Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Might Allardyce's cowardice at Leicester cost us and help Southampton in the final reckoning?

I must admit that I came home pretty chuffed last night, cursing only Nolan for his misses and Faubert for his ineptitude, but with the best part of 24 hours to reflect, and reading some of the comments left on here, the question posed is, "Did Allardyce display cowardice in the face of the enemy last night, damaging our chances of staying up by giving a clear advantage to Southampton?"

On the plus side, we performed excellently, playing Leicester off the park, but the issue centres on the decision to protect a 2-1 lead, leaving us with a goal difference mountain to climb should Southampton draw at home to Coventry (surely the best we can hope for). In game time I was furious when, with three minutes of the original 90 remaining, we took a short corner and opted to time waste out on the touchline - but can we be surprised at the players' attitudes when Allardyce chose to replace Cole with Collins? When I saw that, the air was blue I can tell you, even bluer than when Faubert was sent on to replace the knackered Demel! Lansbury was on the bench for pity's sake, and so was Baldock - who scored twice against Leicester at Upton Park!

We needed goals. We needed a winning margin of at least two goals and three ideally. We needed to ratchet up the pressure on Southampton, to make the Saints start to sweat. Instead, Allardyce said, "Keep what we've got". Why?

The Allardyce Apostates will cite the chances we created regardless, and I have to give ground there. Nolan did push further forward, we sucked Leicester onto us and then hit well on the break. But what might have been achieved had Baldock been sent on rather than Collins, with Nolan sitting deeper? Let's face it, Leicester offered next to nothing as an attacking force, so why did we need another centre back? Surely a fresh, fast forward would have been a better call in the circumstances?

However, I'm not about to condemn Allardyce here. I think he got that wrong. But I thought he had got it wrong when he left out Lansbury in favour of O'Neil, and in fact O'Neil fully justified his inclusion - as did Collison of course! And in a strange way, the goal difference buffer may help us. Let's imagine for a moment that after 80 mins we are a goal to the good against Hull and Southampton are drawing 1-1 against Coventry. Psychologically, Southampton will want to keep what they have got, hanging on for the draw. And then, maybe, the sucker punch could come, with Coventry stealing a winner. In fact, psychologically, if they take the lead, Southampton may decide to keep what they have, bringing Coventry needlessly into the game.

The Saints are still clear favourites, of course, but pressure does funny things to footballers and Coventry have now shed all their cares and so may find a new, relaxed gear. The Sky Blues aren't as bad a team as their league position suggests and some pride could be restored by a victory at St Mary's. Maybe, just maybe, Allardyce could yet collect on his deal with the Devil!


Dan M said...

Collins came on and played left back, allowing Taylor to play left wing and Vaz Te to move into the striker role (his best position).

Can't see why anyone would get annoyed by that or think it was negative. You make it sound like we went five at the back with no striker.

Anonymous said...

Saints will win about 5-0 you're clutching at straws HF.

Is there a God?

Anonymous said...

Anony-mouse says,

Your friendly, neighbourhood 'Allardyce Apostate' here. In your pre-match post you called Allardyce a twat. After the game you said "well done sam". Tonight, well you've reverted to type. I do love consistency, although a doctor may have a specific medical term for it.

Rock and a hard place last night. Push on for more goals and risk conceding, or play more conservatively to ensure the points and pressure on saints? One thing is for sure is that had he gone 4 4 2 late on and we'd have ended up at 2 all you would have slaughtered him for it.

I didn't like the short corner late on but if that's your major moan about last night then to me that means we're doing fine.

As for the substitution- Cole was utterly f*cked- you could tell from early on that he was only half-fit. Bringing Collins on for him kept the shape the same. Collins played where Taylor had started, Taylor moved to Vaz Te's position whilst Vaz took Cole's place. To me it made sense to keep the shape that had got us into a winning position especially as we were still creating the better chances and this system has now bought us our best ever total of away wins ever.

Anonymous said...

saints 6 coventry 0

Hammersfan said...

I think you need to read the whole article anonymouse. I don't hammer Allardyce at all.

Hammersfan said...

As for not defensive, three questions:

1. Who is the more offensive, Vaz Te or Taylor? So the replacement of Vaz Te with Taylor was unquestionably defensive.

2. Who is the more offensive, Taylor or Collins? So the replacement of Taylor with Collins was unquestionably defensive too.

3. What would be the more offensive option, keeping Taylor at left back, Vaz Te wide left and Baldock up front, or doing what Allardyce did? Baldock or Collins, which is the more attacking substitution? Not rocket engineering is it?

Now how about option four? Baldock and Vaz Te up front in 4-4-2 as we chased a third and fourth goal?

It was a defensive move by Allardyce without question and to argue otherwise is crass.

Hammersfan said...

I'm pleased to see cocky Saints forecasting six goal victories. The more complacent the better.

Anonymous said...

"I'm pleased to see cocky Saints forecasting six goal victories. The more complacent the better"

Not like you lot thinking your to big for this league all season, face it wast ham your hated by most other clubs for your arrogance or are you just cocky?

Anonymous said...

Who is the more offensive? is this America?

Anonymous said...

Anony-mouse says,

Where do I say you hammered him? How could you when we played and won so well? What you've done with is thread is simply low level, snidy, undermining carping. In short what you do best. I can understand that- it plays to a specific audience and gets you hits and that's all important for you.

An example is the title for your thread. You can rightly claim that you have not actually called Allardyce a coward in this article. But like a budget version of Iago (I remember you like your Shakespeare) the seed is sown isn't it? So rather than have the balls to directly call him a coward you take (and here's irony for you) a cowardly alternative option.

4 4 2? No. Not when 4 5 1 has stood us in such good stead and got us into last night's winning position in the first place and may have jeopardised the 3 points by allowing more space for Leicester to come forward. So I hardly think my argument is crass- just boringly sensible.

ps- I've asked you a question on the previous thread- can you answer it for me when you get the chance?

Anonymous said...

How on earth can you blame Allardyce for the players' poor finishing and inept decision-making at crucial times?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree hf so negative i was doing my nut. In the positive great day out been nursing hangover all day>

Jonathan Ross said...

WHat is the second tie-breaker (after goal differential)? Goals scored, or head-to-head matchup?

Hammersfan said...

Very good. I like my Iago and the garden image is good, you clearly know the play.

You sound like Allardyce, only one game plan. 4-5-1 has suited us when we needed to win three points with no thought to the goal difference; there were two priorities last night. But I didn't even call for 4-4-2 through substitutions, I wanted Baldock for Cole, not Collins for Cole!

Anonymous said...

saints 10 coventry 0
whu 1 hull 1

Deane said...

any chance Allardyce will get sacked on Saturday so that I can go to Wembley

Anonymous said...

Saints 12 Coventry 0
Hammers 0 Hull 3

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Ross...After goal difference its goals scored. Then its head to head.