“He let a lot of people down today.”

Roy Carroll – 5

Failed to marshall his jumbled defence all afternoon. Put both centre halves in some dodgy situations by rolling it out. Made a good save to keep the scores level.

Elliot Hewitt – 6

A solid game. Looked good in the tackle and his distribution was generally good. Pulled up on occasion by getting too tight, but definitely merits a run in the side. Isn’t Scot Bennett at least…

Thierry Audel – 4

Drop immediately.

Mawouna Amevor – 6

Steady. Won most of his ariel battles and looked generally positive with the ball at his feet. Made a couple of mistakes but is certainly worth persisting with.

Gil Swerts – 6

Obviously a very sound footballer. Went short when needed; hit Stead when otherwise needed. Even though he played out of position, he has a clear calming influence.

Genaro Snijders – 8

An excellent home debut. Very positive in the first half; lots of running and not scared to whip the ball in. Showed more quality touches in the second half apart from his one goal scoring chance. A must for Villa and at least the next 10 games.

Liam Noble – 4

When he was on the pitch, he played very well. Lots of energy, good use of the ball and a threat going forward. But yet again though, he let more than himself down. I do not care if he got a piece of the ball, you cannot tackle like that. Sat in the Kop, I could see it was a ridiculous tackle. He planted his standing foot and stamped into the tackle – a deserved red card. No way would he have cleared the danger from the corner that led to the goal; but as soon as a team 1-0 up goes down to 10 men, the impetus of the game swings. He’s too important to drop for any longer than his ban will keep him out for, but this must not happen again. He let a lot of people down today.

Stanley Aborah – 7

Showed his quality in possession again. My one big criticism; he must pass or drive forward more often. To beat teams in this league we will have to play with a high tempo and Aborah could dictate this. Le ss Andre Boucard…

Graham Burke – 7

An interesting piece of positioning by Moniz. Seemed he’d play AMC but ended up a more traditional CM. When he got on the ball Notts looked dangerous. He has excellent quality that must be harnessed; playing him CM could be a stroke of genius. Good goal.

Adam Campbell – 7

Some may see 7 as a generous score for someone who missed 3 convertible chances but Campbell played excellently today. Another, like Burke, who can play ball. He linked up well, even though he played out of position. Will score plenty of goals when given his chance in his true position.

Jon Stead – 6

Steady. His presence flitted in and out of the game. Was quite brutally manhandled at times by the Accy CB’s. If ever a striker needed a goal…

Subs

Jenner – 5

Probably touched the ball 3 times. Dad reckoned he bagged our goal; could be his biggest contribution so far this season.

Sharpe – N/A

Didn’t have time to do anything remotely related to earning a rating.

“Talk to board”

“Talk to board” is possibly one of the most benign features in Football Manager; enabling you to arrange trial days and feeder clubs amongst other things. However, the boardroom at Meadow Lane seems to have been the sight of a potentially, but probably over-egged, “incident” that could, but in no way will, affect the Magpies season.

11 hours ago (at the time of writing) BBC Nottigham Sport published a video of Ricardo Moniz on Facebook talking about an incident between himself and Guy Brantson (Head of Recruitment) in front of the Chairman, Ray Trew.

Moniz said he needed a striker, Branston said we didn’t. Moniz revealed to Radio Nottingham he saw Branston’s aired view as a “disciplinary mistake.” Moniz went on to say Branston claimed we needed “other composition of the team.” However, this was “not his job” and his job is to “recruit or scout.”

When this first came out, social media chat was rife of disarray at Notts. For me, it’s smacks of tough characters unwilling to budge on their opinions. Moniz obviously wants complete autonomy over anything relating to the first team. Whatever Ricardo says goes. If we need a £150,000+ Izale McLeod then we need him. If Haydn Hollis sits on the bench while our defence passes to the opposition midfield, then he sits on the bench.

Similarly Branston, a no nonsense centre half of 45 minute, yellow card Notts fame, wants to have his say. He obviously sees other areas of the team as needing strengthening before the front line. The nature of an acquisition panel, to the untrained eye, makes this issue exactly that; an issue. Surely a manager who wants full run of the show, having to sign his turns via committee can’t ever have what he desires? 

Possibly the most interesting gobbit from Moniz surrounded the issue of ‘ego’s’ “who are sometimes busy for themselves.” Again, to the untrained eye, this is Moniz’s show of disregard for the structure he works within. If Trew sees Moniz as the man to take us back up, the man who replaced “one of our own”, then he must be allowed to work as he pleases?
For what it’s worth, I think Guy Branston is right. That back line is terrible. The basic inability to defend, let alone to pass 10 yards forward to the impressive Stanley Aborah, will make life in League 2 a miserable one. As will Scot Bennett’s continued stint in the first team. This needs sorting before signing a striker.

Also, more must be done to ensure the flair of Jenner, Burke, De Silva and Snijders is capitalised on. 4 obviously talented footballers cannot take turns being stranded out wide all season. This needs sorting before signing a striker.

Thirdly, but certainly not finally, someone needs to put their arm around Jimmy Spencer and remind him how good a footballer he is, how impressively he can throw defences around and how valued he is by Notts fans. This needs sorting before signing a striker.

And to top it all, the Nottingham Post now find themselves banned from Meadow Lane because they published quotes from the Moniz interview whilst the BBC will be allowed to commentate on tomorrow’s game even though they have shared the whole video via Facebook. Bloody hell Ray; why are you taking the Billy Davies route ‘out’ of this situation?

At most football clubs, today would have been chalked down as a bad day. As Notts fans, I’m sure we’ll file it under ‘just another day at the office.’

Prediction for Saturday? Notts County 3 Accrington Stanley 0. Everyone back on the promotion bus…

“Barely any service…”

Roy Carroll – 6

Didn’t have much to do. Made a very good save after 3 minutes. Didn’t have too much chance with either goal.

Scot Bennett – 5

Certainly not a full back. Looked dodgy under the diagonal ball and his distribution was poor. Up for a tackle but generally poor.

Thierry Audel – 5

Wanted to bring the ball out from the back but gave the ball away too many times early on to give Mansfield the impetus. Looks strong in the air.

Civard Sprockel – 5

Was on the end of a poor looking tackle early doors which may have led to a lacklustre performance. Poor distribution.

Blair Adams – 6

Solid enough. Obviously not match fit but looked to foray forward when possible. Will be useful in this league.

Stanley Aborah – 7

Looked extremely comfortable on the ball without picking too many searching passes. The best performer of night.

Curtis Thompson – 5

Not his best game. Couldn’t impose himself on the midfield. Shouldn’t have been sacrificed at the break; poor decision by Moniz.

Liam Noble – 5

A few decent diag’s but nothing else too effective. Too weak against Mansfield’s physicality. Dining out on his goal in midweek.

Julian Jenner – 6

Seems to be this evenings Twitter scapegoat. Barely given any service. Had 2 chances that he should’ve have done better with. Could be a match winner if he can get the ball.

Kyle De Silva – 5

Looks a neat and tidy footballer but again starved of any service. Like Jenner, he could be the difference at points this season.

Jon Stead – 6

Like Jenner and De Silva; no service. Totally isolated in the first half; totally out of position in the second. Will come good.

Subs

Burke – 6

Some dangerous balls into the middle. An excellent option to have.

Spencer – 5

Starved of any service. Should’ve started alongside (not 20 yards in front of!) Stead.

Hollis – 5

Isn’t Moniz’s BPD. Beaten to a one-on-one header for the second goal. Might be seeing the bench more often than the pitch this season.

Chelsea. Derby County. Sheffield United. Notts County.

So, one week to go. Today’s Community Shield tie at Wembley may have wet the whistle of football fans across the country but most football fans will only have eyes for next weekend: opening weekend.

Most clubs have everything in place for the opening season (apart from our “dominant English centre half”) and so do most fans: not least their ‘top of the league’ bet. So, inkeeping with many football fans ritualistic and wildly optimistic early season ‘punditry’ here are my league winners come May.

Chelsea

Having strolled to Premier League success last season, Chelsea look decent favourites to win the title again. The ‘Jose Mourinho Factor’ is arguably enough to keep the bandwagon rolling but their success could come down to the transfer failings of those around them rather than their own strengthening. With only Falcao realistically going to affect their first team; most around them have failed to capitalise effectively. Delph and Sterling = average at the minute. Liverpool = Standard expensive yet average summer. United = Exciting but starting miles behind after last season. Arsenal = still lacking the one thing that everyone in the country  knows they need.

Derby County

After I hotly tipped Derby to “walk the league by about 7/8 points” last season, only to see them blob it at the last minute; I have not lost faith in them this season. Championship teams tend to generally recruit well in the summer, Downing to Middlesborough is an outstanding piece of business, and Derby are no different. To have an already excellent squad enhanced by Shackell, Baird, Weimann, Bent and Ince can only be good news. Paul Clement needs a good start in order to satisfy expectation but with a squad containing so much quality, success should come to Pride Park.

Sheffield United

If we’d have been able to hold our spine together for 6 more minutes last May, this section still wouldn’t have contained Notts; but it would have been nice to be in the frame.

The three relegated teams, especially Wigan and Blackpool, could struggle to realise instant success in League 1 due to financial constraints which makes perennial bottle jobs Sheffield United favourites to win it this season. Any League 1 team who can firstly afford and secondly field a strike force of Connor Sammon and Billy Sharp guided by the more than able Nigel Adkins should walk that league. But this is Sheffield United and things are never straight forward at Bramall Lane. Ask the Dynamo boys.

Notts County

Who says football fans are fickle? In four weeks I’ll probably be on here slating the vast majority of the squad after a 1-1 draw at home to Accrington. But for today we shall keep the faith. That faith is kept against an outrageously strong looking Portsmouth squad containing some excellent fourth division signings; Enda Stevens, Michael Doyle and Gary Roberts.

However, the Moniz revolution could be the difference between us and them. For me, the likes of Swerts, Jenner, Snijders, Amevor and Valencic could be the aces in the pack. Campbell, Atkinson and De Silva could be the youngsters who develop into top level players. Even Alan Smith could contribute… But time will tell.

Let’s see where we are in 10 months time: Chelsea. Derby County. Sheffield United. Notts County.