MONTHLY REVIEW: SEPTEMBER
0 goals. It can only get better? Well, this is the very bottom of the desperate barrel. At least, we can literally not get any worse. Now, you take a turn at inserting another meaningless cliché to make you feel slightly better.
Before I am accused of endless negativity and pessimism surrounding the Wanderers, I'd encourage you to take a look through my July and August stupidity and hope. If you're willing to read this with critical thought; here we go.
My immediate aim for monthly reviews was one of upbeat optimism and 'looking for positives' at any opportunity. This is far worse than what I genuinely believed was possible. Let's do it in a functional order. On-the-pitch is an attackingly inept collection of 3 players being punted the ball from 60 yards behind. That is a literal description of how we build-up play. This is accompanied by a motionless 7 in-front of the goalkeeper that are there to fill space or man-mark. The extra centre-back and extra central-midfielder are allowed to roam free (and not in a Lionel Messi way). Even though we are getting beat by 2/3-0 on the regular, I believe there are one or two players that are being completely wasted by their over-defensive selection of Phil Parkinson. On a few social media platforms and fan forums I have seen a bizarre clamour for more defensive play from PP. What an unusual opinion in our current circumstances. The poor organisation is down to poor defending - not the strategy or structure. Only Wheater has looked to interpret opposition attacks this season, Dervite is a reactionary defender alongside Burke whilst Beevers looks completely lost in this division. He is repeatedly done for pace whilst covering for the not-so-left back Antonee Robinson and the not-so-Championship Andrew Taylor. However, this means just one slightly intricate pass inside him or movement from a winger inside him will wrong-foot the defender and this is where the midfield issue lies. Josh Cullen is our deepest-lying midfielder and would probably suit a possession based team (like a top end League 1 team... oh wait) but when playing for a side that actually structures a game plan without the ball rather than with it, he isn't good enough; especially being the final midfield shield. Perhaps playing him alongside a genuine defensive midfielder might work. Jem Karacan's fitness is an obvious issue and his hard-working press appears to be an illusion as he offers the image of someone chasing/closing down whilst actually covering very little ground. Short bursts, reminiscent of Josh Vela in poor form. The repetitive decision to play a winger out of position behind the striker is irritating enough if it wasn't for the fact the apparent instruction given to Noone, Morais, Buckley, Ameobi is "make things happen" - how very Mike Bassett.
Now, time for them positives eh? To be fair with you, I genuinely do have some depressing hope. I call this depressing hope because it revolves around pinning my hopes on Karl Henry. For those who follow The Burnden Way, I wasn't amazingly happy with the transfer of Henry, putting it mildly, however having sat through a Birmingham-esque snooze-fest at Villa Park; I can confirm he is our saviour. Fairly unsung, but he offered an obvious midfield stability that was lacking. My fear is Parkinson over plays on this and remains his over-defensive self. Alongside Josh Cullen, being given a more free role to pass higher up the pitch, Henry can do what was Cullen's dirty work earlier in the season. The creativity of Cullen should then be able to build attacks with 2 actual wingers co-incidided with the return of Josh Vela. So, there are reasons to be more cheerful (don't hold your breath).