disappearing. There's no link from defence to midfield and into attack. Goes to show just how vital Luka Modric was and just how gutting failing to sign João Moutinho is. This is why we can't play to that old swagger tune we've been spoilt with.
Adebayor still doesn't look fit enough (let's blame Levy). Defoe will never quite fit into this system, unable to hold the ball up with intelligence and far too inclined to hold onto it just to shoot the ball into defenders body without any spacial awareness. The two holding midfielders isn't working. Can't play Livermore and Sandro together, there has to be a mix in there and there was a marked improvement with Dembele on the pitch who scored a superb goal. So I can already see how we'll improve post-international break with him in the centre with perhaps Clint Dempsey who will take the place of previous chief galvaniser Rafa van der Vaart, looking to inspire players to match his effort and urgently. Dempsey could even go wide.
Two home games played, we've made hard work to just get our noses ahead and then two very late equalisers - both avoidable yet open invitations on both occasions. It won't breed confidence but then had we sneaked both games at 1-0, even with the disjointed play, they'd be a little bounce about us. Winning when not playing well, we'd have heard plenty of that. Whereas at the moment it feels far worse than it is because we've thrown away four points and haven't looked like a side with a clear identity of style.
On the subject of points:
Huddlestone was stupid. Wasn't as bad as it looked but with that type of tackle you won't get away with just a yellow unless you're playing in red at Old Trafford. Dive in like that, even if you get a little of the ball or appear to pull away last second - it doesn't look good. Ref should have given Norwich a penalty for a shirt pull by Benny (unless I'm misremembering that incident). Erratic.
Vertonghen, Sigurdsson are still settling into the side.
Defence too deep in latter stages of the game. Not much of the high line. But then not sure how much the high line would work currently as side not pressuring opposition enough.
Livermore and Sandro as holding midfielders in a home game is not positive enough (as neither drive forward half as much as they should attempt to do) and it doesn't provide an outlet when the attacking midfielder (Sig) can't dictate play, which is no criticism to the individual. Just a consequence of making do with what we have. He's not playing as a central midfielder, just one that's pushing up to offer support to the striker. Imagine the difference Luka would have made in there. It's that simple. Or at least it would be but we have to move on without him and adapt until January. From what is being said, Mout almost signed. He agreed personal terms. The fee was agreed. The documents sent to us from Porto needed correction and we run out of time.
Sigurdsson (in that forward position) was there to create for Defoe but isolated thanks to lack of flank support. The less possession he has, the less chances will be carved out.
Defoe himself is in a state of limbo. He can't find comfort in the system and we can't accommodate his strengths.
Livermore is getting plenty of game time, confusion on Sandro being subbed off - but not sure if this was tactical or due to a knock. Villas-Boas might be testing the kid or doing something extraordinarily left-field and believing in him. Something a fair few have already given up on.
Bale is not sticking to the left.
Lennon's crossing is far too opportunistic on second attempt.
Not enough composure on the ball. Players not passing the ball, moving and passing. I've said static once already right? They need a rocket up their a*se.
Friedel was superb.
The booing, the fact we've dropped points at home twice on the trot - we should remember that fine line and that we're hardly looking in complete disarray. But then some believe we're looking just that. So either I'm not facing up to the truth or others have already predicted the future.
We started on fire against WBA. If it wasn't for poor finishing we'd have been out of sight. So easy to just ignore that fact. We didn't however start well against Norwich. Villas-Boas has to get that intensity from kick off in how we compete from the off. Because it takes one goal (well two actually to hopefully gauanntee a win) to awaken that sleeping belief and confidence so that both supporters and players truly now a new era has started.
Things are not half as bad as they are being perceived. Some will never give the new coach their full support no matter what as they've already decided he will fail and are behaving accordingly to fit into their belief system (lack of). Remind you of someone else's early tenure?
If he fails, I can't quite believe I'm being forced to even talk about that possibility three games into a season, but if he does at least I'll be able to say I got behind him and the team. I'm I deluded? Am I avoiding the inevitable? Am I in denial? No.
I'm hopefully the majority that will out sing and shout the minority in support of the team.
Some of you are proud of the fact that you believe he will fail and want to fragment yourself from the rest of us and disassociate yourselves from being supportive of him. You wear your disdain like a badge of honour claiming it's your heart on your sleeve. If it was your heart on your sleeve you would muster up words and songs of encouragement instead.
It's not even about the booing. The booing is just a time-stamp on the lack of support.
Seems we are more disjointed in the stands than we are on the pitch. Getting what we deserve at the moment.
Seems we'll have to agree to disagree.
(title of article plagiarised from here)