Life’s a pitch – but is our new ground really a major issue?

We have heard a lot of excuses as to our poor form this season, especially during the early parts of the campaign.

We have heard a lot of excuses as to our poor form this season, especially during the early parts of the campaign.

But a recent interview with Michail Antonio has stuck with me for a few weeks now, where he said the team had to completely adapt their game plan due to the size of the pitch. It’s something so simple that could have been worked on in the summer but it seems like this was disregarded, leaving the players to learn how to adjust on the pitch in competitive games.

Antonio also said the team had struggled knowing how to press teams when they visited. Those extrametres proving difficult to negotiate at first with some of our players happy to push high up and others not as confident, leaving gaps. It’s interesting to note that, since hearing this, I have looked into it and according to various reports the pitch at the London Stadium is actually only marginally larger.

Can those couple of metres have that much of an impact? Or is it another poor excuse? Or do players feel it’s that much bigger because of the size of the stadium? I would hope by this stage of the season that this isn’t an issue for the players. But next time we play at home, see if you notice any gaps, especially in the middle of the park.

Can those couple of metres have that much of an impact? Or is it another poor excuse? Or do players feel it’s that much bigger because of the size of the stadium? I would hope by this stage of the season that this isn’t an issue for the players. But next time we play at home, see if you notice any gaps, especially in the middle of the park.

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