Hull City 1 - West Bromwich Albion 0
A few thoughts from the 60 minutes or so I managed to watch.
Lineup and formation were disappointing again and we had problems from the off.
I felt the players looked lost - wide open on the break and only outnumbering Hull in areas so far away from goal we could’ve been on the Humber Bridge.
Up front the 2 10s behind JRod (who is now only really capable of being a 10 himself) didn’t work. No pace, nobody forward enough wide most of the time.
Whenever Phillips has the ball there was no forward pass on and a winger and fullback against him.
The goal was poor but we could’ve been a couple down. It just wasn’t working.
The first sub was a total waste - here was an opportunity to drop Mozza deeper and get Sako or Burke on for some pace. I’d have put Sako left wing and gone 4-5-1 for a bit with Barnes as a 10.
As it was Field did okay but was trapped in the same system with the same lack of options and exposure.
At half time I was so desperate I’d have got Burke & Sako on for Rodriguez and Mozza.
When the subs were made we did seem to go 4-4-2 but Phillips made way and the toothless Rodriguez remained. Sako seemed to be playing right wing and Burke seemed to be playing up top with Barnes on the left.
It was terrible - Barnes vanished from the game (he has to play centrally), Sako looked lost and our 2 in midfield couldn’t break Hull’s 3 to get any supply to our forwards.
Moore and Jones are all at sea here and there is little sign they know how to fix it. I don’t trust the board to replace them sensibly but we have to act now. The league lacks quality and we still have one of the better squads in it - we have to fight hard for promotion at the first attempt.
So I think it's fair to say the supply of 'magic dust' Darren Moore had to sprinkle over the Baggies has run out. Being a nice guy and allowing players the freedom to express themselves only lasts so long it seems. The downturn in fortunes in the last month has been almost as dramatic as the boost DM gave the team at the end of last season. The fragile collective psyche of sports teams is an interesting study for any psychologist (one of the many qualifications I don't possess). Yesterday's performance, against one of the weakest teams in the league, was one that said the players are not happy about something. What? Tactics? Personalities? Who knows? Players are just employees (bloody rich ones) after all. With moods, gripes, cliques etc etc. Something clearly needs sorting out.
But should we really be surprised by the performances? At end of last season we knew we had to get younger and quicker. We needed to add midfield creativity and strengthen our fullback positions. And of course, find a proven goalscorer. To DM's credit, without a technical director, he pulled off a couple of masterstrokes in acquiring Barnes and Gayle (albeit loanees). You could argue that getting Johnstone was also a fair replacement for Foster, but none of the other incoming players have addressed our weaknesses. Added to that, the drop off in form of players like Hegazi and Dawson has further weakened the team. Teams have quickly learned to slow down Barnes by any means and press our ponderous back three and aging midfield.
I am always bemused by the disparity between the football media's glowing analysis of our squad and the opinion of the regular fans. Have the players been spending too much time reading their own press? We shouldn't expect to return to the goalscoring pace of the first ten games, but to have any chance of promotion DM needs to find a balance. If teams like Derby can take us apart imagine what would happen in the Premier. DM is a good man and deserves our support, but he needs a rethink.
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