New manager - new team

by   |   19/06/2021  4 Comments  [Jump to last]

Will it be Santo, Benitez or Ferguson?

I thought it might be interesting to look at how we might line up under the various manager options, where the missing pieces in the first 11 might be and how we might fill them.

The formation / tactics side of things is not thoroughly researched here so genuinely interested in other perspectives if you think I’ve got this wrong.

Santo

Santo generally plays a 5221 formation. The two defensive midfielders at Wolves have been Neves and Moutinho – sophisticated passers and readers of the game rather than athletes. The two attackers behind the lone front man have been two of Podence, Jota, Neto and Traore. These are pacey dribblers and playmakers.

This means the team is generally set up for counter-attacks but can move up the pitch, controlling possession, with clever enough playmakers to open up a compact opposition too.

Under Santo we might look like this:

Pickford
………..
Holgate
Godfrey
Mina
…………
RWB
Digne
…………
Allan
Gomes / Doucoure / Davies
…………
Richarlison
RW / 10
………..
DCL

With a good quality RWB (like Aarons) and a dribbler, playmaker type (like Neto) our team would have a good shape and structure. People will wince a bit at the inclusion of Holgate and Gomes but I expect they’re a better fit for this team structure than how Ancelotti set us up.

Looking to the future, I can see Branthwaite and Gordon settling into this sort of formation well too.

Basically, this is why I like the idea of Santo joining. It looks to me like it’s the easiest fix for the first X1 and allows the introduction of youth over the next few years too. Potter plays a similar formation so the same would apply there too. Also a positive (for me at least) they coach players bought for them under a long term strategy rather than players bought by them, for the short term.

Benitez

I’ll be dispassionate about Rafa and just focus on the football rather than my dislike for the man. Benitez is a pragmatist and seems to develop a formation to fit the players. He was 4231 at the RS but often 541 at Newcastle (with variations on these two themes). It’s less about the formation with Benitez and more about the tactics. The main focus for any Benitez side seems to be the counter-attack – and the quality / style of football is dependent on the quality of players available.

How might we line up? I’d expect a lot of tinkering before we settled on a formation (like Ancelotti) and possibly never really settling on preferred first XI and formation (again like Ancelotti). But I’ll start us off with the 4231 he deployed at the RS.

Pickford
………..
Godfrey
Mina
…………
RB
Digne
…………
Allan
Gomes / Doucoure / Davies
…………
[Sigurdsson]
…………
Richarlison
RW / 10
………..
DCL

In this set up, Sigurdsson finally has the chance to play in his specialist position – something he’s always been effective at from an end product perspective. However, we all know he’s no Gerrard and does not impact the game a great deal if he’s not scoring and assisting. I suppose we could play James Rodriguez in that role too but stylish though he is, he’s a real problem to a defence minded manager and looks much more like an option from the bench to me.

With Benitez we probably need at least 2 and probably 3 first team signings rather than just 2 under Santo. Again, it would be a RB (Aarons?), a RW (Bailey?) and a more dynamic version of Sigurdsson (not easy to find by any stretch even with a big budget).

Really, I see Benitez as slotting in right where Ancelotti left off, wanting to work with the same profile of player as Ancelotti and with the same tactical fluidity (or inconsistency) as Ancelotti.
If we can get really good quality players in to work with Benitez then it’ll probably be fine (I was expecting this under Ancelotti in any case) but I can’t see any room for youth and development which really bothers me – because I don’t think we have the budget to deliver the quality of players Benitez really needs.

Ferguson

As we’ve seen, Ferguson sets us up in a classic 442.

Pickford
………..
Godfrey
Keane
…………
RB
Digne
…………
Allan
Doucoure / Davies
…………
RW
LW
………..
DCL
Richarlison

In this set up it is all about simplifying the role of each player and demanding discipline and effort. We saw how effective that was for a few games. It is defensively compact and carries an attacking threat because we have two forwards close together. Old fashioned in some respects but you could argue not unlike the tactics and formation Leicester used to win the league against the odds.

Again, we need a RB (Aarons?) but what we desperately need is quality on the flanks. Players who might fit this system include McNeil of Burnley who is very familiar with this traditional British style. On the other flank we might use someone like Dan James of Man Utd. Neither of these wingers are world beaters but they do give you effort, pace and delivery of balls into the box. With Richarlison dropping into the midfield with his tremendous work-rate, we might not be too outnumbered by more modern 3-man midfields too.

The key questions for me are (a) can any group of players maintain the intensity we displayed when Ferguson was caretaker and (b) how would such an inexperienced (but by no means young) manager react when we have inevitable setbacks. I think the answer to (a) is almost certainly no. Anyone’s guess with (b) but it’s certainly a risk.

To reduce that risk dramatically we might be better off appointing Dyche who has proved he is no mug and knows exactly how to play this system.

Conclusion

I still think Santo is the best fit for the job. He’s experienced, plays a style which suits the current playing staff and needs only a couple of signings to have a strong first X1. That leaves room for investment in high quality reinforcements. I’d also expect him to introduce younger players like Branthwaite and Gordon into the mix earlier than the likes of Benitez. But, I have to concede, Benitez is very unlikely to be a poor appointment from a footballing perspective.

back Return to Talking Points index  :  Add your Comments »


Reader Comments (4)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer


Kevin Prytherch
1 Posted 21/06/2021 at 11:02:13
Interesting analysis and a welcome distraction from the 1200 post thread on Benitez.

I would love to see Ferguson given the job personally, but I wouldn't be unhappy with Nuno. I'd never really thought about what would be required to fit into their systems. Could Richarlison play left mid and Kean return to partner DCL in Ferguson's team?

A lot could depend on whether we have money to spend. If we don't have much, then serious consideration could be given to who would require the least investment to compliment their preferred system.

Danny O’Neill
2 Posted 21/06/2021 at 11:16:20
Good analysis Robert. I agree, each of these choices, as with any, will implement their own style and preferred "philosophy" (remember that word?!!).

All I would add, is that surely they would bring in their own players, as managers do and as we need to. I think the only one that continues to work with what he has would be Duncan.

My hope is that we are still looking outside of these options personally.

Jerome Shields
3 Posted 22/06/2021 at 12:02:41
Good analysis of the different Managers, and the type of teams they will play. Additionally it will be the team that is preparing them and how much they and the players are glued into obtaining the Managers objectives. Its seems that Moshiri is determined to shake the whole lot to the foundations.
Robert Tressell
4 Posted 23/06/2021 at 07:23:24
Since it looks like we will be signing Matteus Nunes, I wonder if he will be our Sigurdsson replacement in a 433 / 4231.

That would steer more towards a Benitez appointment.

Since Nunes doesn't score / assist at the same rate as Sigurdsson, we'd need more goals from the front 3. So we just need Bailey, Diaby, Neto etc alongside Nunes at the press conference when Benitez is appointed.

That would take the edge off a bit.


Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.


About these ads



© ToffeeWeb