Calming it down: wasted goal kicks

One of the things that’s surprised me this year is David Stockdale’s distribution.  Earlier in his Fulham career he seemed to be clearly better than Mark Schwarzer in this area. Now?  Not so sure.

Take yesterday:

Which looks unfortunate: 31 possession concessions there (and I accept that we may have won a bit of second ball there, but on past form, probably not much, and not enough to justify just giving the ball back like that). Contrast with his opposite number:

But worse, look at Stockdale in the second half, when we really needed to get our feet back into the game:

Ouch.  Almost exactly what the situation didn’t demand.

I’m not digging out Stockdale – he’s been fantastic since he came back into the side, but in looking at how and why we surrendered initiative, this really jumped out.   There are other questions and we’ll have a look at those in the next few days, but I wanted to throw this up for discussion.  If we’d simple kept the ball with our defenders on those 24 occasions it would surely have been a lot harder for Norwich to keep storming back at us.

6 thoughts on “Calming it down: wasted goal kicks

  1. Very insightful….these stats back up what we have been saying for some while. Why lump it up field (esp without a real target man like BZ – not that I am advocating his re-inclusion unless his attitude changes) and give a way possession, when we have the ability to build from the back and keep possession.

    These stats are rather horrific though…as you say not necessarily Stocko’s fault (he has done very well again) as I assume he is kicking to orders (Mr Jol ?).

    More intelligence needed from the team, coupled with more thoughtful (rather than wasted) effort and we’ll be happily squatting in the top half for the second half of the season.

  2. Could that be as much about the players we have in the outfield compared to last year?

    Agree its a waste but a big punt down the pitch must always be less likely to find your own player than playing it out from the back.

    It does surprise me that Jol is seemingly happy to play that way though.

  3. I’ve been wondering since the Odense debacle about leadership on the pitch, and maybe from the sidelines as well. There seemed to be a total lack of leadership in the 2nd half v Odense. Nobody standing up and saying “Come on, lets get forward”. Apparently there WAS a lot of shouting to that effect from Ray Lew. But no sign of the supposedly natural leaders like Murphy and Hangeland doing it. Was it the same yesterday. Did anyone even think of saying to Stockdale “stop punting it up field David”. If not, why not? Even if there is discord on the dressing room, you would think it would mean enough to the senior players to intervene when something is clearly not being done right.

  4. During the first half at Chelsea half it was very noticeable that Stockdale kept passing it short, mostly to Senderos – indeed we spent many minutes of that half simply knocking it about between the four defenders and Murphy. Stockdale had clearly had some instruction from the management.

    As an attempt to take the sting out of the game it definitely worked, but when it became predictable it started getting us into trouble – see the Sturridge chance when he nicked the ball off Hangeland and blazed wide.

    Maybe Jol’s instructions to Stockdale yesterday were to mix it up a bit more – first half looks like that. Second half who knows? Perhaps in the heat of battle / under more pressure, Stockdale simply forgot? In which case (or whatever the reason) – as MH says above – surely Murphy or Brede or someone should have had a word.

    1. Indeed – the chalkboards show as much. I had a post in mind to that effect but didn’t go with it in the end. Thanks for the reminder, worth having a look at.

  5. Also note where the balls were being thumped to. The right flank. It seemed as though Stockdale was looking towards Ruiz for much of the match, but the Costa Rican won few, misjudged man and, a couple, went out on their own.

    I like what I’ve seen from him recently… but target play isn’t one of those likable attributes.

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