DON’T PANIC! I’m here to help if you need me Poch!
There is nothing wrong with Poch’s tactics. As a matter of fact he should win everything with the formation of 3 at the back, 2 attacking wing backs, a DM and a AM and 3 up front is fantastic. This is his preferred formation I believe.
With a strong wall in the back providing unyielding defence and feeding to either of 3 directions, one of the MF’s, one of the wing backs and then in turn either a diagonal ball, a ball down the line or a ball through the middle for the deeper lying runner behind the oppositions back 3 or 4.
So what’s wrong with Poch’s tactics – NOTHING. NOTHING AT ALL.
Well how come our displays in the last two weeks (some might say longer which I can understand) have been ‘tres ordinaire’?
Here comes the rub –
To carry these tactics out you need the right player for the right position. For example – you might say our best back 3 is Toby, Sanchez and Vert’s in which case I would agree, so let’s agree these 3 should be capable to perform the first part of our tactic’s.
This is most important if you chose to play out of the back as opposed to hoofing it which is what Poch is demanding at this point.
They need to fulfill the next requirement of getting the ball to our wing backs or link with either the AM or DM.
Let’s look at the qualities of a good wing back – I would suggest the following certainly come in handy:
Calmness on the ball
Ability to control the ball and pass
Ability to cross accurately
Ability to get back
Well let’s look at our so called WB’s and see who has all of these – In my opinion only Trippier comes close. Davies is terrible and who knows if the old Rose will return. The only trouble with Trips is he is not very good at defending when required. Aurier is a hit and miss and fringe players don’t rate at the moment.
Now let’s look at the AM’s and DM’s. What qualities do they need:
Calmness on the ball
Ability to pass
Ability to read the game
In our squad, the only real AM is Ericksen (who can either player AM or more up front but I believe this is where Poch wants him – just behind the front 3). Who else fits the bill? (fringe players are not there yet).
In the DM’s department, we have a plethora but I would suggest only the ageing Mousa plays this role with any aplomb and even he is erratic. Dier is out of position, terrible at passing and also at defending set pieces and seems to be regressing. Winks is not coming on like we hoped. Wanyama could provide hope but injury is slowing down his progress and Sissoko has a good engine but little else and that’s even if you place him in this category.
Again, none of the fringe players fit the bill – yet.
Playing 3 up front should work very well with this formation behind them ‘IF’ the players behind are decent at their individual roles.
I think in Sonny, Lucas, Lamela, Dele and Kane we have quality in abundance.
In theory – a terrific formation.
It may take time but we need to build 2 or 3 players each window to get where Poch’s tactics and formation show quality. We need fast, ball controlling, calm wing backs. We need another AM to back up Ericksen and we certainly need much better quality in the MF.
In summary (and thanks for reading if you got this far), we are reasonably well off at the back and at the front, however almost everything else in the middle of the sandwich needs more seasoning.
We simply do not have the quality to carry out Poch’s instructions.
Here is my one hope – ‘Juan Foyth’ to play in front of the back 3 (something to consider anyway).