AFC Wimbledon Still Need To Address Two Key Areas Of Concern – Opinion

AFC Wimbledon are still unbeaten in the league, and when you consider the only loss suffered so far this season was at Chelsea in the Carabao Cup, a game in which they were far from embarrassed, everything seems fine.

There are huge positives to take from the first month of the season. The backroom staff have finally got their head around how to recruit players that are suitable for this level of football, and even though some level of statistical input will come into it, gone is the actual number crunching that led to decisions like age being a factor. Wimbledon will never have the spending power of others in the division, that’s always been the case for the club at whatever level they have played at.

Instead, they’ve always had to be savvy in the way they approach transfers and loans. This was proved on deadline day when they dipped their toes into the vast pool and plucked out two players who will be good additions to the squad over the coming months as the games seem to be more frequent, and the pitches inevitably get heavier.

Negatives Lurking?

The glowing reports coming out will of course keep the doubters at bay, and why not? Enjoy the football while it is good and getting you off your feet. That’s what it’s all about. However, there could be some concerns that are lurking and will need to be addressed before fans start getting antsy.

  1. Throwing Away Leads

The Dons were frontrunners over the last two seasons for giving away points when leading games. Should they have held on to a couple of those leads in the past two seasons they may not have been relegated from League One in 2022 and would have been clear of the drop zone well before the handful of games at the end of last term.

Yes, this is all hypothetical, and we must move forward. However, a worrying trend has started to appear again, and all in the past week. A goal up against Forest Green Rovers, a game in which they had the better chances but paid for not putting them away. It seemed inevitable when Rovers levelled, and on another day could have won. Wimbledon held firm and they could’ve won the game late on, but it was still points dropped.

Against Chelsea, they were again leading and were always going to be up against it against a team that was passing all around them, and it took two moments of bad judgment that led to the Premier League side going on to win the game.

This past weekend a 2-0 goal lead (often seen as the worst of leads) and very comfortable was not enough to keep Newport County at arm’s length. The 2-2 draw was seen as a fair result, and the Dons stayed unbeaten. A case of what might have been though?

  1. Strikers Not Scoring.

The exploits of James Tilley are starting to draw attention, with his seven goals and one assist a real highlight of the Dons bright start. If you took those away though it is not quite the same picture. Again, this is a team game and it will not matter where the goals come from, and when Tilley has a spell where he doesn’t score, the strikers may well pick up.

This though is a concern, as the Dons are creating chances. The latest statistics show as many as 15.8 shots per game on average. The much sought-after Ali Al-Hamadi has yet to hit the back of the net. His contribution to the side is great with a constant threat and this does open up chances, with his 3.5 shots per game is a decent return. For a player that won the club Player of the Year after just five months on the books though, this is a lean spell.

All forward players have them and then come good, and he will be his own worst critic. Two penalties were missed and taken off that duty, with some glaring misses in front of the goal. Trying too hard, or a lack of confidence? How long can manager Johnnie Jackson persevere? Likely as long as it takes as backup up Josh Davison is also on a drought of his own, and his industrious hustle style of play will only get him so far. It’s goals that he will thrive on and at present, he hasn’t had a sniff. With one start and five substitute appearances, he has an average of 0.5 shots per game. That tells its own story.

Writer’s View

Wimbledon will be hoping that the men leading the line start hitting form soon or the two points raised above could collide and the positives start to drain away.

Some could say the Dons are in a false position given the two wins have come against opposition currently sitting in the bottom three places. League Two looks to be one of the most competitive and open for many years, and we are only six games in. To be where Wimbledon are now is credit to the staff and players, and they will be working on solutions to the two points raised here. They will be desperate to avoid history that has caught them out in the recent past.


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