Something has to change for this game. Our style of play and formations have become so predictable. It’s admirable that we are sticking to the style of play that won us the Championship but basically what it does it tell every opposing team what we are going to do and how we are going to try and do it. Makes us so easy to play against. Opposition teams are out muscling, out pressing and overrunning our midfield, particularly in the centre of the pitch.
Farke was right when he said after the Man U game that we weren’t physical enough so first off I’d start by dropping McLean. Watford might have Doucoure and Capoue in the centre of midfield on Friday and I’m not confident of McLean and Trybull winning many duels against those two. I’m sure Kenny is a nice chap but he’s just nowhere good enough for Premier League football. Watch the Brighton highlights and pay attention to McLean and see what he does (or rather doesn’t do). I’d rather have a half fit Vrancic in the squad than McLean. Trybull doesn’t really cover himself in glory either tbh. For me the lack of protection for the defence from midfield is one of the main reasons why we have been conceding so many goals. If Amadou is fit then for me he has to go into the position we signed him for. In centre half I would play Byram who apart from being an actual defender and not a midfielder being played out of position, had Sterling in his pocket against Man City and has hardly had a look in since.
Imo, having a Number 10 is a luxury that we can’t afford to have at the moment and so I would change the formation to 4-5-1 and put an extra midfielder in the middle and have them play further up the pitch as a unit. If Watford do play Doucoure and Capoue on Friday then most likely they will be winning most of the challenges against McLean and Trybull and our defence will be dealing with wave after wave of attacks making conceding almost inevitable so I would play both Amadou and Tettey to lessen the risk and win us the ball further up the pitch and do to teams what they have been doing to us. Playing 4-2-3-1 means that we are getting dispossessed more often than not quite far into our own half and thus creating dangerous chances for opposing teams. Also don’t know what’s going on with Roberts at the moment but if he’s fit and available he would be in my team. Have two out and out wingers in the side to turn their defence and take on their fullbacks who aren’t exactly world beaters. Would also make us more of a threat on the counter. Both would have to help out the defence when needed. Buendia can come on later in the game where his guile and skill may be more useful against tiring defenders. This is the side I’d go for if everyone is fit and available.
Aarons. Byram. Godfrey. Lewis
Tettey. Amadou. Leitner/Vrancic
I’ve included Leitner as he is currently our best ball player and having two defensive minded midfielders would mitigate his lack of defensive ability. However when Vrancic is fully fit he would go straight in as his passing is more incisive, is a bigger threat from long range and set pieces and offers more defensively than Leitner. If we are behind in the game then we can change things up by bringing on a Buendia, Cantwell, Stiepermann or Drmic. Deulofeu will need to be kept quiet also. Oh btw Farke please abandon Zonal marking. It clearly doesn’t work ala Brighton’s second goal.