Written by Connor Lawson
At the start of the month, with MK Dons sitting sixteenth in League One, I published an article called “What’s Going Wrong at MK Dons?” in which I examined that exact question.
So, as the month, and indeed the year, draws to a close, lets have a look at what has changed since that article.
Well things have changed. MK Dons have fallen to twentieth in the table, losing back to back games either side of Christmas, and currently have a record of one win in thirteen games.
Things quite clearly haven’t changed for the better, and fingers are being pointed, especially at manager Robbie Neilson.
Neilson’s tactics have constantly been questioned all season, yet his true tactical incompetence shone through during MK Dons’ Boxing Day fixture at home to Plymouth.
Neilson played the game with a back four, and put winger Peter Pawlett at right back, whilst placing actual right back George Williams at centre back, and centre back Scott Wootton on the bench. Confusing isn’t it?
To further compound that, after some poor defending led to Plymouth going a goal up in the first half, Neilson opted for some changes in the second period, with twenty minutes left.
There are a couple of problems I had with his substitutions. One was that they came far too late, occurring with just nineteen minutes left, and the other is yet more tactical incompetence from the Scot.
At one-nil down, you would probably be looking to bring on some attackers and, if it isn’t a like-for-like swap, then possibly take off a defensive player in place of an attacker.
That’s logic. Logic that, apparently, didn’t occur to Neilson when he made his subs, bringing on two holding midfielders and taking off a striker.
Where on earth is the logic in that? The man had three attacking players on the bench, yet opted for one of the most bizarre subs I have ever seen in a time when his side needed to score.
In the article at the start of the month, I spoke about Pete Winkelman’s interview and, in that interview, he spoke of excitement for the Osman Sow and Chuks Aneke partnership.
Now, to give the chairman some credit, Aneke has scored twice since I wrote that article, but Sow, on the other hand, has failed to make any impact on the games he has featured in.
It just doesn’t seem to make any sense, when MK Dons signed him he came with fantastic reviews from Neilson himself as well as Hearts fans at his former club.
Despite all of this, I don’t think I have ever seen an attacker with a poorer first touch, or a poorer grasp of where to position himself in, or indeed out, of the box. He has no strength and is constantly bullied off the ball.
Many fans are drawing on the quote from Winkelman when Karl Robinson was sacked, which was something along the lines of “it isn’t acceptable for our club to be nineteenth in League One”.
Well, Mr Winkelman, the club currently sit in twentieth place, just three points afloat and the team directly below, AFC Wimbledon, have a game in hand.
Boxing Day saw the fans really turn on the boss, chanting “Neilson, sort it out” and booing him off when he applauded the fans at the end.
The time has come for Pete Winkelman to get Robbie Neilson out of the club, before he causes embarrassment by inevitably losing to rivals Peterborough, AFC Wimbledon and Northampton in the coming weeks.
What are your thoughts? Should Robbie Neilson be relieved of his duties? Let us know in the comments!