Wow. What a start. Two games, eight goals. Both games saw City three goals to the good within thirty minutes. Both games had the feeling that City took their foot off the proverbial pedal as soon as they had reached their three goal buffer and successfully saw the game out.
From a personnel point of view, the move into the South Stand was a real joy. After two years in the Ateyo, it was a pleasure to be able to enjoy the facilities our new-look ground has to offer. It was also good to see some noise coming from the home fans, even if some people in the Dolman didn’t quite know what to make of the singing section being moved next to their previously calm area of the ground.
The Aden Flint saga goes on. It was nice to see him come on against Barnsley, even if it might have been for a goodbye. It would appear Johnson decided to pull him from the starting line-up against Plymouth, as opposed to Flint refusing to play. I don’t think that is Flint’s style anyway.
As I said last week, I still think he will be off before the closing of the transfer window, most likely to Birmingham City. It would make no sense to sell him prior to our game with them this weekend, so maybe we will see some movement early next week.
City have, of course, added to the squad since we last spoke, in the shape of Niclas Eliasson. The Swede is decried as a tricky, pacey winger who has an excellent cross on him. Regular readers will remember that I was hoping for an addition to the squad in a wide area, so this signing is welcomed.
The Gustav Engvall situation continues to perplex me, as I’m sure it does all City fans. Johnson was very clear in his pre-season interviews, saying that – according to their extensive statistical analysis – Gustav had improved in every area of his game. He went on to assure fans that he would get his first team chance this season.
The League Cup tie at home to Plymouth appeared to be the perfect opportunity for said chance, but Jamie McAllister’s post-match interview suggested the Swede might be heading back to his homeland for yet another loan spell in the not-too-distant future.
On the face of it that decision makes sense, but the mixed messages do suggest a lack of clear thinking about what the coaching staff want to do with the striker who has had so little game time since joining just over a year ago.
So, I’ve got thus far without eulogising or fawning too much about our two opening performances. I am more than aware of the risks of counting chickens before they’ve hatched and so on, but let’s just come out and say it: we look to be in blistering form so far.
The movement, pace and clinical finishing is something City fans have not been treated to for some time. A special mention should go to Bobby Reid and Freddie Hinds for particularly impressive performances.
It’s fair to say, bar the late goal we conceded against Barnsley, we are yet to put a foot wrong in the opening two games. Something I recall fondly from Cotterill’s promotions team of 2015/16 was their ability to see games out once they had got themselves into a strong position, and this is something we have done well in both opening games.
As we know, we haven’t faced a proper test yet, but it feels great to be focusing on the positives as opposed to berating the negatives following our first couple of games.
Let’s see where we are this time next week, after two tricky away games against Birmingham City and Brentford. If City can take four points from these two matches, I will start to believe we might be capable of something special this season.