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[Archived] Sam's Options


Stuart

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Plenty of criticisms there Chris, and plenty of em valid too. The hand of cards at Sam's disposal are not good. BUT given the predicament that we are in, given injuries to key players that we have, given the poor quality squad members like Mokoena, Treacy and andrews that we are having to play (and none of whom are likely to play Prem football when they leave BRFC,) given the fact that Tugay is having to play at God knows what age and that we are playing a couple of walking wounded, and given the run in that we have.......... so imagine that you were in Sam Allardyce's position ....... what solutions would you offer, what team would you have put out and in what formation? Rem criticising is the easy bit, finding answers is much more difficult.

btw "Abbey, McClarky, Somerset Rover, Tris, LD Rover, Darrell H and RevidgeBlue" are all free to join in.

Hope you don't mind Theno but this is a very good point and I think it merits separate discussion - both from the match thread and from the rather more general Sam Allardyce thread.

If you were Sam Allardyce, how would you approach the final few games of the season, in particular tactics and team selections both home and away. Open question.

For me, although disappointed with the performance yesterday, the team selection was hardly likely to be improved upon save perhaps using Diouf. Having said that I can understand why he might be rested:

We have one single goal between now and May 24th - SURVIVAL, at all costs. However ugly or unprincipled...

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We should firstly aim to play 4-4-2 whenever possible.

Make the game as simple as possible by playing as many players as possible in their natural positions. Its fine playing Warnock out of position, but Samba and Andrews should stick to their respective positions. This simple change can help to cut out the mistakes that plague our game.

Secondly, we should play McCarthy. The teams around us must think we're mad to have a consistently good striker who finishes nearly every chance he gets on the bench. It doesnt matter he does very little running etc, some games we will only get one chance and hes the player to have on the end of it.

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The problem with Benni, is that he does not fit into our direct approach, so cannot play on his own up-front. He also does not work hard enough. Wonder what he would have been thinking yesterday, as Sam obviously thinks Samba is a more effective option up-front.

With Roberts and Santa continually missing, we really are lacking options with our strikers. I think he may look to use Diouf in a more forward role.

We need more energy in midfield and Andrews can provide that. For Stoke, I would put Andre back to right back but not sure what to do up-front...

I think 4-4-2 should be the way forward, but as mentioned, we have strikers injured which makes things more difficult when second guessing team selection.

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The problem with Benni, is that he does not fit into our direct approach, so cannot play on his own up-front. He also does not work hard enough. Wonder what he would have been thinking yesterday, as Sam obviously thinks Samba is a more effective option up-front.

With Roberts and Santa continually missing, we really are lacking options with our strikers. I think he may look to use Diouf in a more forward role.

We need more energy in midfield and Andrews can provide that. For Stoke, I would put Andre back to right back but not sure what to do up-front...

I think 4-4-2 should be the way forward, but as mentioned, we have strikers injured which makes things more difficult when second guessing team selection.

samba or benni ? its a no brainer for me...samba is a defender and benni is a goalscorer.....if we dont score we dont win if we dont win we go down.

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  • Backroom

Any tactic I would have used against Liverpool would require a halfway decent DMC, which Moko certainly is not. Ideally I would have liked our shape to resemble almost a 4-1-3-1-1, with Carlos playing in the hole behind the striker (Doran? Or Samba, I suppose) whilst Tugay attempted to ping passes from the centre of the park, and the other midfielders attempted to constrict Liverpool's play and made sure that if they broke from a wide position they would run to cover the full-backs. It'd be narrow and long-ball would perhaps work, if we could get it up to Samba, who could knock it down to Carlos or Toogs... but meh, with Moko at DMC and with our current midfield options it would not have worked anyway, and the scoreline would probably have ended up 7 or 8 rather than 4..

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We should firstly aim to play 4-4-2 whenever possible.

Make the game as simple as possible by playing as many players as possible in their natural positions. Its fine playing Warnock out of position, but Samba and Andrews should stick to their respective positions. This simple change can help to cut out the mistakes that plague our game.

Secondly, we should play McCarthy. The teams around us must think we're mad to have a consistently good striker who finishes nearly every chance he gets on the bench. It doesnt matter he does very little running etc, some games we will only get one chance and hes the player to have on the end of it.

Benni looked completely out of sorts (out of shape?) against Spurs and didn't contribute a great deal. I guess it's horses for courses and I suspect we'll play him in a 4-4-2 against Wigan, Portsmouth and, depending on the importance, West Brom (i.e. the home games where we ought to be able to compete). Question is, who do we pair him with? How long is Roberts out for? Will Roque by fit (again, ever)? I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar 4-5-1 with Samba up front against Stoke though! :unsure:

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People seem to be missing my point about McCarthy.

I completely agree hes carrying weight etc, but let the other striker do the running and such

McCarthy has that knack for being in the right place and can finish better than anyone in the side. hes or top scorer and shouldn't be sat on the bench, especially at somewhere like Stoke where that bit of class can be the difference

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I think it's safe to say SA won't be playing Samba up front again any time soon, only if losing with minutes to go anyway, Something is clearly up with Benny as looked well off the pace against tottenham

:blink:

If thats the case then he'll have to!

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People seem to be missing my point about McCarthy.

I completely agree hes carrying weight etc, but let the other striker do the running and such

McCarthy has that knack for being in the right place and can finish better than anyone in the side. hes or top scorer and shouldn't be sat on the bench, especially at somewhere like Stoke where that bit of class can be the difference

That would effectively give us a one man dis-advantage when we are not in possession. Benni is still not fit and did his little injured trick for S.A. even the club didn't know he was injured. Benni is meant to be a pro on a serious contract and yet he can't even be bothered to eat properly.

Benni is an enigma even Mourinho had problems with him, he just does what he wants because he thinks he can. Benni could have been one of the foremost strikers of his generation instead he'll probably replace Ronald Macdonald as Mackie D's new mascot.

What a waste of talent. If Sunderland want him again and are still prepared to stump up £5M I'll drive him there myself.

We have too many enigma's at our club we need consistency.

I don't see why Benni wasnt played upfront with Samba, being there to get to the knockdowns Samba was put up there to do

2 up would have meant either 2 in central midfield, which I'm fairly sure Alonso and Mascherano would have dominated us even more, or three at the back. Both options would have left serious holes in our team.

We had treacy and Warnock both are reasonalby quick and Warnock definitly has the industry to get up and support him along with Dunn. I'm not convinced that we where meant to sit as below:

-------Moko-----

Tugay-----Dunn

As it made more sense for support that we shaped up as below:

--Tugay----Moko--

--------Dunn-------

Ah well look at it this way we saw how far we are from at top 4 team and Doran got to see how far he has to go.

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2 up would have meant either 2 in central midfield, which I'm fairly sure Alonso and Mascherano would have dominated us even more, or three at the back. Both options would have left serious holes in our team.

But we were completely overrun as it was, we barely had a look in on goal, but what I meant was, if we're gonna insist on playing the long ball anyway and playing Samba up front to win headers, then Benni can pick up the knockdowns and just have the midfielders playing more defensive, which they were doing anyway because nobody got close to Samba. . .but yea I suppose that would be a bit optimistic, better just playing for the draw and hoping Samba can pull something out the hat when we go behind

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Personally i would never play for a draw if Exeter City can take a draw at United anything is possible, thats the beauty of football.

But we're in the pooh and I completely understand why Sam did what he did. We have to pick up points against the teams around us and hopefully we will but injury wise we are flooded, how many of our first team are out, no team would cope with it.

Sam's playing the % game and at the same time seeing if any of our squad players are up to the job, I think for him Liverpool will have hit home what a mammoth task he has taken on.

As I think Theno said "one swallow does not a summer make" neither does one bad result, its still in our hands so I can live with it as long as we stay up. Thankfully results went our way.

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Benni is so far off the pace it is a joke. I don't blame Sam for a second, the shape Benni is in as a highly paid professional shows his dedication to the club and fans that support him. While I whole heartedly agree given the ball dropping in the box to anybody at the club I would pick Benni everyday but the only way that was going to happen would be by hassling and forcing Liverpool into a mistake something Benni would not do.

Sometimes I just think we have to be honest, given we have spent the least out of everybody in the league continually for the past few seasons its going to show. Given the injuries we have picked up to key players this season it has shown. We just don't have the strength in the squad to ride a few injuries and still put out a respectable team. Stay up at all costs has to be the big thing, I don't care about the anfield defeat aslong as we stay up I really don't. I think the games to judge are Stoke away and the remaining home games, I honestly believe we can win them all. Maybe we can judge Sam better after those games.

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The only thing I can really grumble about since Big Sam took over his the team's he's put out in the Arsenal and Liverpool away games, it's like he's already admitted defeat before we've even kicked off with the calibre of line-ups he's put out. Okay prior to both of those games we had a long injury list and therefore we couldn’t exactly put out our strongest line-up but I still think we still could have mustered up a better starting eleven than what was put out onto the pitch. Zurab in defensive midfield was a baffling decision along with putting Chris Samba upfront on his own in a position that is completely alien to him, putting him upfront in a front two I can just about understand that but not on his own. In result our defence was weakened since our best centre back was playing upfront totally isolated against a team that had recently scored four goals past Man United and Real Madrid.

Playing players out of position may work for a short time usually against weaker opposition but you can’t go playing players out of positions against the top sides because the players will get found out. It was embarrassing watching Liverpool attack down our right side on Saturday, Andrews and Treacey looked totally out of their depth. You could again argue that both were playing out of position, but regardless their performances were unacceptable.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I reckon the following line-up would have faired better against Liverpool.

--------------------- Robinson --------------------

----Ooijer ----- Samba --- Nelsen --- Warnock ------

---- Dunn ----- Tugay --- Andrews -- Olsson -------

--------------------- Villanueva --------------------

--------------------- McCarthy --------------------

But to be honest with the amount of injuries we had you could argue that we had six players missing from our strongest possible line-up, any team would find it difficult missing that many key players.

Like a few of you have already said I think we should stick with 4-4-2, McCarthy has to play in my opinion, out of any of our strikers I’d be more confident of Benni finishing chances. Yes he might not be the most mobile but even when he first signed for us he never was exactly the quickest. His overall performance was poor against Spurs but he popped up with a vital goal. I’m also a fan of Villanueva he has that little bit of flair that we don’t have in our team, capable of creating something out of nothing. He is of course a bit inexperienced in terms of Premiership football and Sam doesn’t seem to rate him which is a real shame.

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Does no one think that Benni and Chris could've played alongside each other on saturday.

My point is that not only can/will Samba cause problems for most (if not all) premier league defences but will also be able to provide assists for lethal finisher, 'fat boy', guess who - Benni (Like he did against Spurs).

Another point. Never let Moko near the ball. Just because he's quite big doesn't constitute as an asset against stoke

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Taken from the other thread:

Samba has to go up front, as otherwise the long ball route is pointless and it gives Benni someone to play off, which he needs.

No, Samba needs to stay at the back. He's a makeshift striker, and should only be used in the dying minutes when we're going for broke.

I would choose a team along the lines of:

ROBINSON

OOIJER - SAMBA - NELSEN - GIVET

DIOUF - DUNN - GRELLA - WARNOCK/PEDERSEN

CARLOS

MCCARTHY

It's time to actually play some football. With Dunn & Grella returning from fitness, I would put both of them in the middle. Might as well make the most of them before they're on the treatment table again. Then it has to be Carlos playing just behind McCarthy in a free-role. We have to keep the ball on the deck and maximize the abilities of the players we currently have.

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Ok, so given that it's probably going to be another 2/3 games before we see roberts and rocky back (if at all) and given that dunn and grella still appear to be nowhere near full fitness what team and formation would people pick?

We NEED points desperately and can't really wait to get a couple more players back, we need the results now.

So what team would people play, that looks like it has a chance of getting a result, and may even threaten the opposition going forward?

The perameters are:

No rocky, roberts, emerton, reid or any other long term injuries.

Dunn & Grella are only fit to play 45 mins maximum.

You can't recall derbs.

Ok for me it'd have to go like so:

Robbo

Ooijer Zurab Nelsen Givet

Diouf Grella/Dunn Warnock Pedersen

Benni Samba

This would be my team with either Grella coming on for Dunn or vice versa depending on the physical nature of the team we were playing. Against the top teams I'd be tempted to start with Grella to keep things a bit tighter at the back, and when they tire - and he tires - bring on Dunn, who can handle himself in a tussle yet brings more attacking verve. Dunn would have more space in the second half as well, as players start to tire. Most importantly it means for the entire match we have one cm who can pass on the field.

Samba has to go up front, as otherwise the long ball route is pointless and it gives Benni someone to play off, which he needs.

Ooijer has to go right back as he's the only one who can play there and do a half decent job.

If anyone thinks there's a better formation with the resources we have available I'd like to here it. Personally I think getting an effective 11 out of what we have fit/available would give any manager trouble.

Moved from other thread.

Don't get me wrong come the summer, or later on when we have a few forwards fit Samba should be right back in the heart of the defence.

Problem with Dunn/Grella cm is that neither will last the whole match, dunn in particular seems more of an impact player these days. I'd rather get 45 productive minutes out of each of them then try keeping them on longer getting less out of them.

Second problem Carlos and Benni up front means a) no long ball possibilities and b ) no physical presence up front.

The latter is a serious problem. For starters we'd be effectively only defending with 8 men (not counting robbo). Benni does very little defending from the front, whilst Carlos simply can't. He hasn't the strength to do so. Not only that but neither are brilliant at holding it up - in fact it's not the role that Benni should be playing and Carlos is unable to play it.

If we were to play Carlos and Benni up front then Dunn would have to be sacrificed for a more defensive minded midfielder to help redress the balance, like the Axe or Warnock in the centre. Even then I'd have reservations whether we'd have enough physical presence or enough dimensions to our game within the team.

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have to say out of all the players injured the team and tactics I would employ are

Robbo

Andrews Nelson Oiijer Givet

Diouf Grella Dunn Pederson

Benni Samba

I would employ those tactics until RSC/Roberts return as Benni up front on his own is no way to go as we don't have the players to support him up top on his own and off all our strikers I feel Samba causes the most havoc/confusion in the oppositions box holds the ball up better and gets players into the game and feel as the stoke game we did not test Sorenson on the game we need to employ these measures asap as now it has become desperate and we need to win the next game.

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I think our line-up picks itself at the moment based our our tiny squad and injuries to 3 key players (let's not kid ourselves, Reid was useless even when he was fit follow his last injury). Hopefully Roberts will be fit soon - even if Rocky is still "injured".

The only question then is formation.

Given that the majority of fit first teamers are defenders it makes sense to use Warnock and Samba where they could be more effective. Still in not-kidding-ourselves mode Samba is not a striker but probably has a similar game to Roberts wrt his nuisance factor albeit that he's been using the same wrack as Peter Crouch.

It's going to be horses for courses depending on the team we're facing but my attempt would be...

Robinson

Oijier - Nelsen - Givet

Diouf - Grella - Dunn - Warnock

Villanueava

Samba - McCarthy

Outfield Subs: Tugay (for Dunn who'll have to stretch to an hour), Santa Cruz (forced to use painkilling injections), Roberts (likewise), Kizinishvilli (cover for injuries), Andrews (still potentially a useful squad player), Pedersen (to keep Andrews company), Mokoena (keep as far away as possible).

Our defense lacks natural width, meaning that Diouf and Warnock will have to play as wing backs. Carlos would be given a free role.

Problem is if we get any injuries during the course of the game the shape would to completely change.

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Reading through the board this morning and a couple of quotes have come up which sum up what Sam needs to do given his current available players:

"Wee with the willy we've got" - various

"Dire hoof ball garbage. Without the players to play dire hoof ball garbage" - USA Blue

Surely Sam needs to play to our current strengths (what little they are) rather than his "percentage football" template??

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