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I'm not really sure where this leaves Leitner now, since that Newcastle game it hasn't really worked for him (I'm a big fan btw)

Bags of swagger talent and style, but he is possibly the slowest player I have seen with or without the ball, very weak in the tackle and doesn't really add much other than making things 'tick over', lacks the dynamism IMO. 

Agility and pace in this league is key, clearly in this league, he has not got the attributes to be playing in the No. 10 role. 

Steiperman offers far move movement across the lines in that position, yes he has been poor and plays a risky game, but Cantwell and especially  Beundia of late have been just as bad if not worse.

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10 hours ago, paddycanary said:

Interesting to see what happens in the next few games. If Tettey & Trybull both start, one from Leitner & McLean will surely be benched, possibly both if Stiepermann gets the nod. Vrancic should come into the equation soon too. If they can all stay fit, it gives good options but the back four need protection, which detracts from the offensive aspects of the philosophy and makes it difficult to currently justify starting Leitner. And this in games that, in theory, should suit his style. All these injuries look to have dented so much of the positivity and shook the confidence of the squad. We need to get points on the board. 

Farke doesn't seem to like to change things too much, but he has to acknowledge that 4 defeats out of 5 (and 2 consolation goals), means we need to change things.  If Amadou is fit, I'd go with Tettey and Trybull in front of him and Godfrey and try McLean behind Pukki, with Hernandez and Buendia supporting them.  We also need to find a way to get Pukki into more threatening areas - he seems to have only had one or two half chances a game in the last few matches.

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Leitner is a quality player, but of course is better playing from deep rather than Stiepermann's position. It all comes down to who is fit and available. For me, its a centre back pairing of Godfrey & Amadou. With Trybull & one other alongside him / Leitner / Tettey, depending on the opposition. I would like to see Stepiermann get a goal which would boost his confidence and get him playing with a little more guile. Im surprised that Drmic hasn't been considered more for that position, as he's agile, creative and a goal threat. Guess we'll have to speculate on who starts next game until the next injury bulletin comes in.

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If we can acknowledge that recent results leave the need for tightening up around the middle, perhaps a 4-3-2-1 for a few weeks? Assuming Krul & Amadou are fit to start, something like:

                               Krul

Aarons     Amadou     Godfrey     Lewis

           Trybull     Tettey     Leitner

                Buendia     Hernandez

                              Pukki

 

Lacks a bit of width but having T & T in there should give the full backs some freedom. Vrancic could slot in for Leitner if he ever gets fit. Drmic, Stiepermann, Cantwell, McLean & Roberts(?) all give different offensive options if we're still in the game after 70mins. Also easily flexible back into a 4-2-3-1 if needed during a game or even move Tettey into a back three for the last 20/25 mins of a match. Still a bit thin with options at the back - other than Byram, it's a bit makeshift if changes are enforced. Need to wrap Alex T in cotton wool! 

Another possibility arises from the reality that Buendia has certainly been identified as a dangerman and is receiving close personal attention. Can we afford to use him as an option off the bench for a while to mix it up a bit and keep the opposition coaches guessing? This could accommodate one of the above-mentioned, or perhaps even allow Byram & Aarons to both start, although that's unlikely given the lack of defensive options. Would playing an extra 'deep-lying' midfielder constitute an abandonment of the Farke approach? I don't think so, perhaps temporarily, but something needs to change using the tools at our disposal because the midfield is being over-run too easily.

November brings:

Brighton (a)

Watford (h)

Everton (a)

 

December has 7 fixtures! :

Arsenal (h)

Southampton (a)

Sheffield U (h)

Leicester (a)

Wolves (h)

Villa (a)

Spurs (h)

 

7 out of these 10 fixtures are against teams currently in the bottom half. 2 or 3 wins along with 2 or 3 draws keeps us in contention.  Watford at home is probably the only one on that list where we might be bookie's favourite's. We'll probably know by New Year's Eve if survival is still a real possibility and this will have a strong bearing on the ability to attract "quality" in January. I'm sure Webber & the recruitment team have identified plenty of players who may be tempted during the window but we must remain in touch. Are there three teams weaker than us going on results & general performances so far? Of the 7 games lost so far, the Chelsea game was the only one where we weren't soundly beaten, which is very concerning. DF needs to find a way to stay in games until crunch time and dig out a few dirty draws, both home and away. 

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plenty to still get excited about.   I have more time for Leitner in my side than McLean as the option right now - although he has won more headers than any city player per min on the pitch.

 

Personally I would stick the to well drilled 4231, but look to bring in a more defensively minded Byram for Mclean to help secure the flanks and start either Leitner or Trybull alongside Tettey depending on the quality of the opposition - for most of the fixture above i have a slight preference for leitner but can see good arguments to start trybull instead away from home.  All subject to fitness we could try something like

 

                       Krul 

Byram  Amadou Godfrey Lewis

            Tettey    Leitner

Aarons      Buendia         Onel  

                     Pukki 

 

The midfield 5 can be physical enough although retaining the  long ball out (Krul has made more long passes than short this season, in sharp contrast to last season) is harder when facing an effective press.

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