Another win at Stoke gives us 8 points from 12 and gives me the satisfaction of four out of four correct predictions from my first article of the season. We have done rather well this year at the Britannia / Bet365) Stadium, with another 0-4 in April and I thought it was a very good performance from our lads today. It was, however, against a team that is solidly at the bottom of the table, with just one point from four games and now a -8 goal difference. To put the situation in perspective, 8 from 12 equates to 76 points from 38 games. Last season it would have given us 2nd place, 3rd place in 2014-15, 5th place in 2013-14, 3rd place in 2012-13 and 3rd place in 2011-12. It is unlikely to be enough to win the PL and it may fall short of top four. What can change to push on that bit more? In the diagram below I put forward a flight of fancy and will explain my thinking.
I won’t get into the Lamela debate again. He is not for me, but you are of course free to propose him in your line-up. The reason Eriksen is not included here is solely because this is an alternative suggestion. There are lots of games coming up. I doubt he can play every one. On his performance today I would certainly include him in many gamers. The same goes for Dier. I would also like to include Janssen but I can only pick eleven. Players will have to be rotated. I have included Son because he shone today. Sorry about the pun, but he really was both active and effective with serious end product.
The surprise may be the inclusion of Dembele and Sissoko. I am not convinced we would normally need two defensive midfielders once Dembele is back. Real Madrid away? Quite possibly. If we are to play a high-pressing game, I see two powerhouses in Dembele and Sissoko giving the opposition a very rough time in their own half, but also a pairing able to drop back and assist Wanyama break up opposition play. In addition, Dembele and Sissoko can drive the ball forward from these situations. Width can be provided by Rose and Walker.
It is, on the face of it, a very minor change. I believe used in certain games it could turn those draws that we bemoaned last season into the wins of this season. To put this in perspective, 9 points from 12 would have us on 85 points at the end of the season. That would have won it last time.
What do you think of having two attacking central midfielders and one defensive central midfielder? What would your alternative line-up be?
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