Well it is official now, if we didn't already know City are in a relegation dog fight, with teams around us doing a lot better than what we are. Southampton and Villa scoring very presentable victories today, and the most City can again manage is yet another draw.
The biggest disappointment and perhaps shock was the line up Hughton selected today, the only change was in goal, where Mark Bunn returned after serving his suspension. Considering Hughton had been calling for more goals and for the team to be more clinical, he still keeps to the same system which has brought one win in 15 games; and that we were playing at home is what makes it even more disappointing.
I mean no disrespects to Kamara, he is a raw talent, but no where near being the quaility we need in the premier league and certainly not on his own during this fight. I hoped to see him and Holt paired together in what would have been a little more positive. No Hughton goes with the same system, it is true that it did stand us well earlier in the season, but now it is so crystal bloody clear that it isn't working.
But he is far far too rigid with his system, I use the word system in the singulafr because I feel Hughton has no plan B, no ability to change things during the game, add to this; that he is nowhere near being flexible with his squad.
You could be forgiven for thinking that he has not got a full squad of 25 to select from as the same players are used week in week out and only rarely changed because of injury or suspension. The midfield is where the biggest of the problems lay, not that the players are not good enough, but that there isn't any creativity in there, it is made up of two defensive players and two wider players that spend much of their time defending.
Today this particually clear, passing was absolutely terrible, not being able to find a team mate who was under ten yards away, this of course gave the ball away far too much, and you cannot afford to do this in the premier league. Hoolahan had a stinker of a game, although he covered several miles today he did very little with the ball. I don't mean this to sound as if Hoolahan was the only culprit because he certainly wasn't.
Again the best passer of the ball I believe we have at the club is left sitting on the bench for yet another game, I do wonder what David Fox has done to be not getting at least a 15 minute run out. I find it very strange and somewhat disappointing; Fox passing and vision can open defences , we saw that last season he could do with the ball what Gerrad does for Liverpool. Hughton spoke about keeping Fox at the club and giving him the extension to the contract, just to more or less ignore him. Very very poor
Today we started off slow and for the first 35 minutes or so looked like a team devoid of confidence, idea and just about everything else, then Snodgrass popped up with a little header to level the scores just before half time. This lifted the team and the crowd, the second half saw a different team we played highier up, challenged more and generally looked capable at last. The play deserved some reward and that came when Turner bulleted in a Bennett cross, that gave the Carrow Road crowd some hope that a win and a massive step to safety was being made. But all that died when Swansea got back on terms with a soft goal. That was in some ways expected, Swansea had been the better side , they might be a good footballing side, they have also improved their diving and rolling about on the floor only to jump up and carry on. The ref Michael Oliver fell for that more than once today.
With other sides around us getting good results another draw is not enough to calm the nerves or make the situation any easier, we have had too many draws over the season if just a couple of them had been turned into wins we would be looking at being safer by now. Defending and holding out for a draw maybe good in certain situations but that should not be the over riding mindset. which is sadly the case with Hughton & Co .
I read a page on Wikipedia during the week on Newcastle concerning the time Hughton was caretaker manager in two spells and both these spells were characterized by a terrible run of results ending in relegation. I hope that we are not seeing this happen again. But that horrible feeling will not go away and so far results are not helping either.