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Player ratings vs. Watford

Great credit to the Watford fans for their banner today. Things like that aren’t quickly forgotten.

Here are my ratings.

Schmeichel: 6 - Hard to give him a rating as Watford so consistently failed to hit the target. Despite the opponents’ wasteful nature, he ultimately didn’t have a lot to do.
Ricardo: 7 - Caught flat footed at times early on, but looking far more like the full back we were hoping for. Effective when venturing forward and capable in defence. Might have to bulk up a bit though.
Morgan: 6 - A bit shaky early on but threw himself in front of everything in the second half. Makes a stronger pairing with Evans than with Maguire, but his age is noticeable.
Evans: 7 - Very much a quiet, go-about-your-business kind of player, specialising more in cutting attacks off at source rather than dealing with them while they’re in flow. His experience shows in positioning and he’s settling into the team more.
Chilwell: 7 - Had a relatively quiet first half but his defending was fine throughout. Still full of running at the end.
Ndidi: 6 - Becoming a bit of a problem in my mind. His touch today was often bad, to the point where attacks were over before they started. He seems to lose confidence on this front more and more as the matches go by. Tackling and athleticism still effective but he needs to do more.
Mendy: 7 - Had a quietly decent game. Got around the pitch well and looked more comfortable in possession than Ndidi.
Albrighton: 8 - Defensively useful as usual, but his swift play and through balls made a big impact today. Whether this was plan B from Puel or just him playing his natural game is unclear, but it was effective. My choice for our MOTM.
Maddison: 8 - In possession, he helps the midfield out massively. Still doesn’t offer much defensively though, particularly with the lack of pressing from the team. Also continues to tire quickly and needs to work on that. Excellently taken goal though.
Gray: 7 - Still needs to look up more and I remain convinced he’d better on the right. However, his driving runs helped to relieve a lot of pressure and get us up the pitch.
Vardy: 8 - Thrived a lot more with quicker ball and space in which to operate.

Soyuncu: 6 - A surprise substitution that ultimately didn’t help much, although personally I think that was more because of the shape of the midfield in front of him. Didn’t let anyone down.
Iheanacho: 6 - Started off badly but got into things more as the game went on. Busy and helped to wear Watford down.
Iborra: n/a - Organised well in the time he was on. Probably should have been introduced earlier.

It has to be said that we were fortunate to keep a clean sheet. Watford got into some fantastic positions but their finishing was atrocious with any number of culprits. Perhaps it’s a confidence thing. We also allowed them far too much time on the ball at times and should have paid for that. Even so, the more direct style paid dividends at the other end of the pitch and our attack looked dangerous again, which was a blessed relief. All in all, an important 3 points to get on the board considering the fixtures we have awaiting us in the rest of this month.

posted on 2/12/18

comment by Nevsaysagoal2city (U5194)
posted 2 minutes ago
five games without defeat eighth in the League whats there to complain about we need a bit of stability and constancy its not flash but its working.

Don’t think anyone would disagree Nev. in my mind Puel should and will get to the end of the season as a minimum.

posted on 2/12/18

Yep in terms of points on the board you can’t complain. Most of the time it’s fecking boring though

comment by Jobyfox (U4183)

posted on 2/12/18

Interesting points here and I can’t really argue with the ratings too much.

I’m actually happy with mid-table this season. Apart from the League title season we’ve always been flirting with relegation. It would be good to have a solid season somewhere in the middle. Puel is currently delivering just that.

Yesterday was the first time that we looked linked as a team. Maddison seemed to have realised how to play with Vardy and Albrighton did what he always does. The less effective of our front four was Gray, but he’s probably guaranteed a good run as he’s still better than any of the alternatives have shown.

This is beginning to look like a settled side. For me, Ricardo has his best game at RB and Mendy continues to justify selection.

So, despite this optimism, why don’t we feel more positive? Personally I don’t see Morgan as being the weak link that others do, but still think it sensible that others are transitioned into the side. Soyuncu looks capable and Evans has settled. Also I’m not sure whether N’Didi is just out of form. He’s still very young and developing as a player - or is it a problem that we have two, essentially defensive, midfielders in this system and he’s less sure of his role? The other worry was that this performance, whilst looking like one of the least disjointed of the season, appeared to be built on the qualities that I thought we were trying to evolve from. Was this a on off or an acknowledgement that a change in direction is required?

I’m somewhat confused by it all. Nobody can claim that Puel isn’t delivering in terms of table position, but I’m still baffled when I try and understand our direction. I wonder sometimes whether Puel has a tendency to over coach or interfere in games too much; constantly changing personnel or formation or making decisions that baffle observers. In other words is he trying to be too clever at times? Or is he so much cleverer than me that I can’t work out his formulas? Either way I’m happy with our position, but why am I not as happy as I perhaps should be?

posted on 2/12/18

Either way I’m happy with our position, but why am I not as happy as I perhaps should be?


Because something isn’t quite right Joby. Whether that is something that Puel is looking to fix, or whether it is that horrible start of the decline we all fear. See Southampton, Stoke, Leeds, Aston Villa.

I just worry it’s that. Hopefully it’s just because we’re a big flat at the minute. Yesterday goes some way to give me a big more confidence.

posted on 2/12/18

We went through some odd formations in the second half. I can understand Puel bringing Soyuncu on because we were conceding a lot of chances and a change was needed, but then putting what looked like an unpractised diamond in midfield just didn't work (a midfield diamond is one of the hardest formations to operate at the best of times). A flat 5-4-1 was at least an option to close the game down, although a 4-5-1 always looked a better option to me, which was what we ended up settling upon very late on. In the meantime we rode our luck and had to haul a centre half to made it happen, which isn't usually the best idea to protect a clean sheet. Overall, I thought the tactical changes in the second half were questionable and seemed to confuse the players somewhat.

Regarding Ndidi, the game on Saturday should have been more his gig, given that we were playing more direct football and there was theoretically less pressure on his possession play. But I thought his first touch was noticeably poor, often forcing him to play backwards when a technically stronger midfielder would have turned and moved the ball forward. I suspect - at least I hope - that it's a confidence thing that can be sorted with time, otherwise he's always going to be reliant upon midfield partners taking up the slack for his lack of proficiency on the ball at the top level. And alongside Mendy, who is capable but no more than that, he'll always end up being exposed on that front if he doesn't improve that side of his game.

I always look at Ndidi and feel that if he could improve the technical side of his game then he could be an excellent midfielder. But perhaps that's why there hasn't been the kind of interest in him from Champions League clubs that we might have expected - because they see him lacking in that area too.

posted on 3/12/18

I see Vardy is potentially injured with his Groin Strain still and Puel has hinted at more changes for the Fulham game.

Going on past form Albrighton will be dropped after have a Great Game.

posted on 3/12/18

Morgan and Evans also doubtful while Maguire also not ready to return.

Where’s Benny?

Vardy might need an operation!

posted on 4/12/18

Surely it’s time for Nacho to step up as a number 9 in Puel’s system?

posted on 4/12/18

comment by Merseysidefox (U4842)
posted 3 hours, 30 minutes ago
Surely it’s time for Nacho to step up as a number 9 in Puel’s system?

posted on 5/12/18

Come on nuneaton, be fair. Somebody needs to get hold of that number 9 spot, and the ability to score goals with no service and isolated from the midfield.

I think it’s Nacho’s time.

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