As fans streamed away from the ground the over-riding emotion after Saturday’s ‘victory’ over Luton, despite a shambles of a performance littered with mistakes, was ‘at least we got the three points’.
If there was one other consolation to be had it hinged around a towering show from our two central defenders Whatmough and Clarke, after they were put to the test in a way that we can only hope is not repeated again at home this season.
Luton’s finishing was poor, even allowing for the fact that they hit the woodwork twice, and very few other visiting teams this season will surely fail to capitalise on such total dominance.
On the evidence of last Saturday and the friendly match v. Utrecht the previous Saturday, Jackett appears to have settled for a 4-4-2 formation this season, with recruits like Naylor to add to the conversions of Walkes and Haunstrup to midfield roles, and Curtis to sit alongside Pitman up front. You felt sorry for Curtis on his debut without any support and ‘feeding on scraps’, as they say.
Last Saturday our midfield was overrun from start to finish with Luton dominating possession. It speaks volumes for our heroic backline that the game wasn’t lost by two or three goals.
The game had all the hallmarks of a Premier League side in a cup game against lower league opposition with the latter hanging on for dear life to survive against a tidal wave of attacks.
Clearly there is an awful lot more work to be done on that formation with Walkes and Haunstrup looking like fish out of water, and Naylor struggling to get a kick most of the game.
Until the late stages when Close came on and created some space and brought some accuracy to the passing, there was a desperate shortage of control, creativity and cohesion.
It’s a worrying start and the hope must surely be that unlike last season, Jacket doesn’t spend most of the season playing around with different formations and tactics, and also works out his best eleven sooner rather than later.
Certainly in Saturday’s win there was nothing to suggest that we have the players to suit a 4-4-2 formation and if Jackett wants to persist with it then some additional personnel in midfield are required urgently.