Our first month in the Premier League was met with mixed results, but I didn’t expect things to be different. Ironically, the game that I thought we had the best chance of winning was the only one that we lost, which was against a fellow promotion team – West Brom. We drew at home against Fulham to notch our first point then got our first win on the road against Reading. Our cup games got off to a strong start with a 3-1 win over Aldershot in the Capital One Cup. Our opponent in the next round will be fellow Premier League side Wolves.
We find ourselves right in the middle of the table with 4 points so far. We’re one point behind 7th place Tottenham and the final EURO League spot, and we’re 3 points clear of 18th place Norwich and the relegation zone. Heading into September we’ll get another chance to prove ourselves in handful of games. We face off against Newcastle (13), Huddersfield (20), Woves (Capital One Cup), and Stoke (15).
I made a big decision before the transfer window shut. That decision was to move to a 4231 formation instead of the 442 we’ve used to get us this far. I think we finally have the funds and prestige to go after the type of players needed for this more exotic style, and I think we need to be proactive in order to avoid relegation. The decision was to move to a more offensive formation in order to avoid these games where we lose the possession battle and put so much pressure on our defense because I think the level of competition is to the point now where we will lose a lot more games than we ever have.
Stephen Ireland joins us to play center midfield where he will be a rotational player. He might get a shot at playing more AMC but for now he will play a bit further back.
Patrick Onana is another one of those guys where I was stunned to see him available on a free. The former Olympique Lyonnais player becomes the starter at AMC. I think there may be some growing pains at first, but the 4.5 PA player should develop into a fantastic playmaker for us for years to come.
Steven Hewitt adds even more strength to central midfield. Why did we pay 240k for a rotational player? Well, with current starter Tom Hurley struggling a bit, Hewitt may end up being the starter at least for a while. This also lets us use Lee Evans in a super sub role for both midfield positions to increase depth.