Today I am looking at that phrase we all as Walsall fans are far too familiar with, ‘why can’t we beat the teams below us?’
So, is it true? For years, we always have seemed to be able to do better against the teams at the top end of the table, rather than those at the bottom. Scalps against Leeds, Wolves and Sheffield United, are wins that on paper, we didn’t have a chance. But against teams at the other end of the table, we have seen some awful results, just when we think the curse has gone.
This season, we have played each of those in the top 4 once, where we have drawn twice, and lost twice, taking a grand total of 2 points. Against the bottom four, we have played 5 games, and have 5 points, with 1 win and 2 draws.
Yes we do gain more points from teams fighting at the bottom than against those looking to go up, but we should be taking more from them, and for me, 5 points is a pretty poor points haul, when you consider the only win has been away at Morecambe, and that wasn’t at all convincing. They have also been off the back of what would be considered ‘good results’. Barring the game against Cheltenham, we have had a good start to the year, until Carlisle. Before Carlisle in December, we had beaten Scunthorpe, before Macclesfield we had beaten Port Vale, and before Stevenage we had won 3 in a row (ok yes, Darlington and Forest Green kids were 2 of them, but a wins a win). As has been the way of this season, consistency has not been there. Each of these games has followed a good result, and yet we do not take it further and follow up with a win.
The stats also show that we have taken the same amount of points from the 4 teams in the play-offs, than we have against the bottom four. So it seems we are right with our popular moan, why can’t we beat the teams below us?
It could be with tactics, as teams below tend to look at being more defensive rather than us facing an all out attack, it could be because we have more of the ball, and struggle to break teams down. Or could it be that we have suffered a couple of ‘bad days at the office’ where we have upped it against the likes of Exeter.
I personally feel that the teams at the bottom shut up shop and we do not have the creativity to unpick a defence. The likes of Wes, and Gordon, aren’t going to be able to hit them on the break, and be used most effectively. Carlisle have no doubt been our bogey team, but we MUST learn quickly from is as we go into Tuesdays game to complete the back to back ‘teams near the bottom’
Ever the optimist I will throw some positivity out there… we have 9 points from 9 at home in 2020, can we make it 12?