Really really poor performance, I thought it was much worse than the Barnsley game where we struggled first half but did turn it around well. That said we still managed to win which is to be applauded, but really if the handballs had been given we could well have lost. So I wouldn't take much confidence from it at all.
Why was this performance so poor? I would say
We obviously have a big problem when the opposition play 343. The forwards just can't get in the game at all, the space they find against a back 4 just wasnt't available. Game completely passed Brereton by, and Gallagher only had any luck through battering his way through pretty ineffectively.
The above was exacerbated by theoretically playing Elliott in midfield as he didn't actually play in midfield at all. He was really on the right almost like a second winger. That left Johnson and Holtby pretty much isolated in the midfield where they were overrun and both had really poor games. We really needed another midfielder in there - ideally Rothwell but Buckley or Davenport would have been okay. Eliott scored a great goal which papered over the cracks somewhat, but that apart it really didn't work.
When we did bring on midfield substitutes around the 75 minutes Brereton was already off and Gallagher went off. so then we suddenly had a lot of midfielders but no real forwards apart from Armstrong who was bizarrely playing wide. We lost all sense of shape entirely. Got lucky with Armstrong's goal, but it was a real mess.
I thought Ayala was a big downgrade on Wharton to be honest which is an amazing thing to say considering his pedigree. Will put it down to fitness. Lenihan and Nyambe were great, and I thought Bell did okay to be honest defensively.
What we need to do imo :
Figure out how to play against 343. Won't be the last time we come up against it. We might need to be radical and change our formation. Maybe we could match the 343? We have the players for it.
Not play Elliot in midfield. Get a proper workhorse in there like Rothwell or Davenport (or ideally Trav when he's back) to get up and down and be competitive. We've only got 3 midfielders in the formation for Christsake - the three in there need to actually play in midfield.
That said next we are playing Brentford who are 433 so think that will be a really open game and completely different to either of the last two games. Our standard 433 should work fine, but I certainly wouldn't play Elliot in the middle. Move him up wide right, drop Gallagher and play Rothwell on the left of the midfield 3.