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Petriix

Flawed 4-3-3

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The defensive deficiency of playing a single pivot in midfield have never been more apparent. Having two roaming central midfielders attempting to provide the creative force along with the defensive backup leads to a shambolic worst of both worlds.

The lack of positional discipline leaves us horribly exposed in defensive transitions. Every time we lose the ball, we're just a couple of passes from being sliced open. And this is against weak opposition.

It's similar to the problems we had initially under Farke with the defence being left exposed. However, under Farke, at least we had the ability to hurt teams. We could play with a bit of a weakness because we knew we would be able to outscore the opposition.

Unfortunately our shambolic midfield leaves us without the attacking focus a dedicated number 10 would offer. There's no obvious attacking pass for our wide AMs other than to try and pick Pukki out. But, with no one else to pull the defence out of shape, Pukki is isolated.

As previously, our best line of attack moves to the wide areas. Yet again that means we're hitting crosses into the box with no one to actually attack them.

It's a mess.

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Smith cost us that first half with that negative midfield team selection....and bizarrely almost went too atracking in the second 

Just something in the middle for 90 mins will suffice please ,Smith

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8 minutes ago, GJL Mid-Norfolk Canary said:

Smith cost us that first half with that negative midfield team selection....and bizarrely almost went too atracking in the second 

Just something in the middle for 90 mins will suffice please ,Smith

Still not really sure what system we are supposed to be playing under Smith.  Seems like the players aren't sure either! Agree with the selection, didn't seem like we needed two holding midfielders against such poor opposition 

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1 hour ago, Petriix said:

Unfortunately our shambolic midfield leaves us without the attacking focus a dedicated number 10 would offer. There's no obvious attacking pass for our wide AMs other than to try and pick Pukki out. But, with no one else to pull the defence out of shape, Pukki is isolated.

Fair enough. But also fair enough to see how Smith sets up when Sara, Núñez, Hayden and Idah are all available to start.

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I'd say the problem with this formation right now is that our holding midfielder Sorensen is not a holding midfielder.

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Tough one really as for opening period it looked only a matter of time until we hit 3 or 4. Nuñez looked like he could offer something going forwards and Cantwell always neat and tidy. Final ball lacking but seemed we were in the right track. Then one sloppy pass and we are done. 

Thats fair enough, mistakes happen.but the subsequent drop off in intensity, urgency or drive is the worry.  We need a leader in the middle of the park. Too quiet, stand off too much,just too placcid.

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I don’t think you can blame the formation - plenty of sides make it work. The problem is breaking sides down when they are set out to be spoilers as both Cardiff and Wigan have done.  You can’t really complain at them doing so, they are going to play to their advantage, it’s up to us to work It out (though a decent ref could also help)

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1 minute ago, Branston Pickle said:

I don’t think you can blame the formation - plenty of sides make it work. The problem is breaking sides down when they are set out to be spoilers as both Cardiff and Wigan have done.  You can’t really complain at them doing so, they are going to play to their advantage, it’s up to us to work It out (though a decent ref could also help)

Spot on.

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33 minutes ago, Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man said:

Is this our interpretation of the 4-3-3, or the formation in general?

4-3-3 itself is not the issue. When you've got 3 quality attackers who can make something happen, it's a great way of getting your weapons onto the pitch. The trouble is that Pukki is our only weapon, and he's mostly neutered by this system. 

But let's be clear: I'm not talking about having two CMs who sit back as a screen in front of the defence; I'm talking about playing a 6 and an 8 who stay relatively central and maintain positional discipline so that you have a solid spine to the team. Then having a dedicated central number 10 to spark the creativity in the attacking 3rd.

It's more about passing through the thirds and creating space for our attacking players to exploit. Then it's about having a degree of cover when we lose the ball.

With McLean and Nunez roaming, we totally lose shape. A massive part of why we saw Gibson and Sorensen lose the ball in bad areas is the lack of options for passing into midfield.

Cantwell was the one ray of light, playing more as a 10 as the game went on, dropping into pockets of space and picking up the ball. But he only really had Pukki looking for the ball in front of him.

Maybe if we had a bit more quality than Rashica and Sargent then we would pose an attacking threat.

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1 minute ago, Petriix said:

With McLean and Nunez roaming, we totally lose shape. A massive part of why we saw Gibson and Sorensen lose the ball in bad areas is the lack of options for passing into midfield.

Cantwell was the one ray of light, playing more as a 10 as the game went on, dropping into pockets of space and picking up the ball. But he only really had Pukki looking for the ball in front of him.

Maybe if we had a bit more quality than Rashica and Sargent then we would pose an attacking threat.

Front six of

            6. Hayden 8. Sara

Cantwell 10. Núñez Ramsey/Sinani

                      Pukki

should surely have enough quality for this league. You've then got the option of going wingers with Idah/Hugill in the middle off the bench for a plan B

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53 minutes ago, KeiranShikari said:

I'd say the problem with this formation right now is that our holding midfielder Sorensen is not a holding midfielder.

I'm pretty sure that is what he was originally billed as when we signed him but he's had precious few opportunities whilst he's been here in that position, so I'm not sure we've seen enough of him there to make that judgement either way.

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If 433 is gonna be the way smith wants......

Aarons  Andy O. Hanley  Dimi(McCallum)

     Sara.      Nunez.     Hayden 

     Cantwell.  Pukki.   Rashica 

 

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3 minutes ago, Creative Midfielder said:

I'm pretty sure that is what he was originally billed as when we signed him but he's had precious few opportunities whilst he's been here in that position, so I'm not sure we've seen enough of him there to make that judgement either way.

I think what we've seen is enough when you add in the evidence that 2 managers have only played him when we're down to the bare bones. Off the back of pre season and those two performances I think Kenny McLean plays the role until Hayden is fit now.

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13 minutes ago, Petriix said:

4-3-3 itself is not the issue. When you've got 3 quality attackers who can make something happen, it's a great way of getting your weapons onto the pitch. The trouble is that Pukki is our only weapon, and he's mostly neutered by this system. 

But let's be clear: I'm not talking about having two CMs who sit back as a screen in front of the defence; I'm talking about playing a 6 and an 8 who stay relatively central and maintain positional discipline so that you have a solid spine to the team. Then having a dedicated central number 10 to spark the creativity in the attacking 3rd.

It's more about passing through the thirds and creating space for our attacking players to exploit. Then it's about having a degree of cover when we lose the ball.

With McLean and Nunez roaming, we totally lose shape. A massive part of why we saw Gibson and Sorensen lose the ball in bad areas is the lack of options for passing into midfield.

Cantwell was the one ray of light, playing more as a 10 as the game went on, dropping into pockets of space and picking up the ball. But he only really had Pukki looking for the ball in front of him.

Maybe if we had a bit more quality than Rashica and Sargent then we would pose an attacking threat.

If Pukki truly is our only weapon, then personally, I will happily accept a season of mid-table mediocrity developing more players to a system  to give us a goal threat from more players, because relying on Pukki all the time is a dead end. 

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It's hard to judge until the players are fit and settled into a system. Today was a big improvement on last week, and Smith will be hoping for more in the next few games.

Centre mid - a key area for the 4-3-3 - was the obvious focus for our summer recruitment but they've barely been here 5 minutes.

Smith has been extremely fortunate to have so much time/patience, but I actually think he deserves a couple of months to get a settled side/system.

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2 hours ago, Petriix said:

As previously, our best line of attack moves to the wide areas. Yet again that means we're hitting crosses into the box with no one to actually attack them.

I agree, and this has also been a problem in both of our PL seasons under Farke. PL teams figures this out, congested the middle of the pitch and forced us out wide.

I do feel like Idah could be a huge asset for us, if he can finally stay injury free. He can score a range of goals - latching on to through balls, hitting them from outside of the box and headers.

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I don’t see why we have to play with 4 at the back against lowly opposition. We can make daft defensive errors (Gibson x 2) with 4 or 3 at the back, (that goal would have been scored with 6 at the back), but having 4 in midfield would put us on the front foot a lot more.

Ok there’s an argument that without Hanley we couldn’t do it today, but will Deano ever try it with him in the team?

It could even work away as the 3 quickly becomes a 5 with Max/Sam and Sam/Sam/Dimi in the team, we've got to start imposing who we are in this league and forget what happened last season. This was a 3-0 game all day.

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5 hours ago, GJL Mid-Norfolk Canary said:

Smith cost us that first half with that negative midfield team selection....and bizarrely almost went too atracking in the second 

Just something in the middle for 90 mins will suffice please ,Smith

who else did he have to select?

 

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7 hours ago, Petriix said:

The defensive deficiency of playing a single pivot in midfield have never been more apparent. Having two roaming central midfielders attempting to provide the creative force along with the defensive backup leads to a shambolic worst of both worlds.

The lack of positional discipline leaves us horribly exposed in defensive transitions. Every time we lose the ball, we're just a couple of passes from being sliced open. And this is against weak opposition.

It's similar to the problems we had initially under Farke with the defence being left exposed. However, under Farke, at least we had the ability to hurt teams. We could play with a bit of a weakness because we knew we would be able to outscore the opposition.

Unfortunately our shambolic midfield leaves us without the attacking focus a dedicated number 10 would offer. There's no obvious attacking pass for our wide AMs other than to try and pick Pukki out. But, with no one else to pull the defence out of shape, Pukki is isolated.

As previously, our best line of attack moves to the wide areas. Yet again that means we're hitting crosses into the box with no one to actually attack them.

It's a mess.

Just look at all the defenders positioning for the goal. The basic rule I was taught when I was 8 was to keep a straight line, that was just embarrassing 

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Wait? Are you saying Smith's a tactical clown??? But the "experts" on here would have you believe he's Guardiola like 😉

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1 hour ago, mastoola said:

who else did he have to select?

 

For a start ..what he did in the second half

No Sorenson..Cantwell in the middle and Hernandez left

...or Sinani right and Cantwell middle

...or Sargent

Plenty of options

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1 hour ago, Dr Greenthumb said:

Just look at all the defenders positioning for the goal. The basic rule I was taught when I was 8 was to keep a straight line, that was just embarrassing 

It wasn't just a straight line... and also, it depends on your coach and when you were coached.

If the ball is on the left hand side, you expect your full back to be either with it, or challenging/harassing the player with it. The rest of the defence should be dropped 5yrds off them towards their own goal line. Ideally, the CB's shuffle over so should the opponent get the better of the full back they have time to make a decision and challenge them.

The problem we had with the goal was very lax positioning. One player threw it in to another player who knocked it back to Gibson who was effectively in the left back position. From a throw, nothing unusual, but where were the others. Max was on the touch line on the other flank... why? He should very least be ten yards in from that touch line. No ball is going to be played out there that quickly. In this scenario, with Gibson sucked into that left hand channel, Aarons should be no further out towards his flank than the line of the 18yrd box.

I guarantee you that if he is in that position, no goal. That is a communication thing as much as anything else. The CM's, Omobamidele, Krul, the winger in front of him should all be yelling at him for being in completely the wrong position.

That doesn't take anything away from the poor decision by Gibson to pass it into what was already a tight space relatively saturated with bodies. Yes, we don't play hoofball, but if you have nothing else on and you face losing the ball... sometimes your best bet is to pump it into a channel. We have willing runners, we're not short of those.

It was a poor team goal to concede starting with an individual error.

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If we go 4 3 3, surely our front 6 should be

Nunez Hayden Sara

Cantwell Pukki Rashica

That is a pretty strong trio in the centre. I am nervous about the top three, and how committed they are especially if we do not pick up form.  Kenny will be good cover for all three midfield positions.  

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8 hours ago, spencer 1970 said:

I don’t see why we have to play with 4 at the back against lowly opposition. We can make daft defensive errors (Gibson x 2) with 4 or 3 at the back, (that goal would have been scored with 6 at the back), but having 4 in midfield would put us on the front foot a lot more.

To be fair, the full backs push up quite high so, when we're in possession, we basically have two centre backs and the holding midfielder at the back.

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A major factor in all of this is the fact that we keep conceding first. As soon as this happens, the opposition retreats into a low block and, as the OP described, nullifies Pukki by forcing us into the wide areas. 

If we had managed to score first, I could easily see it being 3 or 4 nil. We were great before they scored and we'd all be boarding HMS P*** the League.

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7 hours ago, chicken said:

It wasn't just a straight line... and also, it depends on your coach and when you were coached.

If the ball is on the left hand side, you expect your full back to be either with it, or challenging/harassing the player with it. The rest of the defence should be dropped 5yrds off them towards their own goal line. Ideally, the CB's shuffle over so should the opponent get the better of the full back they have time to make a decision and challenge them.

The problem we had with the goal was very lax positioning. One player threw it in to another player who knocked it back to Gibson who was effectively in the left back position. From a throw, nothing unusual, but where were the others. Max was on the touch line on the other flank... why? He should very least be ten yards in from that touch line. No ball is going to be played out there that quickly. In this scenario, with Gibson sucked into that left hand channel, Aarons should be no further out towards his flank than the line of the 18yrd box.

I guarantee you that if he is in that position, no goal. That is a communication thing as much as anything else. The CM's, Omobamidele, Krul, the winger in front of him should all be yelling at him for being in completely the wrong position.

That doesn't take anything away from the poor decision by Gibson to pass it into what was already a tight space relatively saturated with bodies. Yes, we don't play hoofball, but if you have nothing else on and you face losing the ball... sometimes your best bet is to pump it into a channel. We have willing runners, we're not short of those.

It was a poor team goal to concede starting with an individual error.

I wasn’t coached to the depths these have been coached, I was 8! The basics are, keep a straight line. You can be as technical as everything you’ve just said. But if you cannot even do the simplest of tasks, it’s concerning. 
How McLean had such free roam was embarrassing and AO didn’t cover himself in glory.

Gibson should never pass the pass the ball like that across his own area. He is a mistake waiting to happen every game and Smith really needs to pull him over to one side and work on his concentration levels.

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Wigan had two serious attempts at goal, both the result of very poor individual errors by players that wouldn't have started if we had a fully fit squad available. City had over twenty attempts at goal and around 70% possession. To describe that as evidence of a "shambolic" set up really is quite ridiculous.  Yesterday was evidence of a big step up in quality over last week's performance. Of course there is more to come in in sharpening up the clinical edge, but personally I saw plenty about which to be encouraged. I saw none of the "hoof ball" that some on here have falsely accused Smith of being an advocate, but saw several of the through balls upon which Pukki typically thrives. But for the underside of the bar, several shots a few inches off target, and an appalling ref incapable of understanding the rules of the game, this could have been a very comfortable win. Perhaps it would be wise to reserve judgement until we are a few more games into the season.

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19 minutes ago, horsefly said:

Wigan had two serious attempts at goal, both the result of very poor individual errors by players that wouldn't have started if we had a fully fit squad available. City had over twenty attempts at goal and around 70% possession. To describe that as evidence of a "shambolic" set up really is quite ridiculous.  Yesterday was evidence of a big step up in quality over last week's performance. Of course there is more to come in in sharpening up the clinical edge, but personally I saw plenty about which to be encouraged. I saw none of the "hoof ball" that some on here have falsely accused Smith of being an advocate, but saw several of the through balls upon which Pukki typically thrives. But for the underside of the bar, several shots a few inches off target, and an appalling ref incapable of understanding the rules of the game, this could have been a very comfortable win. Perhaps it would be wise to reserve judgement until we are a few more games into the season.

Back to non-football, you are clearly out of your depth.

 

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