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Because we have absolutely no ability to keep possession, Jack ends up tracking back to defend far too often. I'm not surprised he cramped up at Wembley with the amount of running he had to do.

It means he receives the ball in his own half far too often, which in turn means the opposition can 'safely' foul him in rotation. If he was receiving the ball in/around their penalty area that wouldn't be such an issue.

The failing comes from the rest of our midfield which are terrible in keeping possession long enough for Jack, or anyone  else to get into a forward position  to receive the ball. Hopefully McGinn will help here!

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On 10/03/2020 at 14:59, kurtsimonw said:

With and without Grealish under Smith

With
Wins - 21
Draws - 7
Losses - 17
Points per game - 1.55
Goals per game - 1.65


Without
Wins - 3
Draws - 7
Losses - 7
Points per game - 0.94
Goals per game - 1.23

That's over half a point per game, and nearly half a goal per game, better with Grealish. That's a massive difference. 

The scariest thing for me is this. 58% percent of the "with" are from the Premier League. 90% of the "without" games are in the Championship. So despite him missing a much greater proportion of games in a lower league - where we were one of the stronger teams - we still end up with worse figures than the "with" stats, which are nearly 60% weighted by Premier League games.

For anyone interested, the "without" stats (from the Championship) over a full 46 game season would've seen us finish 19th last season, with the 18th best attack.

I know stats aren't everything. But the idea that our current manager's job is safe because of keeping him for the Championship is an argument that holds minimal weight for me.

Who would've thought that the team plays better with their best player, who happens to be on the cusp of being world class?

Also, the argument that Jack Grealish was the reason we were promoted and that Smith had little to do with it holds little weight otherwise we would have been promoted in 2017. Or 2018, which was his best season in that division.

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43 minutes ago, Keyblade said:

Who would've thought that the team plays better with their best player, who happens to be on the cusp of being world class?

Also, the argument that Jack Grealish was the reason we were promoted and that Smith had little to do with it holds little weight otherwise we would have been promoted in 2017. Or 2018, which was his best season in that division.

So you think picking up roughly 1 point per game in the Championship without him is not at all concerning?

The idea that we should've got promoted because we had Grealish in those other years makes absolutely no sense either, unless you're suggesting that RDM/Bruce are as good as/better than Smith?

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5 minutes ago, kurtsimonw said:

So you think picking up roughly 1 point per game in the Championship without him is not at all concerning?

The idea that we should've got promoted because we had Grealish in those other years makes absolutely no sense either, unless you're suggesting that RDM/Bruce are as good as/better than Smith?

Uh well there were many more factors to take into consideration than just "Jack Grealish didn't play". It's a very reductionist take on it. No one single stat can explain a situation as complex as that.

But for more context, during the period Jack was injured, Tuanzebe, our only recognized CB after Chester rightly took a sabbatical, also got injured. We had to emergency recall Tommy Elphick as well as sign Tyrone Mings and Kourtney Hause at the end of January. So that's at least a month without proper defenders, which is donkey years in the Championship. That's just one piece of extra context, and it already paints a markedly different picture.

Also you're making my point here for me. No RDM and Bruce aren't better than Smith, hence why we got promoted with Smith and not other 2. The overall point here being, it's not all down to Jack, Dean Smith might have had something (a lot) to do with it.

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34 minutes ago, Keyblade said:

Uh well there were many more factors to take into consideration than just "Jack Grealish didn't play". It's a very reductionist take on it. No one single stat can explain a situation as complex as that.

But for more context, during the period Jack was injured, Tuanzebe, our only recognized CB after Chester rightly took a sabbatical, also got injured. We had to emergency recall Tommy Elphick as well as sign Tyrone Mings and Kourtney Hause at the end of January. So that's at least a month without proper defenders, which is donkey years in the Championship. That's just one piece of extra context, and it already paints a markedly different picture.

Also you're making my point here for me. No RDM and Bruce aren't better than Smith, hence why we got promoted with Smith and not other 2. The overall point here being, it's not all down to Jack, Dean Smith might have had something (a lot) to do with it.

We actually signed Hause at the start of Jan, though I agree defensively we weren't in the best shape.

Not really. I've never suggested that DS isn't a better Championship manager than either of those. I've never said he had nothing to do with us going up, I think him being more of a forward thinking coach was better for us in the Championship. But he relied, and still relies, massively heavily on Jack. Yes, every club is better with their best player, but how many clubs fall apart to the extent we do?

This is why this "philosophy" is a bit of nonsense. A well structured club, nobody is invaluable. A good system works because the system works, not because one individual makes it work. Unfortunately, we were, and still are, too reliant on Jack. Because the philosophy doesn't work, and a good system doesn't exist.

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1 minute ago, kurtsimonw said:

We actually signed Hause at the start of Jan, though I agree defensively we weren't in the best shape.

Not really. I've never suggested that DS isn't a better Championship manager than either of those. I've never said he had nothing to do with us going up, I think him being more of a forward thinking coach was better for us in the Championship. But he relied, and still relies, massively heavily on Jack. Yes, every club is better with their best player, but how many clubs fall apart to the extent we do?

This is why this "philosophy" is a bit of nonsense. A well structured club, nobody is invaluable. A good system works because the system works, not because one individual makes it work. Unfortunately, we were, and still are, too reliant on Jack. Because the philosophy doesn't work, and a good system doesn't exist.

Most clubs kind of fall apart (by whatever their standards are) after they lose their best player(s). Man City finishing 20+ points below Liverpool this season after winning back to back with 198 points would be a good contemporary example. Watford not winning for 10 games and rooted to the bottom of the table at the start of this season despite being a solid midtable side in the last few years due to Deeney's absence is another.

With regards to philosophy, that all assumes he created/discovered this philosophy at Villa and Grealish. He's made a name for himself with his style of football from his Walsall days so you do him a great disservice again laying everything at Jack's feet.

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4 minutes ago, Keyblade said:

Most clubs kind of fall apart (by whatever their standards are) after they lose their best player(s). Man City finishing 20+ points below Liverpool this season after winning back to back with 198 points would be a good contemporary example. 

An example for me, maybe. KDB barely played last season and they walked the league. This season he's played every week and they've struggled more. Because Man City live and die by the system they play. Of course better individuals are better, but they are not as invaluable as individuals to a team that literally just run through a player.

I can not think of a single good performance we've had this season where Jack hasn't been one of the start men. DS just can't get the team to run unless it's through him IMO.

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8 minutes ago, kurtsimonw said:

An example for me, maybe. KDB barely played last season and they walked the league. This season he's played every week and they've struggled more. Because Man City live and die by the system they play. Of course better individuals are better, but they are not as invaluable as individuals to a team that literally just run through a player.

I can not think of a single good performance we've had this season where Jack hasn't been one of the start men. DS just can't get the team to run unless it's through him IMO.

KDB isn't vital to their system. There are 3 other players who are almost as good who can step in and perform. Whereas with Laporte, he's crucial. Without a ball playing CB who can actually defend, they're exposed.

We didn't and don't have a replacement for Jack. I'm sure if he's sold, we'll sign one as well as other options. The only option he had last year when Jack was out was to play Hourihane there, and I'm sure I don't need to spell out how big of a drop off in quality that is, not to mention they aren't even the same type of player. For example, if we had Jota last season, I think we would have done better in the games Jack was out. Again, it's very reductionist to simply look at Jack's absence and conclude that Smith won't ever be able to get the team playing. 

For a bit of perspective, if Smith hypothetically took up QPR for example instead of us after 2 years of say Tony Pulis, playing expansive football, winning 10 games in a row and we in the market for a Championship manager next season? He'd be very high on my list of managers to sign, and I wouldn't let the fact that he relied heavily on a mercurial Eze to make it happen either.

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7 minutes ago, Keyblade said:

KDB isn't vital to their system. There are 3 other players who are almost as good who can step in and perform.

He's not, because they have a system. Individuals aren't invaluable. City don't have another player anywhere close to the level of KDB.

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1 minute ago, kurtsimonw said:

He's not, because they have a system. Individuals aren't invaluable. City don't have another player anywhere close to the level of KDB.

I mean, the 2 Silvas and Mahrez are fairly close to his level to be fair. But I'm sure if you put Conor Hourihane for example in their system in his place, there would be a significant drop off. It's why they sign all the world class players. Otherwise football would just be a battle of the systems, and it isn't because it's only a part of it.

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3 minutes ago, Keyblade said:

I mean, the 2 Silvas and Mahrez are fairly close to his level to be fair. But I'm sure if you put Conor Hourihane for example in their system in his place, there would be a significant drop off. It's why they sign all the world class players. Otherwise football would just be a battle of the systems, and it isn't because it's only a part of it.

I actually think what we disagree on is pretty minor (though I do think KDB is the Worlds best midfielder). System isn't everything, neither is coach, neither is player. It's definitely a threesome and it probably should be in somewhat equal measure. My worry is that our results are skewed too much towards the latter.

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3 minutes ago, kurtsimonw said:

I actually think what we disagree on is pretty minor (though I do think KDB is the Worlds best midfielder). System isn't everything, neither is coach, neither is player. It's definitely a threesome and it probably should be in somewhat equal measure. My worry is that our results are skewed too much towards the latter.

I think KDB is the best player in the league but he's not far and away in his own class imo. But yes, I agree, just not on the implications. For starters, it would mean that Steve Bruce is a horrible manager as he couldn't get the same team promoted with the same crucial player, which obviously isn't true as evidenced by the fact that he's currently holding his own in the PL, a good half a dozen points ahead of us and the manager who did actually get us up. It's mostly to do with circumstances, and when analyzing the bigger picture, under the circumstances, Smith did very well last season. The same would apply if we were to stay up this season. We can't get to caught up in minutiae and individual stats as they don't really tell the story.

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2 hours ago, lexicon said:

Is Jack a good captain? 

Would he be first choice if he weren't a Villa fan? 

I'd probably choose Mings tbf. 

Probably yeah, but there's always stuff in the dressing room and on BMH that can tell a different story. 

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43 minutes ago, kurtsimonw said:

He's not, because they have a system. Individuals aren't invaluable. City don't have another player anywhere close to the level of KDB.

I could be wrong but in their own respective styles I would suggest Leroy Sane, Sterling, David Silva and Aguero would all be as influential at their best.

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4 minutes ago, A'Villan said:

I could be wrong but in their own respective styles I would suggest Leroy Sane, Sterling, David Silva and Aguero would all be as influential at their best.

Definitely not Sane, but that's now what we were talking about, he, Sterling and Aguero don't play in the same position. David Silva doesn't have the same impact these days, and often doesn't play the big games. Bernardo is far less effective centrally, Foden the same, Gundogan is barely a footballer these days. Losing KDB means playing with 1 or more of these, it's a big drop IMO.

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Just now, kurtsimonw said:

Definitely not Sane, but that's now what we were talking about, he, Sterling and Aguero don't play in the same position. David Silva doesn't have the same impact these days, and often doesn't play the big games. Bernardo is far less effective centrally, Foden the same, Gundogan is barely a footballer these days. Losing KDB means playing with 1 or more of these, it's a big drop IMO.

I actually rate Sane's close control as a higher level than KDB's. Considerably.

KDB draws fouls well, excellently even, I think he's a flop merchant if I'm being up front, and I only really say that about Busquets and Pepe. I still rate his game highly elsewhere.

KDB also has a deft touch and an okay Maradonna turn that he uses to decent effect, but it's his sense of anticipation and decision making that makes him extraordinary for me.

Hard to argue for Sane when Sane's not playing and last I checked there were some issues, and he was Bayern bound. But I think Sane technically is probably as sound as De Bruyne.

De Bruyne's weight of pass is special and he gets quite creative with that, added with his anticipation of events at critical conjunctions and sense for decision making he's great there.

To be honest, I rate Grealish as up there with them both, higher than Sane purely because he's playing and proving it, but I've been saying he'd reach these heights for some time.

Where KDB is deadly is with space ahead of him and teammates running the channels either vertically or diagonally, he's near unstoppable here.

Defenders get pulled one way and forced into decisions that De Bruyne has played a role in setting up with each touch made. He's clever and definitely owning his roles.

For me, Grealish is as good as KDB, but there are a number of factors as to why that won't be recognised, and understandably so.

Grealish could learn from KDB's constant aggression and front foot mentality. He's always got defenders on their heels.

 

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