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Carvalho Diablo

Midfield creativity

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It was all working when Virg and Joe were fit and Salah, Mane and Firmino were putting away the chances.

Defensively we have been less effective at pushing the play further up the pitch due to having less pace in the centre, but apart from Villa and City, we haven’t conceded that many goals more than I thought we might.

We have been dominating possession in most games, but the big problem for me has been the difference between shots taken and shots converted.

We don’t convert nearly enough at the moment and, as last night showed, miss relatively easy chances that many other teams seem to convert at the other end.

It’s true that the contribution from midfield in terms of goals is dire, however we weren’t relying on that previously and teams are happier now sitting and cluttering up the centre of the park with bodies which leads to more shots blocked, but our midfield could do with assisting more.

There was a point last night where one of the commentators mentioned we were working the ball well down the left side but “ there’s nobody in the box”, which spoke volumes about where our strikers and midfielders weren’t.

Maybe with VVD back we’ll see that change in dynamic which is missing and Thiago showing us what he was presumably bought for, but I’ve felt for some time we need a striker, as opposed to very good forwards, to give us that sharpness and anticipation in the box.

Its the chances we’ve been missing that has cost us dear this season, and they all could do with some shooting practice as well.

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33 minutes ago, coachpotato said:

It was all working when Virg and Joe were fit and Salah, Mane and Firmino were putting away the chances.

Defensively we have been less effective at pushing the play further up the pitch due to having less pace in the centre, but apart from Villa and City, we haven’t conceded that many goals more than I thought we might.

We have been dominating possession in most games, but the big problem for me has been the difference between shots taken and shots converted.

We don’t convert nearly enough at the moment and, as last night showed, miss relatively easy chances that many other teams seem to convert at the other end.

It’s true that the contribution from midfield in terms of goals is dire, however we weren’t relying on that previously and teams are happier now sitting and cluttering up the centre of the park with bodies which leads to more shots blocked, but our midfield could do with assisting more.

There was a point last night where one of the commentators mentioned we were working the ball well down the left side but “ there’s nobody in the box”, which spoke volumes about where our strikers and midfielders weren’t.

Maybe with VVD back we’ll see that change in dynamic which is missing and Thiago showing us what he was presumably bought for, but I’ve felt for some time we need a striker, as opposed to very good forwards, to give us that sharpness and anticipation in the box.

Its the chances we’ve been missing that has cost us dear this season, and they all could do with some shooting practice as well.

Shooting is more to do with attitude rather than technique as you'd assume highly paid professionals could shoot properly. While not exactly part of the midfield problem we are talking about Robbo's lack of shooting when getting into the positions he does is costing us a few goals too. TAA does score his fair share but you could imagine a few more from him also. It's a problem that effects the whole team and costs us over a whole season.

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The only player who seems to even try when he can is Ox. But he rarely plays. Milner does on occasion but he's not renowned for it. When Fabinho does try a shot he can really hit them. But it seems to be tactical for them not to shoot which is criminal when the forwards are playing like treacle. 

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Great midfielders don't grow on trees. 

 

Without a doubt they are the heartbeat of any great team, and we have been spolied with some of the best ever, Gerrard being the most recent. 

 

Being honest, there probably isn't even a single midfielder in world football today as good as he was. 

 

I do think we need time really look into bringing in or trying mould some promising prospect in that central midfield role. One that can contribute 10 goals a season at the very least. 

 

But it isn't easy. You only have to look at Utd, they still haven't replaced Roy Keane ffs 

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40 minutes ago, ZonkoVille77 said:

The only player who seems to even try when he can is Ox. But he rarely plays. Milner does on occasion but he's not renowned for it. When Fabinho does try a shot he can really hit them. But it seems to be tactical for them not to shoot which is criminal when the forwards are playing like treacle. 


Apart from penalties, Milner scored his last goal in the league in 2018. 

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In the few seasons before this disaster, largely the same personnel in midfield led us to a league and a European Cup, and could easily have had one more of each. 
 

Our problems this year have been either side of midfield.

 

Also, Thiago starting on the bench for the two legs suggests that our system struggles to accommodate a different type of midfielder. There just doesn’t seem to be the space ahead for him to do anything. I’m not sure if that’s because of how we set up or teams sitting back against us the way they have this season or a combination of both. 

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1 hour ago, ZonkoVille77 said:

The only player who seems to even try when he can is Ox. But he rarely plays. Milner does on occasion but he's not renowned for it. When Fabinho does try a shot he can really hit them. But it seems to be tactical for them not to shoot which is criminal when the forwards are playing like treacle. 

I think it is purely tactical , you can almost see the thought bubble appear in Shaq's weave when he gets a bit of space outside the box and then him thinking ' No way am I going to be lectured on the pitch after the game like a six year old '

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1 hour ago, El Rojo said:

In the few seasons before this disaster, largely the same personnel in midfield led us to a league and a European Cup, and could easily have had one more of each. 
 

Our problems this year have been either side of midfield.

 

Also, Thiago starting on the bench for the two legs suggests that our system struggles to accommodate a different type of midfielder. There just doesn’t seem to be the space ahead for him to do anything. I’m not sure if that’s because of how we set up or teams sitting back against us the way they have this season or a combination of both. 

I'm starting to wonder with Thiago if it's possible for him to work in a team that doesn't have any other players like him. At Barcelona he had similar passers of the ball. At Bayern he didn't to quite the same extent (but considerably more than he has here), but he had great movement off the ball. 

 

I obviously hoped he'd be better than we've seen so far but I also feel like he hasn't got much to work with. The rest of the midfield aren't capable of playing the same style. Mane and Firmino are hideously out of form (or worse, simply declining). Salah and Jota often aren't central enough.

 

It doesn't feel like we've defined his role yet. It's so disappointing that we've seemingly made this signing without any plan of how to use him.

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With anything, you build from the bottom up. 

It's an absolute scandal that starts from the keeper not having decent competition, to the relentless use of Robbo and Trent for 3 years, to the complete vanishing of Tsimikas and Neco, to the mad signing of Davies, and the ongoing injuries of injury-prone Matip and Gomez that we somehow never see coming.  And finally, the ballad of Van Dijk, someone we have built our identity around but someone with a hideous injury and the weight of the world on his shoulders to get back to the same level he was before. 

 

I was thinking we might fix this, or is the shortcut just buying Coutinho?

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I'd offload Thiago in the summer if we could get our money back for him.

 

30 years old - he isn't going to get better, he just looks like he is not a good fit for our style of play and i can't see us changing to accomodate him - and we shouldn't.

 

Sometimes even top class players are just a poor fit in teams and systems - i can't see it working with him for us.

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Our midfielders can’t even shoot inside the box let alone outside it. Kloppo wants hard working versatile technically good midfielders who can create chances by harrying the opposition in to making mistakes that we can capitalise on with the pace of our forwards. He signed Shaqiri, Keita and Ox so he obviously wants the option of a midfielder who can run and shoot but he’s not that arsed about it if his use of those three is anything to go by.

 

Sign Pablo Aimar.

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I think signing Thiago and moving to a slower build-up game with shorter passes was an attempt to evolve our style a bit, but without defenders who can play a high line we can't compress the play enough to make it work.

 

Right now we have to keep the defensive line a bit deeper, press harder, and move the ball more quickly when we win it back. Because we're so narrow in midfield and we don't have defenders on the halfway line, our midfielders have to cover much more ground than is ideal when the ball is lost - both to counter press and then to regain shape if the press is beaten. The lack of energy from the front three on the initial counterpress hasn't been fucking helping either.

 

Thiago looks shit because he doesn't have the energy of someone like Wijnaldum, the aggression of someone like Henderson or Fabinho, or the directness of Trent.

 

If we swapped out Thiago with the 05/06 version of Momo Sissoko we'd probably look better, but if we swapped out any of the front three for their 18/19 versions, or even just got Van Dijk and Gomez in the back four, we'd look fucking shitloads better.

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43 minutes ago, dockers_strike said:

I fear Jurgen has a bigger rebuilding project on his hands than he admits to in public at least.

It is a fairly big task.

 

Loads of uncertainty at centre half - can Matip (stop sniggering at the back) really come back and contribute on anything like a regular basis.....Is Gomez capable of staying fit...Will VVD be the same....and then what are going to do to ensure have enough cover and depth back there?

 

Midfield is up in the air...Wijnaldum - who knows....Milner is 62....Henderson ageing an injury prone....Thiago not settled at all...Keita a waste of time....Ox same...

 

Forwards - lots of questions about Firmino and Mane.

 

Overall age profile of squad quite high.

 

Plenty to do/plenty of questions/puzzles to solve.

 

It feels like we could be entering a period of transition/this teams cycle is at or near its end.

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53 minutes ago, an tha said:

It is a fairly big task.

 

Loads of uncertainty at centre half - can Matip (stop sniggering at the back) really come back and contribute on anything like a regular basis.....Is Gomez capable of staying fit...Will VVD be the same....and then what are going to do to ensure have enough cover and depth back there?

 

Midfield is up in the air...Wijnaldum - who knows....Milner is 62....Henderson ageing an injury prone....Thiago not settled at all...Keita a waste of time....Ox same...

 

Forwards - lots of questions about Firmino and Mane.

 

Overall age profile of squad quite high.

 

Plenty to do/plenty of questions/puzzles to solve.

 

It feels like we could be entering a period of transition/this teams cycle is at or near its end.

Yep, agree with all that. And it's difficult because much of it revolves around form and fitness, which are issues that may fix themselves, but also may not.

 

For me, I'd focus on replacing/keeping Gini; replacing one of Gomez/Matip; and replacing Bobby.

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2 hours ago, Jairzinho said:

I'm starting to wonder with Thiago if it's possible for him to work in a team that doesn't have any other players like him. At Barcelona he had similar passers of the ball. At Bayern he didn't to quite the same extent (but considerably more than he has here), but he had great movement off the ball. 

 

I obviously hoped he'd be better than we've seen so far but I also feel like he hasn't got much to work with. The rest of the midfield aren't capable of playing the same style. Mane and Firmino are hideously out of form (or worse, simply declining). Salah and Jota often aren't central enough.

 

It doesn't feel like we've defined his role yet. It's so disappointing that we've seemingly made this signing without any plan of how to use him.

Yep, sums it up. I’m still not sure what he’s supposed to be doing for us. We probably looked at his reputation and relative affordability over his suitability. 
 

Still, he looked great in his first couple of games when we had two top quality centre halves, so who knows. 

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