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kurtsimonw
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This was the most frustrating thing for me yesterday.

A flat 4-4-2, with a forward at left mid, hurt us. Especially as Wednesday played with Abdi wide who was always going to play a bit more centrally, meant we were completely dominated in the middle. The most annoying thing is, he didn't even need to make subs and could've easily just moved the personnel around. a 4-3-3 with Gardner/Westwood/Bacuna and Ayew/McCormack of gestede would've packed the middle a bit more, given better protection to the full backs and meant that Ayew/McCormack could drift around a bit.

Hope it's not a sign of things to come, because RdM got it very wrong IMO. 

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I posted this in the Ayew thread but probably works in here...

Formations are not complicated 'on paper', they're just numbers, but systems can be. Unless you're Harry Redknapp.

A winger traditionally hugs the touchline and is also charged with protecting the full back. A wide forward plays more of a free role, often cutting inside. Shooting often. Something a winger doesn't really do an awful lot of. Like a striker a wide forward generally plies his trade in the final third of the pitch and would be reliant on the midfield to cover the opposing full back. 

4-4-2 = winger 

4-3-3 = wide forward(s)

4-2-3-1 = something in between! 

Of course, you can balance a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 by having the opposite wide forward drop into the midfield space and the rest of the midfield nudging over to cover the attacking wide forward, creating a sort of unbalanced 4-4-2, in which case also granting the opposite full back the opportunity to overlap. 

A failing yesterday was that this didn't happen. When Ayew attacked, nobody dropped back and Hutton didn't step up, leaving the midfield stretched and Cissokho desperately exposed. Considering, I thought Aly (and the rest of the defence) did a grand job. He looked **** knackered. 

In short, I'm struggling to explain how it works! I might even be talking absolute bollocks. So yeah, football is a complicated game! 

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I did think in the first half that the system was way too flat. But nothing much changed in the system between the first half and the second, when we were totally dominant. Only that we retained the ball better and were more fluid. 

In other words, it clicked. We really should have won the game from there. 

Edited by dont_do_it_doug.
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The worry with the way we're playing at the moment is that we look really susceptible to counter attacks, particularly down our left hand side. Every time we break forward Hutton and Cissokho get so high up that any time we give away possession our opponents can just play a long ball to a wing and it seems that we're in real trouble. Bacuna seems to do a decent job at getting himself back and has an understanding of what to do when defending on the wing from his games at RB. Ayew doesn't have this.

Yesterday the best example of this is the attack where Forestieri had his shot saved at the near post. Baker had slid in and taken out the striker as he laid it off on the halfway line. If he hadn't done this then the striker could well have been well placed for Forestieri to give him practically an open goal in a similar manner to a couple of the Boro goals.It shouldn't be so easy for a team to slice us open on the counter attack and this is a real concern of the system we're currently playing. 

The real worry is that even the lesser teams in the league can come to Villa Park and set up behind the ball, wait for us to give it away and then hit us on the break with 6 or 7 of our players high up the pitch.

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Good post and I agree, with the caveat that there aren't too many teams as comfortable and competent as Wednesday on the ball or many players as good as Forestieri on the counter. 

It's a tough balancing act. If we want to try and overpower teams as we attempted in the second half, we're going to have to live with the fact that we will occasionally be susceptible to the counter. We can, however, do more to compensate.

Amavi and a more tactically intelligent right back would help, IMO. Maybe it's also the case that we surprised ourselves with our dominance, it has been a long time!

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Just now, dont_do_it_doug. said:

Good post and I agree, with the caveat that there aren't too many teams as comfortable and competent as Wednesday on the ball or many players as good as Forestieri on the counter. 

It's a tough balancing act. If we want to try and overpower teams as we attempted in the second half, we're going to have to live with the fact that we will occasionally be susceptible to the counter. We can, however, do more to compensate.

Amavi and a more tactically intelligent right back would help, IMO. Maybe it's also the case that we surprised ourselves with our dominance, it has been a long time!

This is a fair point and I'm only basing my opinion on two games against decent opposition so far. It just looks a bit too easy to cut right through us on the counter attack with 2 or 3 passes at the moment and I;m not sure how good on the ball you have to be to do so.

I do think Amavi and a better right back would help to be fair. I'd like to see a right back with similar attributes to Amavi come in to give us a bit more balance in our attacking play. 

Like you said it does show our dominance and this is a better problem to have than last year's problem of simply not being anywhere near good enough to cope with the opposition.

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I think if we can get our CMs playing competently, a 4-3-3 will be the way to go. Grealish, Ayew, McCormack, Green and Adama can be devastating in the front 3 positions. Or maybe even use Grealish as the creative one of the 3 in the middle, not sure, but I do think he can be our most important player this season.

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48 minutes ago, dont_do_it_doug. said:

I posted this in the Ayew thread but probably works in here...

Formations are not complicated 'on paper', they're just numbers, but systems can be. Unless you're Harry Redknapp.

A winger traditionally hugs the touchline and is also charged with protecting the full back. A wide forward plays more of a free role, often cutting inside. Shooting often. Something a winger doesn't really do an awful lot of. Like a striker a wide forward generally plies his trade in the final third of the pitch and would be reliant on the midfield to cover the opposing full back. 

4-4-2 = winger 

4-3-3 = wide forward(s)

4-2-3-1 = something in between! 

Of course, you can balance a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 by having the opposite wide forward drop into the midfield space and the rest of the midfield nudging over to cover the attacking wide forward, creating a sort of unbalanced 4-4-2, in which case also granting the opposite full back the opportunity to overlap. 

A failing yesterday was that this didn't happen. When Ayew attacked, nobody dropped back and Hutton didn't step up, leaving the midfield stretched and Cissokho desperately exposed. Considering, I thought Aly (and the rest of the defence) did a grand job. He looked **** knackered. 

In short, I'm struggling to explain how it works! I might even be talking absolute bollocks. So yeah, football is a complicated game! 

When playing Sunday league I used to be a wide forward of a 3 and it drove me insane being shouted at for not defending my full back like I would when we played 4-4-2, as if I should be running the full length of the pitch every passage of play. Meanwhile the 3 CMs would stand around expecting me to get back. I'm upfront, it's the RCMs job to cover the fullback!

we have no idea what the players are instructed to do though so it's hard to say which of our players weren't doing their job properly.

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At the end of the 1st half yesterday I was a bit down with how we played. That it was going to be the same all over again. Then the 2nd half happened and even though we lost, we made it look very easy at times.

I'm not concerned at the moment.

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2 minutes ago, a m ole said:

When playing Sunday league I used to be a wide forward of a 3 and it drove me insane being shouted at for not defending my full back like I would when we played 4-4-2, as if I should be running the full length of the pitch every passage of play. Meanwhile the 3 CMs would stand around expecting me to get back. I'm upfront, it's the RCMs job to cover the fullback!

we have no idea what the players are instructed to do though so it's hard to say which of our players weren't doing their job properly.

Ayew was playing on the left hand side of midfield though in that formation yesterday. It was a 4-4-2 or maybe more of a 4-4-1-1 as McCormack was dropping pretty deep.

I don't think the issue was purely his lack of tracking back. He did get back pretty well on a number of occasions. The problem was that when he was back he had no idea what he was supposed to be doing. He quite often got back onto his man and then just let him go again which caused real problems.

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Personally I thought yesterday demanded a more rugged 4-2-3-1 type formation, I thought we left way too much space inbetween the lines and it was difficult to retain the ball when pressed. Though, having Aly and Alan putting crosses in really didn't help either and left us quite exposed. I do genuinely think if we had fullbacks with better delivery then we would have won that game.

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17 minutes ago, Tom13 said:

I think if we can get our CMs playing competently, a 4-3-3 will be the way to go. Grealish, Ayew, McCormack, Green and Adama can be devastating in the front 3 positions. Or maybe even use Grealish as the creative one of the 3 in the middle, not sure, but I do think he can be our most important player this season.

Not sure about Grealish in a midfield 3, but I would like us to a sign a more creative, forward thinking, player for a midfield 3. Maybe use him a bit like Sarri has Hamsik with Napoli.

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1st half we were poor and the formation didn't look like, but even then McCormack was pulled back when through which could've changed the game.

2nd half, the tactics didn't really change but all of a sudden we got a foothold on the ball ball and dominated play. Play like that over 90 minutes and teams will struggle to contain us.

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For me we should start every game with a 4-2-3-1, this gives our squad the best balance imo.

                     Gollini

Richards* - Elphick - Okore* - Amavi

            Tish - Sanchez*       

Adama      McCormack       Grealish 

                    Ayew*

Where I've put a '*' is where I'd like to see a better player for that position brought in.

When our fullbacks go forward, the two central midfielders just have to be a bit smarter and sit a bit deeper and cover. I think Westwood is very poor at doing this and offers very little cover in the event of a counter attack. Not sure how Tish would handle that role, too early to judge.   

 

Edited by PieFacE
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This is not a slight on you @PieFacE as it has only really occurred to me over the last few hours that 4-2-3-1 doesn't really exist. It's a 4-4-2 for people who want to make it sound more attacking, more 'modern'.

Either that or its a 4-2-4, which is obviously mental ;)

I bet if you changed that slightly and put Grealish and Adama next to the the central 2 you'd get a few replies saying that they aren't disciplined enough to play the position. 

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4-2-3-1 differs from 4-4-2. Because in 4-2-3-1 the two in midfielders tend to be a double pivot, allowing the full-backs to add the width, the three behind the striker don't really play as wingers. Whereas in 4-4-2 of the two in midfield one is usually quite attacking whilst the other holds and it's the wingers who add width.

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In a 4-4-2, the CMs are generally expected to contribute going forward a bit more. 4-2-3-1 is more about them being solid defensively to allow the front men to do the job. But as useless said, it's about the right personnel. I don't think Westwood is the type of player to play in a '2' of any kind because he doesn't do enough off the ball. Unless he's in a '2' midfielders on the bench.

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