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  1. I am beginning to think that we're just going to have to be patient this year. It may take half a season for Deano to figure things out with the new players. Think of 2019-20 and all the new players we had...that group gelled only just in time to avoid relegation. We don't have as many new players this year, but we have plenty: Three completely new players who should be regulars (Ings, Bailey, Buendia) plus perhaps another when he's healthy (Sanson), one youth player who's a regular for the first time (Ramsey), and a couple old-new players who haven't played with the current group (Tuanzebe, Young). I'd love to jump into the top 6 this year but if we can move up to 8th or 9th this year and give the new core time to gel with each other, maybe we'll be in a position to make a big jump next year like we did last year. Of course, Deano actually has to experiment with the resources at his disposal and not get stuck in one idea.
  2. Agreed. While we may have signed Ings to score goals, you can't ignore his contributions setting up others. He had the 2nd assist on Watkins' goal against Spurs. And think about his pass to set up Bailey's goal against Everton.
  3. I disagree...a 4-2-3-1 is more of a 4-5-1 in defense. Bailey, Buendia, and Ings have all showed that they will track back. The players in the 3 act more as attacking midfielders, not as forwards.
  4. You have a good point here. Deano seems to want both Ings and Watkins to drift outside often, maybe too much.
  5. Deano: After starting with 3 different formations in the first 4 PL matches, he now seems to be back to last year: Do the same thing every week and adjust late only if desperate. Disappointing. I'm not blaming the whole match on tactics, but... Defending in general/Spurs’ first goal: I understand that we play with zonal marking. So have 95% of the world's teams for the last 20 years. I don't have a problem with it. However, you still have to man-mark on the break until everyone recovers. Look at this: Essentially, it's 4 on 4. Everyone has retreated immediately into formation. Konsa, Mings, and Hause are in a line. Dougie is protecting them in front. The problem is, nobody picks up the two Spurs runners behind Dougie, one of whom (Hojbjerg) scored. Mings is certainly in a good position to cover for Hause if Son beats him, but you can't afford the luxury when it's 4 on 4 and you don't have a spare man. I'm not blaming Mings, I think that's what they've been told to do. It didn't work here. As for their second goal, it was 3 on 2. We had just equalized and we weren't chasing the game. We had no excuse for getting caught with so many players forward. Midfield generally: Lacking creativity. We have been counting on our wing-backs to create. Spurs expected it, shut down Cash and Targett, and we had nothing else. Traore (who looked dangerous when he came on) and/or Buendia have to start next game. Dougie: Invisible today. Ramsey: Mediocre for the second game in a row. I’ll repeat yet again my two standard comments about him: (1) He’s a natural regista, the deep-lying playmaker. He should be competing for Dougie’s place, not going so far forward. (2) Don’t burn out the young player by playing him every week, which is what Deano is doing. I'm not scapegoating him; he had a role in the goal, and Dougie and McGinn were as bad or worse today. I'm not happy with the way Deano is using him. Martinez: Kept the scoreline from being much worse. Had to be Villa's MOTM. Mings: His usual solid defensive performance but I counted three bad passes in the first half. That’s what’s preventing him from from being a truly elite defender (as seen with a certain goal against Chelsea). Watkins: The best strikers act on instinct. He has not been operating on instinct. He has been overthinking. With his one half-chance in the first half, he hesitated again. Fortunately, the goal forced him to play one-touch and it worked. Let's hope that he will relax now and get back to his best. Ref: A little laissez-faire but consistent so I won’t get too mad. Only a few bad decisions and none of them game-changing. Best of Spurs: Son is a joy to watch. He carries, he passes, he strikes (fortunately not today!), he tracks back. Just a complete player. Overall: If you had offered me 6 points from a run of matches against Chelsea, Everton, Man U, and Spurs, I'd probably have taken it. This match feels like a bit of a letdown because we had been playing so well and we could have escaped that run of matches with 7 or 9 points instead of 6. But still, it's not a bad run.
  6. And look who is at the other extreme! No surprise there. (Except that Brighton is with them.) It will be interesting when we play them, and not just because of you-know-who. The funny thing is that I don't think of us as a pure counterattacking team in the sense that we deliberately sit back and wait for a chance. This looks only at the speed of the counterattack, not how often you do it. It would be interesting to see a plot of this statistic against possession time.
  7. Not impossible... Konsa - Tuanzebe - Mings Cash - Dougie - McGinn - Ramsey - Bailey Ings-Watkins That would probably be asymmetric...Bailey would be more forward, so Cash probably would not have as much license to get forward so we could have at least 4 true defenders back. McGinn might be more withdrawn too to provide more cover on our left. Still doesn't leave any room for Buendia, unless you put him in for Ramsey. In a sense that works better, because Ramsey and McGinn tend to play on our left, while Buendia prefers the right and would balance McGinn better. You could make the midfield look more like... Dougie (more withdrawn) Cash - Buendia - McGinn - Bailey Sort of a 3-1-4-2...
  8. I worry about them getting tired after New Year's again. We're doing to need Sanson and Nakamba when the fixture list gets busy around Christmas so they stay fresh.
  9. A strange match in some ways. We had a poor first 20 minutes. We were hoofing long balls off target. Meanwhile, their runs seemed to confuse our back line as our defenders often were ball watching and left men unmarked far too often. Fortunately, Man U was as out of sorts as we were. And fortunately, things turned after that. Dougie was my man of the match…great corner for the goal, some nice passes, influenced the game in so many ways. He’s back to his best this year. I just hope he doesn’t tire in February. Cash was up to his recent standards, i.e. excellent. McGinn’s pass to Cash to set up Targett was outstanding, and he should have had a clear break in the second half if he hadn't been fouled. Good as usual. Emi M. made some good saves. Other than that, I don’t know that anybody stood out for doing anything brilliant. It was just very workmanlike, in a very good way. Everyone pressed and disrupted. Hate to say anything negative after that, but… Watkins is out of sorts. His pressing was excellent and he won’t be dropped because it’s a vital part of the way we play, but I don’t think he’s fully fit. Ramsey didn’t do anything wrong but was mostly quiet. On his first chance to make a major contribution on the pass from Buendia, he tweaked a muscle. I keep saying it again and again…don’t burn the young players out. To play all those minutes at that level and pace is going to require an adjustment for a 20 year old. Give him a rest before he gets hurt. On the goal, you could tell by the way Cavani was jostling Hause before the corner that he was worried about the size disadvantage. Hause took full advantage for the goal so he gets some credit. That said, he ball-watches too much in defense. Despite his other defensive skills, he’s still down the pecking order in my book because of this. Usually, at least one player on the other side impresses me, but Man U looked very mediocre. If they keep playing like that, they will not be competing for the title. Ronaldo was starved for service, Greenwood couldn’t shoot, Fernandes was poor, Maguire was mediocre, Shaw couldn’t handle Cash…it goes on. (Of course, I'd like to think our performance has something to do with that!) Pogba was the only one who was at all dangerous and would be my MOTM for them, but the fact that he couldn’t finish pretty much sums up their day. And the refereeing? I usually don’t pick on referees because I used to be one. But that was awful.
  10. Agreed. He's been caught ball watching several times today. We're lucky they haven't punished us for it.
  11. Has anyone heard anything more about Targett? Last I read, he's doubtful tomorrow. Assuming he doesn't play, I think Deano will play 4-3-3: Martinez Cash-Konsa-Mings-Young Dougie-Ramsey-McGinn Buendia-Ings-Watkins Ideally, I'd rather go 4-2-3-1: Martinez Cash-Konsa-Mings-Young Dougie-McGinn Traore-Buendia-Watkins Ings I think it matches up well against Man U's 4-2-3-1 and I think Ramsey needs a break (don't burn out the young player). But I don't think that's what Deano will do.
  12. I like the general idea...I think it would work as an asymmetrical 4-3-3 with Cash having license to go forward, making it more of a 3-4-3 in attack. Ings seems to operate more on the right so I'd swap him and Watkins. Apologies to Ramsey, who has been very good, but I would probably start Dougie ahead of him if we played this way.
  13. I agree with Jono62...Nakamba wouldn't be in my first five in most circumstances, but you have to wonder if Deano had this summer's England-Italy match in mind, when everyone criticized Southgate for letting youngsters (Saka, age 19 and Sancho, age 21) take penalties, who then missed...
  14. Agreed 100%! It is not intended to be a defensive setup. It's intended to maximize attack and defense.
  15. "When journalists ask me how Barcelona plays, I give them a 3-1-2-2-1-1 formation, so that they have an approximate idea. But that's just for the journalists." --Johann Cruyff "What formation a team is playing, anyway, is often in the eye of the beholder. How deep does the second striker have to be for 4-4-2 to become 4-4-1-1? How advanced do the wide players have to be for that to become 4-2-3-1?" --Jonathan Wilson The quotes say it all. Using numbers is convenient here because we're dealing with text, or when you're talking. If we could, we'd be better off drawing diagrams with arrows showing where each player moves, which could show differences in defense and attack and asymmetries between what players on the left or right might be asked to do. If you're using just numbers, the argument for priortising defense is that the shape means more: the defense tries to funnel the other team into predictable positions where they can be dealt with. Attack is less structured: players frequently drift either because they spot an opportunity or because they want to confuse the defense. And to some extent, we do prioritse defense: As much as Cash and Targett (or Young) get forward when we play 4-3-3, you could call it a 2-5-3 in attack, but nobody does that. In the end, whether you tell me 3-5-2 or 5-3-2, I'm expecting the same system.
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