We're damned if we do and we're damned if we don't this weekend.
Lambert has just gotta go from broke, unleash Gil and Grealish in the wide areas, fire up the beast of Benteke and give Delph free reign in the middle of the park. Westwood and Sanchez can break up play nicely on their own.
I just want to see Lambert send the team out, of course with respect for Bournemouth, but also with the intent of destroying them.
Have people running in and around Benteke, have people providing crossed from near the byline, not the half way line. Have people willing to try their luck from distance should the opportunity arise....
We want to see the team use the ball well, use it with intent, use it with confidence. The season needs to turn around at some point if we're not going to be relegated, and now's the time.
Bournemouth may be flying high in the Championship, they may be scoring lots of goals, but they also let in their fair share.
Sundays game is about attitude, we need to show it.
Come on, positive vibes from now until the end of the season, we can do this....
I'm lumping on a Benteke hatrick. £5 at 40-1. Who's having a bit? We know once the kid starts scoring its very difficult to stop him... with Gil and Grealish providing threats from behind and wide it should give the Beast the space to do his thang!
*disclaimer, I am not responsible for any loss of money in bets, nor am I responsible for the searing lows we are bound to experience after another dire drab performance.
YES!!! We have a new hero. And Weimann looks like his old self. A real improvement.
Bit of a fright at the end. But still a good result.
It's not animosity, it's more worry. The Benteke we knew was a class act, but even then he had matches were he didn't seem fired up. Now he's average. It's possible that he's still recovering from his lay off; it's possible that the injury has slowed him down, maybe permanently; it's possible his mood just isn't right. Whatever the reason, it matters hugely to us if we're going to treat him as the main source of goals.
If he wants to become a world class striker, he has to move better. He has to go looking for the ball; positioning is everything. He's got great talents, and even now he's doing some nice passing and other things. But we need other sources of goals.
Just back second half much better first was awful.
Two great goals and may be surprising but Cleverly was man of the match for me.
When you watch the recent games though, a lot of it is lack of service and lack of movement by other forwards to free Benteke up. We pass it around at the back but don't have possession high enough up the pitch for their defenders to get worried. When it's played to his feet, Benteke often gets the ball very deep and you can't seriously expect him to turn and beat 6 defenders a la Crystal Palace game every single week? Then he gets the lofted balls which he either flicks on or chests down with his back to goal (i think the main problem is he spends 90% of time in possession with his back to goal).
In terms of his chances, I honestly can't remember the last time our players gave Benteke a clear cut chance. Maybe against Liverpool when he hit it at Mignolet instead of hitting it into the ground? He doesn't get very many opportunities per game though and even the best strikers probably have a 1 in 3 chance conversion.
One thing I will say is that he doesn't hold it up well in comparison to say, Bony. You look at how strong Bony is in possession, Okore found it impossible to get the ball off him. I find Benteke falls to the floor/expects fouls to be called instead of getting on with it and saying "no you're not getting this ball off me", rather than "touch me and I'll fall and hope the ref will call a free kick". He's not a diver, but he doesn't use his strength in an effective way which is frustrating.
It may only have been a Championship team, resting eight players, but it was two goals and a home win. More than I dared hope for. It was actually quite a 'nice' game, between two teams who valued possession of the ball. So much better than the complete and utter dross served up before the change of style!
Great news about Delph, even if it does only mean we get £20-25m in the summer for him, rather than £4m now. Fabian presumably gets a nice pay rise too and everyone's happy. But maybe, just maybe, he's settled in the Midlands, having been at the club for six years and really IS prepared to stay loyal to the club that stuck by him during two separate season-long injuries. We will see.
As for the team today, only playing two holding midfielders was an improvement on the ridiculously negative tactic of playing three, which of course we have been the ONLY team in England to do. Nice to see Gil looking a prospect, Weimann actually playing up top (where he looks so much better) and Bacuna given a chance. Let's hope that Lambert doesn't revert to type, go negative with the 'holding three' and bring back Gabby.
Thought Weimann was terrific, particularly for his goal. Takes the ball off an opponent of the left byline, feeds it across the middle, does a diagonal run across the pitch, gets the right hand side of the pitch in time for Hutton to feed him the ball, and a single touch beautifully placed into the opposite corner of the net. It wasn't a straight run, he was watching the ball the whole time and moving accordingly. The finish was that of a confident striker. He has to play up front; he still works and contributes from there. Weimann back in form could be critical.
There was a lot good about the whole team. We may have let them play too much in the first half, but even then the defence put in a shift. Richardson getting back to clear off the line when Given was beaten. Okore putting in vital tackles. The whole lot was good, particularly in the second half. And Delph wasn't even playing!
We can build on this. I was afraid we were in for a slump like last season. On this showing, no way. Arsenal is going to be difficult, but we're going to have a chance.
Let's not get carried away.
GIL IS WORLD CLASS AND WE"RE GOING TO WIN THE CUP!
OK I got carried away, but we have so little to cheer these days, can't believe Delph signed a new contract, we scored 2 goals, perhaps Bournemouth will now be disappointed that they didn't play their first team, doesn't matter, we are in the hat. I hope we get Bradford at home.
I'd still like Lambert to find one more gem before the deadline, but he seems to be hinting that is unlikely.
Arsenal will be very tough, Lambert needs to be bold, we have a good defence at last, let's keep them out and hit them on the break.
Onwards and upwards. UTV