It All Starts Here

So I wrote earlier this week about what I thought looked like a good squad, my appraisal mainly focussing on the need for extra defensive cover, which we now have in Hutchinson and the need for wingers, which we don’t. Our midfield is fairly versatile so can be spread across the wings.

It will be interesting to see how we line up. Halford at right back, or in the midfield, with Hutchinson taking Gunters old spot. Will Gillett get a role in the middle? I initially thought the team may resemble the Fleetwood side. Which would begin to show whether O’Driscoll intends to play a 4-5-1 formation which a lot of people disliked under Cotterill thinking it defensive?

But that would be to ignore the evolution of the football formation. Attacking midfielders are gradually taking over from forwards right now to the point Spain played without a recognised striker. To suggest it’s a 5 man midfield negates the different roles filled. It’s not as simple as four across the middle, but more two dropping deeper and 3 pushing on, including wingers (which we don’t have).

I put McCleary’s success last season, not down to luck, form, or anything other than being able to implement him in the right system. The 4-5-1. Or kind of a 4-2-3-1 formation, or maybe 4-3-2-1. Two midfielders given license to attack, and largely negate their defensive duty. This is why McCleary flourished. He was given a role where his defensive side of the game was cut down, and that was an area he struggled with. Getting back, not getting forward, now he didn’t have to worry, and he flourished.

It also means Reid doesn’t have to charge back on forth on the wing either, and Dexter takes the figure head role. Whether we carry it on I am not sure. A lot of fans disliked using it at home. Cox however has been bought which may see two strikers. But it may also see Cox in the wide role, he came on for Ireland in the Euro’s and got put there.

So it’s not a simple case of one striker, it’s a striker with quasi support strikers. It means a midfielder is given a box to box role to support the striker and negate his defensive duties so much, perfect for McGugan or Radi, and was the reason Majewski was able to score that hat trick. Let’s face it; he can’t tackle so give him a role he doesn’t need to. It does mean we have far too many strikers. But its handy to have a few on the bench as options for later if it is going wrong, get that ball forward and use them.

The advantage with this system if it is used, too many short sighted fans saw it as defensive, or even a long ball strategy, but most teams who use it are teams who attack at pace, and use shorter passing, for instance a little team called Barcelona. Spain use it effectively, Arsenal do too. It’s a wonderful system for football, if the right players are there, and I feel this year they are. Without McKenna or a slower ball player last year it didn’t work. You need him as a Xavi type player. Moussi is not that player, and neither is Greening unfortunately, Gillett might well be. You need ball players in there, not enforcers.

It will take time to settle, there are lot of new players to bed into a new system, and one they may not be used to. I may be completely wrong and we implement a 4-4-2 like we did in some friendlies. The lack of a number of friendly’s means we didn’t get to see what was favoured. We still have the right players for a 4-4-2, it just means sacrificing a Radi or McGugan for someone like Guedioura or Cohen, which I am sure no-one would moan at. I do tend to think 4-4-2 is too rigid a system, and doesn’t allow for fluidity. People have set roles which are not too interchangeable. It is balanced though and has a set structure.

There are plenty of positives no matter what, the implementation of good football, with good solid professionals. Hutchinson will be hungry to show what we can do, and forces his way up the Chelsea hierarchy. Players we have are born winners, shown by the promotions under their belt.

Tomorrow against Bristol City will be a big test, not many went to Fleetwood, and some like me will have seen it on a laptop screen streaming it, which is never the best way to watch a game. So to see what we actually put out there and see what the teams doing will be fascinating to see. To see the formation, and who plays where, it seems an interesting season ahead for the tacticians amongst us, whereas in the past few years we have set systems. Davies never fluctuated much from his preferred systems, and Cotterill had a et way of playing, so let’s see if we do have versatility and fluidity, and the scope to change things up when are where needed.

Here’s to an exciting future.