On the Saddle vs Off the Rails (Walsall vs Crewe)

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Fresh from a fortunate win at Shrewsbury it's another local game for the Alex down the M6 at Walsall. Despite us having a very decent record and a habit of scoring late goals at the Bescot Stadium I cannot see anything other than a Walsall win. However with us not playing this week and Walsall playing Chelsea in the cup, we should, on paper at least, be a lot fresher.

Despite me being opposed to playing five at the back, especially since Dull Davis failed to re-sign Alan Tate, it's our best chance of him putting two up top, so it's a necessary evil for this game if we want to build a bit of a run. Garratt, Turton, Ray, Davis, Nugent (if fit) Kingsley, Fox, King, with Colclough ahead of the two in CM but playing off LDV and Haber would be a very good line-up to play, but our defensive tactical genius wouldn't even dream of playing this and we'll see Colclough playing off Haber with Atkinson in the CM. I really despise the 5 at the back formation but there's nothing I despise more regarding football formations than managers using a 4-3-3 incorrectly like Steve Davis and Brendan Rodgers do.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place here, a win further cements Davis in his job and all the pressure that has built up will die down and then he'll get a licence to play his defensive football for the rest of the season without blooding any of our attacking youngsters except Colclough. I don't want this team of capable and talented footballers to lose but the management are severely hampering their development and a series of tight narrow wins which are the only type of wins we achieve under this dull fraud will easily please the short-term thinking fools amongst our fanbase who fail to see the bigger picture and will still leave us short in attacking areas for the fourth straight season. However the only way Davis is getting sacked is if we don't pick up those horrible to watch narrow and tight wins that still keep him in a job. It's horrible.

I think a competent Walsall side with the impressive Romaine Sawyers definitely being available will destroy us even if Tom Bradshaw doesn't play.
 

Saddlerrad

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#2
We could be a Champions league side unbeaten in 250 games and we would still either concede late against Crewe or lose at home to them. Proper bogey side along with Southend, Orient and a few others. We will probably be knackered after putting everything into midweek and could be without Super Tom.

0-1.
4,010 - 558 from Crewe.
 

Jonny Owen

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#3
3-1 Saddlers, Bradshaw and Mantom x2...

But a 1 nil loss wouldn't surprise me either.

Guarantee none of the plastics come to sit in their designated seats and talk about Falcao will go to this too, and good because they're just as bad as the Chelsea fans. But we'll take their money.
 

JJ1532

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#4
I remember remarking before our 2-2 draw 3 years ago that there were always late goals in this fixture. 3 games later, 3 more late goals and the streak is getting ridiculous now.

You raise some good points TNO about Davis. For me, Alex fans have to ask themselves what they want to see. Ugly wins or pretty defeats. Davis can't deliver attractive wins, he's proved that beyond doubt in the last 3 years. For me, he needs to revert to what he knows and that is defensive, low scoring football. I'd rather that than watch him flounder about trying to get us playing open attractive football and get beat every week. He can still keep the attacking principles, but as you say he doesn't know how to. It's so simple though. Get the wing backs high up the pitch and have them in an advanced starting position. You still have the cushion of having 3 defenders back, so you shouldn't ever be left that shorthanded at the back. Hell, if he wants 3 attackers on the pitch, he can even go 3-4-3/3-4-1-2 and start with Colclough, LDV/Haber and Inman or Colclough behind LDV and Haber with Wilson, Cooper and Saunders as bench options. Drop Atkinson(and don't FFS bring back in Bingham, he's fucking shit!) and just have King and Fox. Fox for the defensive responsibility and passing, King for the goal threat. Easy.

But as you say, if he does go to 3 CBs, he'll have the 2 wing backs stapled to their CBs at all times and it'll mean we'll have 2/3 attackers when we are going forward. Or, we'll attack so slowly because the wing backs are too far back and take an age to get forward. But for me, this is the way forward. If Davis is to remain in charge(and let's face it, he is going to), then I'd rather watch ugly football he is comfortable with than attractive football he doesn't have a clue about. This then surely has to make the board ask what they want to watch and make them realise once and for all Davis just isn't the right man to take us forward. He just can't deliver good football, goals and results. Not possible.

It looks like we'll go 4-3-3, which hey, didn't work all that well in the 8 1/2 games so why not give it another go. If he does keep it the same, then I've lost all patience with him.

As for Walsall, fair play to em. Started like a train at the moment and it puts all the budget excuses from our hierarchy and some of the fans into perspective. Total illusion that budget is the only way to compete at this level. It helps, but it doesn't need to be the massive inhibitor some of the people at our club claim it to be. Sawyers has always been a player that has done well against a lot of other teams except us. Never stood out against us. Bradshaw is obviously the key man. He has a good record against us and I think he turns their team from a formidable one into a far less threatening one. And that's another reason why we need to switch to a 3-5-2. Him upfront alone against 3 CBs would make it much easier to snuff him out.

Anyway, fingers crossed we can get a result here. Yes, if we do, then Davis will be safe as houses. But I want us to win for the sensible fans and players, neither of whom deserve to see the team lose every week. Optimistic, simply because we have a decent record against Walsall both at the Bescot and in general. Would snap your hand off for a draw. I think it'll be 1-1, a late equaliser from Colclough for us.
 

JJ1532

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#6
I want non-ugly/non-boring wins. Not sure why Radio Stoke have made entertainment & winning mutually exclusive.
I think we all want that. But under this manager, it's one or the other. He's proved that beyond doubt in the last 3 seasons.
 

Saddlerrad

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Hope we aren't to knackered after last night, but if we aren't and we play like we did then we should win. Obviously you tend to get after the lords mayor show type of performances and a lot of our players will be knackered after the efforts last night so it doesn't always work out favourable.

Sawyers was special last night, Chelsea had to change their formation to combat him. He really wouldn't have looked out of place slotting into there team. He won't be with us much longer if he carries on this form into the league.

Clip of Sawyers last night. https://twitter.com/scottpowell123/status/646813621947904000
 
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4froale

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Fresh from a fortunate win at Shrewsbury it's another local game for the Alex down the M6 at Walsall. Despite us having a very decent record and a habit of scoring late goals at the Bescot Stadium I cannot see anything other than a Walsall win. However with us not playing this week and Walsall playing Chelsea in the cup, we should, on paper at least, be a lot fresher.

Despite me being opposed to playing five at the back, especially since Dull Davis failed to re-sign Alan Tate, it's our best chance of him putting two up top, so it's a necessary evil for this game if we want to build a bit of a run. Garratt, Turton, Ray, Davis, Nugent (if fit) Kingsley, Fox, King, with Colclough ahead of the two in CM but playing off LDV and Haber would be a very good line-up to play, but our defensive tactical genius wouldn't even dream of playing this and we'll see Colclough playing off Haber with Atkinson in the CM. I really despise the 5 at the back formation but there's nothing I despise more regarding football formations than managers using a 4-3-3 incorrectly like Steve Davis and Brendan Rodgers do.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place here, a win further cements Davis in his job and all the pressure that has built up will die down and then he'll get a licence to play his defensive football for the rest of the season without blooding any of our attacking youngsters except Colclough. I don't want this team of capable and talented footballers to lose but the management are severely hampering their development and a series of tight narrow wins which are the only type of wins we achieve under this dull fraud will easily please the short-term thinking fools amongst our fanbase who fail to see the bigger picture and will still leave us short in attacking areas for the fourth straight season. However the only way Davis is getting sacked is if we don't pick up those horrible to watch narrow and tight wins that still keep him in a job. It's horrible.

I think a competent Walsall side with the impressive Romaine Sawyers definitely being available will destroy us even if Tom Bradshaw doesn't play.
I gave you a like just because of the thread title.
 

JJ1532

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Well, another day, another team has a hat full of chances, but don't take them.

Started well and went ahead early on last week, started poorly and went behind this time. Concede a cheap corner, but the defending or lack of it from us was unbelievable. Bradshaw with a free header inside the 6 yard box. You don't give any player that much space, let alone a decent striker. Christ almighty. Interesting to see who was supposed to be marking him, they failed miserably.

The first 15 minutes, we looked like we were going to get a hammering, but we weathered the storm and, whilst against the run of play, got back into the game. Good set peice routine, ball breaks to Nugent who shows our strikers how to finish. Sweet strike from him.

After that, it was a bit of a scrappy half. Walsall were cutting us open in the build up, but Garratt only had a couple of pea rollers to deal with. LDV wasted a good chance for us on the break and we passed up another couple of counters. 1-1 was probably about right given the chances both teams had.

2nd half and for the first 20-25 minutes, we did have a go. Inman was unlucky not to get at least a free kick for being chopped down right on the edge of the penalty area. Interesting to see SD claim the 4th official thought it was a penalty. Not sure how that's relevant. 4th official can say he might have given it all he likes, doesn't mean any other ref would. King fluffed a great chance, Colclough had a couple of half openings. Walsall were still a threat mind, we never looked comfortable at the back all game. Last 20 minutes we faded yet again. Probably partly because we had been chasing shadows for most of the game when off the ball. Walsall turned the screw a bit in the last 20. Hit the bar with a thunderstrike, Cook fluffed a great chance, Garratt made a couple of vital saves and punches. Defence also dug in pretty well too. Felt Wilson gave us a bit of a threat when he came on. For once though, I felt making the attacking change and bringing Haber on was the wrong move, at least for who he brought off in Atkinson. No point having 2 fresh attackers if the 4-5 players that might support them are knackered. Got overrun in the last 5-10 minutes, but to be fair, bar one good Garratt save and Cook(I think?) blazing over in the last minute, we stood up pretty well I think.

I'd say despite the stats, we deserved the point. Dug in and ground out a result. Didn't play that well, but showed some promising signs of progress and working out how to play away from home. Obviously plenty of concerns(Davis' injury, being outplayed etc) but all in all, a good battling point.

As for Walsall, I can see why they would feel they should have won the game. Had enough openings in the 2nd half to score. But, they didn't, so it isn't a mystery why they only got 1 point. They play some superb football, the passing and movement from back to front is top notch. As I said before the game, it puts our managements and fans "small budget, can't compete" arguments firmly in their place. Play good football and do so using 3-5-2 as well. Small budget, give youth a chance. Everything we are supposed to be about. But instead some at our club will have you believe this kind of football is just not possible. Well, it is possible, as amply demonstrated today.

Best of luck to you Saddlers. Might sound like a backhanded compliment(and it's not meant to) but given how poor League One is this season, I can see you challenging in and amongst the top 6 if you keep your core players fit. Some excellent football and a few quality players.

As for us, good point, but we now need to make it count with 3 straight home games. Southend, Chesterfield and Wigan(JPT) coming up. Tuesday is big, need a win otherwise all the pressure that has been eased with these last 2 results will be right back on the team and manager.
 
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I really hate how little we trouble the goal in EVERY game. And yet the board are still happy for it to continue each and every game.

Today is a terrific point given the circumstances but I just know we won't take the game to Southend and Chesterfield at home this week. Single figures a game for shots on a regular basis, no sign of our own attacking talent flourishing, the board need to think long-term now because we won't make money or be entertained if this is the football we're served up for yet another season.
 

TimeyWimey

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#18
This is it for the season isn't it?

Utter shit but picking up enough points to convince people we're "improving" and to keep the status quo.

Then come the summer we get rid of our best / highly paid player (I jest, Garratt will be gone by February) and listen to gaffer telling us how wonderful Turton/Atkinson/Haber are.

Again, and again, and again.

It's fucking purgatory. Please, someone put an end to it.
 
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Only way Davis is going now is if we keep losing home games at an alarming rate, mind you half the fuckers in the crowd at home games still think he's the fucking messiah so even that's unlikely!
 
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Thought we were alright yesterday against a top of the table Walsall side. Atkinson was great, and we might well have a partnership in Haber and Wilson. We weren't utter shit at all.
 

Geosaddler

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#21
How the fuck have we not won that?!? Again!

:mad:
2 days on and and I'm still trying to work that one out Jonny!! :-(

Just not gotta let the heads drop after what felt like a defeat. We will play much worse than that and win this season. Just got to put it down as 'one of those days'.
 

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