We have had more productive weekends. There was the dreadful blankety blank with Stoke followed on Sunday with an equally dismal cup draw which paired us with Villa. Whoever said romance was dead was foreseeing this particular cup tie! No doubt Sam's love for the cup will manifest itself on Jan 2nd when he gives the first team squad the weekend off to get over the New Year celebrations.
It's good to hear that Sam is recovering well. But he won't have been cheered by the performance on Saturday. The writing was on the wall when Neil Mcdonald ordered the dreaded 4-5-1 to be given the kiss of life. It felt like watching a sequel to a particularly bad film that should not have seen the light of day in the first place.
Some may argue that we played 4-4-2 against Fulham and it failed miserably. This is true. But this system best masks over our cracks. The truth is, is that we don't have quick wingers to be able to play 4-5-1 effectively. The lone striker must have support from the wide men to convert it to 4-3-3 when going forward.
History is also repeating itself in a roundabout way. 10 years ago we had a choice of 4 very similar strikers, Jansen(before he realised his potential), Ostenstadt, Ward and Blake. Whatever the permetation, nothing seemed to change. This is true in 2009 with the midfield, perm any 5 from 7.
It was a blow that player of the season, Dunn was forced off on Saturday and he could be missing for the Quarter Final against Chelsea on Wednesday. Whoever is picking the team, must pick a positive line up. Chelsea are the form team in the country and there is no point coming off the park having been beaten 2-0 and congratulating ourselves that it wasn't more but at the same time not creating anything because of our negativity.
With Â£10 tickets all round, there should be a decent atmosphere at Ewood. And after Villa were paired with us, this competition could mark the only alternative to mundane months ahead in the Prem League.
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