It’s getting to the stage now where after a win like that I am struggling to pick out things that are necessarily ‘bad’ and more things we can benefit from. It was a real strong performance and win against a side which will hurt teams this season if they continue playing that way.
1. Three points in the bag
What a performance from the mighty Pool! We were direct, controlled periods of the game, sustained pressure and created plenty. We very much deserved the three points and at times were unplayable. There were fantastic performances in particular from CJ, Mitchell, Robson and Keshi once again.
2. A Clean Sheet
This will mean an awful lot to Maxwell and the defence with the latter coming under some scrutiny recently. The mistakes were reduced yesterday and their decision making seems so much better. The back four were more aware of when to play it around and when to simply hoof it into the stands. When Marvin Ekpiteta did that I actually smiled – it’s good to know we will do some no nonsense defending too when required. This was something Swindon were guilty of not doing and making themselves vulnerable for pressure and mistakes. Also a quick note on Maxwell who was fantastic in his sweeper/keeper role again.
3. CJ Hamilton ⚡️🏃🏾♂️
Football is a funny old game. I was growing increasingly concerned that I hadn’t heard CJ’s name prior to his goal, but he’s just so unpredictable. He popped up in a flash and in an instant we’re one-nil and £50 up. If we keep getting odds as high as 10/1 then we will keep running with it! His second goal was equally impressive with his left foot. He looks far too good for this level on his day.
4. Fans were back at Bloomfield Road
It was great to see such an atmosphere created despite the fact there were only 1,000 fans allowed in, but it clearly helped! You see the impact when rival teams are under pressure and that was certainly the case with Swindon when they were passing at the back and looking very nervy. It was great to see the fans connect with this new team and Neil Critchley was loving it at the final whistle.
5. Blackpool’s pressing game
It wasn’t plain sailing yesterday but our pressing game is really strong. Blackpool squeezed the space on the pitch and made it difficult for Swindon to play. In reality it could’ve been three or four but we didn’t take some clear-cut chances that were created from forcing errors from Swindon’s back five.
1. Bez Overplayed
I don’t hide my appreciation for Bez and was hoping that yesterday he could make an impact in his first full league debut, but things just weren’t happening for him. At times a simple ball was required and he didn’t pass it. He fell in the trap of trying to do too much, opting to take it past two defenders and failing to do so in the process. Realistically, he should have scored, a weak shot going straight to the keeper from pressure in the first half. With Kaikai in the same position comparisons are inevitable. Hopefully, he’ll be given some time to gain his fitness and sharpness, and improve on his decision making.
The first 15 minutes we knew Swindon would come out guns blazing, as mentioned by Rich Pullen in our latest podcast. That will be something Critchley will have briefed his side on prior to kick off and we did well to stop them breaking through. Again, in the early periods we saw Pool looking nervy all over the pitch – a few rash challenges from Keshi, poor first touches and overall questionable decision making across the side. It took a while for us to settle and Critch will be aware that he needs to address this. In some scenarios other teams will take advantage of these opening minutes and the game may already be lost.
3. The Chemistry
What can you expect when you have so many new faces? It’s clearly something which will improve as the season progresses. The first thing I noticed, especially in the earlier parts of the game was the lack of the midfield three’s understanding of each other. Their roles weren’t as clear as the well-oiled machine that was Southern, Adam and Vaughan back in 2010. This showed when Anderson was running from one side of the pitch to the other with ward not as close to him and Robson in a deeper ‘protective’ role.
Another side of the game this affected was passing. Blackpool looked to play it forward constantly and on a few occasions, passes were made that weren’t followed up by runs. Over time this will get better but it was evident that Blackpool are a new team still gelling together and packed full of quality.
4. Decision Making
A few passes, early in the first half, went astray – Keshi and Ward mainly being at fault here. Some long balls weren’t working either and it did have me scratching my head on the decision making of the players.
Bez as previously mentioned opted to dribble when a pass was on, whilst the stand out wrong decision for me was Mitchell’s choice not to square it to Jerry, so he could tap in his first league goal and get himself off the mark.
5. Not all fans were back
It was bittersweet. Great to see and hear noise again at Bloomfield road but, at the same time, also wishing you could be there.
It just isn’t the same from an armchair and the sooner we’re all back in there the better. Because let’s be honest, we’ve got some serious celebrating to do when we’re back with our mates and watching this fantastic football.
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