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20 May 2021 13:04:38
I've never understood the obsession with playing 4 at the back. In my opinion if it ain't broke don't fix it. Fergie at Man Utd never had a plan B, he just made plan A better. If I was in charge i'd invest heavily in another 2 defenders, two footed who are in the same build as Boly. Protecting our Quarterback Coady. Neves given a licence to attack more when on the front foot and a more terrier like younger version of Moutinho alongside him. Moutinho needs to be amongst the subs from next season as watching him lately his speed of thought has dropped 10%. A massive drop if you want to compete at the highest level.

Semedo and Jonny would be my ideal wide men of the 4. RAN is coming good but needs to bulk up abit.

Front 3. Jimenez/ Silva, Neto Traore Podence all need to be on their toes consistently.

Agree0 Disagree0

20 May 2021 15:27:26
If we go for another striker, I would like to see a boly. Size. striker, For traore to aim at. But yes two big ch, and a hard tackling mid. A must, plus maybe a keeper if Patricio goes,

20 May 2021 16:55:37
I get what you mean but Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd, Leicester and Blackburn all won the PL playing with a back 4 so it seems that that is the most effective formation.

20 May 2021 18:14:27
Problem is in a 3atb midfield almost always gets beaten in possession so swapping to a 4atb means an extra man in midfield for possession and better attacking stats.

20 May 2021 18:57:27
Interesting thread.
Note under Conte Chelsea won playing 3,4,3 with Alonso and Moses as WBs and Hazard, Costa and Pedro up front.
But of course most title winning sides have played 4 at the back.
My theory is that you need better players to play 4,3,3 than you do to play 3,4,3 (which unlike the various title winners we don't have! ) .
Even me, who loves Doherty, would acknowledge he is not good enough to play in a 4 - see Spurs 20/ 21 - but in a 3,4,3 he was superb!
If you look at the squad only Otto and Boly of our defenders can play in a 4 - Coady will battle but isn't really good enough. Whilst Neves, Dendonker and Moutinho are all more comfortable playing in a narrow formation, sitting in front of the 3cbs whilst the WBs give width and attacking support, than they are in a more open and attacking formation that exposes their lack of pace.
The system may be limiting offensively but given our squads limitations opening up may make us a little better offensively but it makes us a lot more vulnerable defensively with obvious and dire consequences.
So either you totally change the squad to meet the demands of the new system or you accept that we have to maximise what we have and play a system that suits - that brought us two 7ths - and improve the quality slowly and possibly morph if we can/ desire to a new style. Clearly the dogs breakfast of a season that has gone by, (where we changed the system but not the squad or incredibly brougt in players like Semedo and RAN who suit 3,4,3 but not 4,3,3) can't be repeated. Consequently that decision has to be made now and totally changing the squad just isn't possible with FFP so I don't think there is actually much of a decision to be made.

20 May 2021 19:31:00
Absolutely right Raging. MOTD actually did a really interesting piece on Brendan Rodgers about this, who also plays a similar system. The jist of it was that the reason Lec have got better consistently under him is because he knows his system and rather than looking to change it to improve he looks to perfect it to improve! The only thing that worries me is that's exactly how Nuno was for three years, then suddenly a change of focus (which also co-insided with him becoming more visably dispondent) . I suppose what I'm saying is are we trying to play a back four to please Nuno or is Nuno trying a back four to please Fosun?! I'm not saying that's definitely the case as I admittedly have NO inside knowledge. I just don't get why he's changed from a plan that always seemed to be his own style?! Hope we get back to what he does best next season 👍.

20 May 2021 21:27:26
BullysBoy II

I posted a question of similar vein after the 'change of style' quotes.
I THINK I don't know that after the Sevilla game, Nuno, Shi et al all sat down and the question was asked why were we so outplayed?
Now, Raul's penalty goes in it could have been a different story, but it wasn't.
Watching that game was painful and the goal was always coming.

I think the decision was made to try and be more possessive of the ball instead of counter-attacking.
I preferred the way we were sorry!

This constant switching the ball across midfield is tiresome, it goes nowhere.

Whether or not Nuno believes in the back 4 I'm not certain but he has clearly agreed/ gone along with trying it it seems.

20 May 2021 21:43:34
BB - Again I have absolutely no knowledge of any interference by Jeff Shi/ Fousn but it makes sense. Or rather the change (and the whole debacle of the summer) doesn't make sense.

After the year we have just endured you would think that if this was the case then Jeff would just say sorry I was wrong and let Nuno get back on with the re-buildng of the club again.

Sadly the injuries have masked the issues and you fear that a stubborn person might try to argue that "it would have worked if only we hadn't had the injuries" and obviously they have made things worse.

Guess we will see by August what direction we are going in - let's hope its not down!

21 May 2021 00:20:59
I agree with you both and apologies Italia as I didn't see your original post on this. But YES Future essentially we either make the change to a back four and accept that to do so we need to invest £40-80m on JUST two cbs or we cut our cloth accordingly! And your right Jas (as usual:) most of those title winning teams have played four at the back but I would point out of those teams mentioned they either fall into one of two possible categorys. Cat 1 is those teams winning titles before 2000 (ish) at which point playing anything but a back four was pretty much frowned upon. Or Cat 2 after 2000 (ish) where (at the top end) the CB pairing needed to play a back four cost at least £80m+ to put together (granted sadly Lec were and always will be an anomily) .
I would also say that I'm concerned that we seem to be trying to run before we can walk. We should have looked to tie down a top 6 finish WELL before even thinking about that next step (especially when talking possession stats)!
If we ever want to progress then we can't have it both ways! We can't say we aren't spending big on two CBs (let's use cms instead) but by the way you HAVE to play with a back four?! We've seen it this year, it just doesn't work with the players we have! All but two of our defence aren't built to play a back four, that's a problem we've created and ignoring it clearly won't work! 🐺👍.

21 May 2021 00:23:44
Future: listen to me it would have worked but for the injuries, don't forget COV19 lack of fans. :)

Good thread people, I loved our solid no, super solid back 3 formation with the lightening lethal break.

Trouble is in my opinion it was only so useful; teams got used to us sitting back absorbing and hitting on the break, the bottom few teams adapted very well had a deep back line and said two can play that game, we reacted pressed and generally conceded a goal, stats reveal that.
The top teams struggled against it, generally they wanted to dominate regardless pressed and payed the price.

But then it seems they started to respect us, they started to leave a couple at the back ready for the counter this is where, well for me it was clear we had to change if we want to take that next step.
We need to actually out attack teams, I think the change was the right choice, I think the current squad is not capable to pull it off, and like all good teams this will take time, we have come a country mile from training on the tarmac car park, keep smiling keep supporting success is around the corner.
Like I used to tell the kids when they asked if we were there yet, yup just around the corner. no not that one the next one. :)

21 May 2021 09:44:14
Lord Thor - good post and as usual we don't diasagree that much just place differnt emphasis on matters.
I have stated consistently that the starting 11 ie without injuries is v good and would have "worked" possibly top 6 even?
But it was a mistake to assume that after a 3 year run without injuries the 4th would be the same. We got injuries and it patently didn't work!
As to if we needed to change system I think you are a bit pessimistic we did come 7th in our 2nd year and were in fact v unlucky with some terrible ref calls etc not to have been higher maybe even top 4.
We do have, when fit, some v good players!
Re changing the system though if we all agre that the squad isn't ready it was somewhat cavalier to dive in and do so without proper prep - a pre season a good summer transfer window?
Maybe rather than buy kids who may never be ready, (for any formation in the Prem), or players unsuited, such as Semedo, (who despite playing in a back 4 for Barcelona, where you rarely have to defend and offensive means give the ball to Messi et al) to playing in a 4, (he is clearly far more comfortable in a 3,4,3 as he is weak defensviely but good at carrying the ball upfield and linking with our forward players), we should have bought a few solid pros who could have facilitated the change and helped the existing squad to adapt.
Now with presumably modest money left after last year's big spend - particualrly if we are going to pick up RAN and Vitor - there will be v little chance of us adding the players we need.
So it indeed won't be the next corner or the one after that and unless the inured players do come back - and there are qs about that with Otto and Jimenez and due to age, injuries and AFN Boly and even Saiss plus Moutinho is surely gone - we may have crashed and burnt before we reach the straight?
Ouch - still grumpy sorry!
You are of course absolutely correct that the club has come miles in a v short time and maybe I shold give them more faith and time but as you get older you get more desperate for success and far less tolerant of set backs.
We wre so close and unlike you, and presumably the club, I do think evolution would gave got us there raher than the tear it down revolution that we seem to agree has some way to go before it even begins to rebuild?

21 May 2021 11:39:27
343 or 433? Future is spot on in my opinion we are way more vulnerable defensively by opening up. The midfield and defence are not scoring enough goals to make the trade off in my opinion. Yes we create enough chances wuth the 4 at the back but unless we can score more its probably not worth the trade off IMO.

21 May 2021 12:41:45
Should have said attack and midfield not midfield and defence but frankly tbe whole side are not scoring enough goals anyway.



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