Post Match Thoughts – Stoke Away
Yesterday, I went to my first live Rams game this season and witnessed a lively 2-2 draw with Stoke at the Bet365 Stadium.
This was a game that both teams will feel they could have won, but equally both could have lost and a draw was probably about right in the end.
A point away from home is never to be sniffed at and there were certainly plenty of points to ponder for Rams fans. Here’s my thoughts on what went down.
The Rams got off to a flyer scoring inside 3 minutes and really missed a trick in not pressing home the advantage. Stoke are not as abysmal as they were last year, but have a lot of new players and the vibes around the 365 are definitely not great. A second goal would have surely killed them, but we let them edge their way back in the game.
The main reason for this was that our two wide players were woeful in the first half. Lawrence had one of his off days and Zoon showed no ambition at all, constantly playing the easy ball, hitting safe, percentage crosses instead of getting at his man (which he had ample opportunity to do). In fairness Zoon did do some decent defensive work including one tremendous block, but there is no way he is a better option than Paterson or Bizzle.
To my mind Kieran Dowell had a really good game particularly in the first half but there is definitely a section who already don’t seem to like him, simply because he isn’t Mason Mount. He worked hard, got on the ball constantly and his main problem was that when he did the hard bit, he simply had no runners to hit. We need to keep the faith in this guy because he’s a good player. He definitely needs some help with the corners though.
I’ve not come across the Stoke manager Nathan Jones before at a live game and what an odious little prick he is. Jumping up and down like an idiot in his shell suit at every minor incident. He really did look like a really desperate clown next to Cocu standing motionless, looking cool in his actual suit and tie. HIs antics which got Malone booked were outrageous. Hopefully he’ll be sacked shortly.
Shout out to Max Lowe who had a cracking game at right back and certainly one of the best I’ve seen him play in the Derby first team. I’ve written a lot about Max over the years, both positive and negative, but let’s hope this is him now about to establish himself in the Rams first team at long last.
Much to the delight of the travelling Derby fans, Jack Marriott got a decent run out, coming on just after the equaliser, playing just behind Waggy and, frankly, looked sharp as fuck. The Rams immediately looked massively dangerous again after being pinned back with no out ball for long periods. The move he started to put Waggy through, for what should have been the winner, was superb and it was such a shame it didn’t hit the net. Cocu’s post-match comments indicated that he enjoyed Jack’s cameo too, which bodes well.
Talking of Cocu, I think already we are seeing really positive signs of his deep understanding of the game and his willingness to change things as required to solve problems. In a league where small margins decide 90% of the games, this will undoubtably be a great asset to the Rams as the season unfolds.
You will know the Rams went 5-3-2 in the second half with the introduction of Bielik. I just wonder in a few weeks if this will end up being how we play with Bogle and Lowe at wing backs and Marriot and Waggy up front? Without any standout winger, this might just be the best way to get all our best players in the starting eleven. That said i really don’t care if we play 7-2-1 as long as Marriott is on the pitch.
A final minor footnote is that Graham Shinnie didn’t even make the bench. It would appear Cocu really doesn’t rate him at all. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to show what he can do at some point but it seems Cocu currently much prefers young Jason Knight.
So Cocu’s unbeaten start continues and, whilst this was not perfect by a long way (check out Joe Allen’s miss if you haven’t already seen it), there are plenty of good signs all over this new Rams team. With Marriott and Bielek set to step up into next week’s home double header, there’s no reason at we can’t achieve two more positive results.
Come on You Rams!
Posted on August 18, 2019, in Post Match Thoughts and tagged derby, derby county, Florian Jozefzoon, Jack Marriott, Kieran Dowell, Krystian Bielik, Martin Waghorn, max lowe, Phillip Cocu, ramspace, the rams. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.