Ok, let's start off by being realistic - Jol has to stay. To be honest, I am developing concerns about his tactics and team selections/substitutions but right now we don't have any REALISTIC alternative. The thing is, although we've had an incredibly bad 10 days, there is a silver lining...
Let's stop the hysteria for a minute and think about this. In all 3 of our last games we have had periods of the match where we looked really bloody dangerous. We had lot's of possesion, we created chances, we defended soundly. The big problem was that we didn't do it for 90 minutes - for fucks sake we didn't even manage it for 45, but the point is that it was there - however briefly.
So Jol must be doing something right, but what happens to the players to suddenly turn a promising performance into a shambles? If I knew for sure I'd be sending an application to WHL myself, but here's my theory: we are panickers and more importantly we are short on the basic plays that top teams master.
Look at the top teams. They pass and move, they always make space for each other, they play tidy triangles and opt to keep possesion rather than punt down field. We do this occasionally, but often our version of keeping possesion is to send it back to the back 4.
Just as every Spurs fan who watches us dominate a top team knows that sooner or later we are going to crumble, I believe the players themselves believe it too. Therefore, when the tide turns and the opposition have some good possesion, we drop further and further back until every clearance is being lobbed straight back to their players. When the panic starts we just play too much football in our own half. During training we absolutely MUST work on clearing a football AND maintaining possession - hoofing it into the centre circle is not working.
For me, this is just one recurring problem that I see time and time again. Here are 7 others, if you have spotted any more I would love to hear them:
1. Watch for this - EVERY kick off the ball gets passed back to Robbo who then hoofs it straight into opposition territory, 9/10 times resulting in giving them the ball within 30 seconds. Surely we can come up with something more original?
2. Dawson seems to think he can pick players out at will with long 50 yard balls. Even Hoddle couldn't do this all the time - please ask him to stop it.
3. YP Lee seems to think that a left back should only get close to his man AFTER he has dribbled the ball into our penalty box. Please ask him to move further out.
4. Approximately half of all Lennons corners hit the first man. Let someone else take them.
5. None of our midfielders realise that if things are getting tight down one flank, perhaps a nice crossfield ball to switch the play might be in order. A hopeful threaded pass in the general direction of Defoe is not going to work all the time.
6. Game changing substitutions really have to be made before the 70th minute if they are to have the remotest chance of having an effect.
7. Lastly, we absolutely MUST work on successful, sweeping counter-attacking. Why is it that when we get a break going is rarely culminates in a shot on target? In other teams attackers and attacking midfielders know where to run to escape their defenders and therefore can send the ball from one end of the pitch to the other, on the ground, in seconds. We NEVER manage that.
So please - is there anything you see us doing time and time again that drives you potty? Perhaps we can get a list together and post it to the training ground!