Friday, 22 August 2014

Heroes & Villains

As I began last season (ultimately time constraints scuppered this), I'll be keeping a closer eye on how Forest score their goals, and how they are conceded. I intend to examine every goal, and hopefully we'll be able to build up a picture of why and how Forest succeed or fail.

Forest 1-0 Blackpool: Michail Antonio.

Blackpool had been doing a surprisingly good job in clogging up the dangerous areas of the pitch with tangerine shirts, restricting The Reds to balls over the top and crosses. This tactic fell apart when the Forest strikers, in particular Matty Fryatt, began drifting deeper to get involved in midfield play. This not only gave Forest an extra man in this area, but confused the two Blackpool holding midfileders.

Fryatt proved the catalyst for this goal, coming deep and effectively swapping positions with Andy Reid. This fluid movement baffled the comparatively inexperienced Blackpool defensive midfielders, and they left a gap in front of the defence just long enough for Reid to nip in and receive the ball from Fryatt.

Reid's shot bounced off the post, falling nicely to Michail Antonio, who finished clinically. It was an impressive finish, but it was created by the intelligent play by Fryatt and Reid.

Goal: Antonio (1). Assist: Reid (1). Key Contribution: Fryatt (1).

Forest 2-0 Blackpool: Chris Burke.

Forest's second goal of the season was also highly influenced by Fryatt drifting deep; this time he got hold of the ball and played a glorious pass to Jack Hunt on the right wing. This switch of play forced Blackpool to transition to another defensive position.

This transition was made more difficult because upon playing this pass Fryatt made an urgent run across play, sprinting into the area and dragging the holding midfileders too deep.

This left space in front of The Tangerines' penalty area; Burke shimmied past a defender into this gap and scored a trademark goal (see left).

This was a great finish by Burke - he'll score a few goals by cutting inside into space this season. More credit is due to Fryatt for helping create the room for Burke to score the goal.

Goal: Burke (1). Assist: Hunt (1). Key Contribution: Fryatt (2).

Blackpool goals.

Bolton 1-0 Forest: Joe Mason.

The Garibaldi had looked vulnerable at set pieces against Blackpool; this weakness was punished against Bolton, as Joe Mason managed to get free in the area to head The Trotters into the lead.

The main error (see diagram, right. All pictures/diagrams on Forest Boffin can be enlarged when clicked) came from 21 year old Britt Assombalonga, although I wonder why he was left to deal with striker Joe Mason without any help. Britt was marking the Bolton man, badly, as the other defenders organised their selves reasonably well, unfortunately Mason was able to get goal-side of Assombalonga; once the cross was on target he had a reasonably easy header to score.

The thing that interested me for this goal was the (in my opinion) oversight made by the seasoned professionals in letting Britt just get on with marking Mason. It was obvious, for several seconds before the free-kick, that Mason was virtually unmarked, but the man organising the defence, Dan Harding, is busy giving advice to the experienced Jack Hobbs.

Assombalonga is not a defender - and inexperienced. I may be being harsh, but I thought the likes of Fox, Harding and Hobbs would be making sure he was defending adequately. Harding found time to give Hobbs advice on how close he should be to Matt Mills; I believe, for example, if Paul McKenna were organising that defence, somebody would have told Assombalonga to get goal-side of Mason.

Bolton 1-1 Forest: Britt Assombalonga.

Britt scored his first goal for Forest, sweeping home from close range to equalise against Bolton. Forest have been getting a lot of crosses into the box so far this season, and here it paid off, as Antonio headed down from a Burke cross, allowing Assombalonga, who was being marked by the poor David Wheater, an easy finish.

I state this to be an easy finish; as an admirer of Simon Cox and Jamie Mackie, I have defended them on many occasions. Would either have scored this? Doubtful. At last Forest have teeth.

Goal: Assombalonga (1). Assist: Antonio (1). Key Contribution: Burke (1).

Bolton 2-1 Forest: David Wheater!

As I say, Wheater is poor... but he was on hand to pick up on a Danny Fox error and tap home to put Bolton 2-1 ahead.

There didn't seem much danger as the Bolton cross shambled it's way through the Forest box, but the big man was there to finish as Fox, for some reason, decided to allow the ball through. I suspect he (wrongly) wanted Karl Darlow to claim responsibility for the ball.

Bolton 2-2 Forest: Britt Assombalonga

Forest's second goal was another Bolton shambles, with the ball bouncing through, for Assombalonga to run into and be industrially chopped down by Jay Spearing.

To his credit, Britt took the penalty himself and drilled the ball straight down the middle; Forest's second equaliser kept them up with the front runners.

Goal: Assombalonga (2).  Key Contribution: Antonio (1).

Bolton goals

Bournemouth 1-0 Forest: Callum Wilson

The Cherries had Forest under a lot of pressure, but their opener came from some sloppy defending of a cross, with Mancienne, Hunt, Burke and Darlow all failing to clear, allowing Wilson an easy task in stabbing the ball home.

Karl Darlow has attracted the most criticism for this goal - but the most worrying thing for me was the space in which our opponents were allowed to put the cross in.

The Reds had changed formation to a 4-2-3-1, a system which does tend to leave space in the very area from which the cross came, but I'm not convinced this was the cause, as there were plenty of bodies behind the ball.

Bournemouth 1-1 Forest: Britt Assombalonga

Forest's equaliser came from some dogged work by Assombalonga, winning a free-kick. It was a familiar story, as Reid's cross was converted (how many times have we been able to say that?), by the youngster himself. Assombalonga had overpowered the Bournemouth defender, his header bouncing softly in off of Lee Camp's post.

Goal: Assombalonga (3).  Assist: Reid (2).

Bournemouth 1-2 Forest: Matty Fryatt

Forest's winner came from one of the surprise package's of the season so far; the attacking relationship between Chris Burke and Jack Hunt.

As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, Burke is very dangerous cutting inside, and if we are aware of this threat, every manager and his players will be too. I feel Forest are going to get a lot of joy this season with the adventurous Hunt making overlapping runs, as opposition defenders concentrate on the more notorious Burke.

Hunt crosses perfectly for Fryatt, towering over his defender, to nod home. This is the third goal Forest have scored from crosses already - which was a feature for Pearce's Under-21 side, and reflects the high amount of crosses The Reds have been making.

Goal: Fryatt (1). Assist: Hunt (2) Key Contribution: Burke (2).

Bournemouth goals.
Thanks for reading, let me know any thoughts or if you disagree on my conclusions, and check back in a couple of games and we'll have a look at the next goals, and as the season progresses there will be a bit more analysis of how we're dangerous and vulnerable. 

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