So…. Let’s start with positives, another win which puts us 3 points behind Liverpool (4 points if you include the goal difference). A clean sheet and another goal for Adebayor so why all the negativity?
The negativity stems from the fact we were outplayed AGAIN in another big game and if the current trend continues, we will drop more points against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Our biggest problem for me seems to be our midfield and it’s obvious that Sherwood is not tactically setting them up with a game plan. When you play with a three man midfield, every player in that system has a role to play and defensively should have a player to mark when we lose the ball but when we do lose possession, teams seem to have a free run at our back four so who is meant to be the defensive midfielder?
What is our system of play? It seems we only look comfortable in a 4-4-2 but this will leave us exposed against the better teams so what exactly are we doing on the training ground because it seems like we’re back to the Harry days of the just ‘go out and play’ philosophy
An analysis of our team from the Everton game:
Lloris: Besides a few errors, he has been excellent and has probably earned us at least 9 extra points in the league. He has to cover the lack of pace in the Centre Back positions by having a higher starting position so he will get it wrong on the odd occasion but its worth the risk i think. In fact a lot of the bad press he was getting was after the concussion as the witch hunt for AVB’s head gathered momentum.
Walker: Really needs to improve his distribution and his crossing otherwise it’s a waste of time him overlapping. He needs to have a picture in his head earlier when he receives the ball because he slows a lot our attacks down with his indecisiveness.
Rose: Similar analysis to Walker but I do feel teams are now starting to highlight our left back as a weak point in our team. He’s not really comfortable on the ball so any type of pressure on him and he gives it away (FA Cup game at the Emirates). We should have got a new left back in the transfer window because long term he’s not the answer.
Vertonghen: Hardly puts a foot wrong and starts play from the back, all he needs now is Kaboul next to him to supply some much needed pace and we have a real quality Centre Back pairing.
Dawson: If we’re playing West Ham and Alladyce’s basketball tactics then he’s fine, but against anyone who has a change of pace then he becomes a liability and has been for a while. I’ve always wondered why AVB would insist on a high line then play Dawson because it’s hardly a match made in heaven. Our best CB pairing is Kaboul and Vertonghen and this needs to happen quickly.
Bentaleb: Very good young player and very comfortable on the ball however this insistence on playing him every game doesn’t make sense especially in role generally played by someone more experienced. In the DM (Defensive Midfielder) role, you have to see and read things as well as providing cover for the back four whereas when we lose the ball he’s often out of position therefore leaving a big gap in our midfield. The difference was there to see when Capoue who should be starting in that role came on yesterday.
Paulinho: I’m not sure we’ve seen the best of Paulinho and I think its partly to do with what he’s being asked to do. When he plays for Brazil, he plays in a disciplined DM role who makes late runs in the box as an added goal threat but it seems at times he’s a passenger for us, not really defending and occasionally attacking. No doubt he has quality but we either find a system to get the best out of him or leave him out.
Dembele: The enigma that is Moussa Dembele continues as we all know he has the quality to be one of the best midfielders in the league however it’s his end product that lets him down. He gets into a lot of promising positions in the final third but this often ends in a failed through ball or a blocked shot. He needs to step up his game or he’ll be in danger of never realising his true potential.
Eriksen: Easily been our most creative midfielder and will only get better once he fully gets to grips with the physicallity of the Premiership. Always looking to pass forward and make runs in the box. We need to get him on the ball more often.
Lennon: I think this is a big season for Lennon because at this stage in his career he should be looking to get at least 10 goals a season and at least 5 – 10 assists otherwise he’s going to be overtaken by other wingers such as Sterling and even Januzaj. I would suggest he comes infield a bit more when he’s not getting the service and link up with the other midfielders.
Adebayor: In this form, he’s one of the best strikers in the league and as long as he remains motivatated then he will always be our focal pointof attack.
Over the remaining part of the season, I’m sure Soldado, Sandro, Lamela and Townsend will all play their part, however if they are to make a significant impact along with the players then Sherwood needs to improve tactically. To get into the top 4 we will need to beat our rivals in and around us and this won’t happen if we keep up with our naive way of playing.
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