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Everything posted by Petriix

  1. I wasn't really expecting Todd to start at Chelsea, but not having him training with the first team or even in the squad seems totally backwards.
  2. Given our recent form and likely formation I'd say 'Norwich 0' is pretty inevitable. We might keep Chelsea down to 2 or 3 though.
  3. Farke seems to be losing the plot. We need our best players in and around the team. The overall squad management is verging on the disastrous. With Skipp and Buendia gone, we needed to be building the team around our best remaining players. Instead he's made the attacking midfield positions redundant and shoved our best attacking midfielder in the reserves. With Gilmour ineligible there's another space on the bench. Bonkers.
  4. Of course anyone can sign an out of contract player for free. It's not rocket science. They would have to wait until July 2023 though.
  5. I think the squad was a little thin in certain areas, particularly the spine: Striker, AM, CDM, CB. I think we needed those four signings as a priority and maintain that we could (should?) have spent bigger on fewer players. If we'd have concentrated the money from Rashica, Tzolis and Sargent into just two players then we would likely be in a better position. Likewise PLM, Gilmour and Normann is probably one too many midfielders when we really needed that Skipp replacement.
  6. I can honestly say that the squad this season doesn't appear to be any better than that of last season: some players are better, but we are missing the two most important players from 20/21 and have not really replaced them. Whatever you believe about the quality of the players, the way in which they are being utilised (or not) and the cohesion on the pitch has been severely lacking. I'd love for it to all come together in the next few weeks. For now, all we can say is that we've had an awful start and struggled to score goals.
  7. The irony is that it would have made perfect sense to start the season conservatively. If we didn't have the personnel to play 5 at the back, we could have at least played Sorensen alongside McLean as a solid, defensive base with PLM as one of the advanced midfielders. Maybe Gilmour in at number 10 and Cantwell the other AM. We could have looked to be really compact, keep it tight and hit teams on the break. We should have gone defensive to start with, then looked to expand. Instead we started experimental and have now gone conservative against the weaker teams.
  8. I'm fairly sure the balance was wrong before the Watford game, and that line-up in particular was so far removed from anything we'd ever played before: only Krul, Aarons, Hanley, McLean and Pukki had been at the club for more than a few weeks. To me that is lunacy to change the first team by that much in such a short space of time, regardless of the system we were playing. But to also be persevering with a different midfield philosophy which had seemingly abandoned the really disciplined defensive duo was asking for trouble. The frailties were already clearly exposed by the previous run of defeats. @Hank shoots Skyler Thanks for the reply and counterpoint. I think (hope) that you're right. I just fear that we're possibly now in a no-win situation: the momentum and continuity from last season have gone, and each failed experiment with tweaking the shape and line-up set us back to square 1. It could be another few weeks before we've figured out a system which can win and, by then, we could already be too far behind. Ultimately I'm not claiming that it's lost already, just wondering aloud how it might evolve from here. Even though we 'failed' in 19/20, we at least started off playing football that we could be proud to support. The injury crisis and Covid made for a strange season which could have been a lot better with just a bit of luck. This season has started with such a whimper in comparison, against a backdrop of the club's biggest ever transfer spend. @Parma Ham's gone mouldy Thanks for your post. I totally understand the point about not getting hung up on formations. However, there are some fundamental points around who you choose to put into the team, the roles they are given and the outcomes you ascribe to them. For example any of the midfield 3 could have feasibly played in the number 10 role, or indeed part of a double pivot but, it was clear from what they were doing on the pitch, that they were either not instructed to perform such roles, or they were performing them very badly. It's more about positional discipline than formation per se. My conjecture is that those midfield roles were too loosely defined. Consequently we saw all three of McLean, Gilmour and Lees-Melou covering larger areas of the pitch than they otherwise would if given a more disciplined role. That in turn led to a higher frequency of positional errors which resulted in opposition chances, goals and (ultimately) defeats. Bringing in an extra centre back gives an obvious extra body in defence, which clearly reduces the danger of midfielders being caught out of position. But it doesn't address the fundamental flaw with the midfield in the first place. Your original post from February alluded to the importance of building a solid defensive core, and that we were already doing so. I maintain that the switch to 4-3-3 undid that work. I understand that you attribute this more to the loss of Skipp than to the change in formation. Regardless of the formation, I'd hope to see three (and certainly never less than two) from Cantwell, Dowell, Tzolis, Rashica and Sargent on the pitch at any given time. They would, of course, need to work hard defensively. But they would give us the threat which we've been lacking. In order to accommodate them, we need to get a solid midfield base in place with clear and disciplined positional roles. We can't have Gilmour losing the ball by the touchline on the halfway line, or PLM going to ground in the centre circle when that leaves a clear run at our defence.
  9. I'd like to highlight an excellent post by @Parma Ham's gone mouldy in the thread on Farke's use of substitutes. In particular, the following stands out (remember we're talking last season in preparation for this season): Now it seems that I'm the only person making the distinction between the attacking 4-2-3-1 system we played in 19/20 and the more balanced version of the same system in 20/21. There seems to be an accepted wisdom that we get torn apart at this level when we play that way and that none of our midfielders can play the role that Skipp did last year. We sold Buendia, we couldn't get Skipp back, so Farke attempted to adapt his system to suit the players we did have. The 4-3-3, built around the prodigious Gilmour in the middle of the park. Flanked by two athletic midfielders who would do the dirty-work, Gilmour would be the creative fulcrum. We didn't need a number 10 any more because the two attacking midfielders would use their pace to get forward with Pukki. One of the midfield 3 would always be able to get forward and assist in attack so we wouldn't lack numbers and the extra midfielder would make it more defensively secure anyway. The fullbacks could give us width so it wouldn't be too narrow... The 4-3-3 worked perfectly. Against Bournemouth's second string. 6-0 with the attacking talents of Tzolis and Sargent showing their potential. You could really see how the system was supposed to work. Unfortunately we weren't up against Bournemouth in the Premier League. The midfield in that 4-3-3 were defensively frail yet also lacking a cutting edge in attack - the worst of both worlds. I don't think you can lay the blame solely on the system - although it's easy to see the holes. A significant part of the problem was the enormous turnover of players in those crucial positions. Of our previously solid midfield of Skipp, McLean, Cantwell, Dowell and Buendia, only Cantwell would feature in our opening two league games. That seems like a massive amount of disruption to the continuity of a team which was on a roll. What about the steady, long-term evolution that Parma was talking about? What about the solid, defensive core? Farke stuck with it. Narrow defeats to Leicester and Arsenal followed. It was almost working but, for some reason, the fullbacks were being exposed, especially down the left. The extra man in midfield wasn't compensating for the lack of tracking in the wide areas. Rashica simply didn't have an understanding of the defensive work required. Cantwell was now on the right and struggling to influence the games. So Tzolis and Dowell were given the chance but with little difference in the outcome. Then disaster. Watford at home. Probably the easiest game of the season on paper. Kabak's in at centre back. Normann makes his first start. Sargent and Rashica get the nod in attacking midfield. It's a shambles. Rashica fails to stop a cross from deep. Kabak loses the only man in there and bang, it's 0-1. Norwich respond with Normann feeding Pukki. Finally the season is up and running. Well tear them apart in the second half... Sadly not. Normann doesn't have the stamina and completely switches off. His man runs free, cuts it back and it's a tap in. Finally we see the 4-2-3-1 for the last 20 minutes. But it all unravels with a mistake from McLean leading to a 3rd goal. The team fall apart and Watford could have had more. Farke concedes by going ultra defensive. 5 at the back. Still 3 in midfield. That means sacrificing another attacking player - from four under the 4-2-3-1, three in the 4-3-3 it's now two in the 5-3-2. It might have worked against Everton had Kabak not swung a leg in the box. He's certainly not covered himself in glory in those first two appearances. But Burnley and Brighton are largely kept at bay. The rot is stopped. But Farkeball has all but gone from the team. Balls are routinely cleared long for the front two to chase. There are glimpses of fluid passing, some nice through-balls and a few great chances, but they mostly come from defensive mistakes rather than attacking play. So, here we are. We have four attacking midfielders - Cantwell, Dowell, Rashica and Tzolis - competing for zero places in the starting line-up. Two of the three biggest signings in the club's history on the bench and arguably their most valuable remaining player not even in the squad. Gilmour, who probably provided the catalyst for the switch to the broken 4-3-3 in the first place, can't get near the pitch. There's no room for creativity in this latest Farke team. It's looking more and more like the summer recruitment holds the bulk of the blame. Buendia was the talismanic figure who people said it would be hard to replace, but Skipp was the vital cog who held it all together. Maybe Normann and Lees-Melou will develop into the solid core we have been missing - the signs are good. But we're nearly a quarter of the way through the season with just two points on the board. The questions remain: how does this evolve to become a system which will win games? what place is there for the attacking talent which has been so unashamedly cast aside? I don't think we'll see a sudden deviation from this defensive setup. But I think it might be a panful remainder of the season. I was happy with the money received from selling Buendia, but I can honestly say that I think it's been wasted. We've signed a whole new team when we should have concentrated in a few key areas. I still think the 4-2-3-1 could work and should be tried, after the Chelsea game. And it should be a disciplined, defence-first version of the system. I doubt we'll see it though. Farke will likely flirt with the 4-3-3 again. But, as challenging as it is to fit a number 10 in, without one, we look pretty unable to create much.
  10. If we persist with 8 at the back then 15 points - another 13 0-0 draws and 17 defeats. Realistically I can't see us getting more than 35. We've already missed two of our target wins so we'd need to beat some of the bigger teams and I just can't see it happening.
  11. I might have made one or two posts on here recently basically making the same point. Rather than playing 5 defenders, 3 central midfielders and 2 attackers, I'd like to see us play a reasonably balanced 4 defenders, 2 central midfielders and 3 attacking midfielders behind 1 striker. The wide attacking midfielders would essentially have the same job that the wingbacks currently have, but could afford to be a little higher because they'd have actual fullbacks behind them. They'd undoubtedly cause teams a few more problems. To do this, you'd need to remove one of the central defenders and one of the central midfielders. Then you'd drop the second striker back into the attacking midfield line as a number 10. Not a crazy idea at all.
  12. To be fair, we've just had the perfect dress rehearsal. Chelsea will undoubtedly go all out attack. Brighton nearly came unstuck by overcommitting players forwards. If we stick with the 8 at the back, we might get a chance or two on the break. A 1-0 win is not beyond the realms of possibility.
  13. You're right. I am seeing it in a fairly black and white way. I'm obviously in the minority and clearly Farke sees it differently. I don't think you're in a position to say that I'm wrong though. At least not unless we actually tried the things I'm saying. I accept that I *might* be wrong. But I don't really see how I could be as wrong as conceding 16 goals, scoring two and getting just two points from eight games. I may be putting too much emphasis on the changes to the system last season. Maybe it was all about Skipp and Buendia and the lower level of the opposition. But we will likely never know. What we probably should have done is tried to keep our natural system initially, then looked at changing it if things didn't work. That way we'd have maintained our momentum and our confidence. Dowell was excellent at number 10. His set pieces were really dangerous and he posed a real goal-threat. That's exactly what we're missing.
  14. We adapted it significantly last season. In 19/20 it was more like a 4-1-3-1-1 with a single CDM and a very attacking number 10. In 20/21 we played with two solid CDMs for the first time. No one is advocating returning to the system from two years ago.
  15. I'm out of likes, but . In a way, the fact that we had those chances to miss yesterday is beside the point. Pukki didn't exactly miss a sitter, he had a couple of half-chances which he might have taken. Sargent really should have had two goals, simply from the positions he received the ball in. But let's look at where those chances came from: a blunder by the goalkeeper and a swift counter when they gave us the ball. Maybe that's the genuine answer to my original question. Our plan is to sit deep, press well and wait for a mistake to gift us an opening. It begs the question of why we signed the players we did when there's no place in the team for them. The transfer window is looking worse and worse as time goes on.
  16. I totally agree with the OP and couldn't disagree more with @Fiery Zac. The defensive issues in the wide areas were entirely caused by the switch to 4-3-3. Without a number 10, the wide attacking midfielders were too high up the pitch and failed to offer sufficient cover. The midfield 3 were all over the place and frequently caught out of position. The fullbacks were exposed by the shambolic midfield. People keep telling me that the 4-2-3-1 is too open without any actual evidence because we've never actually seen it in the Premier League. The evidence from last season was that the pair of defensive midfielders gave us a really solid spine. Abandoning this is a significant factor in our recent defensive frailties. Players don't generally have only one position they can play in. Midfielders in particular tend to be quit versatile. Saying that someone who plays central midfield couldn't play in defensive midfield is frankly nonsense. The whole point of the double pivot is that those two CDMs remain disciplined positionally to afford freedom to the rest of the midfield. Rather than having Kabak occasionally stepping forward with the ball, you occasionally have PLM dropping between the centre backs. It's still defensively sound. Without a number 10 there simply isn't the threat. Two strikers hunting for scraps and chasing long balls isn't really a plan. All the times Aarons and Giannoulis burst forward yesterday only to produce nothing highlights the need for the attacking midfielders. Imagine if that was Rashica and Tzolis with Sargent at number 10 behind Pukki. The two CDMs would afford us the opportunity to get our attacking players onto the pitch. Instead we've got McLean running around fairly aimlessly and an extra centre back to compensate for the lack of discipline in midfield.
  17. Do you like it? How do you see it leading to acquiring sufficient points to avoid relegation?
  18. For the 8000th time: we adapted the system last season with two solid CDMs in a double pivot and brought the number 10 deeper. That was a significant change from how we were playing the year before. We had addressed the defensive deficiencies and had struck a good balance between attack and defence. No one is asking for all out attack, just a pragmatic balance where we give ourselves a fighting chance. I'm as unhappy about abandoning the defensive midfield setup as I am about the changes in attack. 3 in midfield really doesn't work for us.
  19. You're making out that it's the same people making these contradictory arguments. It's not. We'd already found a near perfect balance between attack and defence with 4 defenders, 2 solid defensive midfielders and 4 attacking minded players. For some unfathomable reason we abandoned the successful system over the summer and went with a flawed 4-3-3. We completely nullified the attack by removing the essential number 10. We also nullified the defence by removing the solid double pivot. Now we've packed the defence to compensate for the shambolic midfield. Behold, we've stopped conceding. But we're playing with only two attacking players instead of the four. It's hardly surprising that we're not finding the net. We need to go back to the successful system in these winnable games. Fair enough to park the bus against Man City or Chelsea. But this is Burnley and Brighton. If we can't beat these, who are we going to beat?
  20. We easily have the players to do what Brentford are doing, we just don't put them on the pitch for some reason. Ironically, today's ultra-defensive 5-3-2 would be a great system against Chelsea. We might snatch an unlikely 0-0. Against Brighton we should be playing fearless attacking football.
  21. Again, that's nonsense. We only played the slow possession game against the teams who parked the bus. The vast majority of our goals came from rapid transitions where we won the ball and cut through teams. The system in 19/20 was different with just one holding midfielder. We adapted it for 20/21 by dropping another player deeper and coaching the wide midfielders to defend better. Having 3 attacking midfielders was absolutely integral to the way we created chances. Our attack is hardly lacking in pace. We just don't have the right players in the right positions to hurt the opposition. And we've abandoned the highly effective double pivot in midfield. The ridiculous 4-3-3 destroyed both our defensive security and our attacking threat. The 5-3-2 fixes the former by completely abandoning the latter. If we don't have the right players to play that system then it's a damning indictment of the recruitment, having broken the transfer record 3 times this summer in spending over £50m.
  22. We did a great job of restricting Brighton to just two good chances. Maupay fell over (was there a little bit of contact?) after rounding Krul when it looked like he could just tap it in, then missed a great chance at the end. But we conceded 65% of the possession and played a long-ball game for the majority. We nearly got lucky but it's hardly a brilliant tactical masterclass. It's negative and it got what it deserved: a goalless draw.
  23. We need around 40 points to survive. That's 10 wins and 10 draws. Which are our most winnable games? Watford, Burnley, Newcastle, Brentford, Brighton, Southampton, Leeds, Palace. Then get lucky against an out of form Arsenal or Leicester etc. Our opportunities for winning games are passing us by. 'Norwich 0' is the most likely outcome of this ultra defensive 5-3-2. We need give ourselves a fighting chance.
  24. You could only reasonably argue that if we'd actually tried to play the same system without them and failed. We haven't so it's purely speculation. Imagine for a second that we'd tried to play Skipp and Buendia as part of a 3 man midfield. Do you think results would have been any different? It's obvious to me that it's the inexplicable change in formation which is responsible for our awful start to the season. If we'd come out playing our natural game we'd still have been spanked by Liverpool and Man City, but you can guarantee we'd have picked up more than two points and two goals.
  25. Farke hasn't played his 'tried and tested system' even once this season. The 4-3-3 was a massive tactical change which absolutely backfired. He abandoned the 4-2-3-1 before we kicked a ball. The defensive solidity of the double pivot affords the ability to play more attacking, creative players. 3 in midfield with more diverse roles is asking for trouble. It is beyond the skillset of McLean, PLM and Gilmour to cover that much ground. Instead of fixing the midfield, we've just added an extra central defender to bail them out. We're now two attackers light. 6 defensive players, two midfielders and two attackers is way out of balance.
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