After "FA Cup Dreams"
Since we beat Hull at the end of the last episode in one of the most unlikely victories I have seen in quite a while, things have not gone so well for us. We lost to Derby County, who I would consider to be contending with us for the upper half of the league. It was a rather drab affair and we didn't really show up to the game. Barnsley was a slightly different story. We dominated them all game, had something like 20 shots to their 4 or something, but our shots just couldn't find the back of the net. Then they had a corner in the closing minutes of the game that found the head of one of their defenders and miraculously went in. We went from those two disappointing games to beating Nottingham Forest 2-1. We were up 1-0 until they had an own goal in the 70th minute, putting us ahead 2-0, they then almost immediately scored and I was worried that we were going to not get 3 points in this one either, which would really hurt out league position.
FA cup Round 4 - 1/29/17
We made it into this round of the FA Cup after beating Hull in the 3rd round, who make Millwall look a whole lot more manageable, and so we will play a rotated side. For the rotated starting 11, Robert Green makes his first appearance in quite a while at goal. Our back-line will Feature Luke Ayling at right-back, Dedryck Boyata and Liam Cooper (rotated in for Pontus Jansson) as center-back, and Tyrone Mings at left-back. For the midfield, Diego Poyet rotates in for Liam Bridcutt as the holding midfielder, and Ronaldo Vieira will rotate for Eunan O'kane. Alex Mowatt will round out the midfield. In the final third, Stuart Dallas takes over Pablo Hernandez's role as right winger, and Jack Barmby plays as a true left winger. Joel Pohjanpalo will be leading the line. Marco Silvestri, Pontus Jansson, Liam Bridcutt, Eunan O'Kane, Kyle Roofe, Hadi Sacko, and Marcus Andtonsson will make up the Bench.
The game went about as I expected, in that not only did we win, but we also dominated. All of our goals were made in the first half-hour of the game, with new man Jack Barmby scoring 2 in a matter of 2 minutes to complete our route of Millwall. They got their consolation goal right at the start of the second half, but they were never really in the game, as is to be expected.
league game 29 - 2/1/17
As we hit the end the second third of the season, winning games is beginning to transition from good to imperative if we are to keep up with the new expectations of the board. All it takes is a bad run of form for us to drop below the top half of the table. So, our league game against Blackburn has an increased sense of importance, especially given that if we do really well, we can become playoff contenders.
For this game we will go with who I consider our key players, with the exception of Pontus Jansson, who is out with an injury. Tyrone Mings is really making an impact at left-back, meaning that Enric Saborit is unable to break into the team, and Jack Barmby has been inspirational at the left wing. Joel Pohjanpalo has also been playing well up top, meaning that Marcus Antonsson is being held out of the first 11.
To their credit, Blackburn played really well when they weren't trying to shoot on goal. They kept us from dominating midfield, and were really threatening in their build-up towards the final third. Now their finishing was abysmal, and the only shot they had on target was their goal scored right at the close of the game. Our first half was phenomenal, with a 3-0 lead and a brace from Pohjanpalo in the first 15 minutes of the game. This was a game we worked really hard for, and we came out with the result that we deserved.
League Game 30 - 2/4/17
Coming off of the Blackburn game, we were really confident going up against Huddersfield town, who sat 5th in the league table. Only one change was made to the starting 11 in between games, with Gaetano Berardi coming in for Luke Ayling. Huddersfield will be coming against us with a 4-2-3-1 that we have dealt with rather well in league.
Well, we didn't lose. That is pretty much all that can be said about that game. We played generally well, but it was clear all game that they played slightly better than we did. Luckily we came out of the game with a draw, meaning that we didn't fall all too far in the league table.
Going forward, we drew Peterborough in the 5th round of the FA Cup, and I don't feel like they will be too much of a struggle. So, unless they prove to be tough opponents, then the next episode will likely be right around the 6th round of the FA Cup. Hopefully we can continue off of these games and put on a good run of form for the next games.
FM fanatic and football pundit