Better or worse?

dabigfella

Active member
#1
Looking back over the past 5 or 6 years 31 points usually leaves one around 13th or 14th in the table and at least 8 or 9 points off the play offs. This year we are 9th and only four points off the play offs.

Now is this because League One is a lot worse this year as far as quality is concerned? Or does it mean a general uprating of the sides in League One and the general closing upwards of quality.

Not easy to decide. Though I reckon it's more likely (with a few exceptions) a downgrading in quality with a lot of much of a muchness teams in League ne now.
 
Last edited:
#5
League two is as s**t as it's always been, even Swindon are top half.

Our division, I would say there are a few decent teams, a few very poor teams and then abou 15 teams who are bang average with hardly any difference in ability between them, we are in that middle group.

Hard to say if it's better or worse than last year as I was to busy enjoying our first year back at this level to notice. We were pretty much mid table like this last year though, so I would similar standard league as last without one team much better than everyone else in sheff u, and without one team miles and miles worse than everyone else in Swindon.
 
#6
Although we did not play well ourselves, Blackburn looked a very useful side, and I though Charlton looked good, too. It was early in the season, but Pompey looked poor, and they are now above us.

I suspect the league may be more 'stretched' this year: Wigan and Blackburn may get an awful lot of points, and some clubs (Northampton, ?Wimbledon) may not get very many.
 
#9
I think that this year the league is rather tough. As mentioned there seems to be few really weak teams and no outstanding teams. What we can see is that if teams at the bottom get themselves sorted they can quickly move upwards (Oldham). This is dangerous as as conversely if you don't maintain your current level you could easily move backwards.

Last year we improved considerably after January to have a stronger run in. This year with our patchy recruitment and limited ability to change things on the pitch around I am not sure we will see the same run of form. What concerns me is the fact we may loose Payne if he is recalled (and I saw an article yesterday with mumblings along those lines).

I still see us as mid table this season I am a bit concerned we do not seem to be getting better and that Pep hasn't really shown us he is learning from our failings. I still don't buy that this season is for builing something to move us forwards (I believed that at the end of last season) . Now we have too many players that will need to be replaced next season so see anything much other than a holding action. We need to see a couple of good signings of not end of career players in Jan (or loans that we may recruit in the summer) to show that we genuinely are building something.
 
#10
I can't accept that Pep doesn't learn - he sounds very astute to me. He has lost arguably his two best players to injury, and in the case of Nelson, an impact injury which was totally unrelated to club fitness routines or medical care. In the summer, he had to compensate for the loss of Dunkley (who had refused contract talks) Lundstram and Johnson, and so not surprisingly, turned to players he knew or knew of. I am sure it was Appleton who said the club were having to look at new markets, because (partly due to our success?) other clubs were on to the idea of recruiting young players from premiership academies who had not quite made it. If there is a question over the summer, it is whether the money (from player sales) was available to Pep for re-investment had he wanted to do this.

It is interesting (and perhaps significant) that three of last year's squad, two of whom were highly rated, are now at bottom-of-the-table Bury, who, rumour has it, have splashed some cash.

The greatest current weakness seems to me an attempt to play a style of football which the payers are not quite good enough for, perhaps with the exception of Payne and Ricardinho. We play intricate passing moves, and then lose the ball on the edge of the opposition box - in the worst cases, providing the opposition with an splendid opportunity to counter attack.
 
#11
To me our system seems very ridgid. This may be down to the players available. Other than that our performances are very hit and miss. This is showing no signs of changing (Rochdale). This is what I am talking about when I say I believe Pep is struggling to adapt his thinking to be successful in this league.

We did loose key players in the summer and have been hit by injuries (some predictably others unfortunate) but overall the recruitment policy during the summer was very lack luster. We simply did not address certain issues like the loss of pace in midfield or the cover for players with obvious fitness problems (Ribero). We lost a lot of quality and replaced it with greater numbers. I have said before I don't buy into the club line of that we had to look further a field because we couldn't recruit good young players from higher leagues. In any case the new policy of looking further afield has hardly been a policy that has borne much in the way of fruit.

In my mind in January we need to rethink recruitment to go back to what was working previously, or its time to start looking in and around this league for a few decent players. We need some pace and width to midifeld, we need some better cover for defence, and possibly a bit more varity in attacking options. I would like to see use look for some loans from higher up that we do have a chance of signing perminately. Also there is some dead wood in the squad currently that needs chopping. January is the wrong time for a major rebuild but bring in a couple of really decent players (maybe balance this by offloading if possible some of the dead wood) and we could finish strongly like last season and we would be building for the future. Fail to do so and our wobbles could be more concerning.
 
#12
January is a very tricky time to strengthen - it always has been. The only chance of getting an experienced, decent, in form, uninjured player is if they are out of contract in the summer and their club wants to get some money for them (and that type of player will command a premium at this time of year). Other than that, you might get a youngster on loan from a club higher up or someone who is completely out of form. Add to that the fact that two or three players are now returning from injury and I think we will be lucky to see any significant signings at all (I hope I am wrong on this!).

It is undeniable that we have been unlucky with injuries from the very start of the season and our position in the table does show that Clotet has managed that situation well so far. However, we seem to have now shifted to a far more defensive way of playing and have I think been a bit fortunate to be on a four match unbeaten run (if you count the silly trophy).

Our signings in the summer were pretty poor over all (again IMO of course), and I am very skeptical abut our scouting set up - if there was/is one - at that time.

This division has a few very decent teams, a few crap ones and the rest in the middle - which is where we sit. Barring a complete disaster we will get enough points to stay up - barring some spectacular January signings and/or a huge slice of continuous luck we won't get enough points to go up.
 
#13
It is undeniable that we have been unlucky with injuries from the very start of the season
Is it luck? I'd say our team last season was filled with more injury prone players than almost anyone, and then our recruitment plan this season seemed to be sign as many players who have missed massive time with injury as possible.

So it's no surprise that a squad fit to burst with crocks is struggling with injuries mid season
 
#15
Ribeiro - 13 league games in 18 months, now retired, massively injury prone all his career
Tiendalli - hadn't played in 2 years, has missed a lot of games already
Williamson - Had barely played for 2 years, has done alright with injuries, but was out of the team for a while
Nelson - Very good injury record prior to signing, now had 2 serious injuries in 2 seasons, including the current one which means he'll miss over half a season
Hall - Signed while seriously injured, never played 30 league games in a season
Thomas - Serious injury last season, has been injured often throughout his career
Obika - Not the worst record but has consistently missed games throughout his career
Ricardinho - 33, not fit when he signed and asked to play lots of minutes
Pekalski - Never played anything close to a full Football league season in terms of games played in a year, unlucky to get injured in first training session


That's 9 of our core group of players who were very questionable about whether they could last a full season, that's an absolutely ridiculous number

Our injury problems have little to do with luck
 
#16
Ribeiro - I agree, but he was here when Clotet got here. Perhaps unlucky to inherit him!
Tiendalli - again I agree, was always a significant risk of injury after 2 years of not playing.

Nelson - don't agree. Nobody could have foreseen that injury. Was likely to play all season.
Williamson - don't agree. Hasn't been 'injury prone' over the years
Hall - don't agree. Yes, we signed him injured but he was fit again. Another one Clotet inherited.
Pekalski - don't agree. Injured in his first training session must almost be the definition of 'unlucky'!

Thomas and Obika - I sort of agree. Both have had recurrent injuries over the years. But Thomas was already here and Obika apparently already lined up when Appleton left. Probably would be less of a problem if Mehmeti and GVK were fit (you can add them to your list - which makes 11!)

So I think Nelson, Hall, Williamson and Pekalski could certainly have played the bulk of this season's matches, and there is no reason to suggest on their past records that Mehmeti and GVK were likely to be out for as long as they have been.

You are right though that signing older players especially those who have not been playing regularly must surely increase the risk of injuries. But having that number of injuries of that severity/length in so many players is surely unlucky?
 
#17
Williamson hardly played last year an was injured for a part of it. Given his age was always going to be a bit of a risk.
Hall has had 3 major injuries now so would have to say he always was somewhat of a risk.

I think we could have foreseen some of these injuries or at least due to age that some players are not going to play every game (Hall, Ribeiro, Williamson, Tiendalli, Obika). We have been pretty lucky so far with Thomas but he remains a risk.

On the other hand Nelson, Pekalski, Mehmeti have been unlucky (that is assuming Pekalski and Mehmeti are any good we simply don't know). As for GVK not sure fit or injured what he brings to the team.

I think there is a fact here that you can afford a couple of players in a squad that have an injury risk if you get some quality that otherwise you can't afford. But it is unwise to not have a backup plan for them. We seem to be carrying to many potential crocks with limited cover for what they bring to the team when fit. Add to this some bad luck and you are where we are now.
 

Berliner

Active member
#18
Ribeiro - I agree, but he was here when Clotet got here. Perhaps unlucky to inherit him!
Tiendalli - again I agree, was always a significant risk of injury after 2 years of not playing.

Nelson - don't agree. Nobody could have foreseen that injury. Was likely to play all season.
Williamson - don't agree. Hasn't been 'injury prone' over the years
Hall - don't agree. Yes, we signed him injured but he was fit again. Another one Clotet inherited.
Pekalski - don't agree. Injured in his first training session must almost be the definition of 'unlucky'!

Thomas and Obika - I sort of agree. Both have had recurrent injuries over the years. But Thomas was already here and Obika apparently already lined up when Appleton left. Probably would be less of a problem if Mehmeti and GVK were fit (you can add them to your list - which makes 11!)

So I think Nelson, Hall, Williamson and Pekalski could certainly have played the bulk of this season's matches, and there is no reason to suggest on their past records that Mehmeti and GVK were likely to be out for as long as they have been.

You are right though that signing older players especially those who have not been playing regularly must surely increase the risk of injuries. But having that number of injuries of that severity/length in so many players is surely unlucky?
Even Tiendalli has been more or less ever present since reaching some form of match fitness.
 
Top Bottom