Looking at the players we have available, taking in to account the perceived weaknesses we have (Right hand side) is Anichebe good enough to be a regular starter? Is Coleman too defensively naive to be a regular starter at Right back?
The strength of the squad is sought primarily in midfield where we have a depth of talent (everybody fit) that would mean somebody missing out who is definitely good enough to start. I understand changing a system totally is something difficult and realise that it is very unlikely to happen as Moyes?s policy is generally very rigid and will usually set up in a similar manner whoever the opponent.
In order to accommodate both Heitinga and Jagielka both at Centre-Half, like it or not, Distin or Yobo has to be involved. In the modern game there are two types of centre half, one that attacks everything and dominates both in the air and on the floor. The second will drop off in to the space and clear up everything behind. Both Heitinga and Jagielka fall in to this category, Distin and Yobo the former.
As a result, Moyes will play one of each type together in a back four. Which brings me to my point: in order to accommodate as many of our best players as possible in to one system, it would make sense to play a back three. This also utilises the left / right footer on either side and should mean Heitinga should be the spare man and therefore given the opportunity to display his impressive range of passing from deep.
Distin - Heitinga - Jagielka
Playing this system also negates the defensive naivity of Coleman as he could be utilised on the right hand side as a wing-back... with Baines similarly on the left, where arguably he would be more effective. However, this may break up his partnership with Pienaar which has been so effective over the last couple of years.
Baines - Coleman
In Midfield we could then play a three fairly narrow as the width would be provided by the wing-backs. Possibly playing Fellaini holding and giving a platform for Pienaar and Arteta to get forward and create (both of which are arguably better utilised in the middle) without a massive need to get back in and defend. Obviously using the work ethic of Pienaar in particular we would have license to press a lot further up the pitch.
Arteta - Pienaar
Further forward, there is the opportunity to play with either Cahill/Rodwell in ?the hole? behind a main striker. Giving the opportunity to pick the ball up infront of the oppositions back four with options coming from both deep and out wide. Cahill provides a threat aerially and is notoriously difficult to pick up. Rodwell being a lot more technical I would expect could dictate the game from that position and drive forward as he did against Man Utd last season. Without getting into a debate on the merits of who should play, I would expect both would be effective in the role.
Rodwell / Cahill
Up front, there would be less pressure on the frontman to hold the ball up and wait for support as in theory there should be options wide and from deep. Therefore, Saha would probably be best deployed here as he is less adept with his back to goal than the Yak, but has a great touch, his vision and eye for goal are far and away the best we have at our disposal. So he would get the nod in this system. With Beckford able to use his pace and intelligence in behind when called upon. Also the Yak as a target if required.
Overall It seems a little far-fetched to expect Moyes to drop a system that has been so effective over the years. I just feel that, with the players we have at our disposal, this may suit what we have. I have not ignored the likes of Neville, Hibbert, Osman, Vaughan etc (that would be a different debate) but feel that the players mentioned would be the most effective in the system used.
Lee Armstrong, Posted 13/08/2010 at 11:05:06
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1 Posted 13/08/2010 at 14:03:42
Can't see Moyes not keeping a back 4 though
2 Posted 13/08/2010 at 14:14:33
3 Posted 13/08/2010 at 14:20:30
4 Posted 13/08/2010 at 14:24:35
5 Posted 13/08/2010 at 14:22:28
6 Posted 13/08/2010 at 14:26:44
7 Posted 13/08/2010 at 14:31:15
Lee A I like it; maybe Moyes could try it in the Carling Cup against the Terriers??
8 Posted 13/08/2010 at 14:47:34
This formation would also allow Pienaar to drift out wide when he wanted to hook up with Baines and allow Pienaar or Arteta to take turns covering for Fellaini when he went marauding forward.
Our back three would have the time to not have to hoof and if desired they could even easily pass it sideways to Johnny and let him take it from there. You can also afford to have one under-sized centre-back which would mean we could use all Hibbert's superb defending attributes without the height disadvantage being an issue.
You'd have to presume Moyes would've tried it pre-season though if he had the inkling to do it, unfortunately.
9 Posted 13/08/2010 at 15:08:51
10 Posted 13/08/2010 at 15:18:42
11 Posted 13/08/2010 at 16:24:25
That said, that was the case when teams generally played 2 forwards. I can actually see an argument for using a formation with three defenders and five or even six midfield players against teams playing a 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1 formation.
12 Posted 13/08/2010 at 16:31:12
Having a look at the players in their best positions, there are some obvious choices for some positions and others that we are overloaded in one area:
Goalkeeper: Howard ahead of Mucha ? that said, though, I think if you are looking at title winners, you would need a keeper who is a tad better than these two.
Right Back: Neville, Hibbert, Coleman ? Hibbert great defending; Coleman great going forward and Neville overall probably the best out of the three.
Left Back: Baines ? No obvious cover although Distin and Neville can play there.
Centre Backs: Yobo, Distin, Heitinga & Jagielka ? Looks pretty solid and the obvious choice would be Heitinga and Jagielka although I have a doubt he will play the two of them.
Left Wing: Pienaar and Gueye ? Cover can come from our newbie but Pienaar is the only one who plays his best football for us out there. Gueye maybe... time will tell.
Right Wing: big black hole and one that needs addressing. Arteta, Osman and Anichebe can all do a job there but it is a problem position.
Central Midfield: Arteta, Fellaini, Rodwell, Osman ? Oozes quality and it is going to be difficult for Moyes to go with anything other than Arteta and Fellaini. Tough to find a better pairing in the middle of the park anywhere if they are at the top of their game. Rodwell and Osman may find a bit of time on the bench.
Attacking Midfield: Cahill and Bilyaletdinov ? Tim seems to have his fair share of critics on here but I just don?t think you can ignore his goal threat and as such is pretty much sure to play when fit.
Centre Forward: Yakubu, Saha, Vaughan, Anichebe, Beckford ? A bit top heavy on numbers and a bit sparse on guaranteed goals (unless the Yak has recovered). I would go for the Yak all day long with a fair bit of competition if he is not pulling his tripe out.
Overall, I think this is the best squad we have had for some time. Two decent international keepers; eight sound defenders with the only problem area being if Baines got injured. Midfield is overload in the middle; however, the right hand side needs addressing.
Five vying for one position up top is an issue and, when funds are at a premium, I think a few of them need to be off loaded. Anichebe is never going to be prolific enough to get him a starting place long term up top. And Vaughan, I believe has lost his own confidence and that of his manager.
Could Hibbert be sold to get a decent young Left back in as cover for Baines? Could Anichebe and Vaughan be sold to get someone in half decent on the right hand side? Time will tell but I don?t think we are far off from having balance, cover and quality all over the pitch. Now... when is that cheque from Sky turning up?
13 Posted 13/08/2010 at 16:25:03
I expect Jags and Distin to start tomorrow due to Heitinga's lack of pre-season. However, I disagree with this theory that Jags and Heitinga can't play together, especially with Fellaini in front of them.
14 Posted 13/08/2010 at 16:34:27
The best tactical system is the one players know and understand and the real key is confidence and movement off the ball.
We now have arguably the most technically gifted squad in recent years.
My only concern is we have lost a bit of the "grit" we used to have and that is why players like Heitinga, Neville and Hibbert are so important.
Everyone needs a "Tiger in their tank" (sorry rip off of an old shell advert" ? the old timers will know it)..
I do think however that Distin and Yobo need replacing with a better quality CB who can defend set pieces and score goals.
15 Posted 13/08/2010 at 18:49:36
Like every team, we will have injuries sometime and so giving the new faces ample opportunity early will create the pressure on those that don't play up to their maximum.
If he goes to Ewood with a negative formation, then we will come unstuck. We have to be adventurous and attack a very average Blackburn squad right from the start. I would consider anything less than a win very disappointing.
16 Posted 13/08/2010 at 19:36:38
Though Spurs used it against us last season at Goodison and it worked really well for the first half, we were having problems and I seem to remember Steve Round concurring this.
I quite like it, but knowing Moyes and one of his weaknesses is changes of tactics, it is 99% not happening. I'm not sure if people like Coleman and Fellaini are disciplined either.
Definitely food for thought though.
17 Posted 13/08/2010 at 20:27:02
18 Posted 13/08/2010 at 21:35:35
19 Posted 13/08/2010 at 21:49:53
20 Posted 13/08/2010 at 23:17:08
Cue the changes: Jagielka replaces Johnny at the heart of defence whilst Heitinga moves to midfield and immediately makes an impact. He takes out Huddlestone who, up to that point, had been running the show. He then directs every thing from that point onward and the games turned on its head. We end up losing the game 2-1 having replied from a 2-0 deficit and are considered highly unfortunate not to have come away with all 3 points.
Heitinga for me simply has to play in the middle of the park.
21 Posted 14/08/2010 at 00:49:46
22 Posted 14/08/2010 at 00:58:54
I think this would be a great line-up for the weekend. We are definitely going to need some big timber in the backline with Fat Sam's 'hoof it in the box' tactics where Distin and Felli at DM can come into play.
Gueye and Coleman have been very impressive in pre-season and I would love to see them out wide playing with each other. It is so mouthwatering at the prospect of having Coleman and Baines flying forward down the sidelines in the same game!
Heitinga is more than capable of playing DM as he did last year and has great distribution, which would be evident with these players all over the pitch.
Pienaar and Baines can reunite their partnership with Arteta coming in and working with Saha (and linking with everyone around him in the hole...).
Wow, I cannot what for tonight!!!
23 Posted 14/08/2010 at 06:31:12
24 Posted 14/08/2010 at 07:00:21
I thought quite a few people had suggested the two DM approach which was seen so much in the World Cup.
I had a team line up like Joshua's but with Neville in for Coleman simple to fit him in and sure up defence.
As to Lee's well argued 3-5-1-1, while I see what you're saying I too fear teams like Chelsea would simply perch two winger/forwards behind Barnes and Coleman resulting in either no width for us or two CB's pulled wide leaving holes in the middle.
25 Posted 14/08/2010 at 09:51:06
James Stewart, we obviously never played much nice stuff last season as I cannot recall a single game when Jagielka and Heitinga were at the back together.
I'm just a little wary that this season as last and the one before we will almost definitely lack invention from the right-hand side and, if the opposition stop Pienaar and Baines, we quickly run out of ideas going forward.
26 Posted 14/08/2010 at 11:51:01
Perhaps you could remind me of those games in which you thought Hetinga and Jagielka played well together in a central defensive partnership. As for my analysis of the Spurs game what exactly is it you do not agree with?
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