Why So Negative Away From Fratton?
I've not really been able to contribute many articles to the site recently but after another poor performance away from Fratton that saw us get exactly what we deserved (nothing!) it is time for a rant!!!
You may recognise some of this rant from my summary in the Match Report for the Newcastle game but with some expansion. I hate being overly critical of the team, especially publicly like this but sometimes you can't defend the indefensible!
We struggled with Newcastle's pace in the full-back areas as we had against Chelsea and United. Dejan Stefanovic and Noe Pamarot found this almost unplayable at times and without taking too much away from Newcastle for this I think it highlighted that if we are honest neither are good enough at this level!
Any regulars to the site will know that I have always stood up for Stefanovic when he has been criticised, so for me to turn on him in such a way is highly unusual but having seen a series of mistakes from a sluggish looking captain in the past month resulting in two or three goals I find myself agreeing with so many.
Personally I wasn't overly keen on Pamarot during his first spell at the club and despite a few moments here and there, several coming in the 4-0 thrashing of Middlesbrough at the Riverside in August he has done little to change my opinion since his return so the sooner Glen Johnson is back the better.
The full-backs need help from midfield and haven't really had much in our last four away games but these have been our problem areas and teams know this. Linvoy Primus doesn't seem to have much faith in Pamarot and neither do I. He's beaten too easily too many times and when he is beaten he always looks likely to bring a player down in the box for a penalty, which I thought he would do when Charles N'Zogbia skinned him on one of the many occasions he did this afternoon.
Maybe I'm being too harsh on both especially Dejan who has been playing through the pain barrier as of late, so hopefully this has contributed to his poor showings? Maybe I'm also too sentimental in an age when this is a dying trend but as much as I and the rest of us might like him for all he has done in the past if the surgery doesn't rectify this then it will prove he isn't the right man to be a first choice pick anymore, left-back or otherwise as much as I hate to say it.
It's not just the full-backs I'm ranting at here our "negative" tactics away from Fratton Park have angered and frustrated me so much over the past couple of months.
If we are going to lose away from home we may as well lose having at least had a go, although to a degree it gives you little comfort in defeat but you can come away from a game with some pride, I felt little after the Newcastle game.
Harry Redknapp feels we matched Newcastle all the way but I can't agree, obviously he has to say that but our away form is poor, we often look a totally different side away from the Park with Redknapp so often willing to see us sit and hold out for a point, in the hope of snatching a win.
Granted in our run of four straight away defeats we've played Spurs, Chelsea, Man Utd and Newcastle which maybe you wouldn't expect us to get too much from on paper but the Spurs game aside we've offered little or nothing for the most part of the other three games. I wish we would just be more positive and have a go! Realistically we aren't going to hold out Chelsea and United for 90 minutes are we…
Without doubt it is crucial to pick up points away from home as well as rely on those we will always get at home but it is almost as if we are so preoccupied with not losing that we sacrifice the chance of actually thinking, or even trying to win away.
We were always happy with a mid table, top ten finish which off the back of the last few years will be some achievement but a few defeats on the spin and we'll find we slip right down the table as 10-15 clubs are very evenly matched this season. The league is very tight so it is crucial that we pick up big points from now until January as if we are not in the higher reaches of the league we'll not attract the quality of players we need to improve the left and right-back places let alone other areas we might want to look at!
We face Liverpool next at Anfield on Wednesday and given their superb home form you can't see us getting much from this especially if we approach this in the same manner. Please, please be a little more adventurous 'arry why shouldn't we be looking to go to Anfield for a win? If we really want to push on in the future we will have to be looking for this kind of thing anyway, so why not now…