So we have had more shots than Manchester United so far this season and we have missed the target more than any other team except Birmingham. Conclusion? The strikers are crap!
Possibly. Alternatively, the midfielders are crap!
I think I've seen just about every minute of our league games so far this season and, to be honest, I don't remember us missing many sitters. Piquionne missed from six yards out against Wigan. Cole had a shot turned on to the post from point blank range against Birmingham. Piquionne has headed a couple over the bar. Boa put a reasonable chance wide against somebody. Barrera sliced one wide (against Blackpool perhaps?). Have I missed any? Nothing to compare with Harewood's and Balotelli's misses against us! McCarthy's air shot doesn't count because no shot on goal resulted.
So where does this high shots on goal stat come from? Simple: Obinna, Barrera and Scott Parker. All three are guilty of tunnel vision when the goal is in range. How many times have you been able to predict a Parker shot before he has even reached the ball? No matter how far out he is, no matter how many players there are between him and the goal, no matter the positioning and availability of team mates, Parker sees a red mist and has only one thing in mind. Yes he has pulled it off a couple of times but the majority have blazed high and wide.
Then there is Obinna. He makes very bad choices too. One day he will hit a shot cleanly from outside the box but how many will he miss beforehand? He is summed up by his very first shot in Claret and Blue - it nearly hit the corner flag!
And the worst offender is Barrera. This guy really is an idiot. Time and again, when he should be looking to pass, he takes a pot shot that screams wide.
Is it a shoot on sight policy instigated by Grant, or is this symptomatic of a bunch of players who are not playing as a team? When do we pass? When do we build up play? When do we cross? When do we CREATE chances?
Look at the Stanislas goal at Blackburn. Parker was in his red mist, blind to the positioning of team mates. He only had one thought, to try to dribble through on his own, to score a wonder goal. The ball broke to the superbly positioned Stanislas, but Parker didn't see him. How could he? He was running head down, focused on the ball, utterly unaware of the bigger picture.
Look at the team without Noble. Parker runs with the ball. Spector runs with the ball. Barrera runs with the ball. Dyer runs with the ball. Obinna runs with the ball. Behrami runs with the ball. Nobody passes. Nobody builds the play. It's like watching a team of under tens! It's like watching Beckham all those years ago when he thought he was playing Greece on his own. He finished the game as a hero because of that screaming last minute free kick but, that apart, he played like a headless chicken.
And we have a whole team of headless chickens!