Blog: August Review
Our Twitter King, Sammy looks back over our opinion month of the campaign, picking out some key players and looking at the tactics used by Lambo which has seen the Tractor Boys remain unbeaten!
Ipswich Town August Review
League Position: 1st!
August saw the Blues play six League One games and the first round of the Carabao Cup. Although they faced a difficult start, Town have managed to make a quick start that sees them 2 points clear at the summit of the League One table. This monthly review looks at the key statistics and performances during those games.
Burton Albion (A) – W 0-1
Sunderland (H) – D 1-1
Luton Town (A) (Cup) – L 3-1
Peterborough (A) – D 2-2
AFC Wimbledon (H) – W 2-1
Bolton Wanderers (A) – W 0-5
Shrewsbury Town (H) – W 3-0
The month of August has seen Lambert realise that 4-4-2 is the way forward for Town at this stage of the season at least. The partnership of Norwood and Jackson has been too much for opposition defences to cope with. The most obvious note of this is the game against AFC Wimbledon, where the Blues started in a 4-2-3-1. However, after struggling to break the opposition down Lambert brought Jackson on and went back to the 4-4-2. This saw Ipswich overcome a goal deficit to win the match and entertain the Town faithful. I would expect the Town manager to stick with this formation in the near future, which could become even more effective when Will Keane is fit enough to play a role from the bench.
James Norwood (ST)
Norwood has made himself an instant with the Town faithful after some fantastic performances and Goal GIFs that have seen the likes of WWE and Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) interact with the striker on Twitter. Of course, these kinds of antics may not be as successful if he was not performing well on the pitch. However, five goals and an assist have seen him top the goalscoring charts in League One and develop a brilliant partnership with fellow striker Jackson.
Kayden Jackson (ST)
Much like Norwood, Kayden Jackson has the scoring touch at the start of this season with 4 goals so far. This has seen him develop the confidence he was lacking in his debut season for Town. The last-gasp winner against AFC Wimbledon (94’) is the most likely reason for this newfound confidence and clinical ability in front of goal. If Jackson can supplement the goalscoring of Norwood effectively then it could result in a very successful campaign for the Blues.
Flynn Downes (CM)
Flynniesta. The young central midfielder has made an excellent start to the season and has a claim to being viewed as Town’s best player so far this season. He has turned in performances of 8 or 9 out of 10 every single time he has crossed the white line. His dominance in the middle of the pitch was backed up even further by a brilliant counterattacking goal that saw him score a brave diving header against Shrewsbury last weekend. If Downes can maintain his current level of performance, then it is hard to find an opposition team that would be able to cope with his pairing with Cole Skuse.
Cole Skuse (CM)
Skuse is usually the player in the team who goes unnoticed, under the radar and underappreciated for the hard work that he puts in for his fellow teammates. He has been at his best doing just that so far this season, winner numerous tackles and recycling possession for his attacking players to utilise with damaging effect. However, it would appear that this work is more appreciated this campaign, with many realising that his partnership with Downes in CM has been excellent so far this season. In a season that may require senior players to lead, Skuse has done a brilliant job of doing just that in a calm and consistent manner.
Luke Woolfenden (CB)
After a successful loan spell at Swindon Town in League Two last season, many Ipswich fans were hopeful that Woolfenden would be given the chance to claim a place in the Blues’ backline this season. That has been exactly the case and he has claimed this chance with both hands, putting in numerous solid displays including a last-gasp goal line clearance against Burton on the opening day of the season. This would suggest that Woolfenden has now got himself in a three-way tie for the two starting CB roles when Nsiala returns from injury and Wilson becomes more of a back-up option as planned.
Kane Vincent-Young (RB)
The young Right Back arrived with supporters hoping that he may finally be the answer to the issues that Ipswich have faced at the right side of their defence for many years. If his first few games for the Blues are anything to go by, then the Town fans need to be prepared for a player full of attacking threat that is supported by an ability to defend solidly. Earlier games in the season saw Donacien struggle to nail down his starting position and Vincent-Young has claimed the role in a convincing manner which should see him be an asset at both ends of the pitch for Town.
Very few can argue that Lambert could have hoped for a better start to the season, even if the first half performance against Sunderland warranted all three points at Portman Road. Lambert has realised that his team has made a brilliant start to the season but is also realistic enough to keep the Blues’ feet firmly on the ground. He expects there to be losses and bumps in the road, something that should be expected in any campaign. However, if Ipswich can keep performance levels up then it will take a great team to beat them, something that Paul Lambert has already stated himself this season. In terms of wider recognition, it would be a surprise if Lambert did not come away with the Manager of the Month award for August, even if it is a potential curse that some Town fans want to avoid.
There is no doubt that the Town fans will be extremely happy with the way that they have started this season. An unbeaten start and being top of the league at the end of the month (now 3rd due to game in hand!), is a brilliant start to life in League One. Fans are enjoying seeing the team winning and playing positively again, with some calling for 100 points and 100 goals! With some key players still to return from injury in the likes of Jon Nolan and Toto Nsiala, it is difficult to predict when the fast start may hit a bump in the road. I hope it continues for the foreseeable future with Blues’ supporters being able to see a small lead develop at the top of the table!
Overall, it is clear that Town have had a brilliant start to their League One campaign. Yes, the usual struggles in cup competitions are still present, but the league was always going to be the main focus for this season. No fans can argue with the Blues’ unbeaten record and ability to score goals so far this season, whilst many are already tallying up how many they think that the lethal strike force of Norwood and Jackson will score this season. The hope now is that Ipswich can continue this excellent run of wins and further cement their position at the top of the table. The month of September presents them with some difficult fixtures: Doncaster (H); MK Dons (A); Gillingham (A) and Tranmere (H). However, if the Blues want to be aiming for promotion then they are all games they need to be winning to fulfil their targets this campaign.