Do or die

by   |   07/07/2020  7 Comments  [Jump to last]

Senior midfield problems that won’t go away:

Sigurdsson – Not a midfielder

Iwobi – Not a midfielder

Bernard – Not influential

Gomes – Slow, no forward drive or dynamism

Walcott – Peripheral

All these players are nice boys; I wouldn’t mind playing against them at all. I’d know no-one was going to tackle me very often and I’d have a safe, nice, friendly game. I would be happy and confident before the game started.

With our senior midfield, there is no fear factor, no aggression, no trepidation from any opposition. They can be dominated, out-tackled and out-fought.

Where is the feistiness, the energy, the dynamism and drive to commit the opposition?

I am deliberately leaving Tom Davies and Anthony Gordon out of this because, with those two, who cost nothing, I can see a desire and they're often forward-thinking. These boys are junior members and deserve better support from their supposed peers. It’s time to blood the very promising Gordon more from now until the season’s end; he should have started against Tottenham.

Carlo already knows, and we already know, we are going nowhere fast until two quality midfielders come in. Last night's match shone a 500-megawatt spotlight on that fact. Other current players can respond very positively to the right quality additions (eg, Bruno Fernandes).

Keep an eye on our midfield transfer dealings... the success or failure of Carlo and the club over the next few seasons depends on them above all else.

The next 6 weeks is do or die time for Marcel Brands.

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Reader Comments (7)

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 09/07/2020 at 09:06:26
I'd go with Sidibe, Davies, Gordon, Baines. Can't be any worse. I don't see any radical changes happening though.
Sam Hoare
2 Posted 09/07/2020 at 09:18:14
Yup, our midfield (or lack of it) is dominating most threads at the moment. Its a very serious and visible problem and no doubt our fate next season will depend largely on Brands and Ancelotti brining in the right player(s) to fix it. There's alot of decent midfielders out there but it will be interesting to see whether they go for a ball winner or a more creative option, or someone who does a bit of both. Certainly it must be someone with a bit more athleticism

For the rest of this season the options are slim. I hope Delph comes back. I actually think he is our best CM (when fit) in a 442 and one of the only ones with a decent blend of energy, defensive ability and sensible use of the ball. There's a few players who have not benefitted from the move to 442 and I think Gomes, Sigurdsson and Iwobi are probably top of that list. They need to adjust or else they must be replaced.

Robert Tressell
3 Posted 09/07/2020 at 09:45:49
The comments from Carlo about investment seem aligned with recent comments from Brands - being that we don't need lots of new players.

The more encouraging signs from Carlo are that there is still a willingness to spend money, perhaps more than the circa £60m net I guesstimated we might spend.

Based on rumours and the genersl consensus of need - seems likely to be:

1. CB: one of Gabriel, Salisu or Todibo

2. CM: probably not Rabiot now that he's cemented a place at Juve. But someone with pace, energy and aggression (Mckennie being the current subject of all the paper talk)

3: RM: probably (hopefully) a left footer for balance, maybe Bailey or Under although they'd both need to play with more discipline in a 442

Such recruitment will undoubtedly strengthen a side which (boring performances and disappointment at Spurs aside) is on a really good run, despite glaring deficiencies in the first 11 and squad depth.

Carlo clearly believes his tactical nous + limited but strategic recruitment can challenge the top 4.

It's going to be a tall order, but much better plan than bringing in loads of new players to a squad where few have been here longer than 2 or 3 years.

Tony Everan
4 Posted 09/07/2020 at 11:08:04
I agree Delph is the most natural midfielder and best choice to play alongside Gomes for these last 5 games. I don't like criticising players who are injured, it must be hard enough as it is for them.

As a club though, in the critical positions like central midfield we need reliability. Delph will, on evidence, as he ages [ 31 soon ] will become even more injury prone with the intensity of PL football. If we could offload him I wouldn't hesitate, but I think he is yet another we have no choice but to make the best of whilst he is here until June 2022.

Also, I don't see how Sigurdsson fits into the team now, never mind next season. When Carlo's new midfielder[s] come in there is no place for Sigurdsson at all in Carlo's preferred set up. If he wants to play football he will have no alternative but to move on.

We will be coy but entertain offers for him I think. He could do a decent job in a different system with one of the other mid table PL clubs. If he is not at no.10 he is a lost soul.

Someone will take a gamble at the right price.

Dennis Stevens
5 Posted 09/07/2020 at 11:13:46
I think that presented with the option of Do or Die, too many of our players would probably say "Ooh, I'd rather not, thanks."
Sam Hoare
6 Posted 09/07/2020 at 11:19:32
Tony, yes I think Delph was bought to be a versatile squad player who'd bring some leadership and could potentially fill in at left back or as a DMC or a MC. Sadly his injuries this year have been worse than ever (bar 16/17).
Robert Tressell
7 Posted 09/07/2020 at 12:06:40
In a 442, Sigurdsson has no place (except for the time being where we need him to make up the numbers). He's poor there and visibly demoralised also.

If we sell him, then we may not get much of a fee. Maybe £10 to £15m, maybe a loan.

If we keep him, his role must be limited to playing behind the forward in a 4231 formation. He is very productive here, scoring and assisting on a regular basis. This means he is a substitute - who will come on to allow tactical switches in games.

Such an option could bring us circa 5 odd goals. That sounds measly but it can make a difference. We are chronically short of goals after all.

If there is no intention of ever playing him in the correct position then sell.


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