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Aberdeen fan view: Failure to turn possession into points is a worrying trend but defensive lapses can be fixed

Aberdeen's Ryan Hedges (left) battles with Motherwell's Nathan McGinley during the 2-0 loss.
Aberdeen's Ryan Hedges (left) battles with Motherwell's Nathan McGinley during the 2-0 loss.

Aberdeen’s defensive barrier continues to display so many holes that it warrants the attention of a plasterer.

It may have been some years since Kevin van Veen hung up his trowel, but he has found gainful employment this autumn filling the gaps in the Dons’ rearguard.

Four times in two matches have Motherwell managed to find excessive space to convert crosses into Aberdeen’s box: three finished by the former tradesman, the other provided by him.

Since he opened his account 12 minutes into their league starter against Hibs, all of van Veen’s four goal contributions have come in this fixture. The Dutchman is certainly an interesting player and a difficult one to handle, but Aberdeen appear to find it far harder than anyone else.

And that is not the only worrying trend continued by the Dons this weekend. Saturday’s was the sixth match this season in which they have recorded at least two-thirds of possession, from which they have recorded five defeats and a single draw. Those numbers are extraordinary, bordering on inexplicable.

Taken together, though, each of the two explains the other. They look entirely comfortable against opposition which plays on similar terms – as a mirror of itself, the Aberdeen side has an innate understanding of what is likely to be coming at it – but when faced with teams seeking to quickly exploit rare possession with the fast, high ball into their box they collapse into panic and chaos.

That is not unfixable – especially with the vast experience among this squad – so long as it is recognised as a problem.

If this is written off as a bad day at the office, rather than a reversion to early-season habits, then the positive results gained in the previous three matches will serve only to paper over the cracks, rather than plastering them up.

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