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LeJuge

Changes for Stoke game?

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Surely we have to make a few tweaks to the line up for Sunday? What would you change?We surely can''t put that same back four out? I thought we looked terrible at the back. Albeit I''ve only seen bias highlights, a friend of mine reckons Russell Martin was ripped to shreds. Clearly DeLaet made up for his mistake near to the end. I think we have to see Naughton in for Martin and possibly Ayala in for Whitbread or Barnett? No time for sentiment in the Premier League, bad game and your out. You have to wait for your chance again, which will happen when somebody else has a bad game. But if we put that same back four out, Stoke are just going to play their game through Etherington and will know full well that the back four will be nervous after that. Personally I''ve never liked a Barnett and Whitbread partnership anyway, I''ve always preferred Barnett and Ward or Whitbread and Ward. Hopefully one of the two, or both, will work well with Ayala. Not that the defence is as bad as it looks, we always leave them exposed and go on the offensive, I don''t think we can get away with that as much this year.

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i did watch the game.  it was on here in the states (and the stoke one is live too!).  our defence did look pretty rough.  martin, who we all know was incredible last season, was really run ragged by moses down that side.  crofts came back to help quite often but it was still tough going.  i would definitely make that change and bring in naughton.honestly, i''ve always felt like whitbread is slow and that showed again against wigan.  definitely bring in barnett.  i think zak makes better decisions while barnett is faster and i feel the net net of that is that barnett should get the nod.  its too soon for ayala.  who knows if he''s had a significant pre-season....its going to take time.i would also replace surman with bennett.  surman is also too slow and when you look at the diamond formation, the two sides of it also need a bit of speed to get up and down...support the attack on one end and back up the fullbacks on the other.  i thought morison was excellent and he did outshine holty too!  the only other possibility would be that against the rougher stoke boys, we play bradley johnson instead of surman or crofts.  but i dont know if PL will make that many changes in one week.  he needs some continuity.so....ruddynaughtonde laetbarnetttierneyfoxcroftsbennett/johnsonhoolahanholtmorison

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R.Martin was far too crucial last season to be discounted after one match. I can see a back four of Martin, Barnett, Ayala and Tierney working well.

Some silly behaviour on this forum to discount certain players after one match, There is no way to ascertain that information in a nervy first 90 minutes

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I''d definitely bring Naughton in for Martin. Tierney played fairly well on the left both attacking and defending, so he deserved another shot, as does De Laet because although the attention will be on his error I thought he more than made up for with two outstanding blocks. Whitbread I don''t think will be risked if he has a knock.

I do also think we need pace and as hard as it would be to drop Morison I think Jackson''s pace could cause a few problems to is a very strong but slow stoke team.

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I''d definitely bring Naughton in for Martin. Tierney played fairly well on the left both attacking and defending, so he deserved another shot, as does De Laet because although the attention will be on his error I thought he more than made up for with two outstanding blocks. Whitbread I don''t think will be risked if he has a knock.

I do also think we need pace and as hard as it would be to drop Morison I think Jackson''s pace could cause a few problems to what is a very strong but slow stoke team.

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I was at the game on Sat and I felt we looked very light weight in centre midfield playing the diamond formation, on other away trips I''d much rather us play 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1.

As for this weekend I''d like to see De Laet and Barnett in Central defence with, Tierney staying at left back and Naughton in for Russell Martin. I would like to see a 4-4-1-1 formation with Fox and Crofts in the centre, Bradley Johnson on the left, and Bennett on the right with Hoolahan just off Holt or Morison, but as a humble onlooker in Lambert we trust.

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I am going to be a bit controversial here.

I think we need to play with more width. We have two big chaps up front, and from the highlights - which are admittedly rather short - it looked like Morrison or Holt were often crossing in to each other. Such as the lead up to our goal.

The reason R.Martin had a torrid time is that if teams move the ball quickly the wingers can get plenty of space and time. If a player can get a bit of a run at a player it can be horrid, all they need to do is put the ball beyond them and they have a head start as they are already moving. This happened to Martin a couple of times and he then has to play catch up.

A bit crazy but my line up would be:

Ruddy

R. Martin, Barnett, De Laet, Tierney

Naughton, Crofts, Fox, Surman,

Hoolahan, Holt

I just think it would give us the width and also with Hoolahan in behind Holt would also mean that we would have that bit of skill to draw their defence out of shape.

Also one of the big observations was the way their defence likes to play narrow. So if we have two good wide men pulling them about I think space will open up for the likes of Hoolahan and Holt to expose.

Pilkington would also be a good option for that right hand birth if he is ready to start. I have gone with Naughton as he is probably more robust as a defender but also has pace and skill.

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[quote user="JJ"]R.Martin was far too crucial last season to be discounted after one match. I can see a back four of Martin, Barnett, Ayala and Tierney working well.

Some silly behaviour on this forum to discount certain players after one match, There is no way to ascertain that information in a nervy first 90 minutes[/quote]Am I the only one to see the irony here? You criticise those who want to see Naughton brought in for the Stoke match after one match, before advocating dropping Whitbread AND DeLaet? Talk about double standards. I personally think that it would be lunacy to drop DeLaet after he recovered from that early error to save our point with no less than THREE crucial blocks near the end. Nobody is writing Martin off, we all know that he is a class act, and it would only take one bad game or a knock to Naugton to see Martin straight back in the team. Lambert didn''t bring Naughton in to play reserve team football, he brought him in to put in the team if Martin doesn''t play well. Well he didn''t play well, he had a stinker, and as such Naughtons chance should come earlier than expected. It would then be up to Naugton to keep his place or Martin to win his place back. Like I said, no room for sentiments in this division.It doesn''t matter who you are or who you play for, Rio Ferdinand would get a game on the bench if he had an absolute stinker. And sorry but every account that I have heard suggests that Martin had a stinker. A change or two is needed at the back for good reason, and its not ability, it''s physcological. Play the same back five and nerves could get the better of us. Would be VERY surprised to see no changes to the eleven.

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[quote user="Lincs CR"]I''d definitely bring Naughton in for Martin. Tierney played fairly well on the left both attacking and defending, so he deserved another shot, as does De Laet because although the attention will be on his error I thought he more than made up for with two outstanding blocks. Whitbread I don''t think will be risked if he has a knock.

I do also think we need pace and as hard as it would be to drop Morison I think Jackson''s pace could cause a few problems to what is a very strong but slow stoke team.[/quote]Is Holt that untouchable? Don''t get me wrong, I''ve got Holt down as top scorer for us again, but Morison is said to have had a stellar debut? I think I''d keep the front two the same, with a view to a couple of early 55th/60th minute substitutes. Perhaps bring on a couple of faster players just as Stoke begin to potentially tire a little.

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[quote user="chicken"]I am going to be a bit controversial here.

I think we need to play with more width. We have two big chaps up front, and from the highlights - which are admittedly rather short - it looked like Morrison or Holt were often crossing in to each other. Such as the lead up to our goal.

The reason R.Martin had a torrid time is that if teams move the ball quickly the wingers can get plenty of space and time. If a player can get a bit of a run at a player it can be horrid, all they need to do is put the ball beyond them and they have a head start as they are already moving. This happened to Martin a couple of times and he then has to play catch up.

A bit crazy but my line up would be:

Ruddy

R. Martin, Barnett, De Laet, Tierney

Naughton, Crofts, Fox, Surman,

Hoolahan, Holt

I just think it would give us the width and also with Hoolahan in behind Holt would also mean that we would have that bit of skill to draw their defence out of shape.

Also one of the big observations was the way their defence likes to play narrow. So if we have two good wide men pulling them about I think space will open up for the likes of Hoolahan and Holt to expose.

Pilkington would also be a good option for that right hand birth if he is ready to start. I have gone with Naughton as he is probably more robust as a defender but also has pace and skill.[/quote]You explain the impact on Martin very well there, and put like that I can just imagine the difficulty that he had with Moses, really need to double up on players like that sometimes. The only bit that I disagree with is Naughton playing right midfield. We have right wingers waiting for a chance, Bennett and possibly Pilkington if he is truly ready, If were are going to play a 4-4-2 (I wouldn''t mind tbh, think we will defo see that at some stage this year) then I would like to see Bennett.

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I would go with that.

I just think against a physical side like Stoke may push Bennett about a bit.

I know it was only a pre-season but I thought Pilkington had a bit more physical presence about him against Parma than Bennett. But I guess if you have got Surman on one side then Bennett may do well on the other especially with his pace.

Naughton can play right wing though.

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I would feel sorry for Russell Martin after his outstanding season he had but Victor Mosses gave him the run around, so it''s possible his place is at risk. I would guess that a fit Leon Barnett is Lambert first choice centre back. I can see us scoring goals this season and Bennett and Pilkington could really be key to this but can you fit both into the diamond formation. Maybe a 4 4 1 1

Ruddy

Delat Whitbread Barnett Tierney

Bennett Fox Croft Pilkington

Hoolhan

Holt ( just over Morison for now)

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[quote user="LeJuge"][quote user="Lincs CR"]I''d definitely bring Naughton in for Martin. Tierney played fairly well on the left both attacking and defending, so he deserved another shot, as does De Laet because although the attention will be on his error I thought he more than made up for with two outstanding blocks. Whitbread I don''t think will be risked if he has a knock. I do also think we need pace and as hard as it would be to drop Morison I think Jackson''s pace could cause a few problems to what is a very strong but slow stoke team.[/quote]

Is Holt that untouchable? Don''t get me wrong, I''ve got Holt down as top scorer for us again, but Morison is said to have had a stellar debut? I think I''d keep the front two the same, with a view to a couple of early 55th/60th minute substitutes. Perhaps bring on a couple of faster players just as Stoke begin to potentially tire a little.
[/quote]

 

Based on performance, It should have been Holt that was brought off on Saturday, not Morison

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[quote user="LeJuge"] Like I said, no room for sentiments in this division. It doesn''t matter who you are or who you play for, Rio Ferdinand would get a game on the bench if he had an absolute stinker. [/quote]Nonsense. Alex Ferguson has not become the most sucessful manager in the history of English football by dropping world class players on the basis of one poor game. Now Russell Martin is no Rio Ferdinand but if he was first choice four days ago I would be amazed if he was dropped on the basis of ninety minutes of football against one very quick winger. Now one thing that has helped Lord Purple Nose become so sucessful is a settled defence. You''ll get nowhere by chopping and changing your defence every five minutes.

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This is an excellent first test for Lambert, and will show whether sentiment will play any part in his team selections this season.

With a trip to Stamford Bridge the week after, nobody needs to be reminded of the importance of a positive result against Stoke, and how imperative it is to set down a marker for games at Carrow Road this season.

Width will be the key this Saturday, and it cannot be relied upon to be provided by the full-backs. I fully expect Bennett and/or Pilkington to play a much bigger part this Saturday.

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[quote user="Shack Attack"][quote user="LeJuge"] Like I said, no room for sentiments in this division. It doesn''t matter who you are or who you play for, Rio Ferdinand would get a game on the bench if he had an absolute stinker. [/quote]Nonsense. Alex Ferguson has not become the most sucessful manager in the history of English football by dropping world class players on the basis of one poor game. Now Russell Martin is no Rio Ferdinand but if he was first choice four days ago I would be amazed if he was dropped on the basis of ninety minutes of football against one very quick winger. Now one thing that has helped Lord Purple Nose become so sucessful is a settled defence. You''ll get nowhere by chopping and changing your defence every five minutes.[/quote]All of the big four make regular changes. As for Ferdinand, hard to know, he has only managed half a season for the last three years. There is no way that Lambert will play the same back five, I''ll put a fiver on it. Putting Ferguson out of the equation, Lambert has NEVER shirked from changing the team when things don''t go right. We have a player who Tottenham turned down £4m for sitting there waiting for his chance, it doesn''t matter whether it took 15 games for him to get his chance or 1 game. If he doesn''t change the line up at the back he will at least change the formation. I think Chicken may have hit the nail on the head, Martin was left exposed by the diamond. Maybe it was Lamberts mistake, we weren''t doubling up on Moses, maybe we need to play 4-4-2 in this division with Martin playing less of a Cafu role and more of a Gary Neville role. I''ll trust Lambert no matter what, but would be surprised not to see him try a new formation on Sunday. Ferguson does chop and change his defence by the way, all the time. He won''t have any choice no with Vidic and Ferdinand out, but people like O''Shea, Brown and Jonny Evans, as well as Fabio and Rafeal, were getting a lot of football last year nonetheless. He has a big squad, and uses it.

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I see your point but Fergie uses his big squad when he has to. So when he has injuries, suspensions or a heavy schedule he will switch things around. What he won''t do, which is what you suggested and I disgreed with, is drop a player for having one bad game. I wouldn''t be hugely surprised if PL tries a new formation on Sunday,.the players he has brought in over the summer certainly seem to have been purchased with a view to giving us further options, but at the same time he was happy to stick with the diamond in our opener. Assuming that this means the diamond is still our preferred formation, rather than a tactical innovation purely for playing against Wigan away, were things really that bad that we need a Plan B against Stoke?

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[quote user="LeJuge"][quote user="Shack Attack"][quote user="LeJuge"] Like I said, no room for sentiments in this division. It doesn''t matter who you are or who you play for, Rio Ferdinand would get a game on the bench if he had an absolute stinker. [/quote]Nonsense. Alex Ferguson has not become the most sucessful manager in the history of English football by dropping world class players on the basis of one poor game. Now Russell Martin is no Rio Ferdinand but if he was first choice four days ago I would be amazed if he was dropped on the basis of ninety minutes of football against one very quick winger. Now one thing that has helped Lord Purple Nose become so sucessful is a settled defence. You''ll get nowhere by chopping and changing your defence every five minutes.[/quote]All of the big four make regular changes. As for Ferdinand, hard to know, he has only managed half a season for the last three years. There is no way that Lambert will play the same back five, I''ll put a fiver on it. Putting Ferguson out of the equation, Lambert has NEVER shirked from changing the team when things don''t go right. We have a player who Tottenham turned down £4m for sitting there waiting for his chance, it doesn''t matter whether it took 15 games for him to get his chance or 1 game. If he doesn''t change the line up at the back he will at least change the formation. I think Chicken may have hit the nail on the head, Martin was left exposed by the diamond. Maybe it was Lamberts mistake, we weren''t doubling up on Moses, maybe we need to play 4-4-2 in this division with Martin playing less of a Cafu role and more of a Gary Neville role. I''ll trust Lambert no matter what, but would be surprised not to see him try a new formation on Sunday. Ferguson does chop and change his defence by the way, all the time. He won''t have any choice no with Vidic and Ferdinand out, but people like O''Shea, Brown and Jonny Evans, as well as Fabio and Rafeal, were getting a lot of football last year nonetheless. He has a big squad, and uses it. [/quote]Is this the same Garry Neville who was regarded as one of the finest crossers of the ball to ever grace the Premire League and formed an effective attacking partnership with David Beckham?

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He won''t name the same first 11 i don''t think but changes will be tactical not based on performance last week. At the end of the day we looked nervous as a team in periods & we got a point against premiership opposition, no need to panic.Regardless of performances I do think Lambert will gradually integrate Bennet & Pilks into first 11. Why buy players you don''t want to play ? I can see maybe Bennet starting in for Crofts or Surman.

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[quote user="Gareth"][quote user="LeJuge"][quote user="Shack Attack"][quote user="LeJuge"] Like I said, no room for sentiments in this division. It doesn''t matter who you are or who you play for, Rio Ferdinand would get a game on the bench if he had an absolute stinker. [/quote]Nonsense. Alex Ferguson has not become the most sucessful manager in the history of English football by dropping world class players on the basis of one poor game. Now Russell Martin is no Rio Ferdinand but if he was first choice four days ago I would be amazed if he was dropped on the basis of ninety minutes of football against one very quick winger. Now one thing that has helped Lord Purple Nose become so sucessful is a settled defence. You''ll get nowhere by chopping and changing your defence every five minutes.[/quote]All of the big four make regular changes. As for Ferdinand, hard to know, he has only managed half a season for the last three years. There is no way that Lambert will play the same back five, I''ll put a fiver on it. Putting Ferguson out of the equation, Lambert has NEVER shirked from changing the team when things don''t go right. We have a player who Tottenham turned down £4m for sitting there waiting for his chance, it doesn''t matter whether it took 15 games for him to get his chance or 1 game. If he doesn''t change the line up at the back he will at least change the formation. I think Chicken may have hit the nail on the head, Martin was left exposed by the diamond. Maybe it was Lamberts mistake, we weren''t doubling up on Moses, maybe we need to play 4-4-2 in this division with Martin playing less of a Cafu role and more of a Gary Neville role. I''ll trust Lambert no matter what, but would be surprised not to see him try a new formation on Sunday. Ferguson does chop and change his defence by the way, all the time. He won''t have any choice no with Vidic and Ferdinand out, but people like O''Shea, Brown and Jonny Evans, as well as Fabio and Rafeal, were getting a lot of football last year nonetheless. He has a big squad, and uses it. [/quote]Is this the same Garry Neville who was regarded as one of the finest crossers of the ball to ever grace the Premire League and formed an effective attacking partnership with David Beckham?[/quote]If you want to go back almost a decade then yes, the same Gary Neville who played in a 4-4-2 formation with a world class midfielder who was willing to track back and help out with the defending, and gained a reputation as a full back who could overlap a right midfielder and put in a decent cross. The same Gary Neville who always had a right midfielder in front of him for Man Utd and England, who didn''t get forward much after Beckham left and was replaced by Cristiano Ronaldo.As opposed to the games greatest right back of a generation, Cafu, famous for his electric pace and playing his best club football at Roma when they played their innovate 3-4-1-2 formation with no wingers? In which Cafu (part of the ''4'') would effectively serve as a right midfielder and a right back at once? Or in simple terms, was a wing back.Roma Seria A winning team, 2000-2001                                 Montella       Batistuta                                               Totti                                Zanetti            Tomassi            Candela                                                  Cafu                               Samuel            Zebina                                           Aldair                                          Antonioli      Brazil World Cup winning team, 2002                                                  Ronaldo                        Rivaldo                                        Ronaldinho                                        Kleberson                         GilbertoCarlos                                                      Cafu                                 Edmilson                      Lucio                 R Junior                                MarcosSorry to make you look like a complete idiot, well actually I''m not in the slightest, but now perhaps you can tell me what was wrong with my statement: "maybe we need to play 4-4-2 in this division with Martin playing less of a Cafu role and more of a Gary Neville role."And how your statement: "Is this the same Garry Neville who was regarded as one of the finest

crossers of the ball to ever grace the Premire League and formed an

effective attacking partnership with David Beckham?
"Is in any way relevant to my input? Or how Neville''s crossing ability has an relevance whatsoever? Or when Man Utd have played our diamond formation with Gary Neville as a wing back? They haven''t, so jog on.

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[quote user="LeJuge"][quote user="Gareth"][quote user="LeJuge"][quote user="Shack Attack"][quote user="LeJuge"] Like I said, no room for sentiments in this division. It doesn''t matter who you are or who you play for, Rio Ferdinand would get a game on the bench if he had an absolute stinker. [/quote]Nonsense. Alex Ferguson has not become the most sucessful manager in the history of English football by dropping world class players on the basis of one poor game. Now Russell Martin is no Rio Ferdinand but if he was first choice four days ago I would be amazed if he was dropped on the basis of ninety minutes of football against one very quick winger. Now one thing that has helped Lord Purple Nose become so sucessful is a settled defence. You''ll get nowhere by chopping and changing your defence every five minutes.[/quote]All of the big four make regular changes. As for Ferdinand, hard to know, he has only managed half a season for the last three years. There is no way that Lambert will play the same back five, I''ll put a fiver on it. Putting Ferguson out of the equation, Lambert has NEVER shirked from changing the team when things don''t go right. We have a player who Tottenham turned down £4m for sitting there waiting for his chance, it doesn''t matter whether it took 15 games for him to get his chance or 1 game. If he doesn''t change the line up at the back he will at least change the formation. I think Chicken may have hit the nail on the head, Martin was left exposed by the diamond. Maybe it was Lamberts mistake, we weren''t doubling up on Moses, maybe we need to play 4-4-2 in this division with Martin playing less of a Cafu role and more of a Gary Neville role. I''ll trust Lambert no matter what, but would be surprised not to see him try a new formation on Sunday. Ferguson does chop and change his defence by the way, all the time. He won''t have any choice no with Vidic and Ferdinand out, but people like O''Shea, Brown and Jonny Evans, as well as Fabio and Rafeal, were getting a lot of football last year nonetheless. He has a big squad, and uses it. [/quote]Is this the same Garry Neville who was regarded as one of the finest crossers of the ball to ever grace the Premire League and formed an effective attacking partnership with David Beckham?[/quote]If you want to go back almost a decade then yes, the same Gary Neville who played in a 4-4-2 formation with a world class midfielder who was willing to track back and help out with the defending, and gained a reputation as a full back who could overlap a right midfielder and put in a decent cross. The same Gary Neville who always had a right midfielder in front of him for Man Utd and England, who didn''t get forward much after Beckham left and was replaced by Cristiano Ronaldo.As opposed to the games greatest right back of a generation, Cafu, famous for his electric pace and playing his best club football at Roma when they played their innovate 3-4-1-2 formation with no wingers? In which Cafu (part of the ''4'') would effectively serve as a right midfielder and a right back at once? Or in simple terms, was a wing back.Roma Seria A winning team, 2000-2001                                 Montella       Batistuta                                               Totti                                Zanetti            Tomassi            Candela                                                  Cafu                               Samuel            Zebina                                           Aldair                                          Antonioli      Brazil World Cup winning team, 2002                                                  Ronaldo                        Rivaldo                                        Ronaldinho                                        Kleberson                         GilbertoCarlos                                                      Cafu                                 Edmilson                      Lucio                 R Junior                                MarcosSorry to make you look like a complete idiot, well actually I''m not in the slightest, but now perhaps you can tell me what was wrong with my statement: "maybe we need to play 4-4-2 in this division with Martin playing less of a Cafu role and more of a Gary Neville role."And how your statement: "Is this the same Garry Neville who was regarded as one of the finest

crossers of the ball to ever grace the Premire League and formed an

effective attacking partnership with David Beckham?
"Is in any way relevant to my input? Or how Neville''s crossing ability has an relevance whatsoever? Or when Man Utd have played our diamond formation with Gary Neville as a wing back? They haven''t, so jog on.[/quote]Holy hell.

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Well I would think the centre half position alongside de laet is open, with the knock ot whitbread and barnetts fine performance in the reserves.

We certainly know what impact barnett had when he joined us and I for one would feel his mind set would be perfect for this game.

R. Martin is a good defender, is he better than Naughton? No I don''t think he is better and unfortunately he was played off the pitch by a player hardly playing in the prem last year. I admit there will be few wingers who run so direct in some teams but for me Naughton would be a good call now.

So for me the two immediate changes would be in defence midfield the same with johnson, pilkington and bennett ready on the bench to change it up.

ruddy

naughton

barnett

de laet

tierney

fox

crofts

surman

hoolahan

black eye

holt

Too many changes now would be a problem, so get the right mix of immediate changes and then have those on the bench who can be a little tougher or gives that width.

Can''t wait for Sunday to get started

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I do not think PL will change it too much although I do expect to see Bennett or Pilkington to start in place of Croft or Surman. In defence it will be a case if Whitbread is still injured of either Barnett or Ayala in the centre alongside De Laet.

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t is a good point with bennett maybe coming in. I think you need a catalyst who can run at this defensive group of Stoke. So maybe a change in midfield.

But I would imagine two changes, one being automatic, barnett in for whitbread. The other either being naughton for martin or bennett for surman

Look forward to it

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i think we should use the 4-2-3-1 formation IMO:

Morison

pilkington hoolahan Bennett

Johnson crofts

tierney de laet Barnett naughton

ruddy

this formation offer us not only a lot of width and speed but it also will give us a bit of strength in midfield and will make us a bit more defensive which i think we need in the premier league.

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Definite decisions:

Naughton for Martin, as Stoke have pace. Either Barnett for Whitbread, or even Ayala - we shall need both height and pace.

Debatable:

Will Wes survive among the giants. same with Fox,Surman?

Strengthen the midfield by playing 4-4-2, with Bennett, Crofts, and two from Wes, Johnson, Surman, Pilkington. I am concerned that with passes going astray or intercepted we find good tacklers and good passers.

Strikers Holt and Morison, supplied and supported by Bennett and Surman ,Pilkington, or Wes.

As a general point the diamond may be expensive with Stoke raiders. (Fotunately at Wigan although Moses ran us ragged, he couldn''t shoot.) I think that 4-4-1-1 or 4-5-1 is too defensive at home. Possibly 4-4-2 is the best alternative to the diamond, and easiest to change during a game. I think that this last option may be the one PL adopts.

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Yes there will be changes this week.

But mainly because we are at home to Stoke and last week we were away to Wigan.

PL has now built up a squad of players to be able to change systems of play to suit the occassion. This will be reason changes are made. It would be unrealistic to make changes because of one bad game, especially the first game of the season.

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Agree with the post a couple above this. I think we will see Barnett in for Whitbread (which would make sense anyway as Leon is very strong in the air). I personally would also bring in Naughton for Martin but think the latter may survive if only due to his extra height at defensive set peices.

I also want to see Bennett starting out wide. We have two strikers who are very physically strong and good in the air and they need to be given decent service. I think the physical nature of Stoke means Surman is the most likely to make way rather than Crofts. The latter would, I guess have to play on the left of the diamond. Not ideal but i think he could do it.

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JS, why not play Bennett on the left as an inverted winger? Allows him to cut in, and supply both crosses for Holt and Morison as well as linking up with Hoolahan.

I don''t think that will happen, however, the concept should not be sniffed at. We could then swap Bennett and Crofts over  repeatedly.

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