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Baby and the bath water


Lotus
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Saturday's result against Hull was awful.

There were some positives to our play though imo.

We played some nice balls along the deck into Cabaye through the middle. Suprised me as the passes were actually quite long and i thought risky but we were quite accurate with them. They cut out a fair bit of the Hull side.

Some of our football was definitely better. There were moments of moving the ball around well, quick passing, pulling their players about and dragging them from their positions.

I understood what we were doing when we were playing it around at the back. We weren't being aimless and showy or having a lack of ideas, we were trying to drag them out, to invite them to press a little higher so we could pass the ball into the space they'd vacate to do that.

Hull were so compacted around the width of their box i understood sometime you have to try long shots and see if anything falls for us. It did fall for us, twice.

Our problems were (as i saw it):

1) We rarely got any real width. A Debuchey cut back, occasional left footed cross from Remy/Santon. Not enough. If a team compacts the way Hull did we needed to go down the flanks effectively. We didn't. Part of that is only having 1 player out 4 on their natural foot.

2) I was worried that if played a 4-3-3 we would lack the tactical discipline to make it work. The Villa performance made me think i'd misjudged that. The Hull one made me think i hadn't. Anita played it well but both Sissoko and Cabaye left too much space between them when we didn't have the ball. They didn't play with the necessary discipline/intelligence to make it work (against Hull). Also, our wide forwards did not track their FBs.

3) Lack of intensity. We were lacklustre after 20 minutes in the 1st half and came out slow again in the 2nd.

 

Pardew said it was a bad day at the office. Every team can have those. It makes me hopefull that he wants to stick with the system and some of our ideas but just improve upon them. When he made subs and we started changing formation we just fell apart. Bad squad depth as well as a bad plan B.

 

There was plenty wrong with Saturday. Plenty. But, there were also some good things that i think have been overshadowed. I hope we can reduce the mistakes, both individual (see Debuchey) and system/formation (see lack of width and midfield players 30 yards from one another) and improve on what we started to do well, some decent passing and at least 20 minutes of good movement!!!

 

From what i've seen so far, that's still our best 11 to play Everton, such is our dirth of options.

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Think in general you're spot on Lotus, the start of the game was particularly good and we did play a lot of very good football in spells.

 

For me our failings were similar to those which were evident against Wigan in the humping two seasons ago and which were brought about by overconfidence as much as anything.

 

Just to offer one other observation in relation to your #2: the main thing I kept commenting on while watching was that Ben Arfa and Remy were too high up the pitch in the anticipation that we'd simply win the ball back and feed them for the counter attack, which ultimately led to our fullbacks being overloaded. Neither of them tracked back well enough, which they had both done at Villa. I'm not sure whether it was tactical instruction or just laxness on their part, but it meant that we looked very susceptible down the flanks.

 

However, if Ben Arfa played anywhere near the level he has of late then it probably wouldn't have been an issue. As it was, Remy was the only one of the front three to turn up.

 

Still, I hope that rather than changing the personnel and shape it's seen as something that can be remedied on the training ground.

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I think if Debuchey hadn't cocked up and HBA had bothered his arse to move another 10-15 yards we could've held onto the 1-0 long enough to see Hull have to come out to us more. Then i think the space would have been there.

Pardew will have to work hard to remedy it because Pienaar and Baines are going to running at Debuchey full on for 90 minutes, that's obvious. Sissoko and HBA will need to help him.

 

We do seem frightfully limited when we move away from plan A though, must be said!

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There were some positives, we started off brilliantly and in fine fettle. I believe if the players had kept up that intensity for the majority of the first half, we'd have been talking about a comfortable home win and looking forward to the next fixtures.

 

The second half was a complete train wreck on many fronts. I'm another who's worried that the result will want to make Pardew meddle. He seemed pretty sure what went wrong after the game and he didn't imply it was a shape issue, so that's a bit of hope.

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We didn't create anywhere near enough chances for my liking....

 

There were positives in our play but when you have 60% plus possession you should be creating more chances in my view.

 

There was a balance between every third of the pitch against Villa, but i wonder if that's because Villa allowed it to be.

 

We could just play on the counter attack which suits the line up we had in last two games and allows us to be balanced.

 

That is all fine and dandy but when we are asked to break down teams and take the initiative what happens? we struggled to create due to the lack of vision and creation in the team and chase the game too much leading to the defensive disaster you saw against Hull.

 

For this reason i'm quite confident going into Everton they will play a way which suits our strengths, but i'm still very concerned about how the team deals with organised teams who ask us to break them down.

 

Hopefully Pardew doesn't do a Wigan and revert back to type, there are positives to be had long term but only if we stick with it.

 

The last thing we need is chopping and changing because we lost.

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Think in general you're spot on Lotus, the start of the game was particularly good and we did play a lot of very good football in spells.

 

For me our failings were similar to those which were evident against Wigan in the humping two seasons ago and which were brought about by overconfidence as much as anything.

 

Just to offer one other observation in relation to your #2: the main thing I kept commenting on while watching was that Ben Arfa and Remy were too high up the pitch in the anticipation that we'd simply win the ball back and feed them for the counter attack, which ultimately led to our fullbacks being overloaded. Neither of them tracked back well enough, which they had both done at Villa. I'm not sure whether it was tactical instruction or just laxness on their part, but it meant that we looked very susceptible down the flanks.

 

However, if Ben Arfa played anywhere near the level he has of late then it probably wouldn't have been an issue. As it was, Remy was the only one of the front three to turn up.

 

Still, I hope that rather than changing the personnel and shape it's seen as something that can be remedied on the training ground.

 

Top post. Especially on how high our wing forwards were, they did track before we scored but were far more lax afterwards, Ben Arfa in particular. That doesn't strike me as a Pardew decision.

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We didn't create anywhere near enough chances for my liking....

 

There were positives in our play but when you have 60% plus possession you should be creating more chances in my view.

 

There was a balance between every third of the pitch against Villa, but i wonder if that's because Villa allowed it to be.

 

We could just play on the counter attack which suits the line up we had in last two games and allows us to be balanced.

 

That is all fine and dandy but when we are asked to break down teams and take the initiative what happens? we struggled to create due to the lack of vision and creation in the team and chase the game too much leading to the defensive disaster you saw against Hull.

 

For this reason i'm quite confident going into Everton they will play a way which suits our strengths, but i'm still very concerned about how the team deals with organised teams who ask us to break them down.

 

Hopefully Pardew doesn't do a Wigan and revert back to type, there are positives to be had long term but only if we stick with it.

 

The last thing we need is chopping and changing because we lost.

 

For me, we didn't create enough because they blocked off the width of their box and we rarely went down the sides of it. When a team 'parks the bus' you have to go with width. We didn't. I'm actually worried that we can't!!!!

 

If we'd been able to vary it a bit we would have been better going forward.

 

 

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We didn't create anywhere near enough chances for my liking....

 

There were positives in our play but when you have 60% plus possession you should be creating more chances in my view.

 

There was a balance between every third of the pitch against Villa, but i wonder if that's because Villa allowed it to be.

 

We could just play on the counter attack which suits the line up we had in last two games and allows us to be balanced.

 

That is all fine and dandy but when we are asked to break down teams and take the initiative what happens? we struggled to create due to the lack of vision and creation in the team and chase the game too much leading to the defensive disaster you saw against Hull.

 

For this reason i'm quite confident going into Everton they will play a way which suits our strengths, but i'm still very concerned about how the team deals with organised teams who ask us to break them down.

 

Hopefully Pardew doesn't do a Wigan and revert back to type, there are positives to be had long term but only if we stick with it.

 

The last thing we need is chopping and changing because we lost.

 

I'd normally agree with you about how we struggle to break down organised sides but I think we had enough creativity in there to win on Saturday. We looked very threatening when there was lots of movement up top, which is what was happening when the game first started. That was one of the things that slacked off after 20 minutes or so.

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Think in general you're spot on Lotus, the start of the game was particularly good and we did play a lot of very good football in spells.

 

For me our failings were similar to those which were evident against Wigan in the humping two seasons ago and which were brought about by overconfidence as much as anything.

 

Just to offer one other observation in relation to your #2: the main thing I kept commenting on while watching was that Ben Arfa and Remy were too high up the pitch in the anticipation that we'd simply win the ball back and feed them for the counter attack, which ultimately led to our fullbacks being overloaded. Neither of them tracked back well enough, which they had both done at Villa. I'm not sure whether it was tactical instruction or just laxness on their part, but it meant that we looked very susceptible down the flanks.

 

However, if Ben Arfa played anywhere near the level he has of late then it probably wouldn't have been an issue. As it was, Remy was the only one of the front three to turn up.

 

Still, I hope that rather than changing the personnel and shape it's seen as something that can be remedied on the training ground.

 

It was compounded by the fact the midfield 3 (not Anita so much) got quite slack with possession and tended to come forward in a haphazard fashion. Sissoko would run from deep with cabaye in front of him, he would then end up past Cabaye which resulted in 5 players in advanced positions. This obviously made it very easy for Hull to counter and got worse as the game went on.

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It comes down to how well drilled the players are about their responsibilities at the end of the day. We've seen previously that Pardew's idea of defence is basically everyone sit back, it seems like we are playing a more expansive game this season but struggling to get the balance right. I think we'll probably continue to be hit and miss as Pardew continues to juggle formations like piping hot marshmallows.

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We didn't create anywhere near enough chances for my liking....

 

There were positives in our play but when you have 60% plus possession you should be creating more chances in my view.

 

There was a balance between every third of the pitch against Villa, but i wonder if that's because Villa allowed it to be.

 

We could just play on the counter attack which suits the line up we had in last two games and allows us to be balanced.

 

That is all fine and dandy but when we are asked to break down teams and take the initiative what happens? we struggled to create due to the lack of vision and creation in the team and chase the game too much leading to the defensive disaster you saw against Hull.

 

For this reason i'm quite confident going into Everton they will play a way which suits our strengths, but i'm still very concerned about how the team deals with organised teams who ask us to break them down.

 

Hopefully Pardew doesn't do a Wigan and revert back to type, there are positives to be had long term but only if we stick with it.

 

The last thing we need is chopping and changing because we lost.

 

For me, we didn't create enough because they blocked off the width of their box and we rarely went down the sides of it. When a team 'parks the bus' you have to go with width. We didn't. I'm actually worried that we can't!!!!

 

If we'd been able to vary it a bit we would have been better going forward.

 

Agreed, it is a problem and when that happens Remy and Hatem have to be prepared to go on the outside they are both very capable so no excuses for me in that regard.

 

Or at least push up higher and allow the fullbacks to get forward more.... sure its a risk but to break down organised outfits some times you have to take these risks.

 

Although all of this would be moot if we actually defended properly.

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We didn't create anywhere near enough chances for my liking....

 

There were positives in our play but when you have 60% plus possession you should be creating more chances in my view.

 

There was a balance between every third of the pitch against Villa, but i wonder if that's because Villa allowed it to be.

 

We could just play on the counter attack which suits the line up we had in last two games and allows us to be balanced.

 

That is all fine and dandy but when we are asked to break down teams and take the initiative what happens? we struggled to create due to the lack of vision and creation in the team and chase the game too much leading to the defensive disaster you saw against Hull.

 

For this reason i'm quite confident going into Everton they will play a way which suits our strengths, but i'm still very concerned about how the team deals with organised teams who ask us to break them down.

 

Hopefully Pardew doesn't do a Wigan and revert back to type, there are positives to be had long term but only if we stick with it.

 

The last thing we need is chopping and changing because we lost.

 

For me, we didn't create enough because they blocked off the width of their box and we rarely went down the sides of it. When a team 'parks the bus' you have to go with width. We didn't. I'm actually worried that we can't!!!!

 

If we'd been able to vary it a bit we would have been better going forward.

 

Agreed, it is a problem and when that happens Remy and Hatem have to be prepared to go on the outside they are both very capable so no excuses for me in that regard.

 

Or at least push up higher and allow the fullbacks to get forward more.... sure its a risk but to break down organised outfits some times you have to take these risks.

 

Although all of this would be moot if we actually defended properly.

 

if you watched City thrash Man U, two of their goals came from wide players getting to the byline and cutting the ball back for a small striker to score. Our wide players, whether wingers or full backs tend to cut inside 9 times out of 10. It's not been addressed, and isn't likely to be either IMO.

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Think in general you're spot on Lotus, the start of the game was particularly good and we did play a lot of very good football in spells.

 

For me our failings were similar to those which were evident against Wigan in the humping two seasons ago and which were brought about by overconfidence as much as anything.

 

Just to offer one other observation in relation to your #2: the main thing I kept commenting on while watching was that Ben Arfa and Remy were too high up the pitch in the anticipation that we'd simply win the ball back and feed them for the counter attack, which ultimately led to our fullbacks being overloaded. Neither of them tracked back well enough, which they had both done at Villa. I'm not sure whether it was tactical instruction or just laxness on their part, but it meant that we looked very susceptible down the flanks.

 

However, if Ben Arfa played anywhere near the level he has of late then it probably wouldn't have been an issue. As it was, Remy was the only one of the front three to turn up.

 

Still, I hope that rather than changing the personnel and shape it's seen as something that can be remedied on the training ground.

 

This is it basically.

 

I was a strange combination of overconfidence followed by losing faith in the gameplan when things went wrong.

 

I don't think it quite means we're 'back to square one', we're still showing signs of moving in the right direction.

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We didn't create anywhere near enough chances for my liking....

 

There were positives in our play but when you have 60% plus possession you should be creating more chances in my view.

 

There was a balance between every third of the pitch against Villa, but i wonder if that's because Villa allowed it to be.

 

We could just play on the counter attack which suits the line up we had in last two games and allows us to be balanced.

 

That is all fine and dandy but when we are asked to break down teams and take the initiative what happens? we struggled to create due to the lack of vision and creation in the team and chase the game too much leading to the defensive disaster you saw against Hull.

 

For this reason i'm quite confident going into Everton they will play a way which suits our strengths, but i'm still very concerned about how the team deals with organised teams who ask us to break them down.

 

Hopefully Pardew doesn't do a Wigan and revert back to type, there are positives to be had long term but only if we stick with it.

 

The last thing we need is chopping and changing because we lost.

 

For me, we didn't create enough because they blocked off the width of their box and we rarely went down the sides of it. When a team 'parks the bus' you have to go with width. We didn't. I'm actually worried that we can't!!!!

 

If we'd been able to vary it a bit we would have been better going forward.

 

Agreed, it is a problem and when that happens Remy and Hatem have to be prepared to go on the outside they are both very capable so no excuses for me in that regard.

 

Or at least push up higher and allow the fullbacks to get forward more.... sure its a risk but to break down organised outfits some times you have to take these risks.

 

Although all of this would be moot if we actually defended properly.

 

Good point on the full backs. I noticed on Saturday that Debuchy went to overlap HBA a few times, only for Ben Arfa to point at him to go back, which he did. I thought it was odd as Hatem was surrounded a fair bit, surely letting Debuchy overlap would've helped him. It wouldn't have been too much of a worry anyway, Anita always covers the wide spots if they get left open.

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It comes down to how well drilled the players are about their responsibilities at the end of the day. We've seen previously that Pardew's idea of defence is basically everyone sit back, it seems like we are playing a more expansive game this season but struggling to get the balance right. I think we'll probably continue to be hit and miss as Pardew continues to juggle formations like piping hot marshmallows.

 

Knowing their responsibilities means naff all if they don't focus and aren't disciplined. Watching Ben Arfa and Sissoko for that third goal, it was unbelievably slack.

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I'm not sure you can blame Pardew for lack of concentration though. Surely that's down to the players.

 

Would help i think if the players were just a tad afraid of Pardew. Afraid to upset him anyway. Afraid to screw up, basically.

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I'd say we're passing the ball through the midfield much better. That's one significant positive.

 

We don't have a dominating defender so we do look quite vulnerable. Given the players we've got, that's not going to improve much, so we may have to rely on the attack. And not wishing to go over old ground, but we ought to try something other than Cisse.

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