Agree with all of this,sick of like yesterday Fulham 3 shots on target 2 fuckin goals scenario,happening more and more with Howard.
That's not exclusively down to Howard though is it.
If a side has 10 shots from outside the box and the opposition has 2 from in the 6 yard box who would you expect to score more?
Overall I think that we can say that the start has been good.
A great start would have seen us with probably 6 more points but as has been said some fundamentals are letting us down; namely finishing and basic defensive mistakes.
It's still too early to say whether they're issues that are inherent with the players (individually and as a mix of styles) or whether they're something that we can improve on as the season progresses.
Looking at the starting line-up on Saturday we only had 3 defensive players in the team. That would, you'd think contribute to conceding 2 goals; however the ways that we let them in weren't linked to being short on defensive numbers.
We were able to control the game through playing it our own way, no small feat against a strong home team. Our possession was such that the lack of defensive players was largely irrelevant as they spent most of the time attacking. That should be a good sign for the rest of the season and I can see us being able to control a lot of games.
This immediately leads onto the finishing aspect.
Will this improve? I'm far from certain on this point. There's a lot of talk about Jelavic not being quite there this season. This is true when compared to last year. The lack of prolonged evidence however doesn't allow us to say that he's either a) having a dip in form or b) this is actually his level.
Although if the answer is b) then it's still not disastrous as he's got 4 in 9 appearances in the league. Even taking into account a couple of injuries/suspensions and you're still looking at 15-17 league goals for the season. Not to be sniffed at.
It's behind Jelavic that the issue of goals is the worry, long term.
Felli is doing well; he showed in his first season that he can finish different types of chances and he also has some reasonable movements in the box. However he doesn't have the natural instict that's bound to get you loads of goals; unlike Jelavic he does have some games where he doesn't have any real (even half) chances. If Felli gets to 15 he's had an outstanding season.
Then if we consider Pienaar and Ossie. Valuable players (to a debatable level, obviously!) but not ones that you could stake your life on them scoring. Their shooting is wildly inconsistent; Pienaar especially frustrates in this regard as the rest of his technique is normally so reliable.
You can't place any real reliance on these two to get a good number (pushing double figures) of league goals in the season.
Then we come to Mirallas. He's the big unknown for us and consequently, probably the most pivotal player for the season.
He's playing well so far; mainly in patches but when he's on it he looks like a fantastic player.
He's come with this record in Greece and I think he's been brought in with goals in mind (especially with Pienaar as the other wide man) rather than for his set up play (as useful as that can be).
He's only scored 1 so far but he's not been afraid to shoot. This obviously leaves the question of whether he's wasteful/not that good at shooting or whether the goals are about to start flowing. We obviously won't know this until the end of the season.
I think both he and Jelavic will improve their current ratios and that Felli will drop off slightly; whether that's enough will probably depend on how we improve defensively.
This is more of a clear issue.
The defenders have all been with us for long enough for us to know their strengths and weakness. We know that Distin is prone to panic every now and then; we know that Heitinga is small and slow etc etc
The only real change we can make is to increase the protection in front of them. Gibson back will help but what about the other position?
I can't see an argument for playing either Neville or Heitinga ahead of Ossie; they're not good enough at what they do defensively there to outweigh any negatives we may have from having Ossie as one of our most defensive players. The loss with respect to controlling the game going forward is too great.
They're certainly not good enough to consider playing both of them as a dual shield!
Therefore we're down to individual errors. A team is always likely to make some; however we seem to be making ones in every game at present. I'd expect that to drop as the season goes on but it's hard to tell whether the team has always made these errors but that the greater number of defensive players has helped to cover them. We're probably not going to start playing 2 (or 3) more defensive players so it's hard to say.
Bearing that in mind I couldn't confidently predict that we're suddenly going to start keeping clean sheet after clean sheet. Add that to the uncertainty over the increas in % of chances created and you're left thinking that we're probably going to carry on at around the same ratio of points that we have now (65 I think someone said). The season will then boil down to whether it's a slightly exceptional one where there are enough teams in the mix for 4th that the total required for finishing there is lower than it normally is.
If someone (probably Arsenal) gets their act together then I could see the requirement being 70 points and above which obviously would make things tough.
Of course if we do remedy our issues then there's a good chance that that team would be us.
Either way, the current problems are far more pleasing to debate than they were at this time last season so the first 10 games have to be adjudged favourably in that light!