Bescot Banter
Home    The Football Lab: Wrong Approach Sees Walsall Slip to Defeat    Share This Story


The Football Lab: Wrong Approach Sees Walsall Slip to Defeat

Gabriel Sutton of The Football Lab joins us to take a look back at Saturday afternoon's League One clash between Walsall and Rotherham United.
Following Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between Walsall and Rotherham United, which saw the Saddlers end 2017 with a disappointing defeat, Gabriel Sutton of The Football Lab joins us to take a look back at the game.

As an outsider to Walsall, I've never objected to the dislike for manager Jon Whitney, but nor have I fully understood it. Results, on paper, looked reasonable given the club's budgetary limitations.

In the first half of the 2-1 defeat to Rotherham though, I could begin to see why fans question his tactics. There were stages when Nicky Devlin, Luke Leahy, Joe Edwards and Erhun Oztumer showed flashes of what they could do pushing forward, but only when the team got up the pitch and balls were played to feet.

For much of that first half, the approach wasn't progressive football - which I often saw under Dean Smith - it was more hit and hope. The team overestimated Daniel Agyei's capacity to beat the two centre-backs no matter what the service to him was like. Any time somebody at the back came under any pressure, the solution was to hoof it forward and this meant you didn't get any control.

The second-half was different as Rotherham defended deep after their goal, but baring that chance for Simeon Jackson, they didn't create enough. I wouldn't blame Whitney as much for the second-half though because the team did get further up the pitch, but perhaps lacked the quality in the final ball - which comes down to the options off the bench.

Rotherham could bring on one of the division's top scorers and an experienced centre-back in Richard Wood. For Walsall, Jackson briefly made an impact but he's perhaps seen better days and the other two substitutes were academy graduates Maz Kouhyar and Mitch Candlin.

Both have clearly progressed at youth level and the former scored at Rochdale, but you wouldn't necessarily describe any of the players brought on as guaranteed trump cards.

Would some fresh ideas benefit the side? Yes, if the right man were to be brought in. By the same token though, there has to be some acknowledgement of the financial constraints Whitney is working under.

Visit where Gabriel provides regular insight, opinion and in-depth analysis on every club in the top four leagues of English football.

Don't forget, you can join us across social media, we're @BescotBanter on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

  Quick Links: NewsMatch ReportsPaper TalkLoan Watch  
 Twitter     Facebook     Instagram
Copyright © Bescot Banter.
ShopSubscribeContactPrivacyCookiesDisclaimerTerms of Use