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Playing to our strengths

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If we are going to win Premier League football matches; we need our best players on the pitch, playing in their favoured positions.

John Ruddy is a better goalkeeper than Declan Rudd.

Wes Hoolahan is not a winger.

Jonny Howson is not a winger.

Matt Jarvis and Nathan Redmond are wingers.

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Rudd - I have some sympathy for him as his long-awaited chance has coincided with an alarming drop in form & confidence throughout the team. We might see Ruddy back over the next few games.

Wes - As much as I like him, I think he is nullified too often and too easily by opposing coaches and rarely lasts a full match. He provides an outlet and is capable of key passes but I''m not sure he should be an automatic starter anymore, not away and certainly not out on the left. He still has an important role to play this season though.

Howson - He has suffered all season by the lack of cohesion & consistency across our average-standard midfield area around him. Ideally he''d be starting alongside a better version of Alex Tettey in the middle of the park every week. His gap-plugging role is symptomatic of our weakness across midfield all year.

Jarvis - Shows flashes of ability going forward and can cross. Unlucky for him and us he got injured. He provides options and again could have an important role to play. If he is to nail down a starting spot, he has to work harder defensively. Just my opinion.

Redmond - Positive start to the season but his dip in form seems to have been a result of the change in AN''s philosophy since Newcastle away, as pointed out elsewhere on this forum today. I''m not sure if our ongoing difficulties in the right-back position are as a result of his attacking tendencies or because of the weaknesses he sees behind him. Often he is central to our most dangerous attacks and in providing relief to a beleaguered defence.

One thing is for sure, today''s result was atrocious and is arguably the biggest body-blow so far this season. Failing to score against that Villa team must have shattered the players'' confidence. I don''t think now is the correct time to sack AN though. See how the players respond over the next 3 games and then take stock. A new approach with this set of players must be rigorously implemented on the training pitch and I believe that we have the personnel for a sweeper system or a wing-back approach. It''s been attempted a couple of times already this season with mixed results but it might be an option to shore up the defence, maintain the screening role, provide width and cause problems on the counter. Combining this with extra attention paid to both offensive & defensive set-pieces and also increased pressure on the opposition when not in possession might see a turnaround in confidence and results. I admit that tonight is the first night I feel we look certainties for the bottom 3 but there are still lots of points to fight for.

Whatever about the squads''s limitations at this level, we do have interesting options if we can just nail a win or two and regain some confidence. What about:


Bennett Klose

Wisdom Bassong(SW) Brady

Tettey Howson

Redmond Naismith


Could Bassong''s tendency to wander be exploited in a sweeper role, in front or behind the centre-backs, a la Ian Culverhouse? Could the much-maligned Russell Martin be an effective sweeper or play wing-back? Would Pinto or Olsson slot into this formation? Would Brady have more cover when he wanders forward? Where could Wes, Jarvis, Bamford, O''Neil, Odjidja-Ofoe... provide something different either from the start or after 65mins in this kind of a formation?

It''s just a suggestion but after the last month I think it''s clear AN''s tactics have been found out and a fresh approach could keep opposition coaches guessing over a series of crucial make-or-break fixtures. Our midfield combinations so far this season haven''t really been effective on a consistent basis so a sweeper might provide more solidity around our box and enable Tettey/Howson/O''Neil/Brady/Wisdom to roam forward with more confidence.

If you''ve managed to make it to the end of this post, any ideas/suggestions/alterations to my proposed change in approach?

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[quote user="tedwards94"]

Wes Hoolahan is not a winger. .[/quote]Pink''un on Friday - Hoolahan was a notable omission from the side that lost 3-0 to Tottenham

at Carrow Road, but Neil revealed he wants the Republic of Ireland

international to work his magic in a crunch clash at Villa Park.“Wes was dropped out because we have a big game on Saturday and history

tells me that when he plays the type of game we had against Tottenham he

is not going to be ready for the weekend,” said Neil. “So in that sense

we half-protected him"What he didn''t add was "And on Saturday I''m going to play him out of position on the left wing & then as soon as we''re in trouble I''m going to substitute him"

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