Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Blues returned after the midwinter break to earn a point against Manchester Utd and upset Alex Ferguson. The game showed the best and worst of Blues. The best was our obduracy and fighting spirit, the innate bloody mindedness of players who will not accept that they are beaten until the final whistle goes. The worst, 2 distinct spells apart, was our complete disinterest in threatening the oppositions goal.
We started pretty well, very solid, very tough, without showing any inclination to make acquaintance with van der Saar, then had a period where we took the game to them a bit more but without offering any real threat. Manchester dominated the second half, probably because we allowed them to and it wasn't until they scored that we started attacking with any intent.
McLeish has a bit of a blind spot here. He says that we create chances but don't put them away. Sorry, Eck, but we create very few chances and we are expecting Jerome to have a strike rate comparable to Gerd Muller or Paolo Rossi if we are expecting him to knock in many of the very few chances that fall his way, our problem is that we don't create enough chances. Our midfield is not quick enough to support the front one, or, frequently, the front 0, as we tend to have every single player back to defend set pieces. This tendency does not discourage the defenders from booting the ball up the pitch though, to no one.
The fact is, we are capable of passing it, we are capable of putting the opposition under pressure and we are capable of creating chances. We show it every time we go behind. Eck should stop blaming the strikers for their poor conversion rate and instruct the team to play with a more positive intent. We slipped into the bottom 2 yesterday before hauling ourselves out; snatching last minute equalisers will not get us up the table.
There is a huge rumour that Robbie Keane will be coming to us when the transfer window opens. This is good news. However if he has to feed on the kind of scraps that the current strikers have to sustain themselves with, he will be looking very skinny by the seasons end. I think Eck has seem the light though, and we will all be enjoying a goal feast in the coming months.