I HAVE written in recent weeks about how our team has a real fragile mentality and a massively protruding glass jaw that juts out. Unfortunately for us, opponents have started to find it with unnerving accuracy, sending us crashing to the canvas on every occasion.
However, we have recently developed a new Achilles heel. Earlier in the season our problem was not taking our chances. Then we had losing the midfield battle.
Now this newest problem – dealing with strong target men.
Romelu Lukaku can be added to the list of strikers who have caused us nightmares in the centre of our defence this season. We have suddenly developed a massive affliction to this type of player. As freak a result as the Aston Villa game was, Martin Skrtel was totally outplayed by Christian Benteke. He was also absolutely embarrassed in the Oldham game by Matt Smith.
The strikers I have mentioned have one thing in common – they are all strong men who hold the ball up well. Skrtel can’t be blamed for the Lukaku goal obviously because he wasn’t on the pitch, but fingers do need to be pointed at Daniel Agger who is, for me, in a serious poor run of form that should lead to him being dropped from the team.
Even Coates, in the few games he has played, has looked entirely uncomfortable with target men. He was a bag of nerves against Mansfield as the ball got pumped into box and this is a man who has played in the Copa America.
The whole team struggled in the Stoke game at the Britannia, when Pulis’ Neanderthals got stuck into us and we simply couldn’t cope. But what has changed? Why has Skrtel started to struggle against big men? Why has Agger started to look more vulnerable in similar situations?
I’m not saying sell all our centre-halves, but we need to find a resolution. Because we can’t let the likes of Lukaku and Benteke dominate our central defence as they have done, otherwise our glass jaw will receive more knockout punches.
We need to toughen up, mentally and physically, and become a lot more streetwise as we look to try and achieve as best we can in this faltering season.