Fan's View First 2 months

Scotchegg

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14 Dec 2017
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5,416
So we've got to the end of September and already played 15 games in all competitions! That's pretty much 2 games a week, every week since the season began. To put that into perspective, West Ham were only playing their 8th game against us on Wednesday! And even in league 1, the team directly above us, Doncaster have only played 10 games.

And it's not just the number of games we've played. Of the 6 away games in the league, we've already done round trips of nearly 2000 miles. That has a massive impact on the players, with travel time, overnight stops etc and eats into the time you have on the training ground. But let's not forget the fans either! Our support has been incredible as always, but the time and financial pressures of supporting the team can't be underestimated.

Compare these away fixtures with Doncaster who have only played 3 of their 9 league games away from home, all within a couple of hour drive!

Then look at the 4 cup games we've had. Peterborough, a top league 1 club, Millwall in the Championship, West Ham in the PL and the PL kids at Norwich. Not one easy game amongst them! The only saving grace being that they've all be at home so far!

Performance wise, we started well, had a dip, and are now looking as strong as we have in a very long time. A lot of credit for where we are today must go to Robinson. He brought in the players that he wanted, with a clear view of how he wanted to play. The criticism about him not being able to adapt is ridiculous. But rather than making wholesale changes he looks to tweak and create lots of marginal gains.

Chris Cadden started as a virtual winger. His starting position was on the halfway line and he struggled to get back from there. In the last couple of weeks we have seen him starting deeper and picking the times when he can make his runs. Not only is this proving to be better defensively, but he's also making better use of the runs he does make. The end product was not great as the defence knew that the ball was always going to him and could set up to clear the crosses. Because it's now coming from both sides and through the middle, more space is available.

Ben Woodburn was playing just behind the no.9, but Mackie is very unorthodox in his positioning. This meant that they were either both getting in the same space or were miles apart. In addition, Brannagan was coming forward from midfield and we had Henry and Fosu/Forde cutting inside. Woodburn was cramped for space and struggled to stamp a mark on the game. He is now lining up only 10 yards or so back, but is now able to influence play much better. He's not shy about putting a tackle in and reads the game very well. He can also shoot, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him picking up more and more goals from that position.

Alex Gorrin is fantastic in the hole, picking up everything loose and making key tackles. But with Cadden on the halfway line and some uncertainty with Dickie and Moore at times, he was getting dragged everywhere. Now we are more solid, you can see just how good he is at not only breaking up play but also starting the counter with drives forward. He can also pick a pass to release our forwards and most of our chances start with him.

Tariqe Fosu is also showing the benefit of some time out to recover and build his fitness. At the beginning of the season against Sunderland and Peterborough he was unplayable for 30 mins then blowing. He is now right at the top of his game and able to influence for 90 minutes. This is bot only due to improved fitness, but like Cadden, he's picking his runs much better. I would guess that he ran no further against Lincoln than against Sunderland but the end product was far better.

Man-management. Rather than going through the whole squad I think it's also worth talking about the way everyone is playing for each other. The fact that we could make 6 or 7 changes midweek and back again without losing intensity is a sign of a very good club. They're apparently going on a team building day on Monday!! Imagine how good these players will be after that!!!

All in all, we have some frustrations and some poor shows, but that's the beauty of supporting Oxford United. On our day we are simply incredible and our hope we have many more of these days ahead!
 

yellowbow

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Joined
7 Dec 2017
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4,202
On the point of away games, having already got a large proportion of northern trips out of the way early might also work in our favour when the winter months arrive. With the worst of the snowy weather usually affecting the north, postponements and fixture pile-ups are something any team can do without if they’re challenging at the top. It’s a small point but fine margins can become important.
 

beyondthefourth

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Joined
7 Dec 2017
Messages
2,552
Chris Cadden started as a virtual winger. His starting position was on the halfway line and he struggled to get back from there. In the last couple of weeks we have seen him starting deeper and picking the times when he can make his runs. Not only is this proving to be better defensively, but he's also making better use of the runs he does make. The end product was not great as the defence knew that the ball was always going to him and could set up to clear the crosses. Because it's now coming from both sides and through the middle, more space is available.

I would say Cadden is also helped by having Taylor up front. He can now cross from deeper into empty space, now we have someone who is able to anticipate the danger areas and get into them for maximum effect.

Beforehand, we had barely anyone in the box when Cadden had the ball outside the 18 yard box, and Mackie isn't the sort of striker that will constantly make the runs to the back post for the potential of a good cross. Which was why Cadden always had to get to the byline, to allow extra time for the wingers and CMs to get into the box.

And in terms of fixtures, we've not had our 'bye' of the Bury game. That's two Tuesday fixtures, in October and January, which are excellent matchdays to be getting the rest time in. Portsmouth do have 3 league games in hand, but I imagine the fixture congestion this will cause them will be fairly immense heading into Christmas.
 

HampshireYellow

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Joined
20 Dec 2017
Messages
2,610
Taylor will definitely make Cadden look better. I remember one cross he made at the fence end, a low one right across the face of goal (against Coventry maybe?) that Matty Taylor absolutely would have snaffled right up. I predict that Cadden will get a lot more assists from now on, and people will think he’s crossing better, but it will be more to do with Taylor’s positioning.
 

AbbeyOx

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Joined
15 Jan 2019
Messages
2,201
also shows the importance of getting not just quality but also the right character. seems to be a team that fight for each other
 
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