Written by Connor Lawson
After not writing an article in a few weeks, I thought a good way to make a comeback would be publishing one on the team everyone dislikes.
But, good news for all of you ‘Milton-Keynes-aren’t-the-real-dons’ advocators, they’re not doing very well at all. MK Dons have started the season very poorly under Robbie Neilson, despite being pre-season favourites for promotionGranted, there are teams in the league doing worse than them, nine to be exact, including rivals Northampton and AFC Wimbledon (there’s a prize for whoever mentions that AFC Wimbledon aren’t rivals with MK Dons because they don’t exist), but it has certainly been a below-par start for the men from MK1. They have only managed two wins all season, scoring just four goals in the process, the joint-lowest in the league.
Many MK Dons fans are looking for somewhere to direct their anger. Some dislike the management, others dislike the players and some seem intent on expressing ridiculous opinions out loud, such as jeering off club captain and legend Dean Lewington after he was substituted against Peterborough.
I thought that the best way to evaluate would be to address all areas. On the pitch, off the pitch and in the stands.
Defensively, MK Dons haven’t looked too bad. Apart from the 4-1 loss to Blackburn, the defence has been decent, and excellent at times this campaign. I’d argue that they are stronger with our last line of defence, goalkeeper Lee Nicholls. He has put in some superb performances this season and has probably been man-of-the-match in most.
Let’s jump straight in with the topic of Dean Lewington. The fact of the matter is that he is not good enough anymore. Too many times he gets left for dead by quick wingers, sometimes leading to goals conceded. Let me just clarify that that doesn’t give fans a right to jeer him off the pitch.
Ouss Cisse is another interesting figure. He has become a fans favourite due to his height, strength, and two-hundred second daily Snapchat stories. The reality is that disappears in too many games, occasionally waving his arms around at the referee.
Sticking with the theme of the midfield, let’s mention Aaron Tshibola. Everyone was excited by his capture, and he has put in a few good performances, but he seems to think he is above the rest of the team and the league, frequently lacking effort and passion.
There are definitely some good players in the MK Dons squad. Striker Osman Sow could prove to be the height they need, and Gboly Ariyibi can offer pace, as can the likes of Aidan Nesbitt and Peter Pawlett.
One player who probably deserves some recognition is Callum Brittain, a player who has certainly gone up in my estimations. It seems overnight he went from a youth player to an exciting first teamer. He oozes desire and ability. He sometimes displays some naivety, but that will simply be cured by more first team football.
Robbie Neilson seems quite adamant on sticking with the long ball over the top style adopted under Karl Robinson. However, with the likes of Ryan Seager and Kieran Agard up front, they will never win aerial balls, it simply doesn’t threaten the opposition defence.
Although it may not be all doom and gloom. With Chuks Aneke returning from injury, and some of the newer signings not fully acclimatised to the League One style of play, there is still room for progression, but MK Dons fans are getting impatient, and rightly so. After losing poorly to Peterborough, and with games against AFC Wimbledon and Northampton on the horizon, they have a right to be worried.
Should they lose both of the coming games against some big rivals, there will be serious questions asked of the players and the management. It is at times like this, and in games like this, when the players really need the fans’ support, and it really doesn’t bode well when only around 100 tickets have been sold for AFC Wimbledon away, with many fans preferring to choose the beam-back option, a poor choice for those who know they could attend, but aren’t.
The end of the month will give MK Dons fans a good indication of where they are heading, but if results don’t improve and the ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ mantra is echoed by less and less, then manager Robbie Neilson will have a difficult situation on his hands.
MK Dons fans, what do you think about your start to the season? Let us know in the comments!