So two impressive away results later and we`re sitting second, who would thought it?
The optimistic side of me did think a play off place was achievable this season, the pessimistic side thought top mid table mediocrity. It appears with recent results that I should listen to the optimist more often in my daily life.
After grinding out a respectable no score draw in Carlisle many Albion fans would have accepted a similar result against Plymouth. Such a result however was never to come as the Albion only went and won it two nil! So as the Poyet revolution begins to gather pace what can we really take from this season`s opening fixtures?
Firstly the squad is strong, I mean really strong. All 18 men in the squad against Plymouth can perform at League One Level and that`s before you include the rested Kishishev and the injured skipper Greer. In my recent memory a manager has never had better options at his disposal, they are not big names our players, but big names do not get you out of League One, decent ball playing teams who can keep clean sheets do. So far we look like we could, just could be turning into one of those teams with our tippy tappy flicky flicky football.
Secondly the death of the age old footballing saying “don`t change a winning team,” at the hands of Gustavo Poyet. Cast aside for new and rather maverick footballing idea – use the players who are best suited to dealing with the strengths of the opposition whilst, being skilful enough to exploit the weaknesses. An example of this newly adopted style?, the benching of Kazenga Lua Lua against Plymouth.
Ashley Barnes was the flying Congolese winger`s replacement, the man from Bath and former Pilgrims striker duly delivered with an outstanding performance and goal against his old team. Poyet knew Barnes would be fired up and hungry to prove his doubters wrong, that`s good just good management but had anyone else realised that Barnes` return to the starting eleven meant a return to a lop sided four four two formation, Plymouth are only dangerous down one side so the formation gave us the strength to win the battle in centre midfield, and keep the ball.
Two tough home games lie in wait now against Oldham and Brentford. League One appears to be a league where any team can beat another if they have the right game plan and line up and Poyet`s men will need to be wary against such well prepared opposition, after all as things stand we are one of the teams to beat….