Monday, 27 October 2014

Match Review - Hull City

Why won't we change?  I'm getting bored of writing the same after every game.  Yet again we played one striker for most of the game and yet again it didn't work because it doesn't fit the style of play of almost all our players, Sterling, Lallana and Allen all had poor games, Balotelli again misfired and I believe it's because of the formation and it's costing us our season, the figures, the stats and what we can see with our own eyes prove it, with twenty minutes to go we changed to two upfront and we came to life, chances were created the team looked more comfortable the crowd came alive as for the first time in the game we looked like we just could score and this was with Lambert and Balotelli as the two, the same two who I heard compared to bags of cement this week, imagine if we had tried anybody with a bit of mobility.

For the first half this was another tepid, frustrating performance with Henderson rested it appeared that we were missing his work rate in the middle, Can is showing signs that he can become a solid player but Allen was missing his partner and seemed to be struggling on his return following injury, he didn't have the physicality needed and seemed a little off the pace.  Balotelli was holding the ball up well and showing one or two good touches but Lallana and Sterling from wide positions were failing to give him the support he needed and with nobody getting up from the midfield we were unable to put any real pressure on the Hull defence.

In the second half we were better, especially after the change allowing us to get some support to Balotelli with Lambert joining him up front we dominated possession, put some pressure on the defence and created chances, Unfortunately, today we couldn't take them, with Balotelli again guilty.  

Balotelli has had far to much unfair criticism, he is working hard, he hasn't done anything stupid, we are told he is training hard, and his general play as been ok.  What has been missing is goals and he has been getting chances, good chances and he has been missing them, again today he was guilty of missing two reasonable chances that I would expect an international striker to take, well at least one of them and that would have been the difference between winning and drawing, the same against Everton and Basel, imagine how differant our season would look with a win in the two league games, four more points and a draw against Basel and the extra point.      For me Balotelli is playing ok, just ok, but the failure to take chances is not acceptable.  The same is true of Lambert he is also not scoring but is not taking the criticism when in my opinion before today his play had been far worse.
One positive to take from today was that we finally got a clean sheet and in getting one our defence played better, at least individually.  Lovren made a marked improvement and looked solid. With  Manquillo and Moreno back in the full back positions we managed to stop at least some of the threat from the flanks, both played well defensively in my opinion.  Skrtel looked happier with Lovren's form allowing him to play with less panic and Mignolet looked to be playing with a bit more confidence hopefully this is a start, it looks like we have been working on defending as a team and at set plays.  We have decent players, it just looks like we have forgotten how to defend, hopefully this is the start of the long road back.

A disappointing result but some encouraging signs from the defence and we were again shown that when we play the correct formation the team  can look a threat, we need two strikers and four in midfield, I just hope Rodgers was watching and can see it.  I really believe Sterling could play up with Balotelli or Lambert and give us a real threat


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