Ipswich Town SWOT analysis: The Blues are unbeaten and top of the league... but every team has Weaknesses
PUBLISHED: 13:30 16 October 2019
This week we are analysing Ipswich Town's start to the League One season which sees them top the table at the quarter mark. Next up ANDY WARREN looks at the Blues' potential weaknesses.
Ipswich Town are top of League One and remain unbeaten at the quarter mark of the season.
This week we'll be looking at the Blues' start to the campaign, putting them through a SWOT analysis to assess the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of Paul Lambert's men.
First up we looked at the Blues' strengths.
Here, we analyse potential weaknesses.
A work in progress?
First off, we need to be open to the idea that it's pretty churlish to be searching for weaknesses in a side unbeaten, sitting top of the table after 11 games.
But every team can improve and Ipswich Town are far from perfect, so let's think of it as constructive criticism.
The big criticism levelled at Ipswich so far this season is the fact they've not been able to put in what you would term 'a 90 minute performance' and haven't blown teams away. The Blues are, in many ways, still a work in progress.
Luke Chambers and Emyr Huws are among the players to have admitted as much in recent weeks but have rightly used it as a positive, highlighting the fact Ipswich are where they are without hitting top gear.
When this question was put to manager Paul Lambert recently, he insisted no team will ever dominate their opponents for the entire 90 minutes of a game. But complete control and untouchable domination is not what we're talking about here.
We're talking about being supremely comfortable throughout contests, having opponents at arms' length without necessarily always having a firm grip around their necks.
The win at Burton was a nervy one, the draw with Sunderland was a game of two halves as Ipswich failed to make their dominance of the first 45 minutes count before being second best after the break. They were perhaps lucky to come away with a draw from Peterborough, had to dig deep to win following a miserable first-half against AFC Wimbledon and had to defend for their lives at MK Dons.
The 3-0 and 4-1 home wins over Shrewsbury and Tranmere look routine on the scoresheet, but were not without prolonged spells of discomfort.
They got the job done on all of those occasions, while also seeing out 1-0 away wins at Gillingham and Fleetwood, and that's only to be applauded. There's no weakness in winning when you're not at your best.
But what we must acknowledge is that better teams may well have punished Lambert's men on many of those occasions. It's also worth noting that seven of the eight sides Ipswich have beaten are currently in the bottom half of the table. Fleetwood are the exception.
The drop in quality from the Championship to League One has perhaps been greater than many expected and it will be interesting to see what the state of play is in another 11 games.
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You feel the Blues will need to find those so-far-elusive extra gears if they are to maintain their dominance over the league.
You can prove anything you want with statistics, so here are a few areas where Ipswich aren't faring so well.
Eight League One teams are having more than the 13.4 shots the Blues are averaging per game, while their 52% is only sixth when it comes to possession.
The biggest surprise is that Ipswich are only completing 68.5% of their passes, either short or long - that's the 15th best across the division. Only Gillingham average more than the 89 long passes Ipswich play per game, with only 35% of those deemed to be accurate.
Make of those what you will.
Not quite firing
The prospect of a partnership between James Norwood and Alan Judge was an exciting one as the summer days drifted away towards the start of the season.
An expert finisher playing in front of a No.10 who many believed to be the best player in League One. That was how it felt.
But it's not quite turned out that way.
Judge's much-publicised transfer interest from QPR, tough times in his personal life and a nasty wrist injury all contributed to a difficult start to the season, with the Irishman seemingly playing catch-up ever since.
He's been in-and-out of the side and has been asked to play wide more often than not, meaning he's not been able to have a run in his favoured position.
There have been some good moments, let's not ignore those. His touch looks to be coming back and the cross he delivered for Norwood's second goal at Bolton was sublime.
He certainly not hit the heights we expected, though.
Norwood exploded into life during the final two weeks of August, a period in which all five of his Ipswich goals have come.
He's not netted since and has struggled in one-on-one situations, missing a string of chances. He's had the third-most chances in the league this season and you would certainly be more worried if he wasn't getting in right positions. And he certainly contributes far more than goals to the team with his work rate and attitude within the camp.
Hopefully surgery to ease a nagging groin problem is a success.
As we get deeper and deeper and deeper into the season, bigger and bigger moments will arrive.
Yes, Ipswich possess a big squad, but those are the times you need your best players to be rising to those occasions.