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What Is O'Neill's Attacking Thinking?


JohnCresswell
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By avfcinwales

Interesting to see the post match interview with Carew when the interviewer asked him how he felt about the partnership with Young.

Suggesting with Maloney on the bench, who himself was questioned about his likely position on Friday in an interview, that maybe O'Neill doesn't see Young as a winger striker but a play off a striker, striker.

Seeing the way he used both his feet to such good effect in the 2 matches he's played I can understand why, especially as Maloney said he prefers the striker role but can live with being on the left wing.

So Carew through the middle, Young around him and Maloney wide left, hmmm?

So what happens to Barry? What happens to Young? What happens to Moore?

Carew is big and for me isn't a tremendous header of the ball if his past stats are anything to go by. Yes he can head a ball, but he's not a Peter Withe.

Interesting an article supposedly from the Lyon coaching staff branded him an idle good for nothing who plays when he wants to and his record indicates he has a good season then wastes away, but so far he has impressed when supposedly still less than 70% fit and most certainly offers the target man option O'Neill seemed so desperate for.

Having such doesn't automatically mean teams adopt route one football especially if your target man has speed, skill as well as height and bulk, Carew does, but I do worry for how long?

So who plays off him and why? Seems now Young does, seems soon Maloney might too, as the obvious use for such would be as roaming striker/providers I simply don't think Maloney has joined as cover, simply not

That then of course begs the question, no make that questions, what for Gabby and Moore? Now for me Gabby is in because Maloney isn't fit and O'Neill doesn't change his teams lightly, especially by dropping your only ever present this season.

Now I don't think O'Neill agrees with me that Gabby is a striker, as is Moore. I'm confident he agrees with me that on track record both Maloney and Young are better all round players than either of the other two.

For me both their days are numbered, because at best they offer no more than an alternative option should the normal tactics fail in a game.

Now when Taylor was manager passing the ball between players was unknown, O'Leary rectified that and I know its hard to remember, but at times our passing game was awesome. Some of that has been retained, but the big advantage of route one is you don't need that much skill in midfield or defence. It's simply the easy tactical option. Few managers have perfected it into a passing system with effect - Allardyce perhaps and its main problem is when you go against the better teams it usually fails dismally as O'Neill found at Celtic I'm told.

Now if I'm right if O'Neill does adopt the above, Petrov as he showed yesterday will move up more, what happens to Barry, does he drop back into the middle, or left middle, or even left back. If he wants to keep his place he'd better sort it out methinks, Barry that is.

Of course as Gregory showed it can be effective if you have driving midfield players who score regularly look at Chelsea, keep out Drogba, and up pops, Cole, Lampard, and so on. Trouble again with Gregory's Villa team was that the strikers didn't score regularly enough.

Mind you Chelsea do have a bloke called Essen who provides the ammunition for everyone, we don't !

There you are then a simple tactical proposition for now, but not for the future, long term future that is, why, because I think Carew is only a short term option, Maloney, Young aren't but Carew could be.

Still good buys all three, will be an interesting summer window methinks.

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It's far far too early to tell, but my instinct is that he's building a team similar to Chelsea's in formation and style. That's my guess anyway. But it's hard to tell so far because it seems most of his signings have been opportunistic rather than deeply thought through. (Which may piss off the 'organics' amongst us lol). He needs time to put his stamp on things here, I'm looking on with interest at what he does.

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Carew is only 27. He can give us 5 years of service at the very top given the type of player he is.

2 games in and you are thinking about when he will finish? Can we not just enjoy the fact that we look more of an attacking force than we have since Big Ron was here?

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Interesting thoughts by Malcolm, but too pessimistic for me.

Time of course will tell, but for now I'd go with the flow and trust that MON knows what he's doing for the remainder of this season and has set his stall out accordingly. As far as Lyon's comments on Carew, might be sour grapes, but I also think that perhaps Carew could be more suited to the more physical Premiership than the continental type of play.

Gabby and Luke may become squad players if Malcolm's assumptions are correct and of course it's unlikely they will be happy, but we don't know MON's intentions or plans, but we do have more options up front than for a long time.

If Larsen can get fully fit and stay clear of injury, we'll be steadier in the centre of defence and Bouma is at last looking a better player than previous.

Can't see why Barry would be a problem, as in left midfield he can get forward and also cover Bouma, I think he may well be suited to providing the through ball for speedy front men or laying it up to Carew to hold up and allow both midfield and the wide men to get forward.

The Reading game should be real interesting, seeing they are a form side at present.

All in all, an interesting last third to the season I fancy.

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I think what O'Neill is building, is options. Carew will still be the target man, and we only went 442 in the second half against West Ham. My feeling is that we will play similar to chelsea, with Carew in the middle, Gabby, Moore or Young as the 2 wingers, te 3 midfielders will be 3 of Petrov, McCann, Barry, Maloney. McCann will obviously sit deep, leaving the other 2 to get forward or out wide i.e Barry and Petrov at the minute.

But its the first time we have had options in the squad for a long time, and we should be praising that.

We can afford to rotate the team. We now dont have a set first 11 unless an injury. Which is brilliant news.

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Malcolm,

I agree with most of it, including most of the questions that come from our signings, but as Phoenicks touched on, why do you question why the 27 year old Carew might be a short-term option ? It's a little pessimistic with no apparent reason behind it.

Also, even though I'm still not convinced about Gabby's long term involvement at the club (I still think he was a needs must player at the time who has benefitted from having no direct competition @ RW) I do think the horizon is much better for Luke Moore. I think he is now the only player of his type at the club. Both Young & Maloney are wing/half-striker players and Carew is a target man. Moore is the out&out nippy striker that can play around these. I wouldn't be too disappointed with a midfield of Young-Petrov-McCann-Maloney with Moore & Carew up front (Barry is @ LB in that formation). All questions of course still to be answered.

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I agree with you symmouk. I think Malcolm has missed a couple of important points in his analysis. First, you don't play all of your players all of the time (we used to under HDE, but hopefully we are heading towards having more options in the future). Secondly, if you have options with regard to the team you pick from your squad (lovely word, squad; again, we didn't have one under HDE) you can change your formation/tactics to suit the occasion/your opponents. I would not recommend having just one game plan in the Premiership. Finally, you don't need a 'tinkerman' philosophy to need more than one player for every position (and some spares too!) if you are going to get anywhere. There is plenty of need for players to 'rotate' because of injuries, suspensions, etc! Keep them coming MON/RAL - we need what we have and more too.

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Interesting post - certainly one to open debate.

i also agree with the gentleman who talked about the need for alternatives and variation - hence agbon - moore - davis still have a role to play.

However - Villa fans I think are averse to tinkering... we still remeber the good old days when you could win a league with 14 odd players all season.....

.......................Carew.....................

Maloney.................................Young

.......... Barry...............Petrov..........

..................... Mcann.....................

Is my idea of our best front 6.. I can't see why MON would buy Maloney AND Young if he was to play 2 up front. They seem ideal signings for a front 3. Agbon could sub on the right - possible luke moore as well and Young be left or right where needed.

The question is what happens to Angel? Angel would make a poor substitute for Carew as a lone striker- although he may partner well in a fornt 2. It would be sad to see him go....

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agree with you symmouk. I think Malcolm has missed a couple of important points in his analysis. First, you don't play all of your players all of the time (we used to under HDE, but hopefully we are heading towards having more options in the future). Secondly, if you have options with regard to the team you pick from your squad (lovely word, squad; again, we didn't have one under HDE) you can change your formation/tactics to suit the occasion/your opponents. I would not recommend having just one game plan in the Premiership. Finally, you don't need a 'tinkerman' philosophy to need more than one player for every position (and some spares too!) if you are going to get anywhere. There is plenty of need for players to 'rotate' because of injuries, suspensions, etc! Keep them coming MON/RAL - we need what we have and more too.

At last, someone with a bit of sense. Well done Bob and welcome.

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If I'm allowed, I don't agree Bob.

I don't believe, and time will prove me wrong, that O'Neill is as flexible and as variable in his tactics as you suggest. I don't think Gabby or Moore are the sort of striker O'Neill wants long term, and I don't think Young or Maloney are midfield strikers some are suggesting, Young is a winger who can strike, his opinion not mine, and Maloney prefers to be a striker but will play on the wing, again his view not mine.

Gabby and Moore are strikers who play off strikers ideally, more goal poachers than wide players who can strike, will O'Neill swap to such if required I can't see it.

In an ideal world he seems to want a big man up front who is a little more talented, shall I say, than the average British target man, Carew fits that bill and in answer to BOF's question I think O'Neill wants him because he couldn't persuade away his prime target, ideally he wants both and Carew is a good stop gap as we've all seen, younger, fitter and quicker than Sutton, just as I think his next buy for that spot will be younger, fitter and even quicker.

As to Barry dropping back, I can't see him liking that too much on a permanent basis, hence my comments, he's also too slow and too limited in his distribution to fit as the basis of our top 3 team. Berger, for me is a better attacking midfield player than Barry and I don't like saying that, Barry has always been a star for me, but his style doesn't suit O'Neill's tactics, in fact I'd go as far as to say 8 players who have been regulars for the last 2 years don't, unless they adapt or become more consistent.

I've seen some talking of Sorensen not fitting that team and McCann so I feel I'm justified to think that far ahead.

If this team rebuilding to make it completely HIS team, goes ahead in the summer, he will, as he said in the rarely quoted comment about quantity, need to bring in players

When he does I feel it will make most of the existing team as cover for his imports

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This is a great read for someone learning the game!

Might someone please please explain the "route one" reference?

Also..Symmouk said we only played 442 in the 2nd half.....But I saw A 442 clearly in the opening moments.

I think it is a waste to have Barry at left back. He is great coming towards the corner of the box where he can shoot, play it square or cross.

When MON went with a 443 at newcastle I saw that as an indication that it was his prefered formation.

But we gave up "ridiculous goals" to quote MON.

So now he goes with a 442 at home vs west ham and our defending was stifling for 80 mins.

I bet Maloney will play opposite young in the 443. Gabby is a great finisher but he does not seem to create for others very often.

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I think we will eventually play 433 as well.

Oh and I don't see that Carew is a short term option either, he has a 3 and a half year contract.

Patrick I may be wrong but I am reading this in reference to Carew's obvious love of the move. Villa are his 5th club since 2000.
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This is a great read for someone learning the game!

Might someone please please explain the "route one" reference?

Also..Symmouk said we only played 442 in the 2nd half.....But I saw A 442 clearly in the opening moments.

I think it is a waste to have Barry at left back. He is great coming towards the corner of the box where he can shoot, play it square or cross.

When MON went with a 443 at newcastle I saw that as an indication that it was his prefered formation.

But we gave up "ridiculous goals" to quote MON.

So now he goes with a 442 at home vs west ham and our defending was stifling for 80 mins.

I bet Maloney will play opposite young in the 443. Gabby is a great finisher but he does not seem to create for others very often.

Route 1 means (in simple terms) when your primary form of 'offensive' play is to play long balls from the defence, usually to a 'big' target man i.e. Carew. An antiquated tactic with limited success and little entertainment value. A useful tactic for teams lacking players with the technical ability to pass, but at Premiership level is very rarely seen any more in it's purest form, thankfully. Although Bolton play a style which is a modern take on the old 'Route 1' or Long Ball' system you'd have to dig out old tapes from the 1980's of Wimbledon or Arsenal, yes ARSENAL! to see proper long ball football in all it's boring boring Arsenal glory.

I'm not sure what the formation was on Saturday as I was working and haven't seen the match, I presumed from the short highlights I saw on TV we played 4-4-2 from beginning to end.

Barry's best position IMO is left centre in a 3 man midfield, or left back. He lacks pace to be a winger I've always believed. But I agree he's at his best around the box or arriving late in the box to get on the end of crosses.

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I think Bolton being simply a 'route one' team, and MON's Celtic, is very unfair.

you'd have to dig out old tapes from the 1980's of Wimbledon or Arsenal, yes ARSENAL! to see proper long ball football in all it's boring boring Arsenal glory.

Is very true.

Anyway I think we may well have a bit of rotation, though I fancy a 4-3-3 with say a midfield of McCann, Petrov & Barry and a forward line of Young, Carew & Maloney could potentially bring out the best in all 6 players.

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