Charlton Ath 1 Bonne 32)
Leeds United 0
Well I’m starting to worry now; there is clearly something wrong and it’s threatening to derail another season.
I’d been quietly discounting the “Oh it’s only the home form that’s not quite right” comments and I fully expected the same issues to become a problem away from home too, once the better teams cropped up on our schedule.
Charlton were one of those better teams – nowhere near our quality in most areas of the pitch and yet fiercely competitive, strong in the air at the back, and eager to take any little crumb offered from a set piece. That was enough to steal the three points from yet another performance from us that was, in most respects, pretty good; or at least that’s what the statistics tell us.
We were even more dominant than usual with 72% of the ball and we restricted Charlton to just three attempts at goal. The problem is though they were pretty good at finding the target with their meagre ration while we, as usual, squandered our 19 attempts. We also won 13 corners to their 2, yet we created only one real chance when Adam Forshaw had a point blank effort blocked by Sam Field while they managed to sneak a fluke of a goal from one of their pair. I’m still scratching my head as to how that effort of theirs went in but I suspect Kiko had something to do with it!
It’s at this point that I’ll mention luck – I don’t like to, but it seems appropriate. When you look at this game in the round we had absolutely no luck whatsoever while Charlton had quite a few generous dollops from lady luck in the 90 minutes; the game must not be dismissed as down to bad luck though because there are failings that we’ve seen before that are at least equally to blame, but it didn’t help!
When Bielsa changed things round at half time it looked pretty radical and we saw the much clamoured for pairing of Bamford and Nketiah at last while it looked like we went three at the back too. Funny thing is, different as that 3 – 5 - 2 formation was from how we started and how we normally line up, it didn’t really change the game! We continued to dominate about as much as we did before, we created the same sort of half chances… and we missed them!
So, yes, I am now worried. I’m worried that we do not seem able to change the way these games are going. It seems that if we get an early goal and the opposition comes out at us then, generally, we can see the game out and add another goal or two. But if we struggle to find that early goal the opposition merely grows in belief throughout the game and the more they watch our previous games the more belief they will have that they can, if they just stay alert, profit from some cock up in our box.
We have to keep changing things to try to find a solution – I worry that if we continue to focus on the match stats and our general play we will tend to assume that it will all come right eventually. But we know how ASSUME can make an ASS out of U and ME. We have little time to experiment before the Baggies come to town but another failure in that one and it will be our confidence that is falling as well as our position in the table.
Charlton Ath Leeds Utd
Possession 28% 72%
Shots 3 19
On Target 3 4
Corners 2 13
Fouls Committed 9 15