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There's no question that Clement has made great strides in improving our defensive shape and discipline, and has also extracted much improved performances from the likes of Cork and Fer, and to a lesser extent Fernandez and Mawson. However, in the last couple of matches old frailties have re-emerged in the performances of each of the above - and it's cost us big time.
The first goal we conceded against Bournemouth was a catalogue of errors, albeit with an element of misfortune. The first mistake was Llorente being easily dispossessed on the half-way line, this triggered the second mistake - Cork was shoulder-to-shoulder with King, but darted out to close the Bournemouth defender down. Although understandable, when Llorente then attempted to win the ball back he only succeeded in passing the ball beyond Cork, leaving King in acres of space and with the midfield trio all well in advance of the ball. Had Cork taken a more conservative approach, and held the line, it's unlikely the goal would have been scored. Fernandez was then faced with a tricky decision - to allow King to turn and advance on goal unchallenged, or to close him down. The latter was only a sensible option if Fernandez was sure to inercept the ball - which of course he didn't, leaving Mawson completely exposed. Having said that, Mawson will be disappointed that he didn't make more of an effort to block the ball, instead he merely lengthened his stride causing an avoidable own goal.
The second goal has some echoes of the first in that when Cork was beaten to the ball in the middle of the park, Carroll over-committed and got in front of the ball, again allowing King acres of space. Mawson should have shown better awareness of the threat posed by Afobe peeling away - although I suspect if Ash was still with us he would have alerted Mawson to the danger. In any event Mawson's footwork was poor, so that when he failed to intercept the ball Afobe was completely free. Two easy goals for Bouremouth - and both resulting in the first instance from over-committed midfielders getting ahead of the ball and allowing King acres of space.
The opening goal for Hull also featured familiar failings, from Fer in particular. After a sloppy pass from Carroll, the Hull defender was allowed to advance out of a deep position, with Ayew making no serious attempt to intervene. Fer then nearly won the ball, but he couldn't prevent the ball down the line - which Cork attempted to intercept but only succeeded in taking himself out of the game. The most annyoing aspect is that had Fer read the situation and reacted properly he could have got back to block the pass in-field to Hernandez, which led to his superb chip over the top. Not only that, but Fer was also then close to Niasse, but simply left him to Mawson while he jogged casually into a central position, raising his arm for a ficticious offside. Mawson can't be faulted for the goal, but Fabianski should have come off his line sooner and spread himself more - in the same manner as Jakupovic earlier in denying Routledge.
If we're to get back on track we need to sort out these regressions to type. In fairness, we presented Hull and Bournemouth with very few chances - but not even teams in the lower reaches can be expected to squander the sort of gilt-edged chances we presented them with.
There's also much to sort out with our offensive showing (it's worth noting that both of Routledge's chances against Hull came from clever play centrally, rather than out wide) - but we need to cut out the silly mistakes if we're going to give ouselves a good chance of staying up. Back to basics for Clement methinks.