Watching the game at the weekend, the manager made one decision which seemed inexplicable.
He put Kyogo wide left, Jota wide right and brought off a midfielder to put on a striker. All so far so good, because it increased our attacking options, although many would have argued that it would have been better not to move the Japanese predator to accommodate it.
The decision was to bring on Ajeti, who has proved ineffectual as a solo striker, although this manager has given him opportunities that others haven’t.
Ajeti needed to do more, it’s a simple as that. You saw what Kyogo brought after just 15 minutes at the weekend; he has the work rate and awareness and the instincts of a top class finisher. Ajeti … not so much.
This isn’t to say that I don’t believe Ajeti has a role to play; he certainly does, but I think as part of a proper front two rather than a three-man line stretched across the top half of the pitch. He needs someone to play alongside him and feed him the ball.
Kyogo goes looking for it, he makes himself space, which is why he’s the vastly better option.
But of course, we have another option in this squad, a guy who sat on the bench and didn’t get on. The player we signed from Holland, where he was last season’s top finisher. A player like that, you’d think we’d give him a chance.
For the second time in a month the manager has had to explain leaving him out when it seemed obvious to bring him on.
And Ange has done so for the second time; Giakoumakis is just not fit yet. Which seems mad considering he was listed on the bench, but this could have been a neat psychological ploy instead of an actual selection decision.
The manager is simply not prepared to risk a guy who isn’t fully recovered from his thigh injury. He’s not quite there, and Ange wasn’t going to do anything which might put him out for more weeks. Ange isn’t daft, he knew Ajeti wasn’t the best option … he was just the best option he was willing to risk. That’s sensible as far as I’m concerned.
The thing is, his changes worked. Putting Kyogo wide left pulled defenders towards him. Whilst that didn’t clear the space for Ajeti (which was clearly part of the plan) it did allow Jota to ghost in from the right to get the goal … so it was a job well done.
There is a lot of pressure on Giakoumakis before he even kicks a ball.
The build-up this guy has had has been insane.
We’re all dying to see what he can do for us.
It will come soon enough. By the time this international break is done he should be raring to go.