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Michael Tucker

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^ Surely our most important player is Fabregas, by some distance over everyone, even Hazard who we can replace.
I can see (if not agree with) an argument for dropping Fabregas away at Liverpool, but surely a quick first half "Souness"  against Qarabag would kill that game off easily.


I also think one of Cahill or Luiz is crucial in 3 at the back.  Someone needs to organise it, I don't see Azpi commanding his colleagues, or young Rudiger or Christensen.  Playing Liverpool with Azpi, Christensen, Rudiger is asking for trouble.

I'd like to think Zappacosta is now ahead of Moses.  I'm all for buying back up players who aren't expected to start big games.  But if Zappa isn't better than our weakest player, what was the point of buying an 8th defender?  Sterling is 2 loan years away.

Bats should start at Qarabag if at all.  It is the one game we can be comfortable about winning.  Swansea and Newcastle may not be challenging for the PL title, but they are more than capable of taking points off us.  And this season we will be fighting for every point in most games.

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xCELERYx   
On 11/11/2017 at 4:30 PM, Blue_In_Every_Way said:

Exactly. And this is exactly why Pedro may be a better fit because Pedro can certainly press and then he has the ability to damage as well. 

Bakayoko definitely works in that role but I just dont see the point in putting him there against a team we really should be setting out to destroy rather than to match. Atleti and United yes... West Brom? Probably not..

Maybe last season it was more effective but this season is a different situation. Pedro is still an effective player and one I do like, but I don't think he offers us enough at times to just have him in the side for his ability to press or score and maintain 343. More so when a lot of the time he's actually moved back into a CM sort of position when we're without the ball. We may as well utilise a genuine CM who offers us a physical presence and genuine ball-wining abilities that is also athletic enough to break forward to support the attack. Now, Bakayoko certainly isn't going to be as clinical in the final third as Pedro but the overall package is more beneficial imo. 

I don't see the 343 being as effective any more now that teams are more comfortable defending the shape of the system. We seem to struggle more in the final third because it becomes more congested and our attacking midfielders are more midfield than forward orientated. So they like to, for the most part, come to the ball and play in front of the oppositions defence or get into one-v-one situations where they can dribble. This often slows the play down and our attack grinds to a halt. This has had a huge impact on our ability to counter-attack. No surprise that we're still yet to score a single goal on the counter-attack from our 11 games in the EPL this season. An area that we were deadly on last season.

352 provides a different dimension and provides a more solid base naturally. It also means we'll often have two players upfront more regularly and I think it's shown we tend to play better in this shape, because it allows us to maximise the best from Fabregas without him being quite the liability defensively. Unless we overhaul our AM's and bring in more forward type sorts (eg: Sanchez, Griezmann etc) who are genuine goal scorers, the 343 with the options we have is going to remain inconsistent. Which is supported by the fact they've provided a combined 3 goals and 4 assists in the league so far. Not really good enough for where we need to be.

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kev61   
3 hours ago, xCELERYx said:

Maybe last season it was more effective but this season is a different situation. Pedro is still an effective player and one I do like, but I don't think he offers us enough at times to just have him in the side for his ability to press or score and maintain 343. More so when a lot of the time he's actually moved back into a CM sort of position when we're without the ball. We may as well utilise a genuine CM who offers us a physical presence and genuine ball-wining abilities that is also athletic enough to break forward to support the attack. Now, Bakayoko certainly isn't going to be as clinical in the final third as Pedro but the overall package is more beneficial imo. 

I don't see the 343 being as effective any more now that teams are more comfortable defending the shape of the system. We seem to struggle more in the final third because it becomes more congested and our attacking midfielders are more midfield than forward orientated. So they like to, for the most part, come to the ball and play in front of the oppositions defence or get into one-v-one situations where they can dribble. This often slows the play down and our attack grinds to a halt. This has had a huge impact on our ability to counter-attack. No surprise that we're still yet to score a single goal on the counter-attack from our 11 games in the EPL this season. An area that we were deadly on last season.

352 provides a different dimension and provides a more solid base naturally. It also means we'll often have two players upfront more regularly and I think it's shown we tend to play better in this shape, because it allows us to maximise the best from Fabregas without him being quite the liability defensively. Unless we overhaul our AM's and bring in more forward type sorts (eg: Sanchez, Griezmann etc) who are genuine goal scorers, the 343 with the options we have is going to remain inconsistent. Which is supported by the fact they've provided a combined 3 goals and 4 assists in the league so far. Not really good enough for where we need to be.

Is that not over complimcating things?.I doubt very much many managers think in such intricate ways - and if they do maybe that's the problem.

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xCELERYx   
4 hours ago, kev61 said:

Is that not over complimcating things?.I doubt very much many managers think in such intricate ways - and if they do maybe that's the problem.

Not really. Player characteristics and player roles are hugely important in terms of the role they play within a system. If anything, I think fans to a degree look at it in a far too simplistic manner. It isn't always a matter of playing one player over the other purely because they play the same position on paper for example. There's all the other variables that go into it which will be the basis of if a player excels or contributes efficiency and consistently.

We're at a point now we're we have a system in place that the manager has installed. We've got players who can play the roles, but that doesn't always mean they're always the best fit for the role or system either. Point in case is someone like Willian within a 343. Good player, one of my favourites since he joined and I've defended him at times throughout. But the reality is that he's more midfielder than forward. He grafts, can contribute forward and defensively and often does things not really recognised in the stat sheet. This was good under a Mourinho system for example where the wide players acted more as midfielders than forwards and had greater defensive roles. Under Conte though our attacking midfielders need to be more forward orientated types to support the striker. That would mean we'd be wanting a player that offers us good off the ball movement, creativity, goal instincts etc. As they have more responsibility to contribute in the final third. With Willian not really being that type of player, it comes as no surprise that he's looked well below the form he showed us in years prior. While he's not exactly renown for his goal scoring, movement or creativity. So it isn't a shock he's the one who is often on the bench with Hazard and Pedro preferred. Both players being better fits for the role and system - simply down to their individual characteristics. 

There's other players who fit within this hazy area. Good enough players in their own right, but probably aren't the most ideal players you want to perform certain roles within specific systems. 

When you break this all down for each player, the system and the role being asked of them - this is why I feel we're now better equipped to play 352 more regularly than we are 343. Last season 343 made sense because our CM options were thin in numbers, despite not being the most ideally fitting for a two man system - we made it work as best we could. Having Kante made a huge difference and it allowed as to get away with having two other less mobile CM's in Matic and Fabregas - despite both being positive contributors - they were still limited at times. 

We're still a little thin at CM overall, but in terms of player types we've improved vastly. We can play 343 more comfortable if desired, but we're also now able to play 352 and have it be a genuine option more regularly. 

Bakayoko - Fabregas - Kante
Bakayoko - Drinkwater - Kante
Drinkwater - Fabregas - Kante
etc. 

Those are solid midfield combinations to have which provide a good balance. There's going to still remain a place for 343 for the time being but for me, I'd like to see 352 being the more regular option. I think it just fits better with what we have now. The only real AM combination that really has a positive right now is Hazard and Pedro. The question then becomes if it really offers us much more than having any of the three man CM combinations? What gives us the best balance as a team? Is being able to utilise Fabregas in a more accommodating environment worth more to us than having him exposed more defensively within a two CM system or left out of the starting XI altogether? Does the Hazard/Morata combination upfront together make us more threatening than just Morata alone with AM's in support? There's a number of areas that would be broken down in the attempt to find the best overall system for us as a team overall, but also against who we face. 

For what it's worth, 343 still has a place for now. But I personally believe 352 is the best option for more games going forward. Depending what we do as a club in the future regarding our AM stocks, then I think that will determine the shelf life of the 343.

Then again, maybe I'm being too particular and break it down like I do due to my interest in the NBA where this sort of thing has a big impact on starting line-ups and player match-ups. 

Edited by xCELERYx

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jones   
2 hours ago, xCELERYx said:

Not really. Player characteristics and player roles are hugely important in terms of the role they play within a system. If anything, I think fans to a degree look at it in a far too simplistic manner. It isn't always a matter of playing one player over the other purely because they play the same position on paper for example. There's all the other variables that go into it which will be the basis of if a player excels or contributes efficiency and consistently.

We're at a point now we're we have a system in place that the manager has installed. We've got players who can play the roles, but that doesn't always mean they're always the best fit for the role or system either. Point in case is someone like Willian within a 343. Good player, one of my favourites since he joined and I've defended him at times throughout. But the reality is that he's more midfielder than forward. He grafts, can contribute forward and defensively and often does things not really recognised in the stat sheet. This was good under a Mourinho system for example where the wide players acted more as midfielders than forwards and had greater defensive roles. Under Conte though our attacking midfielders need to be more forward orientated types to support the striker. That would mean we'd be wanting a player that offers us good off the ball movement, creativity, goal instincts etc. As they have more responsibility to contribute in the final third. With Willian not really being that type of player, it comes as no surprise that he's looked well below the form he showed us in years prior. While he's not exactly renown for his goal scoring, movement or creativity. So it isn't a shock he's the one who is often on the bench with Hazard and Pedro preferred. Both players being better fits for the role and system - simply down to their individual characteristics. 

There's other players who fit within this hazy area. Good enough players in their own right, but probably aren't the most ideal players you want to perform certain roles within specific systems. 

When you break this all down for each player, the system and the role being asked of them - this is why I feel we're now better equipped to play 352 more regularly than we are 343. Last season 343 made sense because our CM options were thin in numbers, despite not being the most ideally fitting for a two man system - we made it work as best we could. Having Kante made a huge difference and it allowed as to get away with having two other less mobile CM's in Matic and Fabregas - despite both being positive contributors - they were still limited at times. 

We're still a little thin at CM overall, but in terms of player types we've improved vastly. We can play 343 more comfortable if desired, but we're also now able to play 352 and have it be a genuine option more regularly. 

Bakayoko - Fabregas - Kante
Bakayoko - Drinkwater - Kante
Drinkwater - Fabregas - Kante
etc. 

Those are solid midfield combinations to have which provide a good balance. There's going to still remain a place for 343 for the time being but for me, I'd like to see 352 being the more regular option. I think it just fits better with what we have now. The only real AM combination that really has a positive right now is Hazard and Pedro. The question then becomes if it really offers us much more than having any of the three man CM combinations? What gives us the best balance as a team? Is being able to utilise Fabregas in a more accommodating environment worth more to us than having him exposed more defensively within a two CM system or left out of the starting XI altogether? Does the Hazard/Morata combination upfront together make us more threatening than just Morata alone with AM's in support? There's a number of areas that would be broken down in the attempt to find the best overall system for us as a team overall, but also against who we face. 

For what it's worth, 343 still has a place for now. But I personally believe 352 is the best option for more games going forward. Depending what we do as a club in the future regarding our AM stocks, then I think that will determine the shelf life of the 343.

Then again, maybe I'm being too particular and break it down like I do due to my interest in the NBA where this sort of thing has a big impact on starting line-ups and player match-ups. 

Agree with much of this. But no formation is perfect. I don't think 3-5-2 > 3-4-3 generally, but I agree that our best First XI is by using the 3-5-2:

Courtois - Azpi, Christensen/Luiz, Rudiger - Zappa/Moses, Fabregas, Bakayoko, Kante, Alonso - Hazard, Morata

Last year, our best XI was in the 3-4-3. That being said, I am not a fan of going for one system and building the squad to support that specific system with specific player roles. (The reason 3-4-3 is less effective now, is because teams know how to play against it.) I prefer flexibility and tactical unpredictability. We should aim to have 15-17 first team players in the squad, capable of playing 3-4 different systems. All of these players should be of the quality to start any game, without much drop in quality.  And there should be enough variation in terms of individual characteristics to play different formations effectively. This is City's strength, and an important reason to why they are cruising.

With the right ins and outs we can easily have such a squad, capable of mixing between 3-4-3, 3-5-2 and 3-4-1-2 but also go 4-2-4 when chasing games. That is why I argue we need more CFs and not AMs, for instance. Why we desperately need more quality a WB, especially at the left. Loftus-Cheek and Abraham could fill roles here too. And someone like Batshuayi can easier play to his strengths if he can start together with a striker instead of being pushed into the 3-4-3 where he clearly is a misfit.

 

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17 minutes ago, jones said:

We should aim to have 15-17 first team players in the squad, capable of playing 3-4 different systems. All of these players should be of the quality to start any game, without much drop in quality.

Fine - lets double the budget then.

Part of the attraction of 343 or even more so 352, is that it allows you to play with much cheaper players on much of the park, and demands only really top quality up front.
The WBs essentially just sit wide and wait.  They really don't have to be much good.
3 CBs are a hell of a lot cheaper than 2 strikers, about half the total cost.  Bargain.

3 CMs, 1 AM (+1 on bench)  and 1 CF is a hell of a saving on 2CM, 2AMs (+ 2 on bench) + CF.

Surely if we have Man City's budget then we can just simply buy the best CMs and have a front 5 of KdB, Silva, Sane, Jesus, Aguero and Sterling.  Essentially 5 AMS, then who needs extra defenders?

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jones   
11 hours ago, Droy was my hero said:

Fine - lets double the budget then.

Part of the attraction of 343 or even more so 352, is that it allows you to play with much cheaper players on much of the park, and demands only really top quality up front.
The WBs essentially just sit wide and wait.  They really don't have to be much good.
3 CBs are a hell of a lot cheaper than 2 strikers, about half the total cost.  Bargain.

3 CMs, 1 AM (+1 on bench)  and 1 CF is a hell of a saving on 2CM, 2AMs (+ 2 on bench) + CF.

Surely if we have Man City's budget then we can just simply buy the best CMs and have a front 5 of KdB, Silva, Sane, Jesus, Aguero and Sterling.  Essentially 5 AMS, then who needs extra defenders?

Fit your system with many defenders because they are cheaper than forwards? Seriously, clubs don't think like that.

Having 17 first team players capable of playing 3-4-3, 3-5-2 and 3-4-1-2 really does not that many changes. The base is the same nine positions for every game: 1GK, 3 CBs, 2 WBs, 2 CMs and 1 CF. It is the two attacking midfield/forward positions that you mix depending on who is in form and what opponent you face.

If we signed Alex Sandro and Belotti, recalled Loftus-Cheek, Abraham and Zouma, and sold Willian, Kenedy and Batshuayi we would have such a squad. It is seriously not going to be that much more expensive.

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2 hours ago, jones said:

Fit your system with many defenders because they are cheaper than forwards? Seriously, clubs don't think like that.

Of course they do.  Look at er, say Chelsea. 

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jones   
10 hours ago, Droy was my hero said:

Of course they do.  Look at er, say Chelsea. 

So you really believe Conte plays with five at the back because "defenders are cheaper"?

 

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This international break seems to have worked out quite well for us minus a rumoured injury to Batshuayi. Hazard only played 90 minutes last Friday, Morata 45 on Saturday whilst Bakayoko, Fabregas, Kante, Azpi, Alonso, Luiz, Zappa, Moses and Pedro have all had the week off. Willian played Tuesday but only came on as a sub in the second half. This should allow us to start this tough schedule with a few good results which in turn allows Conte to rotate, well as much as is physically possible. 
 
Agree with those that have selected the below team for West Brom: 
 
Courtois
 
Azpi   Christensen  Cahill
 
Zappa  Fabregas  Kante  Alonso
 
Pedro   Hazard
 
Morata
 
I imagine Morata will start again against Qarabag as if we win that game we are through. They may not be the strongest opposition but they have 2 draws against Madrid and away from home may not be as much of a walkover. Get the game won early, sub him off and then he can then be rested for the Atleti game. 

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