Funnily enough, I think Roberto would earn a lot more respect if he had to balls to risk it with changes.
4-2-3-1 has been our formation for most of the season - I personally like the formation. However, it is only effective if the striker gets enough support up top (and puts in the effort). Further more, the formation needs one of the holding midfielders to be able to get up the pitch and create chances â€“ Dembele for Spurs is a perfect example of that. For too long now, we have had two defensive midfielders who can't add much to the attack â€“ Barry can pick a pass, but can't dribble and lacks the speed needed.
I really really would like to see a higher press on defense, like we did in the second half of the FA Cup semi-final! Along with improved counter attacking and quick release up field. I hope we use the rest of the season as a pre-preseason!
The players I'd like to see experimented with in the remaining games are:
Pennington â€“ I think he has earned his place in the next few games! Looked a little nervous at the beginning, but grew into the game.
Dowell â€“ Obviously there is a lot of hype around this guy, with his performances in the u21's. Hopefully he gets a chance to slowly be introduced - giving him at least 30 minutes off the bench to begin with, and see how he goes. He looks calm on the ball - reminds me of Barkley of old.
Galloway â€“ He is back fit after injury and I feel he has been a little unlucky not to make the team after his performance at the beginning of the season! He deserves a chance â€“ hopefully tried at LCB, and not only at left-back.
Connolly â€“ Handled himself well in his brief spell, before being replaced by Besic (which I don't disagree with completely). Deserves some decent time in the last few.
Davies â€“ Hopefully will add that little more go forward in the midfield! Worth a try, even though Gibson has done a decent job since his return.
Henen â€“ This man has pace, let him have a run in the last few down the left or through the middle. It would definitely help him adapt to the next level as well.
Holgate â€“ Plays at RCB and sometimes at RB, nice and versatile. It would also do him good to learn and experience the next step up.
Current first team players:
Stones â€“ He has been a lot better lately, and his confidence in his own ability is very important! As I have preached before, he should be tested out at CDM, with all his abilities. With Funes Mori back from suspension, I'd move Stones forward, into a CDM to screen in front of the back four.
Barkley â€“ He has lost a lot of confidence lately and has put in some poor performances! I think this is mainly due to him playing far too deep, and having to turn towards his own goal while in possession. He is (was) one of the best with ball at feet, moving forward. Hopefully he will be played just behind the striker, or even given a chance to play up front. Alternatively, I think he might benefit from playing down the left flank.
Niasse â€“ Give the man a chance, it will also help with his fitness and help him learn for next season. I think he has all the will need, he is a team player, and hopefully might inspire others to play for the team and the players next to them.
Cleverley â€“ I don't like him playing down the left at all! He does a decent job, but inevitably Baines ends up at left wing and this makes us a more susceptible on the counter. I'd like to see him in the CM position.
Besic â€“ I like his attitude a lot! He works hard and is a no-nonsense type of player â€“ sometimes a little silly in his challenges though. He has never really been given a decent run of games in a row, hopefully he can in the last three.
Leicester game line up: (A)
(Assuming Coleman not fit)
Davies (60' Galloway - to LCB, Pennington to RCB & Stones to CDM)
Barkley (65' Dowell)
Niasse (55' Lukaku)
Sunderland game line up: (A)
Coleman (65' Connolly)
Cleverley (60' Dowell)
Niasse (70' Besic & change formation to 4-2-3-1)
Norwich game line up: (H)
(Assuming Jags is fully fit)
Hibbert (60' Connolly)
Baines (55' Holgate - to RCB, Jags to LCB & Galloway to LB)
Osman (65' Henen)
Yes â€“ I'm at risk of playing Football Manager, but the truth remains that a bit of experimentation and use of the youngsters would be exciting and add something different. They can't do much worse than the others in the last half of the season, and it should be well worth it in the last few games. If anything, it shows there is plenty room for improvement next season.