True or False: Damien Duff did not complete a single pass in the second half on Sunday.
Okay, that’s a trick question. He didn’t even attempt one.
Here is yesterday’s passing chart. I don’t know if the Guardian staffer fell asleep or it really was that atrocious.
What may be worse than the sheer lack of passes is where three of the four completed outfield passes went to: behind and to his left. We all know Duff has no right foot to speak of, and granted there is no way to tell what foot he made these passes with, but it still shows a clear lack of confidence with his weaker foot.
I wrote in the round table that I think Duff’s switch/inversion to the right made a huge different in his season and the clubs. But what has changed since Jol took over?
Is it fatigue? Although he was injured the final 7 matches, last season he played a full 90 minutes in 13 matches and played about 55% of the total minutes. This season he has played the full 90 all but once (yesterday), being on the pitch about 93% of the time. Additionally, he played in every Europa League Qualifier, making the full 90 four times and being subbed off in the 86th twice, 89th and 66th (for context, he was subbed out after the 80th minute just four times all of last season).
Is it a change of tactics? Last week the offense ran through Duff, where he unsuccessfully attempted 12 crosses and 7 corners. The week. Last season, and even against Newcastle this season, Duff operated as a linkup player that made many short passes (some behind and to his left) and not too many crosses.
Is he missing Simon Davies? Okay, there’s no easy way to prove that. But it could, considering we don’t really have a real crosser of the ball besides Riise (who’s hardly been doing that this season).
I’m not saying Duff should be dropped immediately, but his form is serious cause for concern. Would rather see Kasami, if not Frei, start in his stead on Wednesday.
Lastly, and sorry for the shameless self- promotion, but the few of us in Baltimore and surrounding area (hereby named the Charm City Cottagers) have a website up. Do check that out to see if and when we’re watching a match.