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Thread: Republic of Ireland V Armenia - Tuesday, 27th September 2022 - UEFA Nations League

  1. #141
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    Lets look at the play off situation

    We finished 25th overall in the Nations League standings.

    Germany are already through, so there are 15 teams that could either qualify for the finals directly or get play off places.

    There are 10 groups, so we can pretty much assume that at least ten of the Group A teams will qualify directly

    There's a reasonable chance that at least 3 of the other five, will come through the group stages, which would leave 2 teams in the A path playoffs.

    If that happens, the the best team in the D path, will take one of the other 2 places. Meaning one team from Path B will move up into that play off spot.

    So, I assume that 3 A teams would qualify directly, meaning there would be 7 more qualifiers from the paths below.

    If four or more of the eight teams ahead of us currently in the standings, qualify directly, then we'll get a play off spot

    It's not guaranteed, but there's a decent likeliehood

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  3. #142
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    We finished 26th unfortunately, not 25th. Still possible, but 25th would have been a lot more comfortable. If Browne hadn't handballed at the weekend and we had taken a point in Glasgow it would have made a big difference.

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    At half time I mentioned to my friend who was at the game with me that
    John Egan scored the opener against Portugal from a corner, and we went on to lose 2-1
    John Egan scored the opener against Scotland from a corner, and we went on to lose 2-1
    Tonight John Egan scored the opener from a corner, but the other two games were away, so the result should be fine. And it was. Eventually.
    Last edited by tetsujin1979; 28/09/2022 at 2:45 PM.
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  6. #144
    Capped Player SkStu's Avatar
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    So I watched the second half again and I think the reaction on here is a little OTT as it relates to the general flow of the game.

    Look conceding those goals was criminal but it?s down to two things. Individual mistakes and lack of depth in the Cullen role.

    Firstly, Hourihane should be cut from the squad completely. He actually started off alright with a decent tackle and some good passes and one lovely ball into the corridor of uncertainty but really quickly unraveled as he does most times in green and in the EPL and Championship. He actually turned over the ball that led to their first goal with an aimless cross into the box when we had no one in there and needed to recycle. Stupid. They then went don the pitch basically and scored. The mistake for the second goal everyone saw. Hourihane was the culprit and he was ably supported by a very weak Bazunu who had literally nothing else to do on the night.

    Secondly, Molumby. He?s not a Cullen. He?s the next best thing in the squad at the moment but that?s not his role. This led to his yellow and his red that never was. All of that led to Hourihane?s 40ish minutes.

    The last twenty minutes? After we went down we actually regrouped pretty well and had a few chances - Collins header, Hourihane blazing over - and controlled the game again. Sure they had a half chance that rolled past the post but we were always going to have to live a bit dangerously to win it. Which we did.

    On Kenny? I don?t think the blame for the two goals is attributable to Kenny or his in game management - in this case (he?s fluffed it before though). It really was more to do with the mistakes made by the player who shouldn?t and wouldn't have been on the pitch but for us missing a Cullen replacement. We dominated almost the whole game but for a 2-4 minute spell of insanity.

    What a stupid game.

    Other comment: I was critical of Brady in the first half. He was way better in the second. Way more assertive and direct. Delivery was excellent.

    Other other comment: Collins also p*asked me off a bit before they scored. He had clearly switched off a bit and thought we had it all done. There was one passage right before their goal where he was raving around the place just outside their box, our most forward player, trying to close down their defenders (which he did successfully tbf, they punted back to us) but he took an absolute age to get back into position and then looked really casual afterwards. He picked back up performance wise after they scored. He, like Bazunu, needs to stay switched on. Both young enough that they?ll figure it out.
    Last edited by SkStu; 28/09/2022 at 2:37 AM.

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  8. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkStu View Post
    So I watched the second half again and I think the reaction on here is a little OTT as it relates to the general flow of the game.

    Look conceding those goals was criminal but it?s down to two things. Individual mistakes and lack of depth in the Cullen role.

    Firstly, Hourihane should be cut from the squad completely. He actually started off alright with a decent tackle and some good passes and one lovely ball into the corridor of uncertainty but really quickly unraveled as he does most times in green and in the EPL and Championship. He actually turned over the ball that led to their first goal with an aimless cross into the box when we had no one in there and needed to recycle. Stupid. They then went don the pitch basically and scored. The mistake for the second goal everyone saw. Hourihane was the culprit and he was ably supported by a very weak Bazunu who had literally nothing else to do on the night.

    Secondly, Molumby. He?s not a Cullen. He?s the next best thing in the squad at the moment but that?s not his role. This led to his yellow and his red that never was. All of that led to Hourihane?s 40ish minutes.

    The last twenty minutes? After we went down we actually regrouped pretty well and had a few chances - Collins header, Hourihane blazing over - and controlled the game again. Sure they had a half chance that rolled past the post but we were always going to have to live a bit dangerously to win it. Which we did.

    On Kenny? I don?t think the blame for the two goals is attributable to Kenny or his in game management - in this case (he?s fluffed it before though). It really was more to do with the mistakes made by the player who shouldn?t and wouldn't have been on the pitch but for us missing a Cullen replacement. We dominated almost the whole game but for a 2-4 minute spell of insanity.

    What a stupid game.

    Other comment: I was critical of Brady in the first half. He was way better in the second. Way more assertive and direct. Delivery was excellent.

    Other other comment: Collins also p*asked me off a bit before they scored. He had clearly switched off a bit and thought we had it all done. There was one passage right before their goal where he was raving around the place just outside their box, our most forward player, trying to close down their defenders (which he did successfully tbf, they punted back to us) but he took an absolute age to get back into position and then looked really casual afterwards. He picked back up performance wise after they scored. He, like Bazunu, needs to stay switched on. Both young enough that they?ll figure it out.
    Yeah but OTT reaction is why we come here.....can you at least make an effort?

    I'd agree with all of that. Collins isn't great for the first either. He got sucked into centre mid to help Hourihane and then couldn't make it back to snuff out the second ball after Bazunu made the save. Doherty is also a bit all over the shop for it. Hard to tell why he wasn't in position from the highlights. A Molumby or Cullen makes a difference in both cases. Or at least wouldn't actively work against the team.
    20 leagues and 25 cups.

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  10. #146
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    Hourihane's impact was disastrous. Bazunu should have saved the second goal.

    We don't have the depth in midfield beyond Cullen, Molumby and Knight, and maybe Hendrick. The sooner Smallbone and Coventry can be integrated the better, about the only positive outcome from last night.

    Overall I thought we played a lot like Bradley's Rovers: cosy on the ball but we work it from side to side too often and struggle to get through a packed last third.
    Last edited by Stuttgart88; 28/09/2022 at 9:25 AM.

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  12. #147
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    I think Collins into the middle and Duffy in to CB would actually work in the scenario where Cullen is injured
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  13. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by ontheotherhand View Post
    I'd agree with all of that. Collins isn't great for the first either. He got sucked into centre mid to help Hourihane and then couldn't make it back to snuff out the second ball after Bazunu made the save. Doherty is also a bit all over the shop for it. Hard to tell why he wasn't in position from the highlights. A Molumby or Cullen makes a difference in both cases. Or at least wouldn't actively work against the team.
    Perhaps we are not good enough to play 3 at the back. We are not compact enough and tight enough, lose our shape too easily and with Duffy in there he gives us that shape and keeps everyone compact. What's our GA under kenny compared to other managers? I'd imagine its much worse although hard to compare as not many managers have had so many games in such a short period of time.

    We're still scoring mostly from defenders, but it feels like we're conceding more now.
    Last edited by paul_oshea; 28/09/2022 at 10:59 AM.
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  14. #149
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Another thought actually - but we played really really badly against nine men. It felt like five minutes of panic, inability to keep possession, and long balls - but you can't be doing that against nine players. Could we not have just kept possession for that time (or most of it at least)? We did create one chance (Hogan's right at the death) but overall that spell worried me.

    Maybe I'm reading too much into it; I don't know.

  15. #150
    Seasoned Pro ifk101's Avatar
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    Agree, thought we were particularly poor for those five minutes. Collins booted it up the field at one point to give the ball away cheaply, Robinson (who has been sub-par in his two substitution appearances) gave the ball away needlessly as well for no reason. Maybe the biggest issue is the absence of on-field leaders that organise and set the tone?

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    If you were going to sum up our issues from yesterday and other games like it:

    1. We are prone to collapses, and particularly weak at conceding long shot opportunities
    2. We struggle to break down weaker teams who set up to defend
    3. Yesterday specifically we struggled against even 9 men and seemed to be in a panic

    I think all 3 can be explained by a combination of simple things we all know:

    1. We don't have a playmaker to unlock "the low block" or whatever we are calling "the bus" now, or anyone who can get on the ball when things are uncomfortable and dictate things - i.e. we don't have good midfielders.

    2. We only have Cullen and Molumby to protect the back 3 when needed. To have to play Hendrick and Hourihane at this stage tells a story, i.e. we don't have good midfielders

    3. Our players are all somewhat still auditioning for their positions - they are all either inexperienced players on an upwards trajectory or experienced ones on a downward one. Nobody plays with any degree of confidence bar maybe Bazunu, Collins and Cullen. Our best player is probably Cullen who is of an age now where he has experience and is settled enough. The other two are error prone still. Josh is at least wanted at club level. The rest lack confidence and it shows when things go sideways and panic sets in.

    Now #3 could be a managerial issue in a way but I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who can squeeze any juice out of what we've got right now. I thought Kenny might be able to get the most out of our options, as he did with so many at Dundalk, and particularly the younger ones. He has with Cullen I think. That said, he was also able to sign players for Dundalk and did so very successfully - Towell, Horgan, Hoban, McMillan etc. He may have relied more on the latter than the former.

    Realistically we have one middling international level non-defender in Cullen and 0 top creative talent in midfield. Our most attacking midfielder plays right back in L1. Our strikers have been mixed but very few are settled even at their low levels. I don't see any realistic options either so this isn't an easy fix. We could go more direct but to who?

    With those issues so hard to fix I just think we are in for a long run on finishing where we are seeded to finish, as we just did. We will beat the weak teams most of the time and we will occasionally give the elite teams a game. But we aren't going to be punching above our weight for the foreseeable future. Maybe someone like Even Ferguson will have a breakout year and give us a real threat up top but it's hard to see anyone reaching a really high level. The 21s couldn't even beat Israel.
    20 leagues and 25 cups.

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  18. #152
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    So this is the end of a other chapter in Irish football. Where do we go from here? Who in this squad should be cut loose (Hourihane, Hendrick, McClean?) and who should be brought in (Smallbone, Ronan, Ferguson??).

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    Capped Player SkStu's Avatar
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    After spending a long time criticizing him, I think McClean has to stay in the squad given the lack of depth we have a LB/LWB. We are also short at RWB though have some options from our deep CB pool to cover that off.

    We are also strongly lacking in quality in depth in midfield, especially the 6. I don't think Coventry or Smallbone are ready to step up yet based on what i have seen of the U21s.

    There is no one screaming out as significantly better than our current squad. At best, if you swap out Hourihane, you are talking a like for like - but hopefully someone young with potential and developmental upside.

    There are not many players out there that make our squad demonstrably stronger.

  20. #154
    International Prospect passinginterest's Avatar
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    I terms of squad changes. I think it's the end for Hourihane, Smallbone will almost certainly step up now and Coventry is probably the next most natural sitting midfielder we have available. It might be interesting to see more of the other players who have been around the fringes, like Sykes, Ronan, McGrath etc. We need to look at McNamara in terms of wing back cover, there's no depth there and not much coming through the 21s either.

    Other than Hourihane, I wouldn't necessarily rule any of the other experienced players out. Probably no need to drag the likes of Coleman, Duffy, Hendrick, McClean in for the November games, we know what they offer, they're good personalities around the squad but they're the ones we need to look at replacing in the medium term.

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  22. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark12345 View Post
    So this is the end of a other chapter in Irish football. Where do we go from here? Who in this squad should be cut loose (Hourihane, Hendrick, McClean?) and who should be brought in (Smallbone, Ronan, Ferguson??).
    It depends if you're willing to do even worse for a period of time or not. Kenny seems to be attempting to balance a rebuild for 2024 with getting at least decent results and performances. So he is still including the likes of Hourihane because sadly he's still a better option that anyone coming behind.

    I'd love to be in a world where Ronan and Ferguson were ready but they aren't. I'd love if Jack Byrne hadn't gotten messed up by covid and his back injury but he did. Smallbone has potential. Azaz came on against Israel and looked like the best player on the park but it's the first time I've seen him.

    There aren't really any good options. There won't be for a few years from what I can see. The 21s are fairly weak if we are being honest. They are the 21s equivalent of the seniors....

    But on a positive note, we do have some potentially world class players now for the first time in a while. Collins and Bazunu could win us games on their own in 3-5 years time. They might even have the potential to be our best ever players in their position. That's nice to see. Ferguson is also a contender there but it's way too early to put that pressure on him.
    Last edited by ontheotherhand; 28/09/2022 at 6:40 PM.
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  23. #156
    Reserves Jd2793's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by passinginterest View Post
    I terms of squad changes. I think it's the end for Hourihane, Smallbone will almost certainly step up now and Coventry is probably the next most natural sitting midfielder we have available. It might be interesting to see more of the other players who have been around the fringes, like Sykes, Ronan, McGrath etc. We need to look at McNamara in terms of wing back cover, there's no depth there and not much coming through the 21s either.

    Other than Hourihane, I wouldn't necessarily rule any of the other experienced players out. Probably no need to drag the likes of Coleman, Duffy, Hendrick, McClean in for the November games, we know what they offer, they're good personalities around the squad but they're the ones we need to look at replacing in the medium term.

    id be surprised to see mcgrath in again if im being honest. really need smallbone + kilkenny to get a solid run of games with stoke so they are in contention for the next campaign.
    sykes seems to be playing rwb at bristol, so im not sure where that leaves him.
    ronan another who needs to make a permanent move somewhere half decent.

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    Anyone think Bazunu could have done better on the first goal, ie pushed initial shot properly out for a corner? prob being harsh.

    5 of starting 11 could have been playing u21, with two others, O'Shea / Molumby, just overage. Has anything similar ever happened before with Ireland? With that profile of team you will get the lapses in concentration and inconsistency which we keep seeing. Euro qualifiers start in March i think, so all these players will have had another 6 months (hopefully) of championship and premier league football by then. Kenny will need to qualify us for Euro 2024 or he's done. A poor start and he wont see the end of the qualifiers, especially as a decent chance we'll have a play off spot regardless.

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  26. #158
    Coach tetsujin1979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exgrad View Post
    Anyone think Bazunu could have done better on the first goal, ie pushed initial shot properly out for a corner? prob being harsh.
    A little harsh IMO, he got behind the shot, and pushed it wide. It was just unfortunate that it came back off the post, if he'd put a stronger hand on it then it goes out for a corner. On the other hand, a weaker save and it spins inside the post.

    Looking back at the goal on YouTube, at 0:50 below, and I think Collins needs to be held to account for his part in it.
    At the start of the move from Armenia, he's standing on the half way line, leaving a huge gap on the right side of defence. By the time the first, parried, shot comes in, he's only just gotten back to the penalty area, and hasn't reset. We get lucky that the Armenian number 11 doesn't react to the ball coming back off the post, otherwise he has a tap in, but neither does Collins react fast enough to take the opportunity to put the ball out for a corner. It's hard to tell, but at 1:09 he misses the ball completely. Either it bounces under his foot, or he swings and misses. He's blocking Bazunu's view of the shot, who actually does well to get across to attempt to save it.
    Why was Collins so far forward? Why had Doherty not tucked in to cover the empty space, or told Collins to get back? In a case of "missing player is better when he's not playing", Cullen would be in that space instead of Collins, so there's no need for him to push up.
    And again, as has been pointed out elsewhere, it's another long range shot conceded from the right side of the penalty area, like Luxembourg, Andorra, Azerbaijan, and now Armenia - twice. Why is this such a blind spot for our defence, and management?


    Quote Originally Posted by Exgrad View Post
    5 of starting 11 could have been playing u21, with two others, O'Shea / Molumby, just overage. Has anything similar ever happened before with Ireland?
    Good question, and the team against Scotland was similarly young. Let me get back to you.
    Last edited by tetsujin1979; 29/09/2022 at 11:21 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exgrad View Post
    Anyone think Bazunu could have done better on the first goal, ie pushed initial shot properly out for a corner? prob being harsh.

    5 of starting 11 could have been playing u21, with two others, O'Shea / Molumby, just overage. Has anything similar ever happened before with Ireland? With that profile of team you will get the lapses in concentration and inconsistency which we keep seeing. Euro qualifiers start in March i think, so all these players will have had another 6 months (hopefully) of championship and premier league football by then. Kenny will need to qualify us for Euro 2024 or he's done. A poor start and he wont see the end of the qualifiers, especially as a decent chance we'll have a play off spot regardless.
    That's where you need the older more experienced lads to step up, and keep reminding the younger ones about concentration & about keeping their positions. Unfortunately Hourihane, but also Doherty and Hendrick, were the complete opposite, making mistakes you'd see on a Thursday night at 5-aside with a bunch of 40 somethings!
    Havin a weekend away is quite frankly,lettin ur team mates down!

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    Quote Originally Posted by passinginterest View Post
    Probably no need to drag the likes of Coleman, Duffy, Hendrick, McClean in for the November games, we know what they offer, they're good personalities around the squad but they're the ones we need to look at replacing in the medium term.
    Not a chance McClean will miss out, he's going for 100caps.
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