No Tony, you haven’t stumbled on a solution by sticking Jobe up top
Last week, we scratched our heads as Jobe turned out against Rotherham as our striker. We left the Stadium of Light even more bemused as despite our confusion the 17-year-old bagged himself a brace and won us the match. When a manager is under a little pressure and options are dwindling, they stumble across something that works once in a very specific situation, then make the mistake of thinking they’ve manufactured a solution.
Has Mowbray sacrificed something in playing Jobe out of position in order to get him, Dack, Clarke and (last week) Roberts all on the pitch at the same time? Also, why is it okay to throw a 17-year-old midfielder in as a striker, but not a 20-year-old striker?!? Critics will rightly point to the fact that Hemir has been pretty ineffective when he has come off the bench but in fairness, he played 18 minutes this weekend and five against Rotherham.
How can he go from good enough to start (and score!) against MLS and La Liga opposition, but deemed not suitable to line up against Rotherham or Preston with no other striker available?
Answers on a postcard.
Has Pierre become irreplaceable?
Week after week, Pierre Ekwah continues to stand out more and more to me as a crucial member of our starting XI. Once again he did a superb job of protecting the back four, allowing Neil to get forward and support Dack. When the opportunity arose he picked his moments to also get forward and overload the attacking presence through the middle.
No doubt there is still a little way to go, but he is already a far cry from the player we saw come on for six minutes against Hull City and clumsily give away a penalty in the last second of the game to throw away two points.
I’m loving seeing him develop week-on-week, and it pains me a little to ask, but is Ekwah already the player we were hoping Jay Matete would be? Regardless of the answer, I’m still a fan of them both, and there is a chance Matete will still develop to be that player.
Not a Winger by Ba-r
Can we all agree Abdoullah Ba is not a winger? He is going to come into some criticism on social media undoubtedly, but let us appreciate that it is very much a “needs must” at the moment. H
e’s not quick enough to beat a man on the outside and he doesn’t have Clarke or Roberts’ ability to embarrass a defender 1-on-1, which leaves him on a bit of a hiding to nothing.
In flashes he had us purring last season pushing forward from the middle of the park, but in the absence of Gooch there isn’t a single person on the bench that would have made any more sense to put out wide - particularly with the gaffer loading up the subs bench with players he had no intention of playing.
Clean Sheet Boost
A first clean sheet of the season against a decent team will be a much-needed boost to a defence that has only really given away sloppy goals so far this season.
Patterson, Hume, Ballard, Cirkin and Luke will have been hurting at the manner in which we have conceded goals to now, but we looked a lot more solid, particularly at set pieces and those long throws from Van Ewijk.
Hopefully it’s a sign of more to come from our back five, because with a strong Southampton side to come, they will need to be fully focussed and on it once again.
A good point or a missed chance?
An away fixture we haven’t won since 1985… against last season’s playoff finalists… without a striker… I’m sure we would have all been happy with a draw if asked at 14:55.
However I sit at 18:00 writing this with mixed emotions - leaning to the opinion that it was an opportunity missed. Coventry have replaced the 21 goals and 12 assists of Viktor Gyokares with Ellis Simms, and have just sold Gustavo Hamer (their best midfielder) to Sheffield United without yet replacing him.
Coming into the match without a striker, Roberts or Diallo (who scored on our last visit) should we be pleased with a point?
Maybe if we had come out of our first three games with more than a win and two defeats, and maybe if we hadn’t had the better of so much of the second half - but hindsight is a wonderful thing.