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Delphinho123

What is wrong with our defence?

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We have no leader at the back who continually takes responsibility on crosses into our box. Our LB looks and tackles like he could be blown over by a gentle breeze and consequently has been targeted by the opposition and will continue to do so until he is replaced.

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Concentration, simple as that. That comes with experience, Gary Cahill used to be terrible for knocking off and giving away an opportunity he has improved that side of his game markedly.

 

Mind you, that's exactly what he did for our goal on Saturday.

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Concentration, simple as that. That comes with experience, Gary Cahill used to be terrible for knocking off and giving away an opportunity he has improved that side of his game markedly.

Mind you, that's exactly what he did for our goal on Saturday.

I think he was scared to engage Benteke, the guy has a big reputation now and players know he will beat them physically. Cahill let him stop him and got square on which allowed the big lad to burst past him, great attacking play and a scared defender for me.

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It's just concentration really.

What's strange is that during this run of games, it's not like the opponent has had a lot of shots on goal.

Reading: I think Baker's OG was the only shot on goal.

QPR: They had a few shots but mistakes from Bennett and the midfield were responsible for both of the goals

Stoke: One shot on goal and I think it was another midfield mistake and then Bennett getting caught flat footed

Fulham: Only one shot on goal (I'll count Berbatov hitting the post) and then a Delph own goal

I think Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal only had 4-6 each. Obviously they're doing something right.

It's just concentration over 90 minutes that's lacking

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We have improved, but we are still prone to basic errors. Lichaj not tracking Hazard's run for the Chelsea second goal is an example of that. Bennett was very good against Chelsea but he was poor against Norwich.

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Too young, too naive, and  not enough protection from the midfield.   You have little faith that the back four can close a  game out. Too much pressure on Vlar- the bloke is made captain and asked to run a kindergarden all in his first season in England. Lambert seems to like a 3 man mid which can be quite narrow, which does not protect the full backs much- which is one reason why Bennett has struggled in most games. I think at the moment its just bad, wheras over christmas it was comical. So its getting better I think.

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A defence takes time to work on, if we stay up, it's an area we will improve on with a consistent shape and back four. We are prone to mistakes but you can see signs it is being worked on. Over Xmas we were conceded from set-pieces for fun, recently it has been tightened up.

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Whatever the problems are I think they can be fairly easily rectified.  I think the young defenders will naturally get better to start with, but I assume we will be adding a quality full-time partner for Vlaar at the heart of the defence which is the key to any improvement.  The midfield was so easy to just walk straight through for the first half of the season and that won't be repeated so much next season, as we have improved and again I expect some new players in to improve us further.  Ultimately I think Lambert is a manager who concentrates on outscoring the oppo so we will concede goals, though I think teams are starting to respect us a lot more which may make things a bit easier.

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Our defenders are one-dimensional, with the possible exception of Lowton. They are all PL standard at one aspect of play, but tend to have glaring weaknesses that are easily exposed.

Lambert basically plays the Alex Ferguson style, where the front six are pretty gung ho. Fergie never particularly bothered with specialist defensive midfielders (obviously he had grafters like Keane, Fletcher, Hargreaves, Park, etc. but they were there to press or play box-to-box). This approach worked for Fergie because he always signed quality defenders. Look at the 1995-6 team of "youngsters": the defence included Schmeichel, Bruce, Irwin and Pallister. You can risk youngsters elsewhere on the park because their flaws won't always cost you goals. When you have flaws in a defensive player (or worse, in every player in your defence) it only takes a half-decent manager to tear it apart.

I think the way our front six moves about so fluidly, while making for some great attacking play, must make it hard to find a good shape when the ball is turned over to the opposition. You often see Gabby or Weimann making a lung busting run back to cover, which is obviously great, but does make you wonder how we're so overrun that they need to do it.

The solution seems pretty obvious - spend more money on defenders. Presumably you can get much better value on a top 10 defender than on a top 10 striker (ignoring the occasional Benteke-esque stroke of luck). I don't think we need a specialist DM, as I expect Westwood and Delph will grow into their roles, and unless you're facing a specialist number 10 of the Zidane / Bergkamp ilk, it's often just a waste of a player. The Makelele role went out of fashion with the demise of the number 10. If we were to strengthen our midfield, I think just getting a slightly calmer, more experienced version of what we've already got would do the trick. James Milner maybe! Hah.

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