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Michael Tucker

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Surely then the problem is with the title "DM" rather than the player. I'm not sure, but had Mourinho ever described Matic as his DM? Is he not just a midfielder who can break up play and transition to attack quickly? If so, he is me never going to be a Makelele (who is?) But it seems to me he was brought in more for the disruption and speed of counter attack than simply a wall between defence and midfield. Even then, our defensive record has been generally quite admirable with him in front of it.

In terms conceded, we are on course for our worst defensive season ever under JM (or Grant or Scolari/Hiddink). So I wouldn't go overboard with the praise.

I accept your point - Matic does not play like a typical DM. What I don't accept is that this is because JM doesn't want a typical DM.

When Zouma or Ramires play that role, they don't take risks to attack the ball like Matic, they ensure they can always recover their position if necessary.

Matic takes risks because he gets beated so easily otherwise. I'm sure JM agrees that this is the best way for Matic to play, but I doubt it is really what he wants.

All this has come to greater light given 2 changes. Firstly Fabregas makes Matic's creative role largely redundant (this was his major plus in last season's side). Players make or don't make runs depending on who has the ball. Last season they made runs for Matic, in previous years, Lampard receiving the ball was the stimulus, now it is Fabregas, So even when Matic does have the ball and looks up, the opportunities are no longer there.

Secondly is the end of the press. Since January we have seen no more than 20 mins of it in a single game. This makes Matic pressing from a CM position just look plain odd.

In the past we have had ball winners in mid-field - Lewington, Bumstead, Wisey, Essien and more recently Ramires. But they get about a great deal more than Matic. He is a shark out of water.

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He is a shark out of water.

He is a shark in a custom made pool that covers central midfield. Our excellent FB's, our hard working AM and striker are to make sure that when teams attack us they attack through the middle where our shark lies waiting. This is imo how our entire team is build. We are build to direct danger down the middle where teams are extra careful of running with the ball because Matic is so bloody good one on one with his physique and long legs. The problem for us is when our AM and striker fail to press properly and give teams time to build an attack around our shark tank.

Our top priority next season should be to bring in more depth up front so that we can sustain a good pressing game over the course of the season.

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GURJ SS   

I don't get this. What solid base does Mikel offer?

Lets go back to the year we won the C.L, he was the single DM, who had a playmaker and a box to box player in front of him. Yes he didn't do many forward passes, but he was never found out of position and our centre backs very rarely had a player running directly at them. Not all midfielders need to attack, fullbacks can serve that purpose better on the overlap. A solid base, is 2 centre backs and a DM who don't get caught out of position and have defence on their minds first. Mikel would give that protection to the centre backs, because he would be disciplined in his role. Let

There are advantages and disadvantages to all types of players. Mikel doesn't give us anything in attack, Matic does. Matic finds himself on the wrong side of the ball far too often when defending, Mikel doesn't. It all depends on preferences, if someone gave me a choice of who I wanted as a DM for our club, I would look for the closest thing to Makelele, which in my opinion is Mascherano. Someone else might pick Matic, Khederia or someone else who isn't as defensive.

A solid base to me is our centre backs not being exposed, even if it would mean sacrificing central attack, as overall it would mean players like Hazard not needing to sacrifice his attack game to balance it out in defence.

When Jose had 4:3:3, Robben and Duff defended, but they defended further up the pitch while the 2 in front of the DM shifted from side to side to help the full back, depending on which side the opposition attacked from, but more importantly, with more power and defensive players in the middle, it gave Robben and Duff more licence to roam and work higher up the pitch on a counter attack.

Just my opinion.

Edit: I am not suggesting that we drop Matic, quite the opposite, we give him a licence to play further forward. We can use his power in midfield and he can help win the ball back higher up the pitch. I see Mikel and Matic in the same midfield as a win win situation. More of a defensive structure and more power in the most important part of the pitch, where the battle is won.

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Khobar   

In terms conceded, we are on course for our worst defensive season ever under JM (or Grant or Scolari/Hiddink). So I wouldn't go overboard with the praise.

I accept your point - Matic does not play like a typical DM. What I don't accept is that this is because JM doesn't want a typical DM.

When Zouma or Ramires play that role, they don't take risks to attack the ball like Matic, they ensure they can always recover their position if necessary.

Matic takes risks because he gets beated so easily otherwise. I'm sure JM agrees that this is the best way for Matic to play, but I doubt it is really what he wants.

All this has come to greater light given 2 changes. Firstly Fabregas makes Matic's creative role largely redundant (this was his major plus in last season's side). Players make or don't make runs depending on who has the ball. Last season they made runs for Matic, in previous years, Lampard receiving the ball was the stimulus, now it is Fabregas, So even when Matic does have the ball and looks up, the opportunities are no longer there.

Secondly is the end of the press. Since January we have seen no more than 20 mins of it in a single game. This makes Matic pressing from a CM position just look plain odd.

In the past we have had ball winners in mid-field - Lewington, Bumstead, Wisey, Essien and more recently Ramires. But they get about a great deal more than Matic. He is a shark out of water.

Appreciate your opinion, I simply don't agree with it. Matic plays the same way as he did at his previous club, Mourinho didn't simply buy him in the belief he was getting something else. Perhaps you're right about Fabregas/ Matic being less about defensive stability - well, DEFINATELY right. But again, actions seem to show that Mourinho wants it that way. The press I again agree with, but it send to be more a fault elsewhere rather than Matic pressing midfield.

I believe that Mourinho wants to develop Matic into a Toure-Like midfielder if only in influence. There certainly doesn't seem much inclination to abandon Matic in the middle for Ramires or Zouma and I doubt that the return of Mikel is going to make a difference either, it didn't before.

My belief is that Matic is a key component of how we want to play, but we are struggling with a lack of form from other players such as Oscar and Ramires. Fabregas, also, appears statistically unable to deliver in the second half of a season with the same impact as the first and combined with similar from Oscar it leaves us lacking in options.

You think (thought) Matic was on his way out. I fear Oscar and/ or Ramirez may be sacrificed in the next phase of building.

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Appreciate your opinion, I simply don't agree with it. Matic plays the same way as he did at his previous club, Mourinho didn't simply buy him in the belief he was getting something else. Perhaps you're right about Fabregas/ Matic being less about defensive stability - well, DEFINATELY right. But again, actions seem to show that Mourinho wants it that way. The press I again agree with, but it send to be more a fault elsewhere rather than Matic pressing midfield.

I believe that Mourinho wants to develop Matic into a Toure-Like midfielder if only in influence. There certainly doesn't seem much inclination to abandon Matic in the middle for Ramires or Zouma and I doubt that the return of Mikel is going to make a difference either, it didn't before.

My belief is that Matic is a key component of how we want to play, but we are struggling with a lack of form from other players such as Oscar and Ramires. Fabregas, also, appears statistically unable to deliver in the second half of a season with the same impact as the first and combined with similar from Oscar it leaves us lacking in options.

You think (thought) Matic was on his way out. I fear Oscar and/ or Ramirez may be sacrificed in the next phase of building.

When we bought Matic JM made some cryptic comment about looking at several players but that Matic was as good as the others but a lot cheaper.

Given the way JM spins his comments and usually ends up with a compliment for his own player, perhaps that meant that JM really was interested in other players but couldn't get them.

And Matic was brought in to the Jan 2104 team, not the September team. That team needed creativity to be added, not defensive substance. He did bring a lot of creativity - he was the man the forward players made runs for - at the cost of Luiz's greater defensive reliability (well maybe not even that).

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Sea foot   

Are you a cryptic crossword compiler Droy? I only ask as I find your posts to be geting increasingly difficult to understand.

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Are you a cryptic crossword compiler Droy? I only ask as I find your posts to be geting increasingly difficult to understand.

No.

But surely everyone can see that the team has played in 3 different ways since Matic arrived:

A end 2013/14, where Matic became the main creative influence.

B 2014/15 and the press, where Matic pressed along with the whole front 6 and theFBs

C January 2015+ without the press where players drop back and cover rather than attack the ball

So in reply to Khobar's post where he argues that JM knew Matic very well and bought him for the role he plays, my response is "which role of 3".

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Khobar   

No.

But surely everyone can see that the team has played in 3 different ways since Matic arrived:

A end 2013/14, where Matic became the main creative influence.

B 2014/15 and the press, where Matic pressed along with the whole front 6 and theFBs

C January 2015+ without the press where players drop back and cover rather than attack the ball

So in reply to Khobar's post where he argues that JM knew Matic very well and bought him for the role he plays, my response is "which role of 3".

As the team as a whole has changed approach, I would suggest the answer is all 3, as applicable.

Fabregas is struggling because the runners aren't going into the areas he wants to pass to. You could see his frustration against Southampton. Would you therefore surmise that Fabregas is a weak link and should be moved on, or is it a general malaise caused more by the more forward midfielders not quite meshing at the moment for whatever reason? Are Oscar and Ramires the problem due to their poor form? Is Willian at fault because his lack of attacking input? Is even Hazard at fault for not shooting more? Is Costa being distracted by the wum's?

Too many questions to place blame so consistently at one door.

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^ Not sure if I will ever get my point across here - I think too many people think every sentence I write about his says "He's ****, end of".

But I really am trying to be much more nuanced on this page.

It was your point earlier - that JM knew how Matic plays and so that is what he wanted when he bought him that I am addressing.

I don't think JM ever intended to play Matic as the defensive partner to a hugely creative but defensively weak Fabregas.

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Khobar   

^ Not sure if I will ever get my point across here - I think too many people think every sentence I write about his says "He's ****, end of".

But I really am trying to be much more nuanced on this page.

It was your point earlier - that JM knew how Matic plays and so that is what he wanted when he bought him that I am addressing.

I don't think JM ever intended to play Matic as the defensive partner to a hugely creative but defensively weak Fabregas.

Perhaps not, that's obviously open to conjecture. However, the point is that's exactly where he has been played. Whether he would be more effective next to someone other than Fabregas is a possibility although at times today (Hull) he and Ramires didn't provide a particularly stable shield in front of the defence.

But I sort of agree with you - as I said, I think the DM tag is more of a label to be used to judge him against than his actual abilities deserve. He is a sniper and fast-transition player. I think we agree also that Mourinho knew exactly what he was buying? In which case, he can surely only be pleased with performances and there was never any possibility of him being dropped by Christmas.

I think those early statements are why people misjudge your comments about him being shite, but that really was a problem of your own making I'm afraid. I'm sorry you think I don't get what you're saying, but I am at least attempting to carry out a sensible debate with you rather than the usual insult trading that can go on here.

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