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Match Thread: Port Vale v Northampton Town

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17 minutes ago, old sage said:

Why is it then Pensioner that Tom Pope heads the ball away more than any other player within his own penalty area? With regard to Popey losing his pace I ask how can you lose what you never had? On his own admission Popey doesn't possess great pace but there is no better header of the ball than Tom, even with two big units on him he still wins more than any other player in this league.

  For me it will be a sad day when he finally hangs up his boots and then many Vale fans will then realise what we no longer have up front leading the line. For those who mock my words just take the time to watch how he rarely loses a ball or plays a poor pass. He has more skill than many of our resident experts give him credit for. Long live the Pope I say. 

Tom Pope is team captain and when we're defending his place is with the defence, not hanging about upfield and trying to motivate his troops from the centre circle. 

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Old sage should win a prize for that post.

Watch how we set up this season for corners. Pope wins so many headers from corners because he is the spare man with the job to head anything that comes in to the box. Why? Because he’s one of the best attackers of the ball in the entire league. 

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I'm a big fan of the pontiff but it's hard for him at times playing in this 4.3.3 system when the two other forwards are wingers out wide, and let's face it we haven't got a number ten within ten yards of him with our a goal shy midfield. Unsurprisingly, he looks better when he's got close support. I suspect that someone with more pace would better fit this system but Pope is a huge asset to the team and remains, for the third year in a row, our biggest goal threat, as well as helping to defend corners. We're a small enough team as it is. He'd still be one of the first names on the sheet for me but we have to play further up the pitch and give him more support.

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I take it that Curle’s comments about our defensive WWF tactics are just a cover up for the fact that his team could (and should) have finished the game with nine men and one of those who should have gone was the lump Smith who Curle claims had no protection from the crap referee. Add to that the three dubious corners awarded to his team just before half time from which they scored from their goal add insult to injury from his ludicrous comments.

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1 hour ago, pensioner said:

With reference to Tom pope -  he should not go back and defend corners and free kicks - there are 10 others on the pitch that can do that ..

 

Disagree with this - if Pope clears our area with his undoubted heading talent, there should be a couple of the quicker players waiting to collect the ball and set up a quick counter attack. 

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I'm with Tony on this one.

I would nearly always leave 2 of our fastest players on the half way line. Say Worrall and Amoo/Monty. They would have to bring back 3 defenders and it means we have men in attack when the ball is cleared.

I don't get this business of bringing back 9-10 players for corners. The opposition then load up our box and if it is cleared it comes straight back.

I might do it in the last few minutes if we are close to getting a point or three but otherwise never.

What is the rationale behind bringing them all back? A lot of teams do it nowadays.

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Correct Sage - never understood why we always seem to drag all but the slowest back! 2 of our whippets and they would indeed have to leave 3 back...with enough space to play around them!

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Last Saturday both of Tom's headers that were on target went straight in the centre of the goal - and yes the goaly was there and didnt have to dive, he just caught both.  If you are all happy that Tom has to flog himself to death at both ends of the pitch then that's your call.  Yes he never has had fast pace but, the pace that he did have is getting less and less each season. To enable him to go on a bit longer then he needs to look after his body. But Hey, your happy with him - that's fine with me. 

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The issue of how teams defend corners has been a bugbear of mine for ages.  When the opposition have a corner they can have a maximum of nine men in our box unless the keeper comes up near the end.  Why do we need two extra?  If we bring one whippet out and put him on the half way line, there is every chance they will bring two out to cover, that gives the defending team and even bigger numbers advantage.  I hate "everybody back".

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36 minutes ago, Jacko51 said:

The issue of how teams defend corners has been a bugbear of mine for ages.  When the opposition have a corner they can have a maximum of nine men in our box unless the keeper comes up near the end.  Why do we need two extra?  If we bring one whippet out and put him on the half way line, there is every chance they will bring two out to cover, that gives the defending team and even bigger numbers advantage.  I hate "everybody back".

100% agree a fast forward left near the half way line would force the opposition to leave one or two players back and also give our defenders someone to release the ball up to.

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Pope simply MUST come back for corners, we’re too small otherwise, certainly against the giants of Northants who had around 6 players taller than either Pope or Legge.  Besides, Pope is a great header of the ball so why wouldn’t he drop back for corners and set pieces?

I would prefer to see Amoo on the halfway line but he seems to have defensive duties.

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45 minutes ago, old sage said:

100% agree a fast forward left near the half way line would force the opposition to leave one or two players back and also give our defenders someone to release the ball up to.

Correct.

I hate how Vale have defended corners for the last few years. The ball gets headed or booted clear but only by 20 yards and with no outfielders to challenge it, it just gets picked up and launched straight back in. Poor, negative way of doing things that only invites pressure and trouble. 

 

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Overall I was pretty happy with our performance, albeit that we were guilty of being wasteful in front of goal.  Until we scored neither team played with much urgency but the opposition woke up a bit thereafter.  I thought we competed really well against a big strong team, and in conditions which suited them more than us.  They’ve signed a fair few players and I expected them to play more football.

Interesting that we improved when Cullen came on, by which point I thought the game was passing Manny by.

I think this is the tactic Askey will use at home, switching from 433 to something closer to 442 when some of the pace has gone out of the game as players tire.  I think it allowed the wingers to stay wider having Cullen in support of Pope, which stretched them a bit more at the back.

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As others have said we need Pope back for corners cause we haven’t got too many tall players.

Despite conceding from a corner on Saturday vale seem to be more awake from corners this season,  particularly short corners 

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Interesting stats from the game.

Whether you agree with xG or not, we had the 6th highest in the league on Saturday.

For those that don’t know xG it shows the blend of quality and quantity of the chances created.

So open goal 2 yards out = xG of 1 vs shot from 30 yards out with a packed penalty area = xG of 0.02.

add up all the chances and that’s your xG

3.6 - Swindon

3.2 - Crewe

3.2 - Crawley

2.4 - Walsall

2.2 - Grimsby

2.1 - Port Vale

1.9 - Mansfield

1.87 - Morecambe

 

For those saying there is no difference from last year, I think this would suggest we have a far greater attacking intent... if I remember right we had one of the lowest xG’s in the league.

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