Defensive Competence - C; Must try harder.
- Goals Conceded – 43 (40)
- Clean Sheets – 16 (12)
- Shots on Target Against – 142 (132)
It has to be said that we have been somewhat disappointed with the defensive displays this season Mr. Rodgers. While the dip from last season is minimal, the manner in which goals were conceded in some instances is rather deplorable, unacceptably so.
Key examples can be seen in the FA Cup tie away to Oldham, Away performance at Stoke City and Home defeat to West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League, where a lack of physical presence was glaringly obvious. Players such as Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku have a disconcerting effect on our defense, pushing players aside with little effort.
Another worrying aspect of our defensive line is it’s tendency to crumble under pressure, especially when teams press our defenders high up the pitch. It has become an unfortunately discernible weakness, most notably demonstrated in the away performance against Manchester United and again in the away performance to Stoke City and must be addressed in the future.
In terms of personnel, we do recognise that the absence of defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva and injuries to Jose Enrique have been difficult blows to cope with due to the current lack of squad depth and to that end, this must be a key area for improvement in the transfer market. The successful inclusion of Andre Wisdom in the right back position certainly bodes well for the future but the constant rotation between the back four leaves a lot to be desired.
Other positives include Joe Allen’s performances in the absence of Lucas Leiva for the first few games of the season in the defensive midfield role and the introduction of Jamie Carragher in Central defense which brought with it a notable increase in stability and concentration in the latter stages of the season.
There are certainly numerous noticeable areas for improvement and we look forward to seeing activity in the transfer market to address this with the departure of Jamie Carragher. The introduction of Kolo Toure is certainly a step in the right direction.
Finally, it’s encouraging to see that competition in the goalkeepers position has been acquired early. It had been obvious that Mr. Reina required a real challenge for his somewhat unquestioned place in the team, especially in the early stages of the season,
In conclusion, strength and presence needed and midfield cover also required, much room for improvement over the summer period.
Next time, the final part in my season in review trilogy – Part 3: Tactics and Public Relations. Be sure to let me know your thoughts on Twitter – @Robbdigs
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