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J I Muffington

Tactical Nous

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I view this board often but have little time to post, however I am pushed too now after yet another tactical horror show by Hughton.

I would be in the camp known as pantwetters as I have been saying to anyone who cared to have a balanced debate that we would be where we are now since before Christmas such was the frustration at Hughton''s tactics even in the midst of the unbeaten run.

I drive 400 miles to take my seat and have done so through all the highs and lows of the last 30 years. For the first time, in all that time, from the first few games of this season I have made that trip grudgingly, more through habit than desire, excitement or looking forward to enjoying what I always have done.

The reason is Hughton''s particular brand of soulless, attritional, tedious excuse of football. The guy is out of his depth and always has been, not to mention the nodding dogs who accompany him in his quest to send us into terminal decline.

Some observations by way of example of his lack of tactical awareness, by highlighting how players have moved backwards under his watch.

Hoolahan. I agree with many on here that he is our most talented player. In Lambert''s system, he had two forwards in front or around him, ditto the diamond, a close grouped midfield pack that followed his lead, creating space for him or vice versa to thread that pass. Hughton has persisted with him off the target man, with a wide midfield. How many times, can you see him with the ball but nowhere to go other than backwards or round in circles as he has only one pass option if he is lucky. A waste of the talent, hence the lack of assists and goals this season.

Johnson. Again a lot of folk are celebrating his improvement and his all action displays. Granted his break up play is good and occasionally a great cross field pass is seen, But his limitations are the cause of our demise.Neither he or whichever partner he has had are given licence to go forward with any confidence, and if he could, his passing and close control let him down. By making him the automatic midfield pick, Hughton has made it easy for opposition to set up knowing they can dominate this area of the field high up the pitch. Playing a Fox or maybe Whitaker as a one holding player who can pick a pass, allows us to turn defence into attack quicker. And for everyone who says Hughton has made the defence loads stronger, we have conceded just ten less than lat year so far, so with Man City to come it is likely we will still have conceded over 60 goals vs 66 last year.

Holt. Agreed he is not the same player from a leadership, attitude point of view. But spending the season after my best ever as a lone striker, going wide and deep for no results game after game would annoy the hell out of me. The lack of directness this season has cost him and us in creating winning positions.

Pilks and Snodgrass. When they have been given licence to attack with out fear of being shouted back into position, they have shown their best. Sadly, that is rare. More than that the lack of desire to change formations from game to game or during it is easy for opposing managers to plan against.. Everyone knows we will play a flat midfield four and have done since September.

I could go on, I have too much already.

Essentially, the manager is the sole reason we are where we are. His stubborn, controlling, fastidious personality mixed with his cautious tactics and celebration of the opposition quality, alongside indecision at crucial times in key matches have costs us points this season, certainly enough to be safe now. I was at the away games pre Christmas at Reading, Southampton and Villa where he defaulted to type and took the point when all three were there for the taking and in poor form. I was at the Fulham and Newcastle home games where again he took the draw. Yes he got the two famous wins at home, but he should be judged on what he has failed to do tactically in the other 34 games.

We are likely to lose as many games this season as last (15) and that''s hoping we get the win next week to stay up. the lack of attacking focus from a tactical point of view could and probably should cost us in the final analysis but I sincerely hope we escape and live to fight another season.

One thing is certain, I cannot justify the cost and time to watch such uninspiring and tedious football next season. I will be there though not as much unless changes are made and I hope come 20th May McNally et al make the bold decision and remove Hughton from his post.

For those of you who cling to the hope this was a transitional season and he has done his job, I hope you are right and he shows us all something very different next year. I will be amazed if he does so though given the opportunity as he has provided no evidence of being skilled enough so far.

Here''s hoping for the win we all want next Sunday.....

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''Hoolahan. I agree with many on here that he is our most talented player. In Lambert''s system, he had two forwards in front or around him, ditto the diamond, a close grouped midfield pack that followed his lead, creating space for him or vice versa to thread that pass. Hughton has persisted with him off the target man, with a wide midfield. How many times, can you see him with the ball but nowhere to go other than backwards or round in circles as he has only one pass option if he is lucky. A waste of the talent, hence the lack of assists and goals this season. ''

Spot on...exactly as I see it, and well put.

"You don''t know what you''re doing chants"...I heard''em, and thoroughly - albeit quietly - agreed!!!

I am truly mystified by those knocking Hools Saturtday and thought he had his best game for ages; looking our most likely creative outlet. Did you notice his head drop when subbed off?

As for the substitution in injury time to bring on Jackson, well, it was an utter farce. I''m hugely critical of CH use of substitutes ...but then guess we were spoilt rotten in that area under Lambert. I am beginning to think CH doesn''t understand the psychology (individually/collectively) of teams and momentum.

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An essential read for all the Hughton apologists.

If Mr. Huffington finds the need to come on and post after 30 years and many more miles than I would attempt to work out, then there is seriously something wrong.

At least there are just two games remaining where gloom and despondency has replaced all the optimism and enjoyment of the past three seasons.

McNally may well argue we are still ''on plan'' if we are relegated, but there is no doubt that the next managerial appointment must bring in a team far more upbeat, positive and able than the current incumbents.

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[quote user="J I Muffington"]decline.

Some observations by way of example of his lack of tactical awareness, by highlighting how players have moved backwards under his watch. [/quote]You write well about the flaws in Hughton''s tactical strategy, but you''ve not said anything that hasn''t been pointed out previously.Tell us how you''d set the team up and what your starting XI would be?

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There is no requirement for JIM to come up with a starting XI - he felt he had written a long enough post as it was.

You miss the point. The fact that he felt compelled to write something, however repetitive, after all those years and miles says everything.

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[quote user="unique"]There is no requirement for JIM to come up with a starting XI - he felt he had written a long enough post as it was.

You miss the point. The fact that he felt compelled to write something, however repetitive, after all those years and miles says everything.[/quote]Of course there''s no requirement on him, but it''s very easy to say Hughton consistently gets tactics and selection wrong.  It''s much harder for anyone to say how they would set the team up differently in order to get a win.  There are twenty or thirty threads here all saying "Hughton keeps getting it wrong" but nobody saying what "right" looks like.Our new poster writes persuasively and apparently knows his stuff - it would be interesting to see if he has any bright ideas about the team he would pick for a must-win game.  Of course, it''s possible that people don''t have answers and just like to bitch and moan in a persuasive manner.  But while undoubtedly cathartic, what actual use is that?

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Firstly welcome to the board JIM. Hope this is the start of many posts.

Not sure I fully agree with your views on tactics but I enjoyed reading your viewpoint and do concur at least in part.

What I do empathise with totally as a fellow long distance supporter (albeit not as far as you) is that this year I have not been setting off with the same anticipation. We do need to travel with at least a reasonable expectation of a performance. As you point out this year it has not been like that. I now set off consoling myself that i can at least enjoy a day out in Norwich and if i get a decent game thats a bonus.

I think we have lost the plot a bit. Football is first and foremost an entertainment. We have all bought into the business need of aiming to stop in the division but as you say it has been at the cost of some drab football.

Next season we need to get back to the basics of entertainment (whoever is the manager) and if we do I just think our results might improve somewhat.

OTBC

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Saturday''s Hoolahan substitution perfectly illustrates the difficulties involved in tactical swaps.

I thought it was wrong. But, after a minute or two''s reflection, I realised he hadn''t actually done very much 2nd half, & had started losing the ball. As somebody else pointed out, this is a sure sign of him running out of steam (as it is for any player really).

And soon after the substitution, we score! I''m not saying this was as a direct result, but KK certainly gave Villa something new to think about, & he provided an excellent flick on for Holt at the end - something Wes could never have done.

I''ve no idea what the Simeon fiasco was all about.

For me the most exasperating thing about Hughton is his disinclination to replace players who have given their all & are clearly knackered. We''re finishing a lot of games in a pretty desperate state.

I''m beginning to think we have a lot more injury problems than we''re admitting too as well.

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I''m with Mister Chops on this. I''m amazing at picking faults with things, (so my wife tells me) but it is a reflection on the job that I do, that I haven''t quite mastered the ''how to correct things to make a roaring success'' skills yet

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[quote user="ron obvious"]Saturday''s Hoolahan substitution perfectly illustrates the difficulties involved in tactical swaps. I thought it was wrong. But, after a minute or two''s reflection, I realised he hadn''t actually done very much 2nd half, & had started losing the ball. As somebody else pointed out, this is a sure sign of him running out of steam (as it is for any player really). And soon after the substitution, we score! I''m not saying this was as a direct result, but KK certainly gave Villa something new to think about, & he provided an excellent flick on for Holt at the end - something Wes could never have done. I''ve no idea what the Simeon fiasco was all about. For me the most exasperating thing about Hughton is his disinclination to replace players who have given their all & are clearly knackered. We''re finishing a lot of games in a pretty desperate state. I''m beginning to think we have a lot more injury problems than we''re admitting too as well.[/quote]

 

Totally agree there, Bassong in particular hasn''t looked fit for weeks to me.

 

I think the thing that frustrated people around me (absolutely no one booed) about the Wes substitution was the fact that when we were chasing the game we effectively just swapped one attacking player for another, and our most skilfull and creative player to boot. I''m not sure I really buy into this "running out of steam" idea, Wes is always capable of unlocking a defence and I don''t think his fitness is in question. He only becomes ineffective when he gets isolated. 

 

I think the general feeling was that it was win or die time and one of the defensive midfielders should have been sacrificed. Perhaps that was just wishful thinking conjured up by who was stood by the away dugout.

 

 

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I would love to have seen Karmara , becchio up front with hoolahan tucked behind , holt as sub if did not work out , Elliot Bennett deserves a starting place as well , no doubt it will be same line up on Saturday .

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[quote user="Mister Chops"]Tell us how you''d set the team up and what your starting XI would be?[/quote]A number of us (myself included) have done this on other threads and been shouted down with insights as piercing as "That just wouldn''t work" or "That''s too attacking even for Lambert" etc.And whilst you''ve asked JIM for his input, here''s what I would go with to get all 3 points in what really is a must win game:[URL=http://s207.photobucket.com/user/Indy_Bones/media/Norwich_zpsf4f7e7d1.png.html][IMG]http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb202/Indy_Bones/Norwich_zpsf4f7e7d1.png[/IMG][/URL]That''s assuming that Turner isn''t fit (and Bassong is), or he would replace R.Bennett.E.Bennett gets the nod over Snoddy from the start as he''s looked very good in his last few appearances, and his more direct approach and pace could work very well against WBA.Becchio to be given a fair shout, whilst giving Holt a full strike partner.Tettey over Johno as I think he''s just as good at the defensive side, is slightly quicker and more importantly can pass in a semi-decent manner half the time...

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[quote user="Indy_Bones"]


Tettey over Johno as I think he''s just as good at the defensive side, is slightly quicker and more importantly can pass in a semi-decent manner half the time...


[/quote]

 

Are thinking of different Tettey''s?!

 

There''s only 1 player in the squad who has the range of passing to play at the base of the diamond, and there''s more chance of a Garrido hat-trick on Sunday than Hughton picking David Fox.

 

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Blimey, Mr B, do you really think Fox could do that job on his own?

It''d be a huge ask for Tettey, but Fox? Sorry, not a hope.

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[quote user="ron obvious"]

Blimey, Mr B, do you really think Fox could do that job on his own? It''d be a huge ask for Tettey, but Fox? Sorry, not a hope.

[/quote]

 

Fox has done that job many a time, and very successfully. However after sitting on his backside for the last 9 months I very much doubt it.

 

Fox may not offer the defensive capabilities of Tettey or Johnson, but this isn''t a game where we need to keep it tight, it''s a game where we have to attack, create chances and score goals. It''s a game we simply have to win. We are very much drinking in the last chance saloon.

 

 

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Flaws in Hughton''s tactical strategy  -- we would all like a tactical wizard as manager, unfortunately I''ve seen Hughton make a few mistakes, that even most of those watching would not.The very late changes when it''s not working is the main one, but there has been others that''s cost us points. he has a chance to put that right as he was outmaneuvered by Clarke at WBA When one down he changed the formation to 3 up front and Hughton did not react we lost it 2-1 This weekend Wigan did the same sort of thing to WBA and won. I would like to see Hughton do something similar.

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the adherence to two DMs is ridiculous when we need to attack. how many other teams in the PL play that way? one DM, even if he is of limited ability as are Tetty and Johnson, allows a more attacking set up of three in midfield and two up front. this Sunday will show if CH has the gonads to take a chance, but in all likelyhood it will be more of the same. actually, i would like to see Whittaker deployed as our lone DM, he has a better all-round game than the other two. this would allow Pilks, E. Benno and Wes/ Howson to attack more with Holt and Becchio up front.

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[quote user="Mr Brownstone"][quote user="ron obvious"]Blimey, Mr B, do you really think Fox could do that job on his own? It''d be a huge ask for Tettey, but Fox? Sorry, not a hope.[/quote]Fox has done that job many a time, and very successfully. However after sitting on his backside for the last 9 months I very much doubt it.[/quote]Therein lies my own concerns around picking Foxy.If he was fully fit and had played on a semi-regular basis over the season then fair enough, but he really isn''t going to be properly match fit, and it''s too big a risk to take with the importance of the games.I also have concerns about Foxy''s physicality in a purely defensive role at this level. As part of a midfield 2 or 3, then no problem, but as a lone DM it''s another big ask, and another risk we can''t afford to take at this stage.Whilst Tettey isn''t the passer or creator that Fox is, he is fairly good at completing his passes (even if they are barber shop passes), whereas Johnson does pretty poorly in this area comparatively speaking, and therefore with them being pretty equal of most of the other parts of their game, Tettey edges it for me.

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Agree Indy that Tettey should get the nod. It may be just coincidence but his first inclusion in the side was the start of our run in the Autumn. If you exclude a sub appearance against Liverpool.

One of Hughton''s weaknesses for me is that he does not keep his whole squad sharp and able to do a job. Yes we have practically a whole team on loan which is good management of them as they are gaining experience. But for some on or around the bench they have simply not had the game time to be viable contenders.

I do not think we have had more than our fair share of injuries but every time we have one it feels like a potential disaster as the stand ins do not look ready. It also belies the mantra at the start of the season that we need competition for every position. Apart from one or two positions it certainly does not feel like that. Certainly not how I would define it which is - if you lose form or not performing you will not keep your place because I have somebody else who can come in and do the job just as well or close to.

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That''s just it though fella''s, you''re not asking Foxy to play in a purely defensive role, that''s not what playing at the base of the Diamond is about.

Every formation has it''s positives and it''s negatives and we all know what the Diamond''s flaws are, but this isn''t a game where we need to be conservative. That is what had got us in this mess.

We need to dominate possession and we need to build pressure, this will in turn lead to us creating chances and if the football gods are smiling on us, scoring goals. In order to do those things you need to have a midfielder who can pass the f**king football.

But as I said before it''s more than likely too late in the day to bring in Foxy. At the very least Hughton needs to take the shackles off Howson and get the full backs to push up.

I''m not one for criticising individual players but I do sometimes wonder if I''ve been watching a different Tettey to everyone else.

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No no no!A part of the problem for me this year has been the combination of Johnson & Tettey. Both are OK at best.I dont get the "love in" for Tettey. Hes been pretty average in most of the games this season and neither of them can pass.Add two defensive midfielders to a back 4 and youre playing with 6 at the back. Our FB''s dont get forward either. It would be suicide. Howson was good on saturday and doesnt warrant a place on the bench. Id love to see Fox but thats not going to happen.IF we stay up we need better than all the centre midfielders on our books.

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Not just me then lol!

Totally agree with your comment about a "back 6", said the same thing myself many a time this season. It''s been almost like we''ve been playing with 2 old fashioned Sweepers at times.

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No im with you Mr Brownstone.Clearly we will be better defensively, than last year. We are playing with 6 defensive players, so its hardly surprising. I cant knock it away from home. But at home? Come on! This for me is an example of Hughtons naivety. He doesnt have a "home" way or an "away" way.

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[quote user="can u sit down please"]No im with you Mr Brownstone.Clearly we will be better defensively, than last year. We are playing with 6 defensive players, so its hardly surprising. I cant knock it away from home. But at home? Come on! This for me is an example of Hughtons naivety. He doesnt have a "home" way or an "away" way. [/quote]But if he doesn''t have a "home way" or an "away way" how come our home record is so good.Surely he must be doing something different?

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I''d say our home form *was* good. We''ve only won 2 since we beat Wigan.

I''m probably way wide of the mark but Hughton seems to have got sucked into this over cautious way of playing since the 4 consecutive defeats that followed that Wigan victory. I appreciate we weren''t exactly Barcelona before that, but at least we were creating chances.

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totally agree. i have mentioned on a couple of threads ongoing that i would guess that we are the only team in the league to play two DMs. i would guess this is because neither are good enough to be considered by CH  for the lone DM position. but as this detracts from the attacking side of the game it leaves us threadbare in attack.if we survive this must be addressed in the Summer otherwise RvW will be feeding on scraps next season. add to this that most of the goals we have conceded lately have come from players running with the ball and shooting from outside the penalty area and you could say that both DMs are failing in their job.

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[quote user="morty"][quote user="can u sit down please"]No im with you Mr Brownstone.Clearly we will be better defensively, than last year. We are playing with 6 defensive players, so its hardly surprising. I cant knock it away from home. But at home? Come on! This for me is an example of Hughtons naivety. He doesnt have a "home" way or an "away" way. [/quote]But if he doesn''t have a "home way" or an "away way" how come our home record is so good.Surely he must be doing something different?[/quote]Morty tell me when we have lined up as a "home team". Our tactics are rigid and our approach is unchanged.You could argue that we could go down because of our home form. Failing to win in 11 of the games isnt good enough. The draws against QPR WHU Fulham Toon Southampton Swansea & Villa could be our downfall.

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[quote user="star_manic"]totally agree. i have mentioned on a couple of threads ongoing that i would guess that we are the only team in the league to play two DMs. i would guess this is because neither are good enough to be considered by CH  for the lone DM position. but as this detracts from the attacking side of the game it leaves us threadbare in attack.if we survive this must be addressed in the Summer otherwise RvW will be feeding on scraps next season. add to this that most of the goals we have conceded lately have come from players running with the ball and shooting from outside the penalty area and you could say that both DMs are failing in their job.[/quote]2 holding midfielders arent a bad thing. But one of them need to be able to play a bit. Most teams play the 4231 formation but they seem to have a player that dpes the dirty work and one that dictates the tempo etc.....We have a ball player but hes in the dark.

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[quote user="can u sit down please"][quote user="morty"][quote user="can u sit down please"]No im with you Mr Brownstone.Clearly we will be better defensively, than last year. We are playing with 6 defensive players, so its hardly surprising. I cant knock it away from home. But at home? Come on! This for me is an example of Hughtons naivety. He doesnt have a "home" way or an "away" way. [/quote]But if he doesn''t have a "home way" or an "away way" how come our home record is so good.Surely he must be doing something different?[/quote]Morty tell me when we have lined up as a "home team". Our tactics are rigid and our approach is unchanged.You could argue that we could go down because of our home form. Failing to win in 11 of the games isnt good enough. The draws against QPR WHU Fulham Toon Southampton Swansea & Villa could be our downfall.[/quote]Lol, why do you always answer a question with another question?Yes, if your cup is half empty you could point to those results, but overall our home form still accounts for the fact we''re not already relegated.

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