The diamond in the rough?

Rektseasider

Well-known member
So after a while of trial and error with 4 3 3, error being the key word there. We then switched to a highly traditional 4 4 2.

Two banks of four solid if not effective going forward players. I admired this switch at the time, because it clearly took a lot of Critch to admit his ideas at this level weren’t working and then work out a way to fix this.
Since November this has given us a solid base to work from, allowed the team to looked settled and most importantly, allowed us to win games.

However if we’re going to kick on at any point, be it this season or next, and go for promotion the stand out point is, we must create more chances and convert some of these in to goals. Which in reality is still a huge struggle for us. Charlton gifted us 9 men and Wigan are well, Wigan. They are anomalies for me, the meat and potatoes of this league show, we have to move heaven and earth to score a measly two goals a game. That’s miles away from a promotion challenge.

So, to the headline. Would the four in midfield be better served in a diamond formation? Stewart sitting deep with a central midfield two of either Dougall, Ward or Virtue.
Where I think this formation will do the trick for us is that ‘number ten’ position just behind a front two. We could put KK or Embleton there and for the first time all season, actually utilities their abilities, running at the back line, picking a pass or a shot. It’s something we’ve criminally underused in people like Anderson KK and now Embleton.

The big problem would be what to do with CJ and the full backs?
This formation pretty much nullifies CJ’s talents and reason for being in the squad. Could you try him in that ten role? You’d have to also have Garbutt and Gabriel at full back every game. I’m confident Gabriel could cope with it, as he seems to be a bit of a physical freak. Could Garbutt? Possibly not on the defensive side of things.

I think Critch needs to experiment in the remaining games. I’ve said I think promotions a bridge too far this season. But others may think differently and not want a huge change. I just think we need something to spark our attacking threat which has remained dormant for most of the season.
 
Last edited:

qurotangerine

Well-known member
In turn you would be completely nullifying CJ's pace.

Biggest issue is Kaikai in the current system as he would occupy that no10 role perfectly.
 

Rektseasider

Well-known member
In turn you would be completely nullifying CJ's pace.

Biggest issue is Kaikai in the current system as he would occupy that no10 role perfectly.
That’s it, do you sacrifice CJ in the hope we start creating 10+ chances per game?

It’s a tough one. But for me, whilst CJ isn’t quiet ready yet, and given that Critch has a perfect opportunity to experiment with things in the heat of battle before the real pressure comes on him. Should we not try it? I think it’s worth a shot for two or three games.
 

Sooty59

Well-known member
So after a while of trial and error with 4 3 3, error being the key word there. We then switched to a highly traditional 4 4 2.

Two banks of four solid if not effective going forward players. I admired this switch at the time, because it clearly took a lot of Critch to admit his ideas at this level weren’t working and then work out a way to fix this.
Since November this has given us a solid base to work from, allowed the team to looked settled and most importantly, allowed us to win games.

However if we’re going to kick on at any point, be it this season or next, and go for promotion the stand out point is, we must create more chances and convert some of these in to goals. Which in reality is still a huge struggle for us. Charlton gifted us 9 men and Wigan are well, Wigan. They are anomalies for me, the meat and potatoes of this league show, we have to move heaven and earth to score a measly two goals a game. That’s miles away from a promotion challenge.

So, to the headline. Would the four in midfield be better served in a diamond formation? Stewart sitting deep with a central midfield two of either Dougall, Ward or Virtue.
Where I think this formation will do the trick for us is that ‘number ten’ position just behind a front two. We could put KK or Embleton there and for the first time all season, actually utilities their abilities, running at the back line, picking a pass or a shot. It’s something we’ve criminally underused in people like Anderson KK and now Embleton.

The big problem would be what to do with CJ and the full backs?
This formation pretty much nullifies CJ’s talents and reason for being in the squad. Could you try him in that ten role? You’d have to also have Garbutt and Gabriel at full back every game. I’m confident Gabriel could cope with it, as he seems to be a bit of a physical freak. Could Garbutt? Possibly not on the defensive side of things.

I think Critch needs to experiment in the remaining games. I’ve said I think promotions a bridge too far this season. But others may think differently and not want a huge change. I just think we need something to spark our attacking threat which has remained dormant for most of the season.
I think we have some good players but how we fit them in is the headache. Some do one thing well & others another, shame we can't combine their abilities. Or play 13 😁
 

Mark_GT

Well-known member
Good thoughtful post. I think the CJ problem is that his pace on the outside is by miles his best asset. Otherwise he'd be a league higher. So either we set up according to his best asset or just use him as an impact sub at 60 mins - which might have been a good shout yesterday in hindsight.
I like the idea of a deep midfielder shielding the back four, particularly at the moment where we find ourselves without Marv's ability to bale us out at the last ditch. Stewart would be the one.
 

TangerinePeel

Well-known member
I was wondering similar when Embleton and Stewart came in, how do you fit these players in? I thought a 4-2-2-2 utilising Dougall/Stewart as your CDMs and Kaikai/Embleton as CAMs with your two strikers up top. Your width is then reliant on your fullbacks, but again this formation sacrifices Hamilton but by using two wingers I feel you're sacrificing Kaikai and Embleton by playing them out of position - its a tough one.

The diamond is a good shout as well, Stewart clearly feels comfortable sitting deep just in front of the centre halves and it would allow some of the more forward thinking players freedom, especially a number 10 sitting behind the strikers which I believe is definitely Kaikai's best role, as well as Embleton's.

It is a pickle, do you sacrifice Hamilton who is a huge asset for the sake of the overall team? Our lack of goals and general chance creation has been poor all season.
 

Fatboy

Well-known member
So after a while of trial and error with 4 3 3, error being the key word there. We then switched to a highly traditional 4 4 2.

Two banks of four solid if not effective going forward players. I admired this switch at the time, because it clearly took a lot of Critch to admit his ideas at this level weren’t working and then work out a way to fix this.
Since November this has given us a solid base to work from, allowed the team to looked settled and most importantly, allowed us to win games.

However if we’re going to kick on at any point, be it this season or next, and go for promotion the stand out point is, we must create more chances and convert some of these in to goals. Which in reality is still a huge struggle for us. Charlton gifted us 9 men and Wigan are well, Wigan. They are anomalies for me, the meat and potatoes of this league show, we have to move heaven and earth to score a measly two goals a game. That’s miles away from a promotion challenge.

So, to the headline. Would the four in midfield be better served in a diamond formation? Stewart sitting deep with a central midfield two of either Dougall, Ward or Virtue.
Where I think this formation will do the trick for us is that ‘number ten’ position just behind a front two. We could put KK or Embleton there and for the first time all season, actually utilities their abilities, running at the back line, picking a pass or a shot. It’s something we’ve criminally underused in people like Anderson KK and now Embleton.

The big problem would be what to do with CJ and the full backs?
This formation pretty much nullifies CJ’s talents and reason for being in the squad. Could you try him in that ten role? You’d have to also have Garbutt and Gabriel at full back every game. I’m confident Gabriel could cope with it, as he seems to be a bit of a physical freak. Could Garbutt? Possibly not on the defensive side of things.

I think Critch needs to experiment in the remaining games. I’ve said I think promotions a bridge too far this season. But others may think differently and not want a huge change. I just think we need something to spark our attacking threat which has remained dormant for most of the season.
Good post, something to think about, too many players to consider for few positions, I think a diamond could work with CJ on the right , Sullay on the left and Embleton/virtue at the point, but there are so many ways we could set this squad up it’s mind boggling.
 

1966_and_all_that

Well-known member
Good O/P but (for discussion's sake) how about 5-3-2, with Garbutt and Gabriel as wing-backs? That way the midfield three can include two solid ball winners/distributors (perm from Dougall, Stewart, Ward, Embleton, Robson) sitting either side of a No. 10 link man (Virtue, Kaikai, Mitchell, Simms) to the strikers (Yates & Madine).

There's enough flexibility here to change it off the bench into a 4-4-2: remove one of the three central defenders and put on CJ, moving the No. 10 man (if it's Kaikai or Mitchell) out left.

It can also be reshaped to a 4-3-3 by bringing off Yates or Madine and a central defender, have the wing backs play as out-and-out fullbacks and bring on CJ and a left winger to feed the remaining striker from the wings. Or, if needing to attack en mass, narrow the play and move Virtue/Ward/Kaikai/Mitchell up alongside Yates & Madine, replacing one central defender with ball-carrying midfielder.
 

BFC_53

Well-known member
There are certainly plenty of options. Unfortunately so far we've been unable to switch from a defensively solid cautious approach against the top sides (which has got us some great results) to a more expansive attacking side when playing against the poorer teams. The problem I think is that we just don't have the central midfielders to play that expansive passing game. Dougall, Stewart, Robson are all defensive. Anderson, Ward and Kaikai all seem to play wide (although Kaikai could play the role I think). We signed Embleton which I think is a recognition by the management that they don't think we have that player either, to link midfield and attack. But is a player that a fellow league one side didn't want going to be good enough? Plenty to think about, and lot's of work to do this summer whatever happens in the next couple of months.
 

Goforgoal

Well-known member
I notice most of the formations suggested, and not just on this thread, include Madine. Last season and early this, he was getting pelters and so was I for defending him. Funny how opinions change ain’t it.
 

20togo

Well-known member
I notice most of the formations suggested, and not just on this thread, include Madine. Last season and early this, he was getting pelters and so was I for defending him. Funny how opinions change ain’t it.
Yep you're right about opinions changing. CJ was worth a few million earlier in the season and now it's being suggested he's best as an impact sub.
 

Chunkylad

Well-known member
I’d go 4-4-2

my starting XI is

Maxi
Gabriel Ballard Gret Garbs
CJ Stewart Dougall KaiKai
Madine Yates

So many options on the bench and yes I understand that in some ways Ken n Kev cancel each other out.
The line up above gives us flying full backs, decent wide crosses from them both too.

Id expect CJ, KK and Yates to be very fluid and coming inside to allow width for the FBs. Having KnK in midfield gives cover for our flying full backs and allows us on many situations to have 6 up front and overload teams.
 

1966_and_all_that

Well-known member
Yep you're right about opinions changing. CJ was worth a few million earlier in the season and now it's being suggested he's best as an impact sub.
He's still getting back up to first team competitiveness, I think that's the issue. Also, when he's in the team we tend to focus on him to the exclusion of other options. That's not how it should work. We need to mix it up more.
 

Rektseasider

Well-known member
Good O/P but (for discussion's sake) how about 5-3-2, with Garbutt and Gabriel as wing-backs? That way the midfield three can include two solid ball winners/distributors (perm from Dougall, Stewart, Ward, Embleton, Robson) sitting either side of a No. 10 link man (Virtue, Kaikai, Mitchell, Simms) to the strikers (Yates & Madine).

There's enough flexibility here to change it off the bench into a 4-4-2: remove one of the three central defenders and put on CJ, moving the No. 10 man (if it's Kaikai or Mitchell) out left.

It can also be reshaped to a 4-3-3 by bringing off Yates or Madine and a central defender, have the wing backs play as out-and-out fullbacks and bring on CJ and a left winger to feed the remaining striker from the wings. Or, if needing to attack en mass, narrow the play and move Virtue/Ward/Kaikai/Mitchell up alongside Yates & Madine, replacing one central defender with ball-carrying midfielder.
I think that’s a fair shout you know. For the two or three games we tried this, I though the 5 at the back looked ok and we retained the ball with ease. I think back to the Brighton game and we created very little. (Standard of opposition was better granted). But I just think the key is that forward lying central attacking mid. Just seems crazy to me that with KK, Embleton, and before injury Anderson who’d all be perfect for it, we didn’t attempt to try it.

Like I say I believe Critch is got a free hit so to speak from now to the end of the season. He may as well just try a few things.
 

The_Busted_Flush

Well-known member
Stick with the 442 and bring Embleton into the central midfield instead of Virtue. To me he offers more going forward in terms of dribbles and chance creation than Virtue. Keep Stewart or Dougall next to him as the destroyer and holder.
Alternatively, 433 with Yates and Hamilton on the wings operating far up the pitch as not to isolate Sims or Madine in the middle. This way we could solidify the midfield whilst also increasing chance creation through bringing in Embleton to partner with Stewart and Dougall/Ward/Virtue in a 3 man midfield.
My personal XI with currently fit players:
Maxwell
Turton Ballard Thorniley Husband
Stewart
Dougall Embleton
Hamilton Sims Yates
 

20togo

Well-known member
He's still getting back up to first team competitiveness, I think that's the issue. Also, when he's in the team we tend to focus on him to the exclusion of other options. That's not how it should work. We need to mix it up more.
oh, I agree but my point is that although he is a key player he gets overhyped when people talk about him being worth a few million.
 

BFC_Aspie

Well-known member
I think a more direct approach through the middle would suit our strikers more, the problem yesterday was that every time the winger cut inside their pass was intercepted, and each cross was headed away, or went out of play for a throw to them. We do not have the strikers to play a wide formation, Yates, Simms, and Madine all seem to play better when the ball is passed into their feet, none of them regularly score headers.
 

Rektseasider

Well-known member
I’d go 4-4-2

my starting XI is

Maxi
Gabriel Ballard Gret Garbs
CJ Stewart Dougall KaiKai
Madine Yates

So many options on the bench and yes I understand that in some ways Ken n Kev cancel each other out.
The line up above gives us flying full backs, decent wide crosses from them both too.

Id expect CJ, KK and Yates to be very fluid and coming inside to allow width for the FBs. Having KnK in midfield gives cover for our flying full backs and allows us on many situations to have 6 up front and overload teams.
You know it’s funny, as you say when the squad is largely fit 4 4 2 did seem like a breath of fresh air. Perhaps if Madine, Marv and Gretarson had stayed for we could have become more potent.

I’d be more inclined to move KK inside, and possibly try Mitchell out wide. Just think there’s a player in him.
 

JJpool

Well-known member
Good O/P but (for discussion's sake) how about 5-3-2, with Garbutt and Gabriel as wing-backs? That way the midfield three can include two solid ball winners/distributors (perm from Dougall, Stewart, Ward, Embleton, Robson) sitting either side of a No. 10 link man (Virtue, Kaikai, Mitchell, Simms) to the strikers (Yates & Madine).

There's enough flexibility here to change it off the bench into a 4-4-2: remove one of the three central defenders and put on CJ, moving the No. 10 man (if it's Kaikai or Mitchell) out left.

It can also be reshaped to a 4-3-3 by bringing off Yates or Madine and a central defender, have the wing backs play as out-and-out fullbacks and bring on CJ and a left winger to feed the remaining striker from the wings. Or, if needing to attack en mass, narrow the play and move Virtue/Ward/Kaikai/Mitchell up alongside Yates & Madine, replacing one central defender with ball-carrying midfielder.
Its all getting quite complicated...

I'm sure the manager can convey his message through the medium of drawing.

coach-showing-a-footballer-tactics-on-paper-simply-silly-drawing-goal.jpg


Don't over confuse footballers 🤣🤣
 

gjr69

Well-known member
Hamilton is not a wide right midfield player in a traditional 4 4 2.
His ideal position and probably the reason why we signed him is on the right of front 3.
Critchley needs to come up with a more effective game plan, our attacking play just isn't good enough.
If Calderwood sorted out the defence can we bring in another coach to sort out our attacking game?
 

Goforgoal

Well-known member
He's not. Being as fast as a greyhound doesn't, of itself, win any cups.
His pace is undeniable and he terrifies opposition defenders when he runs at, or rather, away from them. However for him to be worth anything reasonably substantial his end product needs to improve vastly. He can get the ball to the by line but he then runs out of ideas and his crosses don’t exactly cause chaos in the area.
 

tangerinenotorange

Well-known member
His pace is undeniable and he terrifies opposition defenders when he runs at, or rather, away from them. However for him to be worth anything reasonably substantial his end product needs to improve vastly. He can get the ball to the by line but he then runs out of ideas and his crosses don’t exactly cause chaos in the area.

Partly because nobody has managed to keep up with him.
 

Hazi

Well-known member
CJ starts whatever formation for me. the lads just back from a bad injury he will find his feet soon enough.
 

Rektseasider

Well-known member
CJ starts whatever formation for me. the lads just back from a bad injury he will find his feet soon enough.
Say we get rid of the ‘wingers’. In a 352 or a diamond as I suggest where do you fit him in? Not a dig just interested to see what people think.

When he’s played in the team as a winger, he’s looked the biggest threat, but as a team we’ve still looked tame.

We’ve seen a bit of a disaster when we’ve shoe horned players in all over the pitch, despite how talented they are.
 

gjr69

Well-known member
Say we get rid of the ‘wingers’. In a 352 or a diamond as I suggest where do you fit him in? Not a dig just interested to see what people think.

When he’s played in the team as a winger, he’s looked the biggest threat, but as a team we’ve still looked tame.

We’ve seen a bit of a disaster when we’ve shoe horned players in all over the pitch, despite how talented they are.
I'm sure he could play in a front 2, maybe he has in the past, I don't think we get the best out of him playing wide right in a midfield 4.
 

Schalke_FY4

Well-known member
Good thread...think its gone unnoticed though that irrespective of formation our better form coincided with the ability of the centre halves (marv, viking and/or ballard) playing a better passing game into the midfield as well as going long at times to Madine.

Missing that variety of distribution has hurt us massively imo and as a consequence we're easier to play against and in turn that makes our ability to move through the pitch more obvious and therefore easier to defend against.
 

Insider

Well-known member
Rekt. I've had thoughts along similar lines to you.
I don't know the solution but I do think we need to go back to a Stewart/Dougall combo.
Ballard starts and then I think Thorniley edges the left side just ahead of Hubby.
I do also think we should start with Gabriel and Garbutt at FB because they offer just a little bit more going forward.
You've then got Yates and Simms/ Madine as your front 2.
So that leaves CJ and one more to fit into the team and the formation.
I don't know the answer.
 

Rektseasider

Well-known member
Good thread...think its gone unnoticed though that irrespective of formation our better form coincided with the ability of the centre halves (marv, viking and/or ballard) playing a better passing game into the midfield as well as going long at times to Madine.

Missing that variety of distribution has hurt us massively imo and as a consequence we're easier to play against and in turn that makes our ability to move through the pitch more obvious and therefore easier to defend against.

Rekt. I've had thoughts along similar lines to you.
I don't know the solution but I do think we need to go back to a Stewart/Dougall combo.
Ballard starts and then I think Thorniley edges the left side just ahead of Hubby.
I do also think we should start with Gabriel and Garbutt at FB because they offer just a little bit more going forward.
You've then got Yates and Simms/ Madine as your front 2.
So that leaves CJ and one more to fit into the team and the formation.
I don't know the answer.
I think you both hit a key point, we have a fairly decent squad now. But we need to player the better players week in week out. To me that’s Stewart, Dougall, Gabriel and Garbutt. When Marv and Gretarrson are fully fit I think they step straight in. They both dominate the box and let very few chances happen, where as I’ve noticed both Ballard and Thorniley are both more reactive than dominant.

I too agree with Shalke that I think CJ once fully fit could play up front or just behind a front two.

We’ve now tried 4 3 3, 3 5 2, 4 2 2, wide men, two deep lying mids, lone strikers, Why not give a ‘number ten’ behind two strikers a go. We need something to spark our offence.
 
Top
X