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Squad Status: 2019/2020 Season

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jones   
1 hour ago, Droy was my hero said:

1.  I don't think that is true. 

It is.

1 hour ago, Droy was my hero said:

2.  If it is then they are all crazy.

They're not.

1 hour ago, Droy was my hero said:

3.  So what.  Are you are arguing that 866 is more balanced than 6 defenders, 6 CMs and 8 AM/CFs?

Yes. But it is also to a large extent because of the versatility provided by some of the players like for instance Barkley and Moses.

 

1 hour ago, Droy was my hero said:

You are counting Matches, not minutes.
Pedro 80 starts + 30 subs
Oscar 147 + 56
Willian 152 + 63

A very good estimate of minutes is simply starts.  Players that come on a lot invariably get subbed off a lot too.
So in fact we get

  • Pedro 45 goals/assists and 80 starts =  0.56
  • Oscar 75 goals/assists and 147 starts  = 0.51
  • Willian 74 goals/assists and  152 starts   = 0.49

 

Excluding sub appearances, but keeping the total goals+assists. Making up a stat to prove a weakened point. Donald Trump would be impressed.

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Just now, jones said:

Excluding sub appearances, but keeping the total goals+assists. Making up a stat to prove a weakened point. Donald Trump would be impressed.

No.  per minutes would be best.  Starts turns out to be a very accurate approximation.

To pretend Pedro has played 110 matches, when 30 or them have been as sub, and he has been taken off in about the same number, is just ridiculous.

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jones   
23 minutes ago, Droy was my hero said:

No.  per minutes would be best.  Starts turns out to be a very accurate approximation.

To pretend Pedro has played 110 matches, when 30 or them have been as sub, and he has been taken off in about the same number, is just ridiculous.

Haha. He has played 110 matches. Is that pretending?

Of course, per minutes is the most accurate approximation. Let's take a look at their PL contribution:

  • Pedro: 5172 minutes, 35 goals/assists, one per 148 minutes (decent)
  • Willian: 9488 minutes, 45 goals/assists, one per 211 minutes (sub par)

I am not saying they are bad. Not at all, I am arguing we should keep them as highly influential squad players. But it is a fact that they are not as influential in the final third as the best. My point remains: we need to look at players who are really influential in the final third. More so than the ones we currently have. So for comparison's sake:

  • KDB (for City in the PL): one per 116 minutes
  • Alexis (for Arsenal in the PL): one per 116 minutes
  • Coutinho (for Pool in the PL): one per 128 minutes

This is the kind of quality we need. In addition to Hazard, and in addition to Pedro and Willian. 

Edited by jones

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21 minutes ago, jones said:
  • KDB (for City in the PL): one per 116 minutes
  • Alexis (for Arsenal in the PL): one per 116 minutes
  • Coutinho (for Pool in the PL): one per 128 minutes

This is the kind of quality we need. In addition to Hazard, and in addition to Pedro and Willian

...and Morata.
I think I can see some issues here.

17 minutes ago, jones said:

Haha. He has played 110 matches. Is that pretending?

I doubt he has played more than 10 for us,  nearly always subbed on or off.

Still if you reckon he is scoring or assisting at a rate of 0.41 for all the games he subbed off in, AND all the game he comes on as sub in, I'd say that is pretty terrific.  

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xCELERYx   
6 hours ago, jones said:

Haha. He has played 110 matches. Is that pretending?

Of course, per minutes is the most accurate approximation. Let's take a look at their PL contribution:

  • Pedro: 5172 minutes, 35 goals/assists, one per 148 minutes (decent)
  • Willian: 9488 minutes, 45 goals/assists, one per 211 minutes (sub par)

I am not saying they are bad. Not at all, I am arguing we should keep them as highly influential squad players. But it is a fact that they are not as influential in the final third as the best. My point remains: we need to look at players who are really influential in the final third. More so than the ones we currently have. So for comparison's sake:

  • KDB (for City in the PL): one per 116 minutes
  • Alexis (for Arsenal in the PL): one per 116 minutes
  • Coutinho (for Pool in the PL): one per 128 minutes

This is the kind of quality we need. In addition to Hazard, and in addition to Pedro and Willian. 

Spot on.

Willian, while a good overall player and one that offers a certain set of characteristics in his position played that isn't normally had by many. He lacks the quality that makes him a viable source of input within the final third. 22 goals and 18 assists total across the PL says it all.

Pedro is a better fit for the role being asked - which shows in the fact he's got 20 goals and 13 assists in half the time as Willian. 

That said, neither are of the level one ideally wants to see as being regular first team players that the attack depend on. They're good squad players that can start games when needed, but are also able to contribute from the bench and provide solid rotation. Ideally, we need to improve on both of these players - that would make us stronger.

This is what separates our attack from other teams that play with three upfront. IF we can get one, if not two, more players in those positions that have more forward like qualities than midfield, then we'll add more strings to our bow. Teams won't be able to double up on Hazard as easily, and we'll not be so dependable on the likes of Hazard, Morata and Fabregas for creativity and goals. Ultimately, we become a better side for that.

 

 

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jones   

Looking at our first XI at the moment, the weakest link is our RWB, as the most consistent thing this season has been Moses and Zappacosta's underwhelming performances. Considering we have the best RB in the league in Azpilicueta, it would make sense to see that as an opportunity to change something. On the positive side, after a bit of a dodgy start,  our defensive record has been really impressive, a trend spearheaded by the inclusion of Andreas Christensen. At the same time, we are struggling to score.

Would it make sense to ditch the overly cautious back five system, and replace the weakest link with a more attacking player? Perhaps we should start playing the formation that most top teams are succeeding with at the moment? Especially considering we actually have a squad set up to play so:

Courtois/Cabellero/Eduardo

Azpi/Zappacosta - Rudiger/Cahill - Christensen/Luiz - Alonso/Kenedy

Barkley/Bakayoko - Kanté/Ampadu - Drinkwater/Fabregas

Willian/Pedro - Morata/Batshuayi - Hazard/Moses/Musonda

From a transfer and squad management perspective it makes sense also. We seem to struggle to find a LWB - but with this set-up, we have both Rudiger and Azpi who could more easily play that role as it is less attacking. Kenedy might even be able to leave on loan, without it affecting the squad very much. We also have seven players for the front three positions, instead of the six that we currently have. Midfield is perhaps a bit thin with 5+Ampadu for three positions, but considering Luiz can step in at DM and Musonda in Barkley's role we should be able to manage for the rest of the season. An AM and a CF is still needed of course, and the weak links Musonda and Batshuayi can leave if we manage to get someone in.

Net effect is that you exclude a relatively poor AM playing out of position (Moses) and replace him with a better AM in his natural position (Barkley).

As I have said before, 4-3-3 really is the obvious way forward for us, so this would also work as preparation for our future system. Just makes too much sense to do it?

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xCELERYx   

A back four just doesn't fit best defensively with the players we have. 

Christensen - established himself in a back three, both in Germany and here. Also hasn't been able to get into the NT in a back four pairing either. 

Rudiger - was unreliable when playing in a back four for Roma. Looked uncomfortable and unconvincing - both at CB and as a fill in RB. 

Luiz - erratic over the year in a back four. Being able to play in a back three gives him more freedom and cover for any mistakes. Looks better in such a system. 

Cahill - the main contender and one of the only players we have that has looked genuinely solid in either system. 

Azpilicueta - wouldn't be able to play as a CB in a back four due to his size. Would likely shift out to RB. Biggest question would be if he can maintain the attacking input he's currently having. 

Alonso - slow off the mark and would make it harder for us to get the best out of him when occupying a deeper position. Would also eliminate the freedom he gets from WB. Good chance he ends up in midfield. Lack of CB coverage means he'd need to be far more restrained. 

Moses - not convinced he could play as a genuine fullback. Would likely end up pushed back into an AM position where he'd end up a fringe player again. 

Zappacosta - lacks the defensive skills to be reliable in one-on-one situations. Unless he's given freedom to bomb forward, he'd end up exposed without the extra covering CB.

Too many issues would arise to make it viable at present. We'd need to re-tool our options across various positions further.  

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57 minutes ago, xCELERYx said:

A back four just doesn't fit best defensively with the players we have. 

If we don't have CBs who can play in a pair, shouldn't we just get rid of them? 

I'm sure we can sell most of them for good money - they generated a fantastic reputation last season while conceding fewer PL goals than in any other post RA season except 03/04, and 04/05, and 05/06, and 06/07, and 07/08 and 08/09 and 09/10 and 10/11 and 13/14 (with Luiz or  Cahill) and 14/15.

More over at just 11 goals conceded per CB they have done better than any year than 04/05 and 05/06.

They must have fantastic resale value on that record.  

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jones   
21 hours ago, xCELERYx said:

A back four just doesn't fit best defensively with the players we have. 

Christensen - established himself in a back three, both in Germany and here. Also hasn't been able to get into the NT in a back four pairing either. 

Rudiger - was unreliable when playing in a back four for Roma. Looked uncomfortable and unconvincing - both at CB and as a fill in RB. 

Luiz - erratic over the year in a back four. Being able to play in a back three gives him more freedom and cover for any mistakes. Looks better in such a system. 

Cahill - the main contender and one of the only players we have that has looked genuinely solid in either system. 

Azpilicueta - wouldn't be able to play as a CB in a back four due to his size. Would likely shift out to RB. Biggest question would be if he can maintain the attacking input he's currently having. 

Alonso - slow off the mark and would make it harder for us to get the best out of him when occupying a deeper position. Would also eliminate the freedom he gets from WB. Good chance he ends up in midfield. Lack of CB coverage means he'd need to be far more restrained. 

Moses - not convinced he could play as a genuine fullback. Would likely end up pushed back into an AM position where he'd end up a fringe player again. 

Zappacosta - lacks the defensive skills to be reliable in one-on-one situations. Unless he's given freedom to bomb forward, he'd end up exposed without the extra covering CB.

Too many issues would arise to make it viable at present. We'd need to re-tool our options across various positions further.  

To suggest Christensen does not fit in a back four is nonsense. A quick look at Transfermarkt suggests he played around 60 % of the games for Gladbach in a back four. He is quite similar in terms of style to Stones, who has excelled in a back four this season. And regarding Rudiger, if he was looking "uncomfortable and unconvincing" (quote) in a back four, then how come we paid 35mp for him in the summer? While I can understand he is a CB playing with high risk, I don't buy into the black and white picture you are painting. From what I have seen of Rudiger in a back three, there is little to suggest he could not do a decent job in a back four. Your assessment of Luiz and Cahill I agree with.

Anyway, a CB pairing with Christensen + Rudiger/Cahill, with Luiz as fourth option should definitely be good enough to finish top 4. It is superior to the back four currently being played by United, Liverpool and Spurs. And we also have a superior DM that, in the formation I suggest, will shield them from a lot of tricky situations. 

Azpi at RB is a no-brainer. Alonso at LB is definitely a valid concern, as he lacks pace and has not been put under the back four pressure in the PL yet. 

Regardless, considering we are extremely solid defensively and struggle to score, I really think 4-3-3 is something a manger like Conte, who comes with a reputation for being tactically flexible, should consider.

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