I see a little though not a lot of progress
Plan A has been worked out and we are already wobbling defensively
We have not signed a RWB
Acres of space for our opponents to run into
Look pretty and finish 10th is what I see so far
Hope I'm wrong
Top 10 playing good stuff is my initial target for this season, so I’d be ‘reasonably’ content with that.
Keep Piroe, I think we could be challenging for the play off positions.
Sell Piroe (particularly if late on) then I would expect halfway at best to be honest.
Deep down I think he’ll be sold unfortunately, and I just don’t trust us to replace him adequately.
Aye, very much depends on the squad we have from Sept onwards.
With one or two additions in key positions, top half is very achievable.
If Piroe goes, or we don't, then it may be a struggle.
We have guts and determination in Fulton, guile of Grimes and experience in Joe Allen, looks like we've filled in a few slots at the back with maybe one more addition to come in.
As everyone has said, keeping Piroe is key.
A play off place is very do'able
Hard to make a prediction, as AG says, until the window shuts.
If we keep both Obafemi AND Piroe, then our chances are obviously enhanced greatly.
If one goes - and I cannot see us selling both in this window (that would be suicide - then it depends who comes in to replace.
Also to bear in mind, we have a very inexperienced squad.
Not just in age. But at playing at Championship level or above.
The table below shows the ages, matches, minutes, and how the matches to minutes translates into full games.
BUT, the inexperience is further highlighted by:
If we remove those over 25s who have 150+ appearances rom the squad, then the figs are startling.
The experience is mostly in our midfield.
Keepers: 24 years / 18 appearances / 18 x 90 mins
Defence: 23 years / 83 appearances / 72 x 90 mins
Take Naughton and Manning out of this, and it drops to an alarming 21 years / 23 / 18
Midfield: 25 years / 154 / 113
If we take out the two 30+ year olds, Pato and Allen, and it drops to 24 years / 90 / 66
Strikers: 22 years / 45 appearances / 22 x 90 mins.
the one glaring stat from pre-season is that we are struggling to keep a clean sheet against lesser experienced sides.
Will RM continue with his preferred back three defenders, irrespective of the weakness at wing back or will a back four be utilised until those wingbacks has been brought in. The ease in which Argyle picked us off in the first half was evident once more at Charlton and I shiver at the thought of what Championship teams will achieve should we utilise that 3 c/back formation. As much as I prefer that formation, in the majority of games goals conceded in the first half. Yes, there are plenty of goals let alone goal scoring opportunities in our squad but the fact is, a solid, well organised defence is the bedrock of any successful outfit.
he tried a back 4 a couple of times, and I think he realises it is going to take a lot more work to make that the default system, or something he is going to use early in the season.
I expect him to use a back 5.
Now, the big question is who plays as the 3 CBs? I suspect he will go with Cabango Kyle Darling to start, Wood on the bench.
And wingbacks being Soriola on the right and Manning on the left. As you say, Lati's lack of pace was exposed against players with real gas.
Going to keep my powder dry on this one until the transfer window closes, but right now I am excited to see what difference (if any) a full pre-season of Martin will make.
I have long taken the view that I suspect it will make a significant difference as the season progresses - I may be right on that, I may be completely wrong, only time will tell. But I am glad that he has been afforded that time, time he didn't get last summer and which he could have done with.
He also has more players of his own in now, which can only be a good thing.
Let's hope we don't suffer any significant losses between now and the end of the window. Cross everything.
Agreed. the squad is more in tune with how he wants to play.
A few pieces still missing. But the squad is deeper with the kind of players he needs to play the style.
I like that he has talked up some of the younger players, like Oli Cooper and Congrieve saying they will push Pato and Ntcham.
Also we have a few players, like those latter 2, who didnt have a pre-season last year, with Martin saying Ntcham was looking like a beast in training. So hopefully we'll be strong in that department, and he can rotate.
He'll also have the flexibility of using 5 subs this season. So hopefully we will see more action for some of these younger players, keeping the team fresher for what is a testing way of playing, if not physically then mentally.
Yes it's too early to make a meaningful prediction but . what the hell, I don't mind sticking my neck out now and getting it wrong - it's only a bit of fun after all.
RM has had the benefit of the fabled pre-season prep and I think we'll be better at what we do after 1 year of learning on the job. However I believe the way we play of building from the back with 3 centre backs requires better players than we have for it to be effective- its a risky way of playing which will continue to cause us difficulties.
The make up of the defence is slightly improved with Darling but I believe we've ended up with a slight deterioration in midfield because I think Downes is/was better than Joe Allen.
The strike force will I think end up being not as effective because I predict that Piroe will leave before the end of August and the replacement won't be as good as him, that being quite understandable.
I'll predict that we finish 8th.
I'm often accused of talking bollocks on here, so I'm going to prove that point. I'm going for 2nd (if we keep the front 2).
Keep Piroe and I'll go playoffs
Without him 10/11/12
In other words haven't got a scooby