Friday, 26 September 2014

WEST HAM VISIT

It's since been revealed by Robin van Persie that the squad held talks in the aftermath of the shocking defeat at Leicester last Sunday. Whereas it's nice and all for the players to be seen to care and do something about events as terrible as last week, the lesson must be learned, and fast.

In the opening game at home against Swansea, there was a feeling that we would eventually go on to win the game easily as soon as Wayne had equalised. As such, little thinking was put into defending Swansea's rare forays into our half. In fact, it was just two of the three centre backs that were arsed about defending anything that came our way. No suprise then that Swansea sensed a vulnerability that they exploited.

Lest we forget, footballers are human. Lining up with an attacking force such as ours can easily get to the heads of the not so steller names and hence contribute to an arrogance and complacency in certain departments of the team. An arrogance  that breeds a mentality that ours is to attack and theirs is to defend. Manchester United enjoyed the home game against QPR because Harry Redknapp played himself into the obvious trap of coming to defend against one of the world's deadliest attacks....at least on paper. It is therefore more than likely that ahead of the Leicester City trip, United expected the Foxes to keep retreating to their goal with little or no effort to actually test United at the back.

If that is true, then it's certain that United were shell shocked by having to continuously defend their goal even at 3-1 up. The lesson then is simple. In this league, you are never really out of the woods unless you have a three goal lead deep into the second half. With just the one game per week, it should not be difficult to play at 100kmph for 95 minutes. You'd think the players would relish it after a whole week of just training.

If the lesson is learned, then taking 3 goal leads against sides this season should not be reason to slack off because we do have the attack to win games in 45 minutes. However, we do not have a defence to keep a clean sheet in 45 minites of containing football. Attacking to the last minute is therefore the only way we can be assured of reducing our opponent's opportunities to get back in games that we are cruising. Whereas in the past, 2-0 leads were enough to see out games, even having 2 goal leads twice in the same match is not enough anymore.

West Ham and Sam Allardyce know that they can go to Old Trafford and aerially test our backline with more than a chance of finding the net. That is their strength. The onus is on us to blow them out of the water with our own strengths, and keep at it until the referee has had enough. That should be plan A from hereon.

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