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The Great Mass Debater

Midfield Animals

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I personally feel our midfield needs some more bite. Johnson gives us something in this area, but he is not mobile enough nor is he good enough on the ball. I cant really think of a game where our midfield has been dominant, and I wonder if we need a Lucas Biglia type player who can release the talents of fer and howson, whilst being a tidy player himself. I was trying to think of the types of player I am thi nking about, historically players like Edgar Davids, Gennaro Gatusso, Stig Tofting (Keane to some extent but I hate the bloke). Tettey is certainly mobile enough, but doesnt have the ability on the ball or, for me, the aggression to be thought of as being in the same mould as these players. I find it hard to think of any current players in a similar mould to whom iv mentioned. Anyone got any good suggestions for this type of snarling snapping bulldog of a player that also has some decent on the ball skills?

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An interesting thread GMD. The more I think about it, the more I realise that this type of player seems to be out of fashion these days. All the people you mention are at least 10 years in the past . It was a job that Andy Townsend, and Damien Francis, amongst others, did for us.I too actually am struggling to think of a current Prem player who fits that bill exactly. I suppose someone like Charlie Adam at Stoke is the nearest you''ll get.There are plenty of them in the lower leagues, so if we were going to go down that route, then we''d have to "do a Lambert" and take a punt on someone from Lge One or the Champ at best. I can certainly see what you are saying; the top midfielders often ''don''t like it up ''em'', when faced with this type of player, but is it really the Norwich Way. I can just hear the howls of derision from the purists if we were to do that.I think you maybe write off  Tettey too soon. He''s beeen excellent some games, but, as you say lacks that killer pass, and, from time to time is too easily shaken off the ball, but, with the right coaching and application, I still feel he could become a top player.

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Tettey I think is still a good choice for that position and as Reggie says can improve, but we need cover for him.   Johnson has shortcomings, but if he can improve too, then he may still be an option.   Johnson to me has it in him to be good enough, but his decision making is sometimes suspect.  At lower levels you can get away with some of the things he and Snodgrass do - dithering, poor pass selection or just inconsistent techniques - but at this level your decision making needs to be spot on all the time.   If Johnson (and Snodgrass) just played to their strengths all the time, they would be more consistent and effective.   We have seen Johnson play some man of the match games, but equally he can be very poor too.

So Tettey and Johnson are both "improvers".  We could do with another DM improver to add competitiveness to that position.  The finished article may be outside our price range.  

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With yellow and red cards being flashed with greater ease recently getting a player like Davids or Gattuso will mean regulary playing with 10 men - a la Sunderland with Clattermole.

 

Personally I think Tettey is perfectly capable at doing that role and is better on the ball than many give him credit for, but it''s mainly his intelligence and discipline I like - he doesn''t need to go tearing around like a headless chicken (e.g. Scott Parker) because he can read the game well and positions himself well. He also doesn''t try anything flashy with the ball, meaning he rarely turns over possession, essential for a player in that position. The one problem with Tettey, and it is a big one, is the fact he has suffered pretty major injuries for 4 seasons in a row now - he is never going to be able to complete over 30 games a season so cannot be relied upon for the starting 11. Someone very similar to him, without the injuries, would be a great addition in January.

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[quote user="Bethnal Yellow and Green"]

With yellow and red cards being flashed with greater ease recently getting a player like Davids or Gattuso will mean regulary playing with 10 men - a la Sunderland with Clattermole.

 

[/quote]A very pertinent point, BYG. I shudder to think how many matches an unreconstructed Vinnie Jones (let alone a Ron Harris, Billy Bremner or Norman Hunter) would be free of suspension to play in, as regards the game in 2013 !!

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I agree with what Bethnal said.

 

It is a real shame that it doesn''t look like Tettey will ever play a full season.

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Certainly agree with the comments on Tettey regarding what he does well. He makes a great number of interceptions and this comes from his excellent reading of the game and positioning. But his passing generally is awful. When he tries somerthing more than a simple pass, it is usually the wrong choice and played far too heavily. He has played his best games IMO when after winning the ball he has looked immediately to give it to Hoolahan or more recently Fer, than doing something himself. If only we had the next step up, a player who didnt need to do that. Fer might well be that player, if we were to buy a more attack minded midfielder to partner him, and have Fer in the Tettey role. Tettey for me though is not a midfield enforcer (as Brellier was supposed to be, ahem) in the mould of the other players iv mentioned. I just dont perceive him to be the type of player who out-muscles opponents or who tackles hard. The yellow/red card argument is certainly valid, but I just feel our midfield needs some more steel

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Someone might be able to prove me wrong but I don''t think Tettey''s passing is really that bad is it?

 

I think it''s more the case that a small number of horribly wayward passes are more eye-catching than the majority of other passes which are tidy.

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[quote user="GJP"]

Someone might be able to prove me wrong but I don''t think Tettey''s passing is really that bad is it?

 

I think it''s more the case that a small number of horribly wayward passes are more eye-catching than the majority of other passes which are tidy.

[/quote]

 

It''s really not that bad - he has the highest pass accuracy rate at the club. It is slightly skewed as he will usually only try short passes but it shows he really isn''t as sloppy as many seem to think.

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[quote user="Bethnal Yellow and Green"]

 

It''s really not that bad - he has the highest pass accuracy rate at the club. It is slightly skewed as he will usually only try short passes but it shows he really isn''t as sloppy as many seem to think.

[/quote]I guess that is the nub of the issue, BYG.  Someone''s passing being "not that bad" is OK in Lge One or the Championship, but really doesn''t cut the mustard at any level of the Premier Lge. I''m sure there must be some stat somewhere that tells how many of a side''s goals conceded were as a result of gifting posession to the opposition, but, of late, my overriding impression is that we give the ball away through a sloppy pass far too often. Against Man Citeh it reached pandemic levels...and look what that led to !

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all teams need an "enforcer"

 

and for years we have been too nice. Darel Russell filled the role fairly well in his time. I''ve always said i''d sooner we won with 10 and played nasty than lost with 11 and played nice.

 

 

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I think over the years these "midfield animals" simply developed into more cultured players. The two in the prem that instantly spring to mind for me were Makalele at Chelsea, and Alonso at Liverpool.

Makalele was deployed alongside fat Frank to break up as many attacks as possible, play the ball out from midfield, and allow FFL to bomb forward whenever he wanted to. He was damn good at it.

Alonso was used in a similar guise at Liverpool alongside Steven Gerrard. Broke up play, had an amazing array of passing, and again allowed Gerrard to bomb forward whenever he wanted. I remember Worthington saying he would pay just to watch Alonso pass the ball around.

Anyway, the point I am alluding to, is that I think in Fer or Howson, we have two potential "modern day midfield animals." Howson has shown that he''s not great at being the holding player but when he has license to get forward, he''s getting better and better. Fer has all the attributes to be our midfield general with a good range of passing, strong in the tackle, he just needs to work on his concentration.

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Its about having options and cover.  

 

I too rate Tettey, and our first three cms in Fer & Howson all of whom can retain possession well,  but in their absence the cover is not quite there.     

 

Also I am not quite convinced when all three play that they are quite good enough as a unit.   We have seen flashes of what they are capable and I am unsure whether I want greater consistency (in which case they wont remain here long) or ability (in which case they wont remain here long) as we still dont have quite enough creativity in the team.   I am hoping that creativity will improve as they continue to gel as a unit.

 

I do see improving the centre mid as a priority,  both from a creative and destructive point of view,  along with a further cb

 

  

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[quote user="Reggie Strayshun"][quote user="Bethnal Yellow and Green"]

 

It''s really not that bad - he has the highest pass accuracy rate at the club. It is slightly skewed as he will usually only try short passes but it shows he really isn''t as sloppy as many seem to think.

[/quote]

I guess that is the nub of the issue, BYG.  Someone''s passing being "not that bad" is OK in Lge One or the Championship, but really doesn''t cut the mustard at any level of the Premier Lge. I''m sure there must be some stat somewhere that tells how many of a side''s goals conceded were as a result of gifting posession to the opposition, but, of late, my overriding impression is that we give the ball away through a sloppy pass far too often. Against Man Citeh it reached pandemic levels...and look what that led to !
[/quote]

 

He has 90% completion rate on passes so he isn''t giving the ball away in dangerous positions so much, but he just isn''t going to be spraying passes around from deep like a Carrick or Arteta. The good thing about Tettey is at least he doesn''t try these types of passes unlike other midfielders at the club *cough* Johnson *cough*.

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I think a player who would fit this role after watching him

a few times over the years is Scott Brown. Granted he is not the most technical

player but his aggression and mobility is brilliant. I look at other teams who

are playing well like Southampton who have Wanyama and Newcastle who have

Tiote, these two are not amazing passers of the ball but they do the simple

things really well, Closing down, interceptions and tackling.  These players give the more technical players

the freedom to do what they do best.

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I''m not disputing these figures, BYG, but, as a matter of interest where do you come by all these % pass completion rates etc ? TBH, I''d kind of expect any PL midfielder to be achieving getting high 80''s percentage of his passes going where they were intended. Mind you, I''m old-fashioned enough to expect any professional player to be two-footed...but it''s amazing how many aren''t !

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I''m also deeply suspicious of statistics relating to football. Whenever I''ve seen them from more than one source they never tally and are often wildly different. How are they recorded? Does one guy sit at every match carefully noting every kick of the ball? Does a whole team of them sit and just watch for one specific thing? Is the entire match watched over and over again to get the details right? Does a committee meet at the end of the match to reach agreement on which shots were ''on target'', which were actually mis-placed crosses rather than attempts on goal, and which passes actually went to the intended team mate rather than another colleague accidentally? When there''s a period of head tennis, how do they know which team is currently ''in possession''? When the goalie boots it up-field, is his team technically still ''in possession'' the entire time the ball remains in the air, even an opposition player gets his head to it first, or did his team technically lose possession the moment it left his boot?

Perhaps somebody in the know can enlighten me?

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[quote user="Chip20"]I''m also deeply suspicious of statistics relating to football. Whenever I''ve seen them from more than one source they never tally and are often wildly different. How are they recorded? Does one guy sit at every match carefully noting every kick of the ball? Does a whole team of them sit and just watch for one specific thing? Is the entire match watched over and over again to get the details right? Does a committee meet at the end of the match to reach agreement on which shots were ''on target'', which were actually mis-placed crosses rather than attempts on goal, and which passes actually went to the intended team mate rather than another colleague accidentally? When there''s a period of head tennis, how do they know which team is currently ''in possession''? When the goalie boots it up-field, is his team technically still ''in possession'' the entire time the ball remains in the air, even an opposition player gets his head to it first, or did his team technically lose possession the moment it left his boot?

Perhaps somebody in the know can enlighten me?[/quote]

Here you go. This is from Opta''s website and it explains how they gather the data. Pretty much is a team of people watching a game and clicking a mouse! link below:

http://www.optasports.com/about/how-we-do-it/the-data-collection-process.aspx

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Those numbers come from Opta, who are probably the best source for data. The BBC use to take information from the Press Association but have switched to Opta as well now.

 

For every match covered by Opta they have three analysts watching the game, one covers the home team, one covers the away team and a third covers extra features and makes sure that what the other two are up two is correct. Each games is reviewed again within 48 hours to double check the numbers. The analysts are also supported by software that can recognise where the ball is on the pitch and simple actions. As most of the collection is done by humans rather than machines they can make a judgement on each action - an accurate pass is accurate whether meant intentionally or accidentially.

 

Possession stats are collected a number of different ways by the different companies, most use the ''chess clock'' style - where the analyst will hit a button each time possession changes hand (whilst the ball is in air it is counted as being in possession of the last person to kick it, until the next player touches it), this proves to be very difficult to do, and there have been cases of analysts forgetting to hit the button during a frantic bit of play. I believe Opta use a method where they base possession on the number of passes each team makes. For example Team A passes 600 times and Team B passes 400 times - Team A has 60% of possession. Although this seems pretty basic it is suppose to be a pretty accurate way of working it out when comapred to the ''chess clock'' style after a match.

 

Stats shouldn''t be used as absolute proof of something, but they are a good way to show aspects of a game that can be missed. 1 misplaced pass will stick in the mind stronger than 20 accurate ones - giving a false impression on a player''s performace. They are also good for making comparisons on like-for-like players. For example comparing Tettey and Wanyama - Tettey''s pass completion is 90%, Wanyama''s is 81%.

 

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[quote user="Jimmy Smith"]Ikhtay GunDOGan, Lee CATterMOLE, Marco VerRATti, Don COWie, Matt SPARROW, StepHEN Ireland

Isn''t this the point of the thread?[/quote]...And people like Mark FISH, + Shaun GOATer  could also make a comeback ?

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[quote user="Reggie Strayshun"][quote user="Jimmy Smith"]Ikhtay GunDOGan, Lee CATterMOLE, Marco VerRATti, Don COWie, Matt SPARROW, StepHEN Ireland

Isn''t this the point of the thread?[/quote]...And people like Mark FISH, + Shaun GOATerĀ  could also make a comeback ?[/quote]

Good, but they aren''t Midfielders :P

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Shame we missed out on Huddlestone, or maybe even Shelvey, in our price range. Gardner from Sunderland?

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