On That

Just goes to show you how our 3-0 win over Bolton two weeks ago could have been quite different if Fabrice Muamba converted his early chance, no?

Rich is right, we were awful. But we were awful at moments. And in this league, good teams makes you pay at such moments. Especially by players that cost £4.4million-a-year in wages (Maxi went to Liverpool on a free, oddly in January), and £22.8 million on a transfer respectively. (I’ll let Dirk Kuyt and his £9 million tag slide, as Schwarzer pulled a Warner on that one. Sheesh.)

On our telecast stateside Steve Mcnamanman drew the comparison between today’s romp by ‘Pool and City’s demolition job around Thanksgiving. Well, not really. Below are the passing charts for both teams in both games as compared to ours.

Amongst that sea of blue, City managed to complete 474 of 580 passes. Comparatively, we completed 351 of 490 passes. But who are they to? City was a machine that match; have they ever been so dominant since? We chased shadows of shadows.

Today? Liverpool deserved it, but I felt it was a wacky 6-2 loss as you’ll ever see. JamieR is 100% right by saying the match “felt more random than significant.” The whole time I just wanted to press the ‘reset’ button and start all over. The whole back line and goalkeeper were out of sorts, which for this team is beyond bizarre. Liverpool played a high line to match our high line, and one errant pass would lead to a fast break for them. Would Etuhu have helped in this match?

We completed 390 of 520 passes, and appeared to have some semblance of a game plan and some control of the midfield—even with all the brainfarts on defense. Liverpool completed 382 of 528 passes, but a majority were between their back line.

[Total tangent, but today and Liverpool’s recent and incredible run just further illustrates how potent a team can be when they want to play for their manager. It’s becoming increasingly apparent to me that our opponents today never gave Roy a chance from the get-go, and hid behind the ownership debate(s) and debacle(s). They knew what they were doing all along.]

Ah well, St. Andrews on Sunday and then Arsenal the week after. Things could get a whole lot worse, but also a whole lot better.

Personally, I just want this season to end, now.

7 thoughts on “On That

  1. I’d hate it if the season ended right now, with that awful defeat. I want to see redemption at Birmingham and home to Arsenal. Let’s hope the players WANT to redeem themselves.

  2. I’m with Mike. I’d like to end with a win at home vs. Arsenal. Especially since I’ll be there (a rarity because I live in LA…though I’ve made it to 4 this a year, a record)!

    I know it’s a bummer to lose one like this, but let’s give the team the support they deserve. They’ve been excellent in the 2nd half of the season and our defense, normally rock-solid, had an off day. Could happen to anyone…and does (even Barcelona have an off day). COYW!

  3. You know what the game looked like?

    It looked a lot like Germany v Australia at the last world cup. A slow defense playing a high line being destroyed by quick players and skillful passes through the high line.

    I think this is where a player like Pantsil came into his own – he could keep up with the ‘speedy’ forward and cover for our slow back 2. Baird might be a ‘better’ right back, but he can’t hold his own against quick players.

    I would love to see player tracking for this game, not passes, but where players were running – I am sure Liverpool covered more distance. They always seemed to have 10 behind the ball as soon as we had it, we did not seem to have our midfield covering defense when they had the ball. A classic game of 1 team who have everything to play for against a team with nothing to play for – we can’t complain because we stayed up 2 years in a row playing against dis-interested teams in the last game of the year (Liverpool then Portsmouth.) Well, I can complain because I lost $AUS40 to 2 separate ‘Liverpool can’t possibly lose to a lowly team like Fulham’ supporters :-(

    1. Good call Lamby. After that match everyone was gloating about how good Germany were (which they were) and how awful Australia were (which they weren’t). When it was really more about Pim Verbeek screwing up royally.

      Salcido didn’t really track back either. But it didn’t matter because Liverpool managed to play a high line and squeeze their entire midfield line and one striker between our midfield and forwards in the first half. So one errant pass by us and then *BOOM* breakaway opportunity for them.

  4. How many of those passes were after the game was buried though, Tim? We had a good run in the second half when Liverpool were happy to sit back with their 3-0 (3-1) lead.

    1. The game versus City was buried in a short while and we still had no ‘comeback’ like we did yesterday.

      If cookies crumbled a different way, it could have easily been 2-1 at halftime. But it didn’t.

  5. HELP! That was a truly horrible match to watch. For much of the game it appeared that we were in slow motion. Our back line, which normally is so reliable, was beaten time after time by the Liverpool forwards. Our attack was equally inept while our midfield was all but missing. Again, a very sobering thrashing. The issue seems to be how do we infuse new, quicker players into the team after the end of the season when we have such a limited budget? Add to this the uncertainty of Hughes returning. HELP.

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