Did the game plan ruin the performance
or the performance wreck the game plan?
The JimmyG2 Column.
.Well this is going to be fun. If it wasn't for the expectations of our loyal supporters for 'Musings' to make sense of yesterday's debacle then I would have got a sick note and pulled the covers back over my head.
There will be many that argue that the 5-1 defeat to Newcastle was our worst performance in recent years but the game against Liverpool will have its advocates too.
After all there were plenty of people willing to make excuses for the Newcastle defeat, mental and physical tiredness and disappointment among them, but I can't think of any for the Liverpool one.
You can blame injuries to Vertonghen, Rose and Lamela if you are really desperate but as Harry Redknapp called it: great first team; average squad. None of the recent signings were first team ready and it shows.
Our attitude and preparation were wrong. It's as if we bugged Jurgen's team talk and decided to double bluff him. High line and Davies against Mane, I ask you.We went toe to toe and shot ourselves in the foot.
A packed mid-field and a more defensive posture for at least the first 15 minutes might have stopped it being all over within 20. Wanyama's and Dier's errors for the goals were not untypical of our general play.
Whether the poor performances of the players undid the game plan or whether the obstinate game plan exposed the players to being overrun is a moot point. Classic chicken and egg.
But you have to adapt the game plan to the opponents, alter it when necessary in game and tailor it to the players available. Eriksen would have been better on the left and given Davies more support
And what is it in our DNA that leads to our Managers being unable to think on their feet? Nearly 70 minutes before the first sub in a game where we were always struggling and Janssen gets barely 10 minutes to affect a game in which we had never looked like challenging.
Son reached new heights of ineffectiveness and fluffed our only real chance. He gave Davies no support whatsoever and Mauricio apparently didn't notice. But none of the starters played well individually or together.
Winks had more positive thoughts in ten minutes that the whole of the team put together in ninety. Hugo kept the score down but placed us again under pressure with the ball at his feet.
Perhaps the weakness of the bench is no reflection on Mauricio but N'Koudou for Son might have improved things if he was given enough time. Actually Trippier and Vorm for Harry and Dele might not have made things much worse.
Mauricio blames the players and casts doubt on their attitude and is unrepentant but he must share the blame. The squad is thinnish. Son like Chadli is a nuisance unless he scores. Harry is somewhere else.
You can hover between bad day at the office and total meltdown as your temperament dictates. At this stage nothing except the League Title is irretrievable. We are still 3rd after tonight's City win but the signs are worrying.
We never quite capitalise on the failings of others but once again the fixture list ahead looks as benign as the Premiership ever can. None of the top six away and the games all look very winnable until a couple of the last few.
The top placings will go down to the wire apart from the very top and we cannot forget what happened last season so there's always a nagging doubt. Mauricio's call prior to the game for us to improve our away form fell on deaf ears.
That's the third game running that we have failed to score in open play and the 0-0 draw at Sunderland wasn't good mental preparation for this key away game.
Now we have a two game gap before the Premiership challenge re-emerges, a sort of Barcelona away week in the Europa and FA Cups. Time to test the outer reaches of the squad plus any newly recovered injured, if any.
I would like to see us concentrate on the Premiership and the financial and prestige rewards of the Champions' League. We are nicely placed to do so. I don't think Mauricio will disagree.
Jimmy's Video Spot.
A slow hatch. Doesn't answer the chicken and egg question though but well worth watching. Well you didn't want to watch our highlights from the Liverpòol game did you.
Thy would only be half as long in any case as this 4 minute nature video.