Surely if Rafa was the mastermind behind the early season form, then he is equally culpable for the recent form?

I’ve said it before, but I think it’s a dangerous game to elevate a manager to such a level that is exempt from any criticism from the fans. If Pardew had overseen that performance against Watford and that result with the same group of players, he would be getting absolutely lynched from all quarters and called clueless..

Something is amiss, something more than Lascelles and Merino not being in the team (although in the case of the latter, our last win came in the last game he featured for us).

Plenty of low financed teams with an apparent lack of quality on paper have managed to grind out results and have a system which works for them. What on earth has happened to our early season organisation and setup? Why on earth have we gone from being a compact, counter attacking side, to an absolutely shambolic team that plays you attack, we attack?

It is blatantly evident we don’t have the personnel to play that sort of game, and whether you like to admit it or not, that is Rafa, he is the one who has decided to open the game up for us.

Taking Rafa out of the firing line though, there are evidently a number of players who really are not up to it. Joselu is up there with the worst strikers I have seen at this level. Yedlin defensively was a weak link in the Championship, so any team that chooses to attack our right side will always get joy. I think Lejuene has showed signs of promise but is nearly directly at fault for a goal a game at the minute. His partnership with Clark just doesn’t work. They both look better defenders alongside Lacelles.

I think Shelvey showed why he can be suspect as a central midfielder, he was letting players run off him for fun on Saturday. I’m sure every team in the bottom half of the table could pick 4-5 players who they would want to replace if they could, that’s just the nature of being a bottom half of the table team. We need to work with what we have for now, and pick a system which suits what we have to pick from.

Going back to Rafa, I think the fans are perfectly OK to question his tactics and suggest better alternatives. The fans didn’t force Rafa to go 4-4-2, so that decision lies with him, and it has backfired. We need to revert back to our early season shape as the “Perez out” brigade have also come unstuck, as without him in the team we are still toothless at scoring goals.

But Perez was at least doing a job to help the midfield, something which we are sorely missing at the minute. It’s a sticky patch and we knew we were going to face a few of them this season.

What we need to do now is stop trying to play expansive football and revert back to what worked early on. 4-4-2. 3-4-3. 1-1-8, whatever formation we play, we lack anyone who can score goals on a constant basis. It’s time to go back to what was working, and see if we can stop shipping these awful goals like we have in recent weeks.

It’s a long season, we just need to stick with it and play to our relative strengths. Kneejerk reactions don’t help, but being fans, I don’t think that makes someone who stays impartial, a better fan than someone who vents angry. I am sure all of the fans want the same thing, it’s a just a frustrating patch right now.

Rafa is undoubtedly the right man for the job, but as the players will get stick, so will the fans, and so will Rafa, he has to take it like everyone else.

Author: GhostfaceKillah

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