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21-04-2011, 01:50 AM #1
Been putting some thought to our current formation and what changes I would like to see. To summarize, VDV would play an inverted right wing role and we would pick up a reliable right wing back in the summer.
To explain, There are four things that bother me as fundamental problems:
1. The usual, we need 1-2 new strikers. I don't care if we have defoe and PC or Eto'o and Drogba, just as long as they are in form. Right now that is not us and it has to change.
2. VDV, despite being our leading scorer is not an out and out striker and we need more goals from up top
3. We are one dimensional in attack, meaning we rely on wing play and crosses, but create little scoring opportunities from other types of build up. We need to diversify.
4. We have no threatening replacements for Bale and Lennon (and VDV is stuck playing up top) - so therefore we have poor rotation on our most threatening players and this increases their risk of fatigue and injury.
Ok so this is not too revolutionary, but I would make three changes to how we usually play:
1. VDV (RW), Lennon (RW/LW), and Bale (LW) would rotate in for one another depending on opponent and fitness. All three of these players are 100 percent class and we need to refrain from running them into the ground as we are doing now - having them rotate would help significantly and allow us diverse options against opponents without losing our offensive threat. (as it is now, when Bale/Lennon come off we lose all threat on his side of the pitch)
2. If VDV is playing significant minutes on the right wing (inverted), we need to assume he will be spending a lot of time in the middle of the pitch, as a result (as we saw against arsenal) there is ample opportunity for wide play from an attacking right back. Kaboul is not bad at this but Corluka just doesn't cut it (despite a few successful crosses for goals). So Walker may be ideal for this, but it is tough to know if he is ready and how smart he is. For an attacking back that is given lots of space, the greatest issue is when they choose to make their runs, and when they choose to play it safe. I don't know how Walker would be at this. We need someone who can do this well if VDV is playing right wing. (An example of the ideal way this sort of wing back plays see: Daniel Alves: more than a right-back | Zonal Marking ).
3. VDV on the right wing does a couple of things besides giving us cover on the wing positions. It allows us to match up differently against teams, especially teams with strong midfields, because it puts more men in the center of the pitch. The downside is there is less space. I think that VDV is class enough (especially next to Modric and Hudd) to be fine with less space and having him tucked in will give us a team more likely to create chances on the ground through the middle instead of relying on crossing/wing play as our sole threat. - Not to mention dominate possession!
(So in short I would like to see VDV play more on the right as an inverted winger and rotate with lennon and bale as needed based on player fatigue and opposition tactics. I also think we would need a reliable right wing back to fill the wide space VDV leaves open.)
So here is what I would like to see us pick up in the offseason:
1. An attacking right back that is good on the ball and crossing. This could mean splashing some cash, or could mean putting Kyle Walker to the test.
2. We need 1-2 new strikers - again we all know this.
3. (unrelated to this post, we need cover for BAE).
So there are two formations I would like to see, both could have Sandro subbed in for one (preferably the smaller one) of our strikers to give greater defense and hold leads:
Formation 1: 4-4-2 with VDV inverted on the right.
This is an attacking formation that also has a lot of people in the middle of the park:
-VDV inverted on the wing causing an almost 3 man center midfield
-an attacking RB making timed runs with the extra space on the right
-Bale providing wide play on the left
-two strikers (goals!)
-Lennon can be subbed on to either wing, VDV can be easily moved to cover a striker.
Attacking RB --- Daws --- Gallas --- BAE
-----------VDV -- Modric -- Hudd ----Bale/Lennon
------------Big striker ---- little striker ----
Formation 2: Essentially our current 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1
-VDV can sub in for Lennon (who can move in for Bale), or VDV come on (or start) for one of the strikers.
- Having an attacking right back is not essential for this formation.
-This formation is a straightforward wide 4-4-2, it will lead to a lot of crosses which we may be better off converting with two strikers in instead of VDV (despite his great record with knockdowns). Regardless, if needed we can play this the same as we play in the CL with VDV in the hole.
Attacking RB --- Daws --- Gallas --- BAE
Lennon ----- Modric ---- Hudd ------ Bale
--------Big striker ----- striker/VDV -----
I know some people have wished for our old 4-4-2 back, but we went to VDV because the 4-5-1 allows us to play more dominant teams. If we can diversify our formation to when necessary play a lopsided 4-4-2, or an inverted 4-4-2, we can still play two strikers against dominant teams.
21-04-2011, 04:37 AM #2
Alright Dustin, nice write up.
First 3 points, I agree completely. However, I do think that with games Pienaar could be a good choice for either Bale or Lennon if they need to be rested or out injured. He hasnt had enough games to be consistent enough but he does give us an outlet for both. Definitely not the same type of player but a decent option to come off the bench.
I agree that with VDV playing inverted on the right an attacking RB is needed, someone who will get forward well and has a good eye for goal. Walker has scored a few goals this season where he's come from the back so he could well be that player we need, Kaboul is another but I think he needs to improve the attacking part of his game. This is the same concept if Bale was to ever play LB, an inverted LW would be needed so that Bale could come from the back. However, I do not wish to see this happen anytime in the near future since Bale links so well with our midfield if he was moved back he would be out of 50% of our attacks....back on topic....
Point 3 about use playing VDV wide against teams who play 3 in the midfield is spot on, this would clog the midfield up and allow us to really press the opposition.
However, I do think with the right striker VDV would still flourish in the hole and I dont think we should completely look to have VDV playing out wide on a consistent basis. Obviously, rotating the squad is important but some games we just have to put our best XI out to ensure we get the results. Having quality players on the bench would be a difficult situation if Bale,Lennon, VDV were all playing at top form. Neither would want to be dropped and shouldnt be just for the sake of getting a game off (perhaps against a weaker side that comes up for us to play).
Your last point about 4 4 2, as Harry said earlier in the year. It is extremely difficult for clubs to play 4 4 2 in Europe, I think the 4 4 1 1 worked great in Europe and I do think we should stick with it for some away games in the league as well. We could possibly change things up at home and go for the 4 4 2, which I'd have no problem with. Providing we get a class striker I think people will come around to it once they realize its a great formation and can work [B]with the right player playing the lone role[B].
21-04-2011, 05:40 AM #3
I've said it before but I would like to see us try 3 midfielders. If we're going to deploy VDV tight on the wing then why not? I do worry whether he has the stamina and speed to play there though. I know he wouldn't be your traditional winger but still your typical FB is quick because they have to be dealing with pacy wingers.
I keep banging on about playing 3 midfielders because each one of our midfielders gives us a different dimension. When we only play two we're always gonna cut something out that we could really use.
Modric is creative, standard.
Thudd is also creative but he also among the goals.
Sandro works his ass off and breaks up play.
With Sandro in particular, if he played along side Thudd and Modric if would free up a lot of concerns for those players so the could focus on supplying he attack.
I would love us just to try, maybe in the off season, a 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1. For the 4-3-2-1 Bring bale into a more attacking midfield role. You never know it could be great, people always say Bale is a left sided player but a few times this season alone he's drifted into the middle or the right and looked good. During a Wales match he was given pretty much a free role and looked comfortable. Nothing came of it because Wales are rubbish but he still looked good.
21-04-2011, 07:49 AM #4
@spursman18 Definitely agree with you about needing to play a 4-5-1 variation away in europe and at tough away PL games. Perhaps one inverted winger like VDV could clog things up enough to be a happy medium between a 4-5-1 and a 4-4-2, but again a stand alone striker is definitely needed so we can play a real 4-5-1 in tough away games.
@BlueCrew LA It looks like involving Sandro as much as possible, alongside hudd will make for a rock solid CM, though as you have shown we start to run out of spots for all of our top midfielders. Right now I value Hudd more than Sandro because of his shooting (and his latest goal is a prime example). We lack any threat on goal from the middle of the park and he offers that, if we get better at exposing teams on the ground up the middle, then I might be as bold as to say I prefer sandro over hudd... but right now it seems hudd has been our most missed player this season.
In response to your two formations, that 4-3-3 looks pretty dirty, supposing crouch/pav/newstriker can get the job done. I think charlie may be a bit of a problem filling space behind VDV but who knows. As for the 4-3-2-1 I am sort of thinking about how that would be played in reality, and I kind of see it as bale out wide on the left, VDV tucked behind the striker, and hudd being left to play defense on the opposing winger. In reality your 4-3-2-1 and 4-3-3 may be played almost the same seeing as they are using the same players (with distinct individual styles). But I do agree it would be interesting to see some of our boys in a 4-3-3, lennon especially could really thrive.
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BlueCrew LA (21-04-2011)
21-04-2011, 08:46 AM #5
Nicely done @Dustin . Well thought out and written .
Just one thing I would like to pick you up on , and that is the fact that we "Run players into the ground" This is absolute tosh , anyone would think that we were some kind of slave masters . When I was a lad it was the norm for players to play 60 games a season , now with improved training techniques we should be getting easily that amount of games out of a fit player .
The game is not faster than it used to be and players are far more molly-coddled than they once were . "improved" diets , "improved" training , "improved" warm-ups , "improved" warm-downs , "improved" transportation , all result in one thing , players thinking that if they play 30 games a season they are at the limit of their ability .
Don't be taken in by people saying they have it hard . The more a player plays the better they get , not worse .
In my day you would NEVER change a winning team formation , and that if a team continued to win then that was your best team , and even if a star player came back from injury during a winning streak then he would NOT get back into that team until they lost .
How times have changed .
21-04-2011, 08:49 AM #6
Like it @Dustin
Not convinced we need a new right back, I think Corluka and Kaboul have portrayed their attacking qualities in the last few matches well. But still apart from that I pretty much agree. VDV, Bale and Lennon being rotated seems to be the right thing to do.
21-04-2011, 06:15 PM #7
I think this can really really work. I know everybody hates the idea of bale LB but imo with this formation and players bearing in mind we would have sandro stay deep and Hudd playing the holding role it open our attack up soooo much and from every single area of the pitch we a very dangerous! Although on paper it seems as though bales too deep and yes when defending he stays LB but the second we have the ball he's off and sandro knows to stay deep.
Sandro has been getting better game on game and like 1 or 2 have meantioned if we could get modric hudd and sandro ALL in our starting 11 then that gives us EVERYTHING a real battler and ball winner (sandro who is an absolute beast at what he does) a brilliant long ball passer i hudd who with modric run the centre of the park and with opponents being drawn into the centre of the park to deal with them it opens sooooo much space for lennon and bale to get in behind etc. All we need is a top lone striker like a Drogba or Hulk etc.
Last edited by GTGio; 21-04-2011 at 06:20 PM.
21-04-2011, 10:00 PM #8
@Rev John Ripsher You may very well be right, to be honest I have absolutely no experience being around a team that plays so many games as frequently so it is tough for me to know the real effect of that. But there are several reasons having the three of them rotate in and out could be useful. 1. is for tactical reasons. 2. is for injury. 3. is for fatigue during games (a player will be able to run faster if he only has to do it for 70 minutes instead of 90), and 4. (arguably) is to give mid week breaks when needed.
I know it seems like a waste to have cover that is also top notch talent on the bench. But at times - especially in this predicament where our best team may sometimes not include VDV up top with the striker (something we will likely see even more of if we get better strikers) - we are left with the 2 wing positions for three top top players. If I look at other top teams however, they often have a two top players that play the same role and find ways to rotate them both based on tactics and fitness (amazingly kaka doesn't even start at Madrid, Berbatov is the PL leading scorer and quite often is not even the first choice striker at Man U). Perhaps Harry saw the need for us to play a 4-5-1 (a legitimate concern) and then was gifted a marquee player in VDV and has done his best to make sure VDV and our other top 10 players play as much as possible. But it seems that our goal drought this season has proved that our current 4-4-1-1 is not quite good enough. And I think most of us can agree that goals/results aside, in terms of playing good football we are better this season than last. So we may need to make the hard choice of not starting either VDV, Bale, or Lennon. Of course everything depends on getting a striker that can run on and finish 15+ goals per season. We have blown that objective in two straight transfer windows, so it is not a given - especially if we don't make top 4.
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Rev John Ripsher (22-04-2011)
21-04-2011, 11:53 PM #9
the talk of vdv playing on the right with walker at rb makes me wonder whether modric at LM and Bale at LB, Modric would drift inside allowing bale to give width, like VDV and walker would do.
Walker Dawson Gallas Bale
Van Der Vaart Huddlestone Sandro Modric
2 new strikers
I think could work, if not then
Walker Dawson Gallas Ekotto/Baines
VDV Huddlestone Modric Bale
2 new strikers
22-04-2011, 06:19 AM #10
I think Bale is being groomed for a forward position . And will not tolerate going into defence
22-04-2011, 06:48 AM #11
22-04-2011, 10:19 PM #12
@Dustin - You and 'Arry seem to be on the same page.
‘I’ve got Aaron, who’s a good player, so that gives me a problem, but there’s nowhere else I can play Rafa unless you play with one striker.
‘If you want to get two out and out front men in your team, off the right is the only position for him.’
Harry Redknapp finds the right position for Rafael Van Der Vaart | Mail Online
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22-04-2011, 10:20 PM #13
I think this is only going to push 'Arry towards bringing in a inverted winger in the summer.
22-04-2011, 11:44 PM #14
23-04-2011, 06:35 PM #15
As of right now Bale and (especially) Lennon can both play inverted or in their traditional positions, while VDV can only really play inverted. So you would think if he wanted to play inverted wingers he already has the players to do it. (Despite Pienaar playing on both sides and being good on the ball, he does not play inverted, from what I have seen he stays wider than even bale or lennon).