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Team shape, tactics and personnel


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It's interesting to hear him talking about how we'll use Moreno - he wants his inside-wingers/number 10's in position with the attacking width coming from full backs that can do clever and creative things from the corner of the box.

So when we're attacking you'll see us like this:

----------------------------Martinez-------------------------------

------------Konsa------------------------Mings-----------------

---------------------Luiz------------Kamara---------------------

Cash-----------Buendia-------Coutinho-------Moreno

----------Bailey----------------------------Watkins--------------

That can be really effective with the two sort of triangles of three attacking players on either flank. Luiz and Kamara occupy the centre and push counter attacks wide whenever they can and it lets us get a lot of bodies forward. The double spine helps us force the opposition to try to beat us from wide areas (something that Wolves did really well in defending against us) and we can be compact defensively even with a lot of players high up the pitch.

There are still several players in that line up that I'm not sure are perfect fits and I think Cash will have a lot to prove, I also think we need another striker, and although we have some depth with Bunedia, Coutinho, Ramsey, McGinn (and Sanson) I think there could be changes the attacking midfielder positions too.

I like the idea.

I think he wants to get away from full backs crossing the ball in deep from wide positions level with the edge of the box and hoping for the best.

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Not for the faint of heart!

In some ways, early goals can throw off the gameplan further than necessary. After the early goal, we just couldn’t get ourselves going. We lined up for the first time in a 4231 to match Leeds but Buendia couldn’t hold onto the ball, Bailey was getting doubled and JJ looked rusty so our outlets weren’t there and put a lot of pressure on our defenders.

Leeds pressed in a narrow 433 with Rodrigo shuttling a lot of the hard work pressing both CB’s. But when the ball shifted to a fullback, our CM’s were man marked and their third CM got out hard to squeeze our fullback to try and force an error. Dangerous as it leaves the far side open, but successful. 

Credit to the Unai second half adjustment (and he has been on point on almost all second half adjustments) - recognizing that Leeds were squeezing us in the middle, we made a conscious decision to build more down the left but with Moreno going high and wide to pin back their fullback and JJ moving in with Buendia close. This way - we finally had a numbers advantage if we could beat the first line press. Kamara dropped, not as a 3rd CB to form a 3 but to stagger the double pivot with Luiz staying higher. This caused a gap that Villa could exploit as the Leeds forward line waffled between pressing Mings and Konsa and subsequently leaving Kamara open in the half space or pressing Kamara and leaving Mings/Konsa a little more time. Credit to Emi/Konsa/Mings who continued trying to play out and attract the Leeds forward line so that the Villa midfield could operate. 
 
Once we started beating the forward line, Buendia and JJ could combine with Moreno to build and then snap a pass out to an isolated Bailey holding the width on the right so he could do what he does best and dribble with a head of steam in front of him. 
 
Leeds are a hard team but Marsch lacks the in game management that Unai has and was slow to recognize Villa’s foot hold in the second half. Once Villa could retain a a stronger build up on the left, it allowed us to open the game in transition and beat the first line press without losing duels in the midfield. 

Edited by DJBOB
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Having watched the game yesterday I definitely think we need some more midfield muscle, I was thinking a box to box goal scoring CM originally would be a good bet but we were really exposed at times in the middle. Kamara was great but Luiz had an average game and it would be good to have someone that could come in and really help to control the midfield, even if it meant the LB being less advanced and we adopted a more rigid 442 or 433.

Someone like Kessie perhaps?

Obviously Donk was suspended so he could potentially have done this but one injury and we’re were short of options. 

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1 minute ago, burchy said:

Having watched the game yesterday I definitely think we need some more midfield muscle, I was thinking a box to box goal scoring CM originally would be a good bet but we were really exposed at times in the middle. Kamara was great but Luiz had an average game and it would be good to have someone that could come in and really help to control the midfield, even if it meant the LB being less advanced and we adopted a more rigid 442 or 433.

Someone like Kessie perhaps?

Obviously Donk was suspended so he could potentially have done this but one injury and we’re were short of options. 

I feel if we had Dendoncker and McGinn available we would have made a change. McGinn is a very good defender with a very high workrate. We all see how key it is to have the pace in the side, with Moreno, Bailey and Watkins we have 3 fast players who carry the ball. Add in JJ too. 

I know I keep repeating it but Carlos is outstanding with his long range switch passes. He is a press resistant passing CB and seems the absolute perfect addition alongside Mings. The drawing on of the opposition press is what the players were told to do and then launch these counter attacks by the space created. With multiple players with pace this is a very effective tactic. 

I think we do need that added pace with another Winger who can play wide mid or up top like Bailey. I still have this worry about the low block, we have done well so far because the opposition can be drawn into our final third and we hit on counter. Wolves and Stevenage defended with low block and we have struggled with it still. I am hoping the pace of a Moreno and Bailey (or now winger) on flanks can take on opposition and get the cut backs like we saw from them against Leeds.

Piece by piece this will come together. I just really understand and massively like the tactics and gameplan. I just worry about the playing from the back with Konsa the most he's not suited to it. Carlos in and I am very happy

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If you consider Jacob Ramsey to be an established first team player already, and don't factor the new signings that we know will be made this month and in the Summer, is there another young player, apart from Tim Iroegbunam, that would find there way into our regular playing squad at the moment?

I don't think Sinisalo is going to replace Olsen yet. Kesler Hayden and Chrisene aren't ahead of Young, Cash, Digne or Moreno yet. Feeney and Bogarde are not ready to replace Konsa, Mings, Carlos or even Chambers and Hause at the moment. Aaron Ramsey and Finn Azaz aren't likely to surpass Coutinho, Buendia, Ramsey or McGinn just yet, Kadan Young and Philogene aren't ahead of Bailey or Traore and Archer and Barry aren't ahead of Ings or Watkins. BUT, I would say that Tim Iroegbunam is ahead of Nakamba and joins Dendoncker, Luiz and Kamara in our defensive midfield mix.

Are there any other youngsters who might have a first team role to play soon and have I underestimated any of those that I have mentioned?

Obviously some of the senior players mentioned will move on and some new players will arrive which will affect this but right now we have a crop of promising players but I'm not convinced any of them other than Tim would make our top two players for each position.

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On 13/01/2023 at 15:43, OutByEaster? said:

It's interesting to hear him talking about how we'll use Moreno - he wants his inside-wingers/number 10's in position with the attacking width coming from full backs that can do clever and creative things from the corner of the box.

So when we're attacking you'll see us like this:

----------------------------Martinez-------------------------------

------------Konsa------------------------Mings-----------------

---------------------Luiz------------Kamara---------------------

Cash-----------Buendia-------Coutinho-------Moreno

----------Bailey----------------------------Watkins--------------

That can be really effective with the two sort of triangles of three attacking players on either flank. Luiz and Kamara occupy the centre and push counter attacks wide whenever they can and it lets us get a lot of bodies forward. The double spine helps us force the opposition to try to beat us from wide areas (something that Wolves did really well in defending against us) and we can be compact defensively even with a lot of players high up the pitch.

There are still several players in that line up that I'm not sure are perfect fits and I think Cash will have a lot to prove, I also think we need another striker, and although we have some depth with Bunedia, Coutinho, Ramsey, McGinn (and Sanson) I think there could be changes the attacking midfielder positions too.

I like the idea.

I think he wants to get away from full backs crossing the ball in deep from wide positions level with the edge of the box and hoping for the best.

I think most of that is correct but I think cash would be more along the DM’s line as Emery prefers one of the FB’s to be defensive. 

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3 minutes ago, Sulberto21 said:

I think most of that is correct but I think cash would be more along the DM’s line as Emery prefers one of the FB’s to be defensive. 

Possibly, yes, he does some very interesting (and I suspect very clever) things with deliberately asymmetric formations and moves those around during games. I think ideally he'd like the strikers and fullbacks on both sides to be able to do a variety of jobs - for the fullbacks to play high and defend and the strikers to play centrally and out wide, dependent on the match situation and what their opposite number is doing.

 

 

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Very similar to how Emery wants us to do it, but we are trying to draw teams over towards our corner flags and that vacates space on the other side of pitch and centrally

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On 14/01/2023 at 01:49, DJBOB said:

Not for the faint of heart!

In some ways, early goals can throw off the gameplan further than necessary. After the early goal, we just couldn’t get ourselves going. We lined up for the first time in a 4231 to match Leeds but Buendia couldn’t hold onto the ball, Bailey was getting doubled and JJ looked rusty so our outlets weren’t there and put a lot of pressure on our defenders.

Leeds pressed in a narrow 433 with Rodrigo shuttling a lot of the hard work pressing both CB’s. But when the ball shifted to a fullback, our CM’s were man marked and their third CM got out hard to squeeze our fullback to try and force an error. Dangerous as it leaves the far side open, but successful. 

Credit to the Unai second half adjustment (and he has been on point on almost all second half adjustments) - recognizing that Leeds were squeezing us in the middle, we made a conscious decision to build more down the left but with Moreno going high and wide to pin back their fullback and JJ moving in with Buendia close. This way - we finally had a numbers advantage if we could beat the first line press. Kamara dropped, not as a 3rd CB to form a 3 but to stagger the double pivot with Luiz staying higher. This caused a gap that Villa could exploit as the Leeds forward line waffled between pressing Mings and Konsa and subsequently leaving Kamara open in the half space or pressing Kamara and leaving Mings/Konsa a little more time. Credit to Emi/Konsa/Mings who continued trying to play out and attract the Leeds forward line so that the Villa midfield could operate. 
 
Once we started beating the forward line, Buendia and JJ could combine with Moreno to build and then snap a pass out to an isolated Bailey holding the width on the right so he could do what he does best and dribble with a head of steam in front of him. 
 
Leeds are a hard team but Marsch lacks the in game management that Unai has and was slow to recognize Villa’s foot hold in the second half. Once Villa could retain a a stronger build up on the left, it allowed us to open the game in transition and beat the first line press without losing duels in the midfield. 

I kind of get what you saying and in some parts you are correct.

Regardless of the time we scored that shouldn't change the game plan...if it works...you dont fix it...only when its not working or the opposition change their own game plan which makes ours in effected....you change it then.

We definitely couldn't get going after the goal...for some reason when we score we just back off....its like we have scored now...you have it...I'm hoping Emery changes this mentality...good teams keep going because ultimately bar better finishing and top goal keeping we could have gone in to half time 2-1 down maybe more.

Our problem Friday was that we didn't move the ball fast enough from the back...when you play a high pressing team like Leeds you need to move the ball quicker to make them move quicker....countless times Mings would get the ball and delay the pass that much the Leeds players were just waiting and pounced when it got out to Young and Moreno.....making forced errors...it also didnt help that Luiz and in parts Kamara were not moving....offering an alternative for Mings and Konsa...we were predictable and Leeds read this.  

Moving the ball quicker would have made the Leeds players move as well...thus creating the space they have just left for us to play in....you then add better movement in the middle and you have broken their press.

It got better in the second half but Im not sure if that was down to us or the Leeds lost their discipline a bit and we were able to play more with Kamara getting on the ball a lot more and bring us forward.

My main gripe so far and I still cant workout why we do it nor has it been mentioned is why we have 10 players back for every corner or free kick...it just invites the opposition on and makes it two attacks because if we do win the ball....there is no one outside the box to get the second ball.....and ultimately it come back in to the danger areas. This happened in the Leeds game every time and in the Liverpool game where Trent was able to get the ball....pass 30 yards out without any pressure....and they scored from it.

You should always have a forward out to take two of them away  its crazy.....the one time we did do it a better Bailey was able to pressure the Leeds player and he was forced to pass it back to the keeper....but why we do it i just dont know.

We need better organisation rather than bods back because they just end up standing still.....or dropping back and not picking up the danger...we often concede goals with 8....9...even 10 in the box against 4...5 opposition.....but all of ours behind the ball....backs to wall rather than nullifying the threat at its point of source...in this case...edge of the box or final third. 

You can definitely see what Emery is trying to do...and its very positive so far...but there is definitely a lot more to work on.

 

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GK: Emi Martinez / Robin Olsen / Viljamii Sinijalo / Jed Steer

LB: Alex Moreno / Lucas Digne / Ludwig Augustinsson / Seb Revan
RB: Ashley Young / Matty Cash
CB: Tyrone Mings / Calum Chambers
CB: Ezri Konsa / Diego Carlos*

MC: Boubacar Kamara / Leander Dendoncker / Marvelous Nakamba
MC: Douglas Luiz / John McGinn

ML: Jacob Ramsey
MR: Emi Buendia / Kadan Young

SS: Leon Bailey / Philippe Coutinho
STC: Ollie Watkins / Jhon Duran

I know some of those can cover multiple positions, but we're a little short IMO. Carlos injured and also expect Nakamba to leave. Duran and Kadan Young may also not be ready.

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On 16/01/2023 at 08:36, Bazmonkey said:

My main gripe so far and I still cant workout why we do it nor has it been mentioned is why we have 10 players back for every corner or free kick...it just invites the opposition on and makes it two attacks because if we do win the ball....there is no one outside the box to get the second ball.....and ultimately it come back in to the danger areas.

Agreed...and it's not just nobody outside the box to get the second ball, it's nobody outside the box to receive a pass. As much as Emery loves passing around in back, you're not going to do that when the box is packed with 16 or 18 or 20 players.

If you station up near the centre line, it forces the other team to leave someone to mark him (unless they're down a goal in injury time and desperate), so at worst, you're 9 on 9 in the box.

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1 hour ago, CVByrne said:

The more I've thought about it the more I see what Emery wants to transform us into. Emery is a very smart coach. He knows it is key to be a defensively solid side before anything else as it's the bedrock of not losing games. Next he knows the top sides attack down the channels, this is because most defensive set ups are designed to force teams wide and block the centre of the pitch. The best sides turn a negative to a positive by becoming experts at using the width mainly through supremely talented full backs and skilled switches of play between the flanks. Emery's solution to this is filling the backline, so we've seen the wide midfielders drop into the defence meaning there is no space to attack there like these sides get in most other opposition low blocks of two banks of 4. We play with two 6s who are skilled at defending they sit in front of the defence centrally this 6 2, 5 3, 4 4 flexibility in defence is excellent against many of the slow build up teams like the top sides are. So these teams need to commit more players to gain overloads which means less players left in their rest defence. 

Now, the negative to this is if we have 2 midfielders in the backline we have less players to help us get out of our 1/3rd of the pitch if we get the ball back. This is why for Emery pace pace pace pace is so key to his team. Pace and players who carry the ball forward. This means quickly transitioning from defence to attack and having multiple options to do that, there is the direct ball to the forwards or there is the pass to the players who carry the ball forward at pace. This gives us the rapid outlet of getting up the pitch and getting chances. Also if we are a more unique team in this way then opposition top teams are less comfortable / experienced in playing against this style. 

The next phase is we are up the pitch and the entire team moves up in the attack, playing a high line in defence means it requires opposition to work to get into our third of the pitch again. We can play this high line because we play a sweeper keeper and have two very quick CBs who are good defenders. So balls in behind them are risky for opposition because it could be easy loss of possession for them. 

Now the difficult part comes from build up play. There are high pressing teams and there are teams who aren't. Both pose issues in different ways for us. Firstly high press teams require composed press resistant defenders who are consistent in their passing accuracy. Konsa and Mings are not renowned for this while Carlos is. The Emery plan for this against the high press teams is to trigger their press - you'll see Martinez or Mings delay passing the ball until they see the press fully triggered - then they will pass. The objective is to draw the opposition over to the RB area of the pitch if possible (but anywhere works really) as this creates the most space on the left side of the pitch. The aim is to beat the press by direct balls to space or to a creative 6 to play the ball forward. Out left side would have Moreno, Ramsey, Watkins fast attacking players who carry the ball forward so we can use our counter attacking pace against the high press teams by attacking the space they create. Now the difficulty in this we'll see soon when we play Arsenal who are superb high press and our composure under pressure will be tested (and imo fail). 

The second issue for build up is the age old one. If we are gifted possession and we need to break down the low block defence. Our biggest attacking threat is our pace and this is nullified. This requires patience and developing attacking play to unlock these defences. We can also use big players to provide aerial threat from winning of corners and whipped in crosses. Duran (and if we signed say Dembele) offer that. The key really is in working in the wide areas to get behind the full backs to cut balls back (so this means Moreno / Bailey attacking the full back and accelerating past them to cut back) or in the rapid quick passing through the centre or half spaces to get shots away. This isn't easy and takes skilled players and attacking play on training pitch. 

To me Emery wants to turn the team into a very tactically astute team that can operate in different ways depending on the opposition and the game state. As teams can switch defensive when they have scored a goal and thus we need to switch from the way we were playing in such an event. This situational flexibility, the focus on pace and dribbling, the clear game plans on how to counter opponents strengths. All of this to me is outstanding. The gulf between Smith, Gerrard and Emery is massive. The biggest being Gerrard was focussed on "style" and "identity" which to Emery would say "predictable" and "not to the squads strengths".

With Emery we will have a chance in every game we play to win it. My main worry is with the squad. We need quick CBs who are press resistant passers of the ball. Those types of players are rare and very expensive. Quick attacking players who are clinical in front of goal are also rare and very expensive. So the struggle I see is how we take what Emery wants to a level above is very dependent on recruitment. 

Great post mate, agree on your analysis. 

when you mention the press resistant CBs I think Carlos is half of the fix. For me if we had someone like Torres come for LCB this would transform us at the back. Costly though.

For the forward line there is scope to get in a player(s) that are relatively cheap but which Emery can mould, see the likes of Garnacho at Man Utd or that kid at Leeds, there is value for money out there. 

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Will be interesting to see if/who we bring in, ie: do we go with what we have for now and just do our best, keeping our cash and powder dry for the summer, or try to do something more in Jan.

Looking at the squad, we arent quite as short in certain area's as i thought, especially as we only have PL games for the rest of the season, but ofc if we really want to push on, we will have to improve some area's at some point.

This assumes Augustinsson & Nakamba will go, which doesn't seem a certainty at the moment?

The below is assuming Emery's base 442, for example, i know Ramsey & McGinn can play MC, but in the Emery system i dont think Ramsey or McGinn are "Emery type central midfielders", if that makes sense, so i reflected that below.

Green = natural position.

Yellow = capable in position.

 

image.png.368407f1ee16aa72ed5327d8d0cc5273.png

 

Edited by MaVilla
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1 hour ago, MaVilla said:

Will be interesting to see if/who we bring in, ie: do we go with what we have for now and just do our best, keeping our cash and powder dry for the summer, or try to do something more in Jan.

Looking at the squad, we arent quite as short in certain area's as i thought, especially as we only have PL games for the rest of the season, but ofc if we really want to push on, we will have to improve some area's at some point.

This assumes Augustinsson & Nakamba will go, which doesn't seem a certainty at the moment?

The below is assuming Emery's base 442, for example, i know Ramsey & McGinn can play MC, but in the Emery system i dont think Ramsey or McGinn are "Emery type central midfielders", if that makes sense, so i reflected that below.

Green = natural position.

Yellow = capable in position.

 

image.png.368407f1ee16aa72ed5327d8d0cc5273.png

 

I'm a fan of this way of presenting that data

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Luiz Kamara and ( hopefully ) Guendouzi would be a top 6 midfield. Maybe even top 4 as they havent reached their prime yet.  Yes its on paper but its the best mix of abilities you can get. Pace height strength technique calmess energy . So wanting this to happen and we can see us exert control against the best of the best. 

23 24 and 25 years old next season with Tim (20) and JJ (22) also in the mix.

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