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MBE At The Palace

Mistakes By Eddie

I have spent the whole season defending Eddie Howe from the Howe-out brigade, devoting hours to print and video output.

My arguments have been simple:-

  1. In my humble opinion, not another manager on the planet could have taken the patently unfit, bedraggled, and confidence-bereft squad of players, which he inherited from the cabbage, and taken them from relegation certainties to mid-table luxury. And then, with relatively little outlay - in comparison to other protagonists - coached and improved that same squad to reach the Champions' League in 12 months.

  2. To have overcome an injury/suspension-laden nightmare of a season to still be in with a realistic possibility of achieving European football this season. A season when 9 of the players used in the monumental UCL home game against PSG were all inherited from Bruce. A season when we had to play 10 games in December using, essentially, 14 players.

In print and on video I have steadfastly refuted all the calls for Eddie to be sacked by the "No plan B" and "Just picks his favourites" brigades.


My defence of Eddie has been, as I have said, on the lack of playing options open to him.

Against Palace last night there was no such defence. For the first time this season we had real quality on the bench albeit probably not fully match-fit. Nevertheless he chose to persevere with the hapless Sean Longstaff, presumably in the hope that he will somehow - despite his alleged injury - recapture the "form" which imho has never, ever been there.

Not just the starting 11 he selected - kind of understandable given that it was the exact same 11 who'd humbled Spurs - but Eddie's seeming oblivion to what was happening on the pitch and reluctance to make changes which were being pleaded for.

Tino Livramento - who has been a revelation this season - left, and remaining, on the bench at kick-off time along with our other "big summer signing" Lewis Hall. And Joe White - can someone explain to me why he was recalled from his successful loan spell at Crewe (lauded by a good friend of mine who has

been an Alex season-ticket holder for 60 years+) in January yet, with only 5 games to go, has played only a handful of largely meaningless minutes. Why not leave him at Crewe where he was gaining experience and minutes in his young legs.

WHY? HOW(E)? can Sean Longstaff possibly be starting games when his form, for months now, has been abysmal. We are effectively playing with 10 men whenever he is on that pitch.

And the worst thing of all is that Bruno is now showing visible signs of frustration at the lack of quality with which he is surrounded in our midfield. This is showing in his increasing tendency to go perhaps a step too far at times in his valiant attempts to compensate for Longstaff's inadequacies.

He gets caught with the ball more. He commits more fouls, as witnessed by his bookings and suspensions. He attempts increasingly more difficult passes which rarely succeed. All of this because he is trying so desperately for the team to succeed.

I am sadly coming to the conclusion that the persistence to play Longstaff could be a major contributing factor in determining whether Bruno leaves this summer.

If it is, then Eddie has an awful lot to answer for. The argument that there are no options to replace Sean no longer has any validity. Hopefully, he can take Bruno to one side and remind him that, by next season, he'll have Tonali and J7 alongside him with Willock and Anderson fighting for their places.

As for Longstaff, if he starts again this season, or worse still is not substituted when a blind man on a galloping horse can see that he's pony, and we do not achieve European football, then very, very reluctantly, I will be taking baby steps toward the Eddie-out encampment.

Mistakes By Eddie - sadly far too many on display at the Palace!

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Well put mighty wyn

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