September 26, 2016 by notjustpumpkinbread
It seemed – for 67 minutes at least – as if we may be on our way to not only securing our first away win of the season, but also in gaining that all important clean sheet we’ve been hoping for.
Then the wheels fell off.
Well, that’s what it feels like anyway.
Not being at the game, following it on twitter and watching Gillette Soccer Saturday had to suffice. It wasn’t easy.
It sounds like we rode our luck at times, that Michael Mancienne was having a good game and that our Henri’s goal was a screamer. I’m glad MM had found his form somewhat, because – as a friend of mine so aptly noted – he’d been brutalised in that second half against Arsenal.
Of course, it couldn’t have been a great game for him as we were apparently at sixes and sevens defensively for both of Wednesday’s goals and he is part of that defensive unit. In fairness, I haven’t the heart to read any of the reports – why should I put myself through it? I’ll just keep my Specs in place and carry on regardless!
Personally speaking, I’d like to see David Vaughan back in that defensive midfield position he pretty much made his own last season. With information being a bit sketchy as to whether he’s been injured or just out of favour, I’m slightly bemused as to his omission from the lineup.
It seems he has to make a claim for his right to be included every time we change managers. I understand there’s always going to be a bit of a clean slate thing going on whenever someone new arrives, but surely Philippe had watched some recordings of last season’s games.
I went to “An Evening with John McGovern” thing a while back – this was after DF had been jettisoned – and JMcG was asked about DV. He noted that he’d spoken to both SP and DF about the inclusion of DV, to which both replied along the lines of “Have you seen him in training? He’s gone…“
Vaughan played only 7 times under Stuart Pearce and had a further 6 run outs for DF including 5 of the last 6 games of that 2014/15 season. The player we’d all raved about when he initially joined us on loan from Sunderland was the victim of what he described as the worst injury he’d sustained in his career and lacklustre support from his managers. In fairness, DF did see the light last season and 35 games – 31 of which were starts – saw Vaughan as our best outfield player by a country mile.
And that’s what our lineup is missing right now. A player who will provide support to the defensive unit, unselfishly break up play in that defensive third and look to offload the ball to the more creative players in the team. I’m also hoping Thomas Lam is a younger version of Vaughan, but once again we have been denied the opportunity of seeing what he can do due to injury. And PM’s penchant for using him as a centre half.
Dani Pinillos cannot come back quickly enough either. Clearly we’ll have to tread carefully with his reintroduction into the team following a prolonged spell on the injury list. That being said, the opportunity to use a natural left back will allow Eric to cement his place at right back and in turn will free up Hildeberto Pereira to play a more forward facing role.
I’d be interested to learn how Matt Mills got on as well. It seems he’s flicked some sort of switch from “ever reliable centre half” of last season to “finger-pointing and shouting at his team mates” this season. He was very vocal during the Brentford game and had a thing or two to say to Nicklas Bendtner in the EFL Cup game against Arsenal last week. As I’ve written before, he needs to own that shit, not look at offloading it on other players.
It was nice to see an unchanged back 5 on Saturday, as it was to see Vaughan making the bench, but recurring defensive frailties are a concern. Seeing two former players making positive waves while plying their trade at a higher level doesn’t help either.
It’s Fulham next and with 2 draws and 2 losses to their name in the last 4 games, we’re in with a shout. I won’t mention that they’re unbeaten away from home so far this season…
COME ON YOU REDS!!!