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2-2 v The Dark Side - Tactical Analysis

Comments (8)

Below are a couple of links to some interesting interpretations of yesterday's encounter - and my thoughts on how the game panned out:

The set-up at the start of the match from Moyes was wrong. In our last two games, we?ve played a 4-4-1-1 with Saha behind Beckford. Beckford?s pace and pressure has stretched the gap between opposition?s midfield and defence, allowing Saha (a clearly gifted player) space to create and score goals. Instead, against Liverpool ? that space was afforded to Anichebe ? a clearly limited player!

Fair play to Moyes though, as at the start of the second half he switched Victor out left and shuffled Osman infield a little more ? and both goals came as a result of the switch. The first goal came from a corner that was won by hitting a long ball to Anichebe and competing for the second ball (though clearly it should have been a goal kick). The second was yet another long ball to Anichebe that Osman picked up on from his more infield position and managed to squeeze through to Beckford to finish well.

The frustrating thing is that if we?d been more positive in our pressure play, then this game was there for the taking. The main difference in the first half was Liverpool putting Everton under pressure when their defenders/deep midfielders were in possession. When Liverpool had the ball in deep positions, Everton sat off and thus created pressure on their defence.

This approach changed at the start of the second half, and we were the better for it. But then, we began to sit off again instead of taking the game to them. Difficult to know if this was psychological or a result of negative instructions from Moyes. History suggests it may be the latter, as the Scotsman appears ill at ease setting his team up to take the game to opponents.

A final point ? Neville really must close his man down quicker. The first goal came from him backing off and letting Johnson walk into the box with the ball. He repeated this a number of times during the match, and it?s not a rarity to see either.

Graham Holliday, London     Posted 17/01/2011 at 09:58:32

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Ian Kearney
1   Posted 17/01/2011 at 14:54:59

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Well that Anichebe's willingness to fight the RS in the 2nd half had a big influence in both our goals. Yet still most things written about him are basically insults t the lad, yes he is limited, but we came out to fight in the 2nd alf, none more so than Vic.
Ian Kearney
2   Posted 17/01/2011 at 14:57:21

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Completely agree with you regards Neville, Graham, he made it far too east for his man to get a cross in.
Larry Boner
3   Posted 17/01/2011 at 14:53:40

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The first goal came from Neville closing Johnson down, but on the wrong side, Johnson is right footed, we were all screaming at Neville to show him the touchline, but no, he chips a little cross with his right, etc.
You are correct, though on the analysis of the set up, Anichebe and Osman were in positions completely unsuited to them, Osman, quick footed but no pace was left for dead every time their fullback got the ball.
I was amazed we set up 4-4-2 in the first half as I was sure it would have been 4-5-1 with Anichebe wide left, it makes me worry about Mr Moyes and his tactical nous.
Very concerned re our squad, Cahill, Jagielka, Pienaar, Saha, Yakubu, all unavailable with nothing on the horizon.
Villa about to splash the Milner money on Darren Bent, Stoke trying to spend £6 million on a forward, Birmingham bringing Bentley in, while trying for others.
It makes me wonder, was the wages shortfall the other week after the Birmingham postponement more than a rumour, are we that close to the edge ?
Are we shipping out players just to make the wage bill, rather than bringing any players in ?
Its very strange that a squad that is thin at the best of times has 2 players (both seasoned PL players) out on loan, why would a manager sanction this, without having the facility to bring anyone in ?
Graham Holliday
4   Posted 17/01/2011 at 15:14:02

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Thanks Larry, hadn't noticed which side Neville was playing Johnson onto. Either way, he definitely backed off a good 5-10 yards which allowed Johnson to close in on goal.

First noticed him doing it last year against Benfica, and he's a culprit of it almost every game.

I understand not wanting to over-commit to challenges, but there's a certain point at which a defender has to step to the player in possession when they're getting close enough to goal!
Rob Murphy
5   Posted 17/01/2011 at 21:08:12

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Baines is also guilty of allowing wingers/fullbacks to get their cross in, aalthough nowhere near as often as Neville. Poor coaching??
Gary Sedgwick
6   Posted 18/01/2011 at 03:52:10

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For crying out loud! What is it with TW contributers? Prior to the game almost everyone is calling out for the supposedly more attacking 4-4-2 system. Moyes goes with it and now - with hindsight - people are saying it was the wrong formation!

As for 4-4-1-1 and 4-5-1 formations? Don't get me started. They, IMO, are the exact same thing. Timmy plays and it is 4-5-1. Saha plays and it is 4-4-1-1. Utter bollocks. The only thing in common with both is that the numbers add up to 10.

Changes are made and the team plays 4-5-1 or whatever. Moyes is now a tactical genius for using a supposedly defensive mindset system and we score two goals both as a result of hitting long (hoof) balls forward. Who wants "hoofball" games? Not too long ago no-one did but Sunday all and sundry were happy. Why? Dunno but could be because the ends justify the means. I would not be a manager for any club. :-)

As for Neville? Is he not one of those involved in negating the involvement in two matches of one of the most highly rated left sided player in the PL? So much so that Harry sought him out? He messed up but as Rob points out so do others.

God I love TW! I love the glass half full/half empty atmosphere it provokes. Please keep it going.
Graham Holliday
7   Posted 18/01/2011 at 08:51:42

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Whoa there Gary, if you check my posts, I've always stated that 4-5-1 and 4-4-2 are just numbers... it's how you play them.

I'm not advocating a certain system, just saying that in this particular instance there didn't seem to be much sense. One of Beckford's best attributes is his pace and thus the ability to stretch a game - affording the 'second striker' / 'attacking midfielder' (whatever you want to call it, the player that occupies that space) more room.

The problem was that Anichebe was the one being afforded the space, and for all his attributes - playing a defence splitting ball, scoring from 20 yards out are not amongst them.

So I was just saying it seemed a strange way to set up.

Also, re: Neville - I'm hardly advocating selling/dropping him - I'm just pointing out that despite the recent media love-in for him, he still has his deficiencies - amongst them is affording wingers time and space to run at him as he backs off unneccessarily.

As Rob points out, Baines is also guilty of this - though I think maybe I'm less prone to criticise him since he offers so much else!

This was just an attempt to get people talking about our tactics beyond the usual - let's play 4-4-2, let's play 4-5-1 type chat... hardly an analysis!
Gary Sedgwick
8   Posted 19/01/2011 at 02:27:06

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My post was not directed toward you personally. My apologies if it came across as so. It was more a response to Larry's post (#3).

Many posters prior to the game stated that if 4-5-1 was used from the off then Moyes was going out looking for a draw with a hope to snatch a win. He did not and yet people still question his motives and "tactical nous".

Agree with you regarding Anichebe and the space afforded to him by Beckford. Vaughan would IMO been a better option and then Anichebe for Vaughan later on.

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