Sammy Says – September Review

Ipswich Town August Review

League Position: 1st

Record: 4-1-0

Summary

September saw the Blues maintain their excellent start to the season as they won three games and drew one in their League One fixture list. This has seen Town remain at the top of the table and unbeaten for the first 10 games of the league campaign. Ipswich also won their first game in the Leasing.com Trophy against Tottenham U21’s team. Whilst Norwood has failed to add to his goal tally for the season this month other players have made up for this with Nolan and Kane Vincent-Young adding goals to the midfield and defence of Town.

Results

Tottenham Hotspur U21s (H) – W 2-1
Doncaster Rovers (H) – 0-0
MK Dons (A) – W 0-1
Gillingham Town (A) – W 0-1
Tranmere Rovers (H) – W 4-1

Tactics

Once again, the Blues have shifted and switched their tactics during the run of games during September. In the early stages of the season Lambert seemed to have settled on the 4-4-2 formation with Norwood and Jackson developing a solid striking partnership. However, the lack of a natural defensive left-back has been one of the deciding factors in the change to the 3-4-1-2 tactic in recent weeks. This has seen Garbutt and Vincent-Young take on the wing back roles and Skuse used in the centre of a back 3 that offers the versatility of changing to a 4-1-2-1-2 instead. This particular tactical change was seen in the opening minutes of the MK Dons game, which saw Skuse move forward into a defensive midfield role.

Key Players

Kane Vincent-Young (RB)

The summer signing from Colchester United has become a fans’ favourite during the early stages of his Town career. Exciting dribbling and pace on the right side of the Blues’ defence had seen supporters hailing the decision to snap him up for just £500,000. During the month of September, he has become an even greater favourite of the Blues’ faithful by adding goals to his all-round brilliant game. The winner at Gillingham and a fantastic solo goal to seal the 4-1 win against Tranmere have demonstrated the right-backs ability to worry opposition defences during the coming campaign.

Tomas Holy (GK)

In August it would be fair to say that Holy was largely untested as the Blues dominated their opponents and faced few attempts on their goal. However, during the second half of both matches against MK Dons and Gillingham he was called into action on more than one occasion and stood up the task excellently. The giant goalkeeper has quickly filled the hole that was left in Blues’ hearts after Bialkowski left in the summer. His enthusiasm and genuine love for the club has already been noticed and gives reason to commend Holy on his job both on and off the pitch.

James Wilson (CB)

When Wilson was signed as a free-agent for short term cover in the centre-back position in the summer few were either excited by the decision and saw him making little impact other than filling the gaps left by a depleted and injury-ridden backline. However, he played a key role in the 538 minutes that Town did not concede for in 5 consecutive matches. Add to that the fact that Wilson currently has the most clearances per game (8.3) than any other player in League One this season and the decision to bring him in is clearly a good one. It will only serve to benefit Ipswich to have a player that is challenging for the first team than filling a gap for the season ahead.

Cole Skuse (CM)

Often one of the unsung heroes of the Town team is Cole Skuse as he breaks up opposition play and keeps hold of possession well. The central midfielder has also demonstrated the versatility that he can offer to his manager by taking on a centre back role and regularly switching to a defensive midfield position during games. He was heavily criticised during the struggles of last season alongside Luke Chambers but has gone along way to making up for that so far in League One. His experience and composed playing style has had a positive influence on academy products alongside him in the form of Flynn Downes and Luke Woolfenden.

Kayden Jackson (ST)

When Jackson first arrived from Accrington Stanley, he struggled to find a run of games in the first team and never really found his scoring boots during the 2018/19 campaign. However, those times seem to be well and truly behind the striker as he managed to score 5 goals so far this season, including the crucial second goal against Tranmere Rovers last weekend. In a month that has seen Norwood struggle in Town’s attack, Jackson has also been vital to the attacking play of Ipswich. His pace was crucial against Tranmere in the second half and his cross at Gillingham was perfectly placed to pick out Vincent-Young at the back post.

Manager Performance

Paul Lambert has continued to show that he can do his job extremely well both on and off the field. Heading into this season many fans were understandably doubting the Scots’ ability to get his team playing attractive and winning football, although everyone has consistently commended the Blues’ boss for his PR work in reuniting the club and its’ supporters. Ten games unbeaten and sitting top of the league has answered many of those questions surrounding Lambert and his playing squad. His tactical decisions have been made at the right times when switching between formations and although the rotation of the playing squad may not be for everyone, it is working well for the side at this moment in time. Lambert must also be given credit for his work in the transfer window over the summer as the signings of Holy, Wilson, Garbutt, Norwood and Vincent-Young have all been excellent.

Fanbase Mood

It is pretty clear to see that almost the whole of the Blues’ faithful is ecstatic at the start that Town have made so far this season. There have been a few grumbles and mumbles when the team struggled slightly at home to Doncaster Rovers. However, with fantastic numbers in away and home support it is clear that then fans are liking what they are seeing so far. Some fans have offered their negative opinions regarding the decisions to postpone games during international breaks with Wycombe Wanderers being the latest to fall to this fate. However, that shows the confidence the supporters have in the playing squad and their eagerness to take in every minute of this excellent start to the season. However, I think that having the international breaks are useful to give the Blues time to regroup and rest their playing squad during key checkpoints in the season.

Overall Review

Almost perfection. That is all that can be used to describe the month of September for Town. They struggled against a solid Doncaster Rovers side but then followed this up with solid wins away from home and an entertaining victory against Tranmere to finish the fixture list for the month off. There are few negatives to be found as the goals are coming from different areas of the pitch and the defence is remaining solid as only one goal was conceded throughout the whole month. All that can be hoped for is the run to continue long into the season and that when the first bump in the road comes, the team has the character to respond in the correct manner.

October Prediction

October offers the Blues a mixture of slightly easier and tough games as they face Accrington Stanley and Southend United who are currently struggling towards the bottom end of the league table. However, when this is matched with fixtures against Fleetwood Town and Wycombe Wanderers then it could see Town face their first defeat of the season as they go up against the current 2nd and 3rd teams in the League One standings respectively. Overall, I would expect Ipswich to have another good month and would not be surprised to still see them at the top come Halloween. A personal hope for the month is that Norwood finds the net again so that we can be treated to the next GIF in his series of goal celebrations.

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