The Worst Manager Still in a Job Award
And the nominations are: David Moyes at Sunderland and Slaven Bilic at West Ham. Actually, I think Moyes wins this one quite comfortably despite Slaven giving him a decent run for his money. There are some things about football management that have always puzzled me. Why are there no English managers? How can a manager appear astute and organised at one club but completely lost at another? How can a season of fresh air be followed so swiftly by one that smells so badly?
The football style or philosophy of Slaven Bilic remains a enigmatic mystery and his organisation, selections and tactics have frequently been found wanting. It is odd that he still has a lot of backing among supporters. If the attributes for the job are passion, being a nice guy and ‘getting’ us then you could easily pull a few out of the crowd to do the job each week; just as Harry did with a fan during that pre-season friendly. It is upsetting how things have worked out but we have been going backwards all season…….and fast.
Going Through a Darren Spell
Just what you have to do to lose your place if you are one of the manager’s mates is bizarre. It was apparent some weeks ago that Randolph has too many weaknesses to be a Number 1 at Premier League level. In these days where every match is recorded and analysed it is no surprise that opposition coaches identify these weaknesses and attempt to exploit them. Perhaps we don’t yet have video technology in our own training HQ cabin. Randolph has been clearly at fault for a string of goals over the past couple of months (more than any other player according to Opta) and a better keeper would have prevented both yesterday, even though the first might well have been disallowed for a foul. Only a stupid or stubborn manager would not realise that it was time to make a change between the sticks, unless Adrian has been pencilled in at right back next week.
Perm Any 11 from 24
I am convinced that Slaven picks his preferred eleven players and then decides on the formation he is going to play to accommodate them. This can be the only reason behind the square peg, round hole strategy. There is no doubt that injuries have again been a curse but whether it is a case of bad luck or bad judgement is uncertain. Losing Obiang, Reid and Antonio is most unfortunate but the injury prone nature of our strikers has been obvious for all to see for a long time. I was pleased to see Fernandes get a start and do believe he can become a good player (with a decent re-sale value). However, he is not a defensive midfielder and with Kouyate also lacking the discipline we were never going to control the central areas in order to dominate the game even against a team as poor as Sunderland. Still the manager believes that midfielders are mutually interchangeable which invariable results in them turning out in their least effective positions.
Injuries, Suspensions and Fallings Out
With Sam Byram’s yellow card return averaging at one card every other appearance there was always a good chance that suspension for our only right back was never going to be very far away. He was arguably unfortunate to pick up the first card yesterday but the second was much more clear cut. With Byram joining Noble on the suspended list, a host of players in the sick bay, Sakho apparently back on the naughty step (presumably with Arbeloa) and Tore missing presumed dead, selection for next week’s game against Romelu Lukaku is going to be a fascinating one. The squad is full of dead wood now. In fact, of the team that featured yesterday I would only be disappointed if Lanzini, Fernandes, Kouyate and Masuaku were not around next season.
Distressed Football Club Seeks Benefactor
The positive from yesterday was that both Hull and Swansea lost (and that Defoe did not score). There is an extraordinary slim chance that both teams will get enough points to overtake our own tally particularly given the respective goal differences, and even though there is ample opportunity for us to ship a shed load of goals against Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool. Thanks to there being at least three worse teams we should now be safe. My expectation now is for a massively under-achieving 16th place finish. Looking on the bright side it is roughly where Manchester City finished in their first season away from Maine Road. Any sign of a pot of gold (not David) on the horizon?