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The Black Hole

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Can anyone explain what happened between the end of 2009-10 season when we were the form team, were playing great football and just missed out on Europe... to the beginning of the 2010-11 season when expectations were high, there were no pre-season upheavals (appreciate we didn't manage to get a decent signing on board) and we simply should have carried on where we left off?

How could the pendulum swing dramatically from one side to the other with no apparant reason (unlike the season before that with the Lescott saga). If someone can answer that we might be able to make some sense of this shambolic season so far. (There's still time to win 3 on the bounce and get into Europe...)
Adrian Greensides, Isle of Man     Posted 15/02/2011 at 13:24:37

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Anthony Hughes
1   Posted 15/02/2011 at 15:06:35

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No new quality signings brought in, players leaving, weakening the squad and some of our closer rivals being able to acquire new players. Stand still and you will go backwards.
Mike Rourke
2   Posted 15/02/2011 at 15:28:47

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Can I advance my 'Crap Pre-Season Opponents = Crap Start To The Season' theory again?
Gary Creaney
3   Posted 15/02/2011 at 15:25:55

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Moyes clueless on how to pick the proper team from game one. Howard's howler against Blackburn, Wolves' equaliser at Goodision and Fellaini's mis-kick against Villa all set the trend.

All the optimism between supporters and players alike was heavily dependant on momentum and once it was lost, so too was confidence.

Individual mistakes by players and the manager alike were enough to send us to the wrong side of the fine line.

Col Wills
4   Posted 15/02/2011 at 15:34:04

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One of the main reasons is to do with individual mistakes by players costing us points, previous years we've had a tight ship but this season its at least one if not two goals agianst each time. Culprits have been many and varied including howard (2 games) Heitinga (missed tackles) Distin(against United) Felliani (miss kicks in front of goal) Rodwells missed chances, Saha's injuries, slow starts to games, No reinforcements arriving, lack of effort in games , shall i go on.........
Tommy Coleman
5   Posted 15/02/2011 at 15:40:38

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We cannot handle expectation due to having a defeatist manager.

There was far too much expectation for this season.
Mike Elbey
6   Posted 15/02/2011 at 15:38:59

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I think we should all remember that the momentum we had from the second half of the season had begun to drop from the moment Donavan's loan period expired.

We were good january - April because we had balance and a threat down both flanks, something we never had before and havent since (despite Colemans best efforts). Think of the desperately negative performances against Wolves and Stike, failing to beat West Ham at home - the slide had started.

We should have ensured either Donavan or a suitable quick RM was brought in in the summer but we didnt and we have suffered since.

Also another pointless pre-season trip to far away places whilst our percieved rivals were playing prestigious friendlies against top European oppo. And of course we cant forget the shit negative tactics and poor performance levels from the players...
Ian Tunstead
7   Posted 15/02/2011 at 16:06:35

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There is a thin line between success and failure. Everybody around us spent and improved, we did nothing and stood still, i believe this effected the morale of the players effecting there belief and enthusiam which has caused the drop in form and confidence. The loss of piennar and injury to Saha was another kick in the guts.

If a few of the draws were turned into wins it might have been a very different season, but we will never know.
Matthew Tait
8   Posted 15/02/2011 at 16:49:30

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Success and failure are unusually close apart this year. We're three points off the relegation zone, but only seven points off 7th with only 12 games left, and a big group of teams on similar points to us.

But certainly we haven't done as well as most expected this season. I don't think it's possible to know for sure without knowing what's going on behind the scenes, but here are a few things that strike me:

- Injuries to Saha and Yak simultaneously at the start of the season, meaning Beckford was thrown in the deep end.
- Some poor decisions by Moyes - eg he persisted in playing Osman at right mid, when it was obvious to most that he's terrible in that role. Also Arteta has been instructed to play too deep, and our buildup is too slow.
- Complacency and possibly lingering injury issues on Arteta's part, plus disillusion at not making the World Cup - he has looked disinterested most of the season, when at his best he is our engine.
- Possibly morale issues as it became clear Pienaar was leaving and no new signings coming in.

- Cahill being missing at the Asian Cup for six weeks.
- And just straight bad luck - we actually played decently in some games earlier in the season but just couldn't get results despite dominating play. Partly that's a striking issue, but we were also a bit unlucky at times.
Alan Williams
9   Posted 15/02/2011 at 17:42:46

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Too many draws! Performances against the so-called big teams ok so you have to question the players' attitude ? why else the would they rise to the bigger games? COYB
James Flynn
10   Posted 15/02/2011 at 19:52:08

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We're missing THAT GUY". SImple as that. The arrogant bastard who not only hates losing, but makes it known. Loudly.

We might have gone as far as we can with players who only had to be known for being part of a team that "Punches above its weight". No pressure there, right? Other teams respect you and know they have to throw their own "Best punch" because they're playing Everton.

Add to that our well-documented lack of funds and it all adds up to us being where we are.

I came on board with Landon's signing and after just 3 games was shocked that so good a team was only mid-table. Believing we were good enough (and the results I saw was my reason), I noticed that as Top 6 was right there, we suddenly started losing or drawing games. Which leads me back to missing THAT GUY.

On the other hand, Moyes has accrued a stack of talent, so maybe this season is the One Step Back and next season is the Two Steps Forward.

Who knows.
Mike Hughes
11   Posted 15/02/2011 at 21:07:37

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I completely agree with Mike Rourke @ #2 (though thought it was my theory Mike :)))

We are somehow now known as slow starters and have been for past 4-5 seasons.

Piss poor planning = piss poor performance.

=taking the piss out of the fans.

No wonder our season ticket prices are so low - we only get half a seaon at best.

No excuses. Criminal.
Nelaj Behajiha
12   Posted 15/02/2011 at 22:12:42

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Let's start of with first of all not selling Pienaar before the World Cup.
2nd of all ? deciding to have a pink away kit.
3rd of all ? the Gosling fiasco.
4th ? not selling Arteta.
5th ? not selling Jags or Heitenga.
6th ? not selling Yakubu.
7th ? signing a top quality keeper who is used as a reserve keeper.
8th... basically not moving forward.
Mike Oates
13   Posted 15/02/2011 at 22:07:59

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Confidence was drained after only 5 games , loosing 3 and drawing 2 . We should have got at least 10 pts from those games , and the players realised that we had nothing upfront.

The gamble to use whatever little money we had on new contracts instead of new player(s) was doomed after these 5 games and the players new it
Colin Malone
14   Posted 15/02/2011 at 23:43:11

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You pick your team and you give them say 5 games to get up to speed. I remember Reidy and Dave Watson used to take that amount of games before they were up to match fitness.

Moyes made wholesale changes after the first game. That, in my opinion, fucked our season up big time.

Russell Buckley
15   Posted 16/02/2011 at 02:46:30

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Above points already have the answer. We said goodbye to Donovan who was a major influence and didn't sign anyone of note. Our rivals all invested heavily so in comparison we went backwards.

The pre-season in Australia was good for the club but it should have been mixed with one or two matches against good European clubs.

Pienaar issue hung around all season. He should have been sold in the summer. Individual players making mistakes. Moyes is losing the plot with selections.

Make no mistake our failure is a rich tapestry of crap.
Ernie Baywood
16   Posted 16/02/2011 at 05:43:18

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Look around the league, this is as open a league as you could wish to see. I'm certain that if Moyes had just shown a little bit of bottle in those first two months then we'd be in the top 6 right now. I think the decision from Pienaar to leave would have been made harder, and the general fuckin' gloom around the club wouldn't have descended.

How fuckin' obvious was it to pick Seamus on the right? How obvious was it that Hibbert and Osman can't play on the same flank? Why was Yakubu dicked around when he was a realistic option? Some of his decisions were incredible. Mind you, they still are ? it's just that as players leave or get injured he has to make fewer of them.

We've shown regularly this season that we can still perform to the level mentioned in the opening post. Yet we've spent the season moaning about bad luck and missed opportunities.

Buck stops with Moyes on this one. Kenwright doesn't get off without blame for his part in where we are but the team and the opportunity was there and Moyes bottled it.
Andy Callan
17   Posted 16/02/2011 at 08:55:33

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Well, everyone else around us has strengthened and we've not.....

Simple as that.

We're going backwards for a reason and when QPR get promoted there will be ANOTHER team in the division that will invest far more in their team than us.

Not looking good as far as I can see...
Laurie Hartley
18   Posted 16/02/2011 at 09:36:50

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The two Mike's are correct (2 & 11). I watched the Blues in Melbourne pre season. They were "on their holidays" and Melbourne Heart probably should have won. Complacency in any organisation is a recipe for disaster.

Next pre season we should ask Barca, Inter and Real if they would please smack our bums in preparation for the maelstrom that is the EPL (if we stay up).

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