Possession’s 9/10th’s of the law
38% – 62% Watford
36% – 64% Brighton
63% – 37% Huddersfield
37% – 63% Derby
45% – 55% Wigan
39% – 61% Brentford
Our possession stats for the League games played so far.
Probably not a surprise that we only kept our first clean sheet of the season Saturday. Lies, damned lies and statistics and all that, but we have clearly been under the cosh for long periods of games in the six we have played so far.
Powell’s team got criticised for similar patterns of possession, but the big difference with Peeters’s team is that our passing accuracy is a million times better and we attempt, mostly very well, to pass the ball out of defence and not just hoof it encouraging teams to come straight back at us.
I was underwhelmed with the Tal Ben Haim signing and not that excited about André Bikey-Amougou joining after a trial period, but it is fair to say that these two have been the lynch pin of our points total so far despite us conceding in every game except two of the eight we have played in total.
Bikey has been immense and Ben Haim a calming, experienced head in front of Stephen Henderson. I am a big fan of Morrison but these two look very good at Championship level.
The Championship has gone up a notch in quality this season. The three promoted clubs are a big step up from those that were relegated and Norwich and Cardiff have all the tools to return first time around. Would I like to see us have better possession stats? Yes, but not at the expense of points and in Wigan, Derby, Brighton and Watford we have also played four very good sides, and Brentford have only lost once.
Peeters is proving to be quite adaptable. We know he wants the ball played on the ground, but he has drilled into the side good organisation and defensive enduringness and for the first time in a long while teams will know that we can hurt them in their own half.
There a few rumours doing the rounds of Sunderland’s Danny Graham joining on loan. He was born in Gateshead and has played almost his entire career in the north. A summer move to Middlesbrough didn’t materialise but he was given a squad number by Gus Poyet despite him not pulling on a Sunderland shirt since the end of the 2012/13 season.
Finally best wishes to Watford manager Oscar Garcia who was admitted to hospital with chest pains on Sunday night.