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Re: Is Revs the one?

By AgentEves20/9 14:38Mon Sep 20 14:38:48 2021In response to Re: Is Revs the one?

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"On tactics, I'm hardly an expert and don't pretend to be, but looking at the formation yesterday - were we meant to be a 3-4-2-1?"

That's how I saw it. Which was bonkers, IMO, for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, Coker isn't a left-sided centre back. If you look at his overall skillet, he is substantially better going forward than he is at defending. Not only that, but his attacking greatly benefits the team. Playing him as a centre back not only exposes the weaker side of his game, but also completely prevents him from contributing going forward.

Secondly, why did we voluntarily start with a makeshift back 3? With TVC out, we only had 3 centre backs: Marshall, Prosser and Cuthbert. I could have understood if we started with those 3 and had to move Coker to LCB when Cuthbert went off injured, but to start with a makeshift back 3 just seems mental to me. It's not like we have been playing with with back 3 all season and played players out of position to retain our shape.

Lastly, List isn't a #10. Nor is he a right winger. He is completely ineffectual in both positions. He needs to be playing up front, on the last defender. His main attributes are speed and finishing, so put him in a position where he will get the most opportunity to utilize those strengths.

To me, that choice in formation just shows a complete lack of ability to highlight our strengths/weaknesses and devise a system that gets the most out of the players. You've gone from a formation which, despite how utterly shit it is, does actually play most players in their most effective positions, to a formation that plays multiple players out of position.

The worst part for me was that it was pretty obvious it wasn't working, and yet Revs did nothing about it. Just kept plugging away hoping it would miraculously change. If the formation and team selection wasn't bad enough, the lack of changes just highlighted, once again, that Revs is incapable of any in-game management.

I appreciate that we tried something different, finally, but the change actually made me more pissed off about us persevering with Revs. I dont actually care that we lost 4-0; sometimes shit happens. I care that we lost 4-0 because Revs doesn't know what he's doing. That loss was 100% down to him. Even if Wilkins has a hand in the tactics, the buck stops with Revs because he is the manager.

The strengths and weaknesses in our squad are glaringly obvious, IMO:

List needs to start up front with Norris every game that both are fit. Neither are good as lone strikers; Norris lacks the pace and List lacks the hold-up play. That means they both need to play, which means we should be start by looking at formations with 2 forwards. 4-4-2 & 3-5-2 are the most basic 2-striker formations, so we should start by looking at those two.

IMO, 3-5-2 is a non-starter unless we sign at least one new centre back. A back 3 of TVC, Cuthbert and Marshall wouldn't be a total disaster, but ultimately I don't know if Marshall is good enough, and we have to be questioning Cuthbert's reliability at this point. We can't build a system based on a back 3 when we only have 4 senior centre backs, one of which spends half the time injured and another of which is Prosser. While Prosser offers some nice balance being left footed, he's too slow and his passing is too poor. Similarly, while Cuthbert has been great for us over the past few seasons, I think this has to be his last, and we need to start thinking about his replacement.

That basically leaves us with 4-4-2. Now there's a few midfield permutations in there: a flat 4 with two wide and two central; a diamond 4 with one holding, one attacking and two central shuttlers; and Revs' revolutionary 2-2 midfield. We have already seen that the 2-2 midfield doesn't work so I see absolutely zero point in continuing with it at this point. That leaves us with the diamond midfield and a flat-4.

The diamond midfield has one major commonality with the 2-2 formation that will potentially mean it won't work, and that's the lack of width. Personally, I think the diamond midfield addresses the width issue much better than the 2-2 does, because at least you have 2 players who are designated sides and who are responsible for covering the lateral spaces. Given our lack of wingers, the diamond midfield could be worth a try. Read would be an obvious option as the left-sided shuttler, while Osborne and Reeves would be decent options as the right-sided shuttler. We have Lines and Taylor who can rotate as the deep midfielder, and it would allow us to play Carter in his actual position; as a #10. We then have Smith as another backup who could play either of the shuttler roles.

Like I said previously, I'd be worried about the lack of width from the diamond. While it's better defensively than the 2-2, it doesn't offer any width going forward. We would still be leaving our full backs exposed and continuing to rely heavily on Wildin and Coker for attacking width. That said, I do think it would be worth a try as it does allow us to play the most players in their most effective positions.

Realistically our priority needs to be addressing the biggest problem we have faced this season: the lack of width. I think this should probably take priority over the need to play everyone in their best positions. The flat-4 midfield accomplishes that, while also allowing us to play List and Norris up front. Read, Smith and Osborne have all shown that they can play well in the wide positions, and Carter and Reeves can also do job there, too. We also have Andrade, who, despite being a defensive liability, can play on either wing, as well. As much as the footballing world has moved on from 4-4-2, that is ultimately because so many elite footballers don't really fit into what is quite a rigid system. We don't have elite footballers, and ultimately a rigid system is far more suitable for lower league football than a fluid one. Everyone knows their role, which leaves less responsibility with the players to make decisions, and it offers decent defensive stability.

The best part about 4-4-2 with a flat 4 midfield? We did it last year and it fucking worked.

TL;DR: we need to play 4-4-2.