Bartek added this as a comment to the Beesotted Wolves Debrief article at the weekend and we feel it makes a good article read too. Share your own thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Listening to and reading you guys here I appreciate the fact that some of you may feel it’s the right thing to be humble (on record) and that perhaps that is even how you actually feel. The constant mentions of ‘we are hoping to stay, it’s the most important thing to stay up this year etc’. Sure it is. I, however, from the start had us staying up and comfortably as well. I had us as a mid table team and then ‘take it from there’ due to the fact that I think of us as a team built in the Championship to, with few additions, play in the Prem (like, recently, Wolves and Leeds) and not something like Fu%*am and West Brom who come up, change the whole squad and as result have no cohesion and promptly go back down. I’m not even mentioning Norwich who basically come up, do absolutely nothing, and go straight back down. Every time.
We are so far doing more or less what I expected us to be doing: a) Looking very well organized without having to park the bus. Everyone are putting a shift in and everyone have each others backs. There is no desperate defending, our back three looks as comfortable (bordering on cocky at times) as they were a League below and at no point in those past 5 games I saw our defense ‘allover the place’. I must put my hands up and say I was slightly worried about Pontus Janssons pace but, quite clearly, I should not have. b) I predicted Ivan The Terrible For Opposition Defenders to finish the season on somewhere between 11 and 15 goals and I am so far sticking to it.
He will not, for a number of reasons, crack or even get near 20 this year (for example – we wont get too many penalties as promoted teams hardly ever do get them and we are obviously playing against top notch opposition this time round so our final pass will take time to adjust). I even said to someone that I wouldn’t be too surprised if Bryan Mbeumo had finished the season on more goals than Ivan but that was before it became apparent that he’s determined to win this years crossbar challenge. More on Mbeumo later.
We do indeed look a little off once we make substitutions but I personally think (I’m one of those winkers who thinks he would be a great manager lol) a good number of these substitutions is unnecessary or at least could involve a different player to the one that is coming on. I am not in Mr Franks shoes tho so I shall leave it to him. I can’t moan about the man anyway.
This past game against Wolves was probably our best so far even though we have not had a bad one yet. Not to me. Ivan was, hopefully by design, finally mostly in the final third and it showed. Midfield was brilliant, defense was, again, never in a panic mode and demonstrated a masterclass in…erm…game management (lol) after we went down to 10 men. While I didn’t expect us to be able to do awfully much against that Human Ballistic Missile wearing number 37 for Wolves – he is his own worst enemy and his wastefulness was helpful. Even Bryan scored!
Bryan… Should Bryan converted half of his chances so far this season he would be leading the Scorers Table by 2 goals… Instead he’s on pace to be very much at the top of the charts for Big Chances Missed. He, so far, had more shots than Sterling, Vardy, Son and Carvelt-Lewin and as many as Lukaku… (at the point of me writing this, halfway through Spurs – Chelsea game). Not great return though and most worrying fact is that these shots aren’t brilliantly saved by goalkeepers but are going into row Z on most occasions. Any of them against Brighton go in and we are not loosing that game. There will be more games like this moving on and I’m not the biggest fan of that thought. The guy is kinda doing everything else just about right so I’ll give him a benefit of a doubt for now but I’m hoping someone like Wissa (or Forrs?) will be ready to contribute sooner rather than later.
Next up (apart from Odham which I’m hoping I may cheekily be able to attend as I live in Midlands these days) is Liverpool – a game I have no illusion we should be expecting anything from. But I’m looking forward to it probably more than any game so far with obvious exception being the First Game of The Season. I want to see how we play against a powerhouse like this. One of probably 10 best teams in the world. It’s bonkers and that’s why we are in the Prem for. Up The Bees!