(* and also Freddie Sears)
This post is an ode to Brett Pitman, a player who I have been a huge fan of and felt that he was *the* coup of the summer transfer window – My post on replacing Daryl Murphy highlighted the fact that Pitman actually was a great jack-of-all-trades as he had the ability to finish, score, win aerials and shoot often – Which based on the numbers I had on the scatterplot, placed him nicely between McGoldrick and Murphy. Not bad. Check out his radar below;
Compare that to Murphy in the same season, and you can see the number of goals scored is similar (albeit with less minutes), Pitman is better at holding onto the ball, and is more creative than Murphy (more key passes per 90)
This season, he hasn’t scored at the same rate, but still has a similar conversion rate and a better shooting percentage (an Ipswich effect?) and still is a creative force – and has even bagged a couple of assists.
The thing I love about watching Pitman is his work rate, an indicative quality of many Ipswich players (Murphy, Tabb, Sears come to mind – and Anderson last year) and this work rate allows him to be a nuisance – and in the game against Rotherham, his diverse skill set allowed him to be the ‘official’ focal point of the system, though the strikers all ended up playing fairly narrow;
This nicely brings us to Freddie Sears – Sears is (according to #ITFC twitter, which is maybe one step up from TWTD in that there’s still mad overreaction, but I feel I can get some level of level headed opinions from some) the best player Ipswich have, a quick guy with a neat finish who can hold onto the ball. So he’s wasted on the wing. His radars last year and this aren’t too shabby at all;
I actually disagree. Sears playing wide might mean that he has less opportunity to move inside, but it I feel his quality shines through, such that he’ll engineer himself some shooting opportunities. But his discipline, ability to stick on the ball and relationship with Chambers seems to be better than Niles. The right-midfielder conundrum is a weird one for me; I have a feeling that a left sided bias for teams attacking in the Championship is a common theme – But I’ve not attempted to back it up with data. Tommy Oar isn’t up to speed allegedly, Toure for me is no more than a squad player and in AMN & Bru are central players who can play wide (in a narrow fashion)
Other notable comments;
As in some games around this time last year, Mick has shifted from 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 (4-5-1 without the ball) – Of course, this is way forward, why didn’t he play this before etc etc. I’m a bit meh about it all. I maintain two things; one, that Mick McCarthy & Terry Connor are fully in control and understand the dynamics & structure of the team better than many of us – and I think the summer signings are slowly bedding in, understanding their roles, responsibilities as well as that of their teammates around them. This , coupled with a couple of ‘easier’ games against Huddersfield, Bolton and Rotherham – who were blown away following a change of shape.
I was watching highlights of (almost) every Ipswich game back, and I noticed that a common theme in the patch around that Reading game was a) poor positioning and b) Skuse either having to drop back to save the full-backs or Smith/Berra having to cover, which meant an intelligent striker can simply nip in and score.
I still think scoring 5 was lucky and a part of the craziness of the Championship, than Ipswich being good. That said, Ipswich have gained some level of defensive stability in recent weeks – which for me stems from two things; first, the understanding between the midfielders and the defence, and second the movement of Ainsley Maitland Niles to the middle of the park. I mentioned in a previous post that given he drifts inside naturally, and seems to prefer to be central to the goal than playing wide. In addition, given his relatively high number of turnovers (though he also has a high number of regains) sometimes leaves Luke Chambers (who enjoys bombing forward) with a lot of ground to make up.
November ends with two games; Wolves tomorrow at home and Charlton away next week. I think this should be 4 points minimum; as I tweeted this morning, Ipswich have the highest percentage of shots taken against us in the 6 yard box, whereas Wolves have conceded the least – with almost 61% coming from outside the box. I feel Jackett’s got his team organised well but they’re lacking bite recently. I’ll go for a sneaky Ipswich win or a draw – a clean sheet will be nice as always.
So, to Brett Pitman and Freddie Sears – You are the light which shines bright in a gloomy October.