Last night Forest failed to overcome Blackburn, spite having a lion share of possession in a crowded midfield. That possession failed to crystallise into clear chances, with actual clear cut chances being possible to count on one hand.
That said it was more than Blackburn, for all their expense and star names could carve out. Danny Murphy trying to orchestrate a midfield to give chances to £8million man Jordan Rhodes. That as well as former Portugal international Nuno Gomes.
We had one striker up front because after suspensions and sending players out loan (3 strikers currently contracted to us are playing elsewhere) we only had Billy Sharp as a recognised striker. The radio claimed the formation would be a 4-1-4-1, with Gillette sitting behind a flat 4. I’d argue it was more a 4-1-3-1-1. The midfield because most of them are central were largely interchangeable on wings or in centre. Lansbury encouraged to try and join the striker, as well as McGugan, Reid and Cohen getting forward. At times it looked a flat 4, and at others with Lansbury as said getting more forward. And at times wide. It was fairly fluid and would change as and when needed. More on formations tonight hopefully.
Sharp ploughed a lone furrow up front, and as a strong striker, he could play this role, winning the ball, holding it up to play into supporting midfielders. The problem lie when the ball gets out wide and we look to cross in to attackers we often had one man in there to 2 or 3 defenders. It makes life hard. Ok, so the advanced midfielder is asked to get there, but with the fluid midfield often he would be the man out wide, and the other midfielders would not be in position in time. Therefore wide play was almost a waste of time (nothing is ever a waste of time of course, mistakes happen in Football)
The first half was the most forgettable of the tow, but there were certain flash points. The game started slowly, but Forest crept into control as it progressed. Blackburn for all their spend on certain individuals looked distinctly average. That said I was still worried when they attacked each time, not because they looked dangerous, but more the previous few games have shown an underlying defensive frailty. So it was more anticipated mistake that had me worried. And early on there were. Halford for the first 20 minutes was woeful, failing to make simple passes or control simple balls. He has since apologised for this on Twitter, which is nice to see an acceptance of guilt.
As the half reached its final moments we had good opportunities, attacking the Trent End, having been turned round by Blackburn at the start, there was a similar scramble to the Derby game where shots were getting fired to be cleared by a defender. There was a bizarre slow motion long pea roller from McGugan which Robinson, maybe with flashes of Zagreb in his mind tipped round the post rather than gathering.
The second half and Forest were still the better team, though it became obvious that we would have to tinker. It was another of those days for Lewis, whereby he looks disinterested until it’s a free ball between 50 and 20 yards out. Then he wakes up, unless he’s doing some fancy footwork. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate it when it comes off, but he does at times seem a luxury player which is fine in a team playing well and confident. We seem to be lacking that confidence right now.
When Majewski came on, he did change the dynamic a little. He was a little more forward and direct. Often using his skill to drift in the channel on square. He did this on at least two occasions. The best chances as said fell to sharp and Lansbury, possibly the two least sharp (no pun intended) players in the team right now match fitness wise, and Sharp rather snatched at his, Lansbury was on his wrong side but forced Robinson to save.
The notable point of the game was the introduction of Jenas, and although in his 20 minute or so cameo he didn’t really do anything either wrong or particularly right, he was solid nonetheless. He too will need playing into form. I did comment that no doubt at some stage both Murphy for Blackburn and Jenas must have been in the same England squads if not same on the pitch at the same time, so to see them both in Championship is a step down for them. It will be interesting to see Jenas progress, and I think from the fact we eased him to action, and how he spoke after the game the initial month will be likely extended.
So for some fans, and they seemed to be in John pye Corner or whatever it’s called now, to boo to the team off seemed utter ridiculous. We didn’t play badly, we just weren’t great. It was solid enough against one of the likely contenders in this division. Yesterdays team had 7 new signings in the starting XI, and even amongst them players making their first start so for people to still expect them to hit the ground running is laughable. Already I see people smashing the panic button on the internet about results. 7 new players will always in a starting XI take time to gel, add in one of the others is just returning from a very lengthy lay off and it speaks volumes about that we can dominate a team like Blackburn.
This is a marathon, and teams who go up, often come through later rather than early. Fans upset with the results have short memories, this time last season we were in crisis mode, this is nothing, mountains out of mole hills and all that. I even heard my first anti O’Driscoll moans last night, though the guy I heard it from would criticise any manager to be honest. The problem is all the spend and bright start has ridiculously raised peoples expectations of the season, the al-Hasawi’s themselves have preached caution and patience, seeing this as not an immediate promotion campaign or else.
People moaning have very very short memories.