Blackburn Rovers came to London Road in front of the Sky TV cameras and had a gentle stroll against a poor Posh side! How can Posh recover and where do they go from here?
Peterborough United 1 – 4 Blackburn Rovers
Location: London Road
Date: 17th November, 2012
Posh normally put on an entertaining spectacle when the TV cameras come to town, but this certainly wasn’t what everyone was hoping for.
Darren Ferguson changed the formation and went with a flat back four with young midfielder Joe Newell playing at left back! Not surprisingly he didn`t really know what he should be doing in that unaccustomed position and was so ineffective, but the blame for that falls solely on Fergie who could`ve and indeed should`ve brought in defender Gaby Zakuani when going for a flat back four.
A flat back four also didn`t help central defender Sean Brisley, who usually looks a lower League player in a back four, and Nat Knight-Percival who had arguably his worst match in a Posh shirt.
Rovers were arguably the best all-round team seen down at London Road this season. You could easily see the difference in quality, but regardless of this, you normally see a determined Posh side putting in a lot of effort to make up for this difference. Not this time!
Many Posh players were lacklustre when both on and off the ball with only the likes of Danny Swanson [pictured below] keen to provide a passing option for players. It did mean though that he saw the majority of the ball compared to the other Posh players meaning, like McCann was criticised for last season, was caught on the ball which lead to a couple of goals.
In truth, Rovers didn`t really have to move up any gears to beat Posh. With all the possession Posh had, the majority of the time Posh misplaced their passes so Rovers just had to wait for this to happen.
Jordan Rhodes is normally shackled quite well when playing against Posh but not this time. He has grown immensely since the last time Posh faced him as he eased himself to a hat trick.
Posh could have no complaints about this result which saw them drop to the bottom of the Championship while Rovers should easily finish in the play-offs (or automatic promotion positions).
Where do Posh go next though?
It`s obvious that many Posh players are lacking in confidence. Add to that the number of players out injured or are being moved out of the club following their stupidity the previous weekend or are out on loan means the Posh squad are also lacking in numbers.
Should we look at getting back players like Danny Kearns [pictured below] who was impressive during pre-season before getting injured against Aston Villa? He has been building up his match fitness at York City and although it is only League Two, he has been very impressive and his skill and enthusiasm is something we desperately need right now.
Questions also have to be raised about the current management. Is Fergie good enough? Has he lost the dressing room as some Posh fans are suggesting? Does he have the skills to motivate his squad?
If, as some fans are suggesting, Fergie leaves Posh whether it be his choice or not, is there really anyone out there that Posh could afford and would be able to do a better job?
Should Fergie remain as manager, should Darragh be looking at getting additional help in even if it is only on a temporary basis? Would someone like Harry Redknapp be a useful resource? Surely someone like this could come in and look at what is going on and suggest ideas for Fergie? Having someone like this or a fresh face would also give the players a confidence boost that is much needed.
Are reinforcements needed? Simple answer to this is yes!
Lee Tomlin is not a forward and his skill and vision is better off utilised in the midfield. By moving Tomlin back into midfield, it leaves Posh with transfer listed Emile Sinclair and loanee Saido Berahino! Not exactly the variety needed to change things during matches! Berahino is young and does have a big future in the game, but he is playing up front on his own and he must be getting frustrated chasing down everything without any help from his fellow players or another forward.
We do have Dwight Gayle coming in from Dagenham and Redbridge but he won`t arrive until the summer. We also have Gordon-Hutton and Clarke-Harris but they are ones for the future and aren`t the immediate answer. It is therefore vital that we bring in a forward to help our dwindling strikeforce.
The midfield also needs a shake up.
Tommy Rowe and Mark Little are expected to be back for the weekend battle at relegation threatened Ipswich Town. These two will provide Fergie with alternative choices and a chance to freshen things up.
Grant McCann is often missed when he is not in the side but when has been in the side this season, his form hasn`t been that of two seasons ago. We should be looking at how to fill the gap McCann will vacate eventually. Fergie should start to try out different players to play alongside Michael Bostwick.
Bostwick does a lot of the hard work and breaks down the opposition but he needs a skilful player beside him to pass to. McCann is currently in pole position but should we be looking at players like Tomlin or even Kearns to take on the “McCann” role? They both have the skill to receive the ball and make a pass.
George Boyd is also having an indifferent season. He started off poorly, played well for a few games and has now gone back to playing poorly and at times being anonymous during matches! Should he be rested again? Is the fact he is out of contract at the end of the season having an effect on his game? Surely he should be busting a gut to make an impact which would help him gain a contract at a higher placed club than Posh come the end of the season? For some reason, it is just not working out for him this season which is a crying shame if this is to be his last season at Posh.
So what about the defence?
Many Posh fans are keen for Gaby Zakuani to be re-instated in the side. Would that be the right decision though? He is an excellent battler but when we play three at the back, all three need to be able to play the ball on the floor – something Gaby isn`t too good at!!
Craig Alcock, for some unknown reason, isn`t the player we all know and love from last season. Is he missing the calmness provided by Ryan Bennett? It could be a factor as Shaun Brisley isn`t in the same league as Bennett. Even when Bennett first came to Posh you could tell he would go onto better things.
Playing with three at the back certainly suits Posh at this point in time and makes Posh harder to break down. Surely Fergie will start with this again on Saturday?
What changes would Vital Posh make for the Ipswich match?
For starters, we`d go for the 3-5-2 formation.
Alcock, Brisley and Knight-Percival would get the nod in defence but it is the midfield that would change.
Bostwick is needed for the defensive duties while we`d choose Tomlin to play alongside him. Tommy Rowe would occupy the left side of midfield with Ferdinand on the right. The advanced midfield position may be a bit controversial as we`d drop Boyd to the bench and start with Swanson who always looks to make himself available.
Without using the youngsters, there are only two players to fill the two forward positions! Berahino, who is a teenager himself, deserves to keep his place while transfer listed Sinclair would come back into the starting line-up to give Saido some help.
At the end of the day, Fergie has said that he has the best squad of players he has ever had during his time at Posh. Unfortunately the squad are very low on confidence and the number of players available to Fergie are dwindling each week.
The whole squad need a boost somehow but it is how to get that boost. Should Fergie get help in, even on a temporary basis? Should we recall players like Kearns? Should we bring in players on loan?
What are your thoughts?
Let us know in the comments box below.
DON’T FORGET YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR MAN OF THE MATCH. You can cast your vote on the right hand side of the page. The result will be announced on Wednesday [21st November, 2012].
UP THE POSH!
Photos courtesy of www.theposhpics.com.