Sideways Sammy's City 0-1 Oxford The Wrap

With the top six dangling tantalisingly in front of us, the Sky Blues contrived to fall flat at home to an Oxford United side fighting the drop. It was a performance in which the home side struggled to find any kind of rhythm against a resolute and abrasive away team. Despite having over half an hour to find an equaliser, it was a result that looked set in stone once Oxford found the breakthrough via a sloppily defended corner.

Having A Job Done On Us

This game was more or less roles reversed from the previous league meeting between the two sides. Back in September, Oxford United were the side looking to dominate possession and we were the brutish spoilers, this time around, the change circumstances and objectives of the two teams since then was reflected by the respective approaches.

Aside from a very promising opening 10 minutes, we had little answer to Oxford United’s gameplan. Whether by plan or by Bright Enobakhare’s tendency to drop deep searching for the ball, it looked like we were playing a 4-1-4-1 system and were often playing in front of, rather than through, Oxford’s midfield and defence and were struggling to find space to change the angle of attack and stretch Oxford’s organisation.

Uncharacteristically for a Karl Robinson side, Oxford had a physical and cynical, bordering on nasty, edge to their game. They broke up play with niggly fouls both on and off the ball, wasted time and were generally looking to disrupt rather than dictate the flow of the game. The irony that these were the kind of tactics Robinson has decried throughout his managerial career were perhaps not lost on the Oxford United boss, I’m guessing that he won’t care one jot, it’s perhaps a sign of his maturation as a manager.

Had it not been for the use of set-pieces by the two sides though, the result may have been quite different. While the game’s decisive goal came from a corner-kick, not being able to take advantage of our attacking set-pieces further played into Oxford’s game-spoiling tactics. Whether it’s a lack of height, organisation or quality of delivery, we’re missing out on a key way in which we can change the balance of tight games.

With the top six dangling tantalisingly in front of us, the Sky Blues contrived to fall flat at home to an Oxford United side fighting the drop. It was a performance in which the home side struggled to find any kind of rhythm against a resolute and abrasive away team. Despite having over half an hour to find an equaliser, it was a result that looked set in stone once Oxford found the breakthrough via a sloppily defended corner.

https://sidewayssammy.com/2019/03/23/the-wrap-oxford-united-0-1/