Defensively Frail

Thursday 6th November 2014

To Anderlecht’s travelling fans Tuesday night must have felt like ‘getting their own back’. Ok, so we only overturned a one goal deficit over in Brussels but coming away with all three points was graced with bemusement as much as anything else, given how the rest of the game had panned out. Similar feelings accompanied our journey home the other night but even if losing a three goal lead is somewhere between disappointing and totally not acceptable, as the dust settles a draw is not the end of the world. You only have to look at Man City’s result last night to realise that.

The biggest disappointment of course is the fact we were a few minutes from progressing out of the group stage with two games to spare. One point from our remaining two games however, would see us progress. The biggest worry on the other hand, is how vulnerable and frail we looked defensively, not just in the final half an hour, but for much of the match.

We are all getting a bit bored of regularly needing to talk about the officials but along with our latest in a long line of injuries when Mikel was forced off, the direction and more importantly momentum changed in the game when the officials failed to spot our visitors’ opening goal was at least a yard offside. Don’t worry, I am not offering this as an excuse for not holding on to a three goal lead but it is something that can happen in football. Reading and Newcastle away immediately spring to mind in recent times. Anderlecht could sniff a chance of getting back into the match, something that arguably would not have been there had the goal been correctly ruled out. An excuse? No. Hugely influential however? Yes.

For me personally, if I ignore the frustration we all felt as we left the ground, it was an enjoyable evening. Accompanying customers, colleagues and friends to the game we thoroughly made the most of plenty of pre-match fare, all the banter that goes with it and I viewed the game from a different vantage point to usual. Those who go regularly are aware how much a game can look ‘different’ depending on where you are sat, and Tuesday night was certainly one such occasion.

One more game before the third international break of the season as we head off to South Wales to take on Swansea City.

Every game we play in I am confident we can score goals. Midweek however, more than suggests a defensive improvement of epic proportions is required if we are to achieve a positive result.

Come on you Mighty Reds!



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