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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Is this what you call a comfort zone?

First things first: We should have won today at Birmingham. We owned them in the second half, until Mauro Zarate came on to liven things up for the Blues. We were just plain better.

That we maintained an advantage on the pitch in the second half of an away match would be quite an achievement, if it weren't against one of the worst teams in the league. Then again, we're also one of the worst teams in the league, so it meant something.

And Alan Smith didn't play. Hallelujah.

But TDH, naturally, has some quibbles. First, why was Martins taken off instead of Viduka? Martins could have slotted into Viduka's spot when Zog came on. And the big man really was huffing and puffing. He's still not fit. It's March.

Also, can we please have two hours of passing practice every day until the next fixture? TDH hasn't seen so many heavy balls since... the last time TDH went to a bowling alley. (What did you think TDH was going to say?) Our passing was poor, and that's why we didn't win.

That, and the fact that we still lack creativity on the ball. Down here, Christian Bassedas (remember him?) was doing the color commentary, and for once he hit the target: We just didn't have the ability to surprise the opposition. The players who give us that are Milner, Zog and Emre. He also pointed out that all of our defenders hang out in the 18-yard box, instead of spreading out to defuse the danger earlier. Good point.

That said, TDH was intrigued by the Smith-less formation. Of course, TDH would like to suggest a couple of alterations. Take off Butt, who compensates for slowness with so many clumsy tackles that it's no surprise he leads the league in yellow cards. Slide Barton into his place, and bring back one of our true wingers. Then you can still play with Owen and Viduka up front, and Martins behind in the slot.

And one more alteration: Make Geremi captain again. Okay, TDH has no idea what he's like in the locker room. But he holds us together on the pitch. He's a brilliant sweeper, he almost never loses the ball, he tackles cleanly, he settles the offense, and his dead balls are of a consistently high quality. He's a role model for chuckleheads like Barton. The man deserves some recognition.

There are six teams below us garnering an average of less than a point a game. TDH thinks we need nine points from the eight remaining matches to stay up. Keep playing like we did today, and we might just get them. A win against Fulham at home (though TDH will be oh-so-compromised, especially after McBride's dream goal at the weekend) is the only acceptable next step.


Blogger Michael said...

I just can't get past the fact that Geremi runs like a geriatric. And his corners are awful. He is, however, much better than either Smith or Barton, neither of whom should be in the team, let alone given the captain's armband.

Making Smith captain was the biggest travesty of justice since Keiron Dyer got eighty grand a week.

7:36 PM  

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