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Diamond vs Flat -- who is better off and who isn't.

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Norwich did not play well against Villa. It''s that simple. Worthy can say what he likes and the diplomat in him provided those post-game comments but the reality is that it might have been our worst performance of the season (can''t speak for the Palace match -- didn''t watch it).

The diamond formation definitely has its pros and cons. I think, for the most part, the bigger problem is now clearly going forward as opposed to defending -- we''re as good defensively with the diamond as we are with a flat 4-4-2.

Who benefits from this formation and who doesn''t?


a. Bentley. He is better off in the hole role. I''m not sure why everyone was moaning about his performance. It wasn''t brilliant but again, he''s the only player we''ve got with vision and the ability to get past people regularly -- which he does! And he''s not afraid to take a shot -- it''s his penchant for shooting that got us a goal at Newcastle. He needs to keep at it - he hasn''t sorted out where he needs to consistently position himself...I think he finds himself too far back on repeated occasions. But there''s no doubt in my mind that this is the best position for him.
b. Drury and Edworthy. Only as it relates to going forward -- they have more space, more freedom to move forward and can make more of an impact. Whether these two should be the right players making forward runs for the club and to be our primary wide threat is another story but their contributions have been more important in the diamond.
c. Safri. Sitting in front of the back four is a great role for him. He tackles well, positions well and passes well. It''s a natural role for him.

Who Suffers:

a. Francis. Seems to me like he is suffering badly in the diamond. It looks like he''s lost. I think he''s confused when he''s not in the absolute centre of the park. We''ve lost his zip, zest, aggression and he just looks out of place. I think his forward runs have been more impressive but then again, no one is looking for him and so he never gets the passes played to him when he is WIDE open with a clear path to goal.
b. Huckerby. With the diamond, he has less support when he''s off on his runs. Fewer people overlapping him. Fewer players coming from midfield. Not good for him.

I''m really torn between the flat midfield and the diamond. In this, I think Bentley remains the key. If we think he''s going to get there, we should stick with it. If not, we need to continue dabbling with other ideas.

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Good post ny.

I agree that Bentley had an OK game but felt he was outclassed by McVeighs performance in the last 15 mins - movement, passing, crosses and wanting the ball.   Safri too has, overall, impressed and looks the natural deep lying midfielder - if only he had holts lungs...

I disagree that Drury and Eddie are beneficiaries.  I feel they have been over-exposed with the removal of their midfield partners and as a result we have not seen as much attcking intent from either player in the last two games.  In theory they should get forward but to do so on sat had to go past solano & de la cruz or samuel and barry and then risk a counter attack down their flank - a big ask for any full back.

Francis is suffering in this formation and that is a shame  -  he has clearly shown he could be a driving force in this league.

Not sure about Hux though - he was superb in the second half against Spurs, but thats 1 half out of 3 hrs of football.

Bentley is the new bergkamp is the call - well I cant recall Bergkamp playing in a hole behind 2 strikers - he has usually been a link man between the midfield and a lone mobile striker - Henry, Wright etc.

Perhaps  we should be going 4-4-1-1 with Bentley sitting off Hux shoulder as Bergkamp does Henry?






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The 4-4-1-1 is an interesting option. It presents some fascinating line up decisions. Assuming the back four stays the same, it could be:

McVeigh, Holt, Francis, Safri; Bentley; Huckerby


McVeigh, Safri, Francis, Huckerby; Bentley; Doc/Leon

The thing that bothers me about it is the choice of the lone man up front. I guess it could be Huckerby but he''s so good running from deep that it might not make sense. And if not him, we simply don''t have that quality front man.

Hux is probably the best option. Might be an idea to try it.

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Just another formation to throw into the mix and try and get the best from Bentley. Playing hux as the target man should also encourage greater passing rather than relying on a long ball, again that can only be good for the club.One advantage of 4-4-1-1 is that in reality the club do only have 1 striker. It all breaks down if he gets injured though.OTBC

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NYC, actually why do you say that we don''t have a front man. There''s at least three I can think of that haven''t been used as potential front men.

Firstly, Leon who seems to be getting a meagre 10 minutes at the moment. I think he could work well off of Huckerby because of his pace.

Secondly, Jonson. Why not give the Swede the chance to lead the line. Again his pace may well benefit Huckerbys runs from deep.

Thirdly, there''s a certain youngster chomping at the bit to get a chance - Jarvis.

I don''t really think Worthy has been brave enough to look at other options so far this season. He''s still got it in his head that we need a "target" man and Huckerby et al can work off of him. That isn''t the only way to play as Arsenal so readily prove. 

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