Martin’s Musings on Stoke City 0 Sunderland 0

Jake's imagination

Martin O’Neill was cautious again with his starting line-up, Sess on the bench and Catts in the team with just Fletcher forward. The radio reactions were predictable perhaps, Gary Bennett happy with the point, praising the defence and Colback in particular, some supporters happy with another point, but just as many critical with the lack of creativity and attacking ambition. “This was the worst ever Premier League game I’ve seen,” said one. “Don’t wait up for MOTD” our own Pete Sixsmith advises. The manager explains his thinking in his regular post match e-mail……

Jake asks: 'is this the dullest season ever?'

Dear Colin,

In a game where there weren’t that many chances I thought we were worthy of the point.

But it was tough. Like every game we’ve played in this season, we were presented with problems that we’ve had to overcome and I think we’re getting there.

I changed it around a little bit today, something that has to happen at some stage in the season.

I thought that when [Stephane] Sessegnon came on he looked sharp, and I don’t think missing out on starting the game will have done him any harm.

Maybe MoN should pin it up in the dressing room

I think Lee, as captain of the side, gives us that little bit of steel. He brings drive and determination into the game.

Before the game I was concerned that he’d been out of action for around a month and that he might have started to fade in the game, but he didn’t.

Simon Mignolet is an exceptional goalkeeper. He did very well indeed for us today and I’m delighted with him.

I’m happy with the point after the way the game transpired.

Stoke is a difficult place to come to. I know we’re racking up a number of headlines with the draws but there’ll be a point where those draws turn into wins.

Today’s point could be a vital one come the end of the season.

When you’re away from home, not losing is the priority, it’s a point on the board and we need to keep going and build on that.

All the best,

Beware of forgeries
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10 thoughts on “Martin’s Musings on Stoke City 0 Sunderland 0”

  1. Yes take the draw…stick this one in the back of the old memory drawer and move on……quickly.

    Would agree McClean needs resting though.

  2. First the good news: an away point at virtually any PL ground is not bad.
    The bad news: All of our creative players seem to have hit a poor vain of form at the same time. Sess, AJ, McClean and Larsson are just not in form and showing much confidence.

    So, Our defence is solid but its the middle of the park upwards where we’re showing no creativity.
    I think MON is primarily also a defensive coach and we’re just not getting bodies up in the box area in any threatening way.
    Anyway, thats just my opinion…

  3. I think that all of our draws would be accepted if scattered over a season. I know people say you have to play everyone blah blah but we’ve had a tricky start, I think. People wanted changes and he dropped Sessegnon – a big call. AJ was tried in the middle and I think we’re likely to make minimal changes such as this until something clicks.

    I’m as frustrated as anyone that we aren’t creating, but we aren’t losing games which is a platform, surely? We have some very winnable home games coming up and it’s after those that real judgement can begin.

    Stoke have drew with Arsenal, Man City and beat Swansea at home this season. We were the last team to win there. As awful as it (apparently) was, a point is ok there. We’d have probably lost if Cattermole wasn’t back in the midfield – that one’s for you Jeremy 😉

  4. The manager’s points are very relevant and it’s difficult to argue with his rationale within the context and limits of a single game, and in particular an away fixture at Stoke.

    The problem is that we are looking like this every week. Defence was as solid today as it has looked all season. Mignolet was exceptional again. These are the positive and they are huge positives. The problem begins when you move to the midfield. At most if not all PL clubs, yet another poor performance from McClean would see the lad rested for a couple of games. He is so badly out of form that continuing to play him is doing neither James or the team any favours. Again at most PL clubs there would be something resembling competition for places and a replacement for him waiting in the wings. Not at Sunderland.

    If Steve Guppy’s involvement has anything to do with McCleans form then Guppy should be sent home. JM seems to have gone completely down hill since he started getting coaching from him.

    • For me, McCleans bad form seems to have coincided with his bad twitter experience. He took a lot of stick and was pretty sheepish when he came back from international duty.
      I agree that he should be rested.
      Either switch Johnson to the left and put Larsson on the right. Or when Thunderboots Bardsley comes back, put Rose on as a winger, and have him tracking back to help Bard.

      • Rose is playing far too well at left back to move him. Back four is settled really. Larsson, McClean and AJ have to be used as 2 from 3 available wingers.

      • I’m no psychiatrist but I think the twitter rant was symptomatic of McClean becoming too full of his own self importance. He certainly never considered its effect on how his team mates perceived him.

        His impact under MON last season is clear – he was a breath of fresh air and attacked defenders in a way that Elmo hadn’t. He was an unknown quantity and suddenly everyone; fans, press, his manager was saying how great he was. Initially I had my doubts and wondered if he would be a flash in the pan but was delighted when he proceeded to prove me wrong. Suddenly from a reserve team player he became hot property with the luxury of being able to reject the national team of his birthplace in favour of one that would compete on a bigger stage.

        Self belief, confidence and a certain arrogance can all be positive factors in a competitive sportsman but I think McClean was hypnotised by the hype that surrounded him and began to think that all that was necessary, was for him to turn up and his team would win the match. He certainly seemed to think that he knew better than the Ireland manager who should be in the national side.

        It is significant, I think, that he has come out and said that the Euro experience dented his confidence. Maybe he is learning a lesson that success doesn’t just fall into your lap, that it has to be worked for and that no-one has a divine right to be in the starting line up.

        Most of us have learned the lesson that we are not indispensable somewhere along the line and let’s not forget he is still a young man. I trust that he is working hard in training, getting advice from more experienced players like Saha and that MON is rebuilding his self belief whilst instilling team values in him. He has a lot to offer and should be a valuable member of the squad. Maybe the manager thinks the best way for him to recover his form is to keep playing him, but I agree his contributions recently have been below par, though he’s not the only one.

  5. “I know we’re racking up a number of headlines with the draws but there’ll be a point where those draws turn into wins.

    Today’s point could be a vital one come the end of the season.”

    All well and good as long as the draws turn into wins. If we are not creating chances they could just as easily turn into defeats.

    And whilst the point won away from home may prove vital at the end of the season, let’s hope that those we drop don’t prove to be just as vital. At the current rate we are heading for a 42 point season, which may represent Premiership safety but is hardly progress.

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