At the One-Third Marker

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JohnC
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At the One-Third Marker

Post by JohnC »

I’d normally defer any form of review until the half-way point, but the manager recently highlighted the ‘first third’ marker, and has also given a nod to the possibility that a season might not run its designated course, so: fifteen games in,
2019-20: P15 W8 D4 L3 F36 A18 GD+18 PTS 28
2020-21 P15 W9 D1 L5 F24 15 GD+9 PTS 28

Although the points total is identical, the most striking difference is in the number of
goals scored: Toney and Eisa had eleven goals apiece. They’d combined for 2,549 playing minutes: Toney 1,333, (only substituted once, in 73rd minute); Eisa 1,216 minutes (substituted nine times). Compare this with Eisa and JC-H (see below).

Jonson Clarke-Harris
He has eight goals in fifteen appearances – good for twenty-four goals in a full season in the unlikely event of him continuing to score at exactly the same rate. I don’t understand dissatisfaction with his contribution. Given that he’s played all bar 28 minutes of the first fifteen L1 games. I fear his playing time isn’t being managed well enough.

Eventual automatic promotion places went to Coventry and Rotherham (6th and 11th in the table at this point.)

We have the same number of points as at this point last season, good for third place, though Charlton and Accrington could overtake us if they won their games in hand. At the start of the season, I think most fans would have been reasonably happy with this. The cause for concern is the downward trend. October was splendid; November was ghastly; December hasn’t opened promisingly. A win at Portsmouth would calm a few nerves, but not remove some residual disquiet – specifically concerning:

Eisa and Szmodics: 1 goal between them in 20 L1 appearances. Not a substantial return on £2.3m(?). Bristol City must have seen us coming. I hear they have a lanky centre-half named Quasimodo available for a reasonable price (no sell-on clause required).

Eisa and Jonson Clarke-Harris: These two million-pound strikers have played together for a grand total of 182 minutes, spread over four games. It’s reasonable to assume that Eisa only got 90 minutes in the season opener because of Dembele’s unavailability Might they be able to form a productive partnership? The manager seems determined to avoid finding out.

Eisa and Conor Washington: at the end of last season, I posted this:
‘Finding a striker to complement Eisa is likely to be challenging. Conor Washington may find his position with Hearts untenable, given that club’s current uncertain status, and at twenty-nine, he should still be able to provide an energetic presence in attack.’
He has five goals for Charlton this season; those goals for us would put him level with Dembele as second-top scorer.

Here, in a slightly capacious nutshell, is what bothers me most about this season:
In one sense, the manager has been repeatedly let down by some of his players. Broom’s failure to net a (probable) winner against Burton was less excusable than his failure to open the scoring at Wimbledon. I can’t remember one of our players missing as many gilt-edged scoring chances in a short period of time (the Shrewsbury game onwards) as Szmodics. He should have had a hat-trick (possibly more) against Shrewsbury. He could easily be our top scorer. Team-mates have provided him with opening after opening (we don’t seem to be missing Joe Ward too much in that respect), and going into December Szmodics is level with Kent and Butler in the goal-scoring charts. Then there’s Eisa…. whom the manager could hardly wait to substitute against Fleetwood, and whom the manager overlooked in making a substitution when we were seeking a winner against Burton, preferring Broom….

The trouble is: these are Ferguson’s (expensive) players, and his deployment of them this season has yielded startlingly meagre dividends.

Worrying public comments by the manager: We’re now accustomed to public managerial head-scratching: baffled by our persistently lethargic starts to games; announcing dressing-room determination to provide a ’reaction/response’ to poor performances (Crewe); claiming that the short break from L1 competition had an adverse reaction on the players (‘Giving some players a break certainly disrupted our rhythm….
my players are probably better when they are busy’),
then having nothing to say about four losses out of five games (including the Chorley reverse) in fifteen days.
However.
These two post-Wimbledon, pre-Portsmouth comments are particularly concerning:
‘….the reason we’ve not won it is because we weren’t ruthless enough – not the performance.’ I don’t understand the distinction he seems to be trying to make between ‘ruthlessness’ and ‘performance’. Unless ruthlessness manifests itself in action, in behaviour (i.e. performance), it’s simply an abstract concept, and I’ll fight any malnourished one-legged partially-sighted hunch-backed Capuchin monkey as sez any different.

We need the same level of performance as we delivered at Wimbledon, but with better finishing. We need to be good on the ball and make them defend.’
Excuse me, but isn’t ‘finishing’ an integral part of ‘performance? Why seek to separate the two? And why did he not mention (at least as quoted in the PET) ‘defending’? Conceding two goals left us requiring three goals to win (as with Crewe and Blackpool), and we’ve not been exactly prolific in front of goal in the past month. We made Wimbledon defend, and they managed it comfortably enough.

Then there’s this: ‘The reaction from the FA Cup defeat was good though. I knew it would be.’
Or this: : ‘We can’t let the actual results affect us too much’.

It bothers me that the manager seems to me to be talking nonsense at times. Identifying ‘performance’ as some goal which can be achieved regardless of how well we defend or attack doesn’t seem likely to prove helpful. The game seemed to me a lot more comprehensible when Chris Turner was talking about it.
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bristleposh
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

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That seems to sum up a lot of our problems, but not our apparent lack of a defence which at best has been a shambles, considering we play with five at the back too many times there are only one or two left defending a breakaway. Teams breaking quickly have us over a barrel with four or five breaking on two.
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HantsPosh
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

Post by HantsPosh »

Why would the season not run it's full course, #ProjectFear have their rushed through 'vaccine' so they no longer have any justification for keeping us all locked up (if they ever did!).

I think most of the problem is scoring goals, I think its well documented that I'm not enamored with JCH in the slightest and fail to see how he fits in with our preferred style of play at all. Fergie said he signed him because he is a beast physically, OK if that's all he wanted sign Akinfenwa or Matt Rhead then. I've never rated him anywhere he's been and still maintain if he was THAT good at Rovers why didn't any Champo clubs sign him?

Dembele spends fat too much time showboating and seems to believe the hype that's he worth millions and destined for the Premier League in January. I hope he does go for millions in Jan as I won't miss him and it'll pay for the stadium if the hype is to be believed.

Eisa has been treated shabbily in my opinion and isn't given then same treatment by Fergie as other players who can be crap for weeks and still get picked (I'm looking at you Beevers & Brown), whereas if a goalscorer doesn't score every game he gets dropped. Eisa is a goalscorer not a grafter but we knew that when we signed him. I like the kid a lot but feel he needs the service and to know he's loved and rated by his manager., I really hope he comes good

Sammie will come good I'm sure of it but maybe he needs to get settled and spend less time messing about with his mate Frankie off the field.

Despite all this we're still 3rd in a fairly average league (Lincoln are 2nd so that show's you the quality or lack thereof) so there's 21 clubs who'd swap places with us especially media darlings Portsmouth, Sunderland and Ipswich. Although looking at the table I was surprised to see Crewe Bayern Alexandra Munich only in 13th place and not 15 points clear at the top!
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ashman
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

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JohnC
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

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bristleposh wrote: 04 Dec 2020, 15:47 That seems to sum up a lot of our problems, but not our apparent lack of a defence which at best has been a shambles, considering we play with five at the back too many times there are only one or two left defending a breakaway. Teams breaking quickly have us over a barrel with four or five breaking on two.
I feel that to describe our defence as 'at best....a shambles' is a little harsh. We've conceded a goal a game, but so have Ipswich and Portsmouth. (At this point last season, we'd conceded 18.) That said, I find it hard to believe that Naismith is our fifth-best full-back. In 2018-19, he made 43 L1 appearances (1 goal and four yellow cards) in a team which finished seventh. I remember him as a capable full-back who could deputise in central defence. In January, (if it's possible) I'd swap him with Mason and feel that we'd made a zero-cost defensive upgrade. Not sending Beevers up for corners or free kicks might help guard against vulnerability to fast-breaking attacks.
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bristleposh
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

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JohnC wrote: 04 Dec 2020, 21:32
bristleposh wrote: 04 Dec 2020, 15:47 That seems to sum up a lot of our problems, but not our apparent lack of a defence which at best has been a shambles, considering we play with five at the back too many times there are only one or two left defending a breakaway. Teams breaking quickly have us over a barrel with four or five breaking on two.
I feel that to describe our defence as 'at best....a shambles' is a little harsh. We've conceded a goal a game, but so have Ipswich and Portsmouth. (At this point last season, we'd conceded 18.) That said, I find it hard to believe that Naismith is our fifth-best full-back. In 2018-19, he made 43 L1 appearances (1 goal and four yellow cards) in a team which finished seventh. I remember him as a capable full-back who could deputise in central defence. In January, (if it's possible) I'd swap him with Mason and feel that we'd made a zero-cost defensive upgrade. Not sending Beevers up for corners or free kicks might help guard against vulnerability to fast-breaking attacks.
Seems to make no sense to send Beevers up, the guy is about 6’13” tall and gets out jumped in opposition areas by Oztumer.
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JohnC
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

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I have two problems with this.
The first relates to the player.
Szmodics assumes (probably rightly) that he'll be starting the next game. And the next. And the next. etc A little humility on his part wouldn't come amiss; slipping an occasional 'if selected' into the conversation wouldn't go amiss. At the moment, he's the place where goal-scoring opportunities go to die.

The second relates to management.
Why wouldn't Szmodics have a high opinion of himself when he reads the chairman's words?
'He’s short of goals, but once he gets one he’ll go on a run and get 10 or 12.'

Or the manager's:
[iW]e know Sammie Szmodics can score goals at this and things will go for him soon enough.'
There's more from both in similar vein.
I understand the value of trying to reinforce rather than erode a player's confidence, but I wonder how Mo Eisa feels about these paeans for a player who's badly underperformed this season.

By December 07 last year, Eisa had 15 L1 and Cup goals; Toney had 14.
What happened? Prima facie, Eisa deserves more than to be airbrushed out of the current narrative.

Eisa may conclude that some players are more blue-eyed than others. (No racial innuendo intended.)
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tonyp
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

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JohnC wrote: 04 Dec 2020, 21:54A little humility on his (Szmodics) part wouldn't come amiss; slipping an occasional 'if selected' into the conversation wouldn't go amiss.
Just as an occasional "in my opinion" in your posts wouldn't go amiss?
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tonyp
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

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JohnC wrote: 04 Dec 2020, 21:54 Eisa may conclude that some players are more blue-eyed than others
Nothing to do with the colour of his eyes.
Management believe that Szmodics has potential. Eisa is hopeless.
Only my opinion.
JohnC
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

Post by JohnC »

tonyp wrote: 04 Dec 2020, 22:19
JohnC wrote: 04 Dec 2020, 21:54A little humility on his (Szmodics) part wouldn't come amiss; slipping an occasional 'if selected' into the conversation wouldn't go amiss.
Just as an occasional "in my opinion" in your posts wouldn't go amiss?
Well, I'm sorry if my style irks you; there's always the option to ignore my postings, of course. But looking beyond the manner of said posts, and moving on to the substance: three things bother me about the conspicuous tyre-pumping in which the manager and chairman have engaged recently on Szmodics' behalf:
1) Building pressure/expectation for Szmodics to score more frequently (not his primary role anyway, I thought) may prompt him to shoot when he ought to pass. I'd refer him to Toney setting up Joe Ward for our second goal at Accrington last season. He should remember; he was playing, and had an excellent game, as I recall.
2) These pronouncements might not do a lot for squad morale. I'm not sure how well Hamilton, Broom and Reed might react if they feel Szmodics' position as a starter is unassailable.
3) Most importantly: it really doesn't matter too much We won six and drew one of seven L1 matches in October without the benefit of a single Szmodics goal. His all-round effort and contribution were valuable throughout. If the team could approximate October's form (three clean sheets, by the way) for most of the remainder of the season, we'd secure automatic promotion at a canter without any further goals from Szmodics. Yes. one always seeks improvement, but nineteen points out of twenty-one doesn't leave much scope in that respect.
JohnC
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

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tonyp wrote: 04 Dec 2020, 22:21
JohnC wrote: 04 Dec 2020, 21:54 Eisa may conclude that some players are more blue-eyed than others
Nothing to do with the colour of his eyes.
Management believe that Szmodics has potential. Eisa is hopeless.
Only my opinion.
Exactly a year ago today, over four months into the season, and after 23 fixtures in which both Eisa and Toney featured, Eisa was our top scorer with fourteen goals, one more than Toney; both had 12 L1 goals.
If Eisa is 'hopeless' now, then it ought to be reasonable to inquire why, especially in light of the following article published on 1st of June of last year on the club's official website on the occasion of Eisa's arrival:

Posh beat off host of clubs to secure signature of Championship striker.

Peterborough United have broken their transfer record to land Bristol City striker Mo Eisa with the 24-year-old penning a four-year deal at the Weston Homes Stadium after completing the formalities on Saturday morning at the Mick George Training Academy.

Eisa, who scored 25 goals in 50 appearances for Cheltenham Town, which earned him a big money move to Ashton Gate, has been linked with a host of clubs including in the Championship, but has penned a long-term deal at Posh after speaking with manager Darren Ferguson.

Chairman Darragh MacAnthony said: “‘It is no secret we made four bids for Mo last summer as he is the type of striker that ticks every box, criteria wise, for a “Posh signing”. He is quick, technically fantastic and has the ability to improve with us and step up a level.

“When myself, Jason and Randy met in Vegas, it was clear the three of us needed to sanction a stand out signing to show our fans and the league that we mean business in our quest to become a Championship club.”

Ferguson was thrilled to get the signing over the line and is excited to work with the front man. “Firstly, I would like to thank the owners, Darragh, Jason and Randy for backing me on this signing because it is a big signing for this football club. I think one thing that I identified last season is that we were looking for a bit more pace up front and Mo brings that.

“I have known about him for a few years. He had a fantastic goal record at Cheltenham Town and that earned him a big move to the Championship. He was really unfortunate because he got injured early on at Bristol City and then the form that they displayed meant it was difficult for him to get into the line-up.

“He fits our criteria, he is a good age, is quick and scores goals and not just goals, but all types of goals and that is something that I noticed straight away. He can finish on either foot and from any distance. He is a lovely lad and I have no doubt that he will do very well for us. I am delighted to get Mo on board.

“I want to thank Lee Johnson and everyone at Bristol City because this has been going on for a little while and they have conducted themselves superbly throughout the process. Mo ticks a lot of boxes and we have just really the midfield area to address now and that is something we are working hard on.”

Eisa, who had a number of clubs in for his services, admitted Posh were the team that showed the most interest and ultimately why he put pen to paper on the long-term deal. “Peterborough wanted me the most, they showed the most interest me and showed how serious they were to get the deal done. I met the chairman and the manager and they have showed nothing but love for me and that is what I need.

“I know all about the strikers that have scored goals for Peterborough in the past and hopefully I can do that here. I want to score goals, but I am not selfish, it is about the team and the team’s objective is to get to the Championship and I want to help the team in that goal. I am looking forward to getting started.”
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ashman
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

Post by ashman »

Maybe building pressure/expectations on our whole team is counter productive? I'm sure that all the players, management and coaches are all aware of what is needed to be done and I am sure that they are all doing their utmost to facilitate that. Nobody enjoys being constantly criticised, like they have been over the last few games. Players and management react in a similar way in which children do during their education. Criticise them continually and they end up in a downward spiral. Encourage them and they enjoy the respect and respond positively to what is being said to them.
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

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ashman wrote: 05 Dec 2020, 13:42 Maybe building pressure/expectations on our whole team is counter productive? I'm sure that all the players, management and coaches are all aware of what is needed to be done and I am sure that they are all doing their utmost to facilitate that. Nobody enjoys being constantly criticised, like they have been over the last few games. Players and management react in a similar way in which children do during their education. Criticise them continually and they end up in a downward spiral. Encourage them and they enjoy the respect and respond positively to what is being said to them.
It would be interesting to share these sentiments with Neil Warnock, who knows a thing or two about successful promotion campaigns.

If 'management and coaches are all aware of what is needed to be done', then why the 'Revenge Tour' nonsense and the repeated predictions of a Szmodics goal-scoring spree? These emanated from the chairman and the manager. This is 'counter-productive....building pressure/expectations'.

In his most recent interview, the manager mentioned, among other things, the issue of character 'we need to be stronger, show character....we needed to show resolve....show our mettle, show our character....' He dwelled less on team-selection and/or tactics as factors. If those come into play, we know whose responsibility they are.

'Must try harder'? Certainly. 'Can do better'? Maybe, but not just for one month in three.
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

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JohnC wrote: 06 Dec 2020, 19:13
ashman wrote: 05 Dec 2020, 13:42 Maybe building pressure/expectations on our whole team is counter productive? I'm sure that all the players, management and coaches are all aware of what is needed to be done and I am sure that they are all doing their utmost to facilitate that. Nobody enjoys being constantly criticised, like they have been over the last few games. Players and management react in a similar way in which children do during their education. Criticise them continually and they end up in a downward spiral. Encourage them and they enjoy the respect and respond positively to what is being said to them.
It would be interesting to share these sentiments with Neil Warnock, who knows a thing or two about successful promotion campaigns.

If 'management and coaches are all aware of what is needed to be done', then why the 'Revenge Tour' nonsense and the repeated predictions of a Szmodics goal-scoring spree? These emanated from the chairman and the manager. This is 'counter-productive....building pressure/expectations'.

In his most recent interview, the manager mentioned, among other things, the issue of character 'we need to be stronger, show character....we needed to show resolve....show our mettle, show our character....' He dwelled less on team-selection and/or tactics as factors. If those come into play, we know whose responsibility they are.

'Must try harder'? Certainly. 'Can do better'? Maybe, but not just for one month in three.
I agree with you. The way should always be encourage players to improve not go down the route of 'the revenge tour' putting unnecessary pressure on the manager who can hardly fail to pass this on to his players. Maybe DMac needs to think carefully before he comes out with these outlandish statements!
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HantsPosh
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Re: At the One-Third Marker

Post by HantsPosh »

DMac thinking before coming out with outlandish statements?? About as likely as me getting a date with Rita Ora :clap:
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