Playing It Safe
In Off The Post
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First point of the new season at Luton Town and that’s fine. John Eustace and the team wanted a positive result and so did we the supporters. Nothing fancy and nothing particularly outstanding, but bucketloads of hard graft and gritty defending. Building from the back is the managers blueprint, with the objective of producing a solid and reliable defence. So far so good.
However, the games ahead…especially at home…will also need to see some craft and speed to get both the crowd and the players confidence onto the front foot. Who has the pace and who possesses the craft is the tricky bit. With limited resources, John Eustace has his work cut out.
Loanee Placheta has pace which seemingly makes him the ideal forward runner who could operate on either wing, but so long as he is not designated to the wing-back duty. Jeremie Bela and Jordan Graham both had to fill these berths last season, leaving them somewhat ineffectual going forward in their natural footballing roles. Hopefully we either sign a quality left back or deploy a fit again George Friend.
We desperately need a pacy player up front, and getting our left back position sorted appears to be the key in releasing proper wing play. With Huddersfield Town up next on Friday for the first home game of the season, it will be interesting to see what tactics Eustace adopts.
Safety first comes immediately to mind and why not, as I have no doubt our new manager is desperate for his team not to be rolled over. Especially at home. We all appreciate the club is in a transitional period at the moment, given the expected takeover, therefore patience and understanding are going to be needed all round.
Transfers out and in will probably enter the final days of the window with, fingers crossed, a couple of quality players arriving on permanent deals. Until then my hope is that our manager gets the team solid enough not to be easily beaten, particularly at home. The game against Luton typified the situation as of now, with not being defeated the objective, and my view is that this safety‑first approach is ideal under our current standing with the takeover.
Huddersfield, just like every other Championship side, will be tough opposition and they arrive determined to get their first win of the season too. But on Friday night, St. Andrew’s needs to belong to us, the hosts. And just like the events taking place at the nearby Commonwealth Games, Birmingham needs to continue that ‘feel good’ theme. Prediction 1-0 Blues.
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The set up formation and system does not require a lift back. Left wing back is a completely different role. Placheta Is completely competent within that area.
Until we Start playing a balanced 442 which we can do, infact a couple of different 442’s with the squad we have
We ain’t going anywhere
The fashion nowadays is three at the back with two wing-backs. We’ve Colin, who is a defence-minded player asked to play wing-back and, on Saturday, Placheta who is a winger asked to play wing-back. Placheta looks an upgrade. Concern is, in the wing-back role, the energy he put in on Saturday makes him a 70 minute player. He looks the sort who’d be better used further up the pitch. But then that raises the formation issue (the likes of Friend and 442 is not a solution).
Our problem is the long-running one. We are in games for lenghty periods but poor at converting competitiveness into goals. The forwards at our disposal aren’t mobile enough and of an old-school target-man/goal-hanger type. In terms of overall set-up, it’s like we field 10.5 instead of 11 players. Net effect? We are among the division’s lowest goals for, placing huge pressure on the defensive side of the game.
We don’t need a 25-goal a season striker (well we do, but like most teams in the championship, we’ll not get one). A dozen, but from a player with decent link-up play skills. Then we’d be on the front foot more often, the defence can take a breath and the opposition would be chasing the game more often.
Ryan Woods? A player who would have looked decent in tje game as played about 20-30 years ago. But midfielders nowadays are fast-paced strapping youths. Look at Jordan James who is able to get around and dish out plenty of aggro in the midfield as an 18 year old. We’ll be better off relying on two James’ (Jobe) than Woods.
Good comment from Michael ! Just remind us of your managerial experience, was it in the premier league ? Surprised you’re not in work at the moment ! !
Pace frightens defenders and we just don’t possess it. Huddersfield planning for Friday night will no doubt take it on board and therefore allowing their defence to be on the front foot. Draw for us wouldn’t be bad but we do need a livewire to be signed up in this window.
We need to give Eustace a fair crack of the whip here.
Playing 3 at the back with wing backs suits us currently, being without a decent left back option, and having 3 good central defenders in Sanderson, Trusty and Robbo.
Eustace has already improved our central midfield, on paper at least, by bringing Bielick in, who I feel can replace Woods and complement JJ and Bacuna in there.
All we are really lacking is some real pace up top to combine with Deeney ideally, in my humble opinion.
George Hall could provide that for us, and/or another shrewd loan signing-let’s see.
Building a side from the back is a sensible move, particularly with the relatively limited offensive resources at the Head Coach’s disposal.
I remember teams in the past have taken this approach and ultimately been incredibly successful-for example Howard Kendall’s Everton team from the mid-eighties, who went from a club in crisis to league champions (I’m showing my age now!)
Mark R. Good analysis and thought provoking.
With this first game of the new season at home tomorrow I had hoped for some razzamataz in view of the impending takeover. Everything has gone deathly silent.