Our team are used to holding the ball and probing the defence and midfield and waiting for the right moment to pass the ball, but against a quick moving Swansea team who pressurised us and moved quickly, we simply did not have an answer to their way of football. What was disappointing was that the way Swansea play is how we should be playing by tradition.
We looked slow, lumbered, uncreative, and one dimensional which against quality teams will get found out very quickly. We had no plan B on Saturday. The long ball up to Cole was all we tried and all we had in the locker. We simply wanted too much time on the ball and Nolan and Noble were guilty on several occasions of being overly composed on the ball only to find it taken off them and for another Swans attack to start.
Work needs to be done on the quick release of the ball and using the flanks more instead of the hoof ball towards Cole, which seeing as we’ve just spent the best part of £11 million should now make sense! There was always going to be a time this season where Jussi was going to be looked at more closely, unfortunately it has come quicker than I thought.
The mistake for the goal was poor, but a mistake all keepers make, but what was more worrying for me was how that mistake affected his game and decision making. On two occasions he flapped for the ball on crosses as well as leaving his box to defend a long ball only to miss time his run and get caught out. At 37 is he too old? I think a few more games will ultimately answer that for us, but with Henderson waiting for his chance I am not overly worried about this position.
One area that does concern me is obviously up front. I cannot see a player in the team capable of double figures, not Nolan, Cole or Vaz Te. We spent nearly £5m on Maiga but it will take time to see if he is the answer to our attacking needs. I’m confident we will win games but at this level the 1-0 score line we saw at home to Villa might not always be enough.
There is talk of loan moves for a striker which hopefully will bear fruition. Problem is who is actually available! My bet would be on someone like Bendtner coming. One pleasing point so far for me has been the performances of Demel. He looks fitter and more assured than I can remember from last season which is good. We will, at some point, need to get back up to cover Demel due to his injury record but at the moment the right back slot is his to lose.
I have quite a bit of sympathy for James Tomkins, arguably player of the season last term. He should have been a shoe-in for a centre back position but has found himself playing second fiddle to new boy James Collins. Surely on the back of that performance from Collins and his alleged groin injury I think Tomkins should start against Fulham.
I must admit to not having too much knowledge prior to his arrival of Matt Jarvis signing for us for a record fee. He’s crossing ability was evident on Saturday but I didn’t see any ability to trick an opponent with skill rather with the pace he has. Oh well what do we expect for £11 million these days?! I’m sure Jarvis will be a big player for us this season, I just don’t think he is a winger in the same mould as Etherington, or Sinclair rather a player who runs quickly, drops a shoulder and delivers a decent cross.
There is lots of talk of Joe Cole coming back which I personally hope is true. We are crying out for a player of his ability but I cannot see where he would fit into Big Sam’s team. He is not a typical big Sam player but might by what we are missing. Looking ahead to Saturday which will be tough. Fulham have started well, played good football and gave Man U a fright last weekend! Home advantage will help but don’t expect us to walk this one. I’d be happy with a point but hope for the win.