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JoeH

Tactical Ramble for 2020/21

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Posted (edited)

Bit of a long one, with some seasonal data from 2019/20 to back up some of the thought processes. Not a thread everyone will enjoy but look forward to seeing other people's ideas.

Okay, so here goes. Let's operate now under the assumption, for the sake of this conversation, that we don't have a budget for 2020/21, or at least a very minimal one - what tactical system should we be using going into the new season?

We've operated under a 4-2-3-1 for the best part of four seasons, but with Dack's injury, the loss of Graham and some younger players breaking through - it's clear this style and approach is now no longer the preferred long term option for Tony Mowbray. Side note, this ramble also assumes that Tony Mowbray is the long term manager of the club, so we'll continue under the notion that he's still manager come 2021. We've tried 4-3-3, false nines, 4-1-2-1-2 with no wingers, we've sometimes even looked like we're using a 2-7-1 in some games!

I suggest, based off some of my research into the season, that trying to emulate Sheffield United, rather than a Leeds United, is absolutely the more sane approach. In recent weeks we've heard plenty of talk about how "to get out of this division you have to control the games and have the ball". I would like to propose that this is a load of crap. We've had 60% possession, sometimes 70% possession in games and halves of football this season against some fairly shoddy teams and still not won games. We need a much more potent way of creative chances, that doesn't revolve around this backwards idea that - 'if you have more of the ball you'll get more chances on goal'. Teams like Barnsley, Luton, Wycome, Coventry, Rotherham - all in our division next season - will sit 11 men behind the ball and scrape out draws, sometimes even wins with a goal on the break, against teams like ours. It's been evidenced over the last decade and is going to continue if nothing is changed.

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Up first, let's talk Ryan Nyambe. Nyambe is a mainly beloved character by both players, staff and supporters at Blackburn Rovers Football Club - nobody can deny his extreme rise and the development he's made as a football over the last season or two. He's been very important to our back line and continues to show signs of promise. However, as the statistical data shows, Ryan is a sub par attacking threat. With very poor passing, movement in the final third, shooting and some of the worst crossing statistics in the division - the threat being posed down the flanks from our full backs is virtually non-existent. A career with 0 goals and 6 assists in over 150 games is simply put, poor. 

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For me, Ryan is a natural born centre-back, with the pace, power and defensive abilities of a one day Premier League star - in the right set up. The loss of Tosin Adarabioyo means one of two things, you either sign a replacement externally or you replace from within. I'd suggest out of all of the candidates, Nyambe would be most beneficial to the team in that role. However, it's my opinion that a weaker defence should be a more solid one, a back five would be a much better fit with the players we have at our disposal than a back four.

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A 5-2-3 formation, more eminent of Sheffield United than any other recently promoted side, would help get the most out of the players we do already have.

Do we have any wingers at the club? X
Do we have a pair of top quality CB's at the club? X

Unless we can spend a lot of money, the solution to those problems is for wing-backs in JRC and Downing, who can cross a ball, to operate in an up and down the line role. Against sides who pin us back they can hold and be a five, against sides who sit back we'd effectively be operating a 3-4-3. I believe that both Downing and Joe Rankin-Costello have shown a competent defensive ability, but both possess the attacking talents that a Ryan Nyambe or an Amari'i Bell simply do not.

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Now to the front three. The Lewis Holtby "False Nine" trial didn't work, in-fact it failed miserably and likely cost us at least three points in the BCD season. However, Bradley Dack operating in a similar role would probably be much more effective. Almost all of Adam Armstrong's goals have come from the left, cutting inside and shooting from range, Brereton has looked competent running with the ball from a slightly deeper and wider position than he has as an isolated front man. I think this front-three, retaining its rotating - who's actually playing where - personality would cause defences a few problems during matches. Overlaps on the left with Holtby, Downing and Armstrong, on the right with Brereton, Travis and JRC - with a central midfield open with Dack and Holtby picking up those creative spaces down the middle.

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Sam Gallagher's seasonal data from 2019/20 suggests he shouldn't be anywhere near the first team. One of the worst performing strikers in the division who played on a regular basis, I think not only does Ben Brereton seem to show a little more promise than him of improving, I think also that his best attributes aren't suited to the tactical style I'm proposing. I also think Joe Rothwell wouldn't get the ball time necessary to warrant his inclusion in the starting XI for this tactic. You could argue the toss between himself and Holtby, but I feel that Rothwell's ability to change a game from the bench is ultimately much more beneficial than bringing on a Holtby for 15 minutes at the end would be.

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Now this is all worst case scenario, no money AT ALL to spend. The chances are we bring in a centre-half, maybe even get a left-back (Maybe Greg Cunningham). But if I had to go into a new season with the exact squad we have right now, that's how I'd go about it as manager.

Anyway what do you think? With no additions what is the best tactical style for us to undertake going into a new season? Who'll come good sooner, Gallagher or Brereton?

God I hope we sign some players ;) 

 

 

 

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Edited by JoeH
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Posted (edited)

Gallagher will score goals in a team set up to play to his strengths.   He scored 12 goals under the tactical mastery of Coyle because at least that team got crosses in the box. 'Wide forwards' like BB,AA and SG tend not to cross very well. Put a 28 year old Conway in that team and SG would do a lot better as a CF. You can't blame the player if the system works against him...or he's stuck on the wing. 

The secret to Sheff Utds success was that they overloaded the wings with CB's, WB's and midfielders/forwards and got crosses in for the likes of Billy Sharpe.  We are a million miles from that tactically. We rarely get crosses, especially from the goal line. Our system is nothing like Sheff Utd's. 

Edited by Hoochie Bloochie Mama

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Just a simple 4-2-3-1. Trying to copy other teams or come up with complicated and inconsistent formations does not breed familiarity and consistent results.

Nyambe is not good enough in the air to be a centre back, and Dack has played as a false 9 in the past with no success, he isnt suited to being a striker. Expecting Downing to regularly play as a wing back at his age is unrealistic, and Armstrong should play centrally when possible.

Rankin Costello is a winger so like Chapman should compete for that position. No more strikers out wide, Armstrong can be effective there should Gallagher hit some form but of course as a central striker. Holtby could potentially play wide right too, Rothwell left, but we need a winger, certainly far more than a central midfielder. Whether Mowbray will I am unsure before people jump up saying he doesnt play wingers, and we were linked with a few in January so maybe there is hope.

 

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2 minutes ago, roversfan99 said:

Armstrong should play centrally when possible.

No statistical evidence for that at all, in-fact the exact opposite.

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1 minute ago, JoeH said:

No statistical evidence for that at all, in-fact the exact opposite.

He scored many of the goals from playing central early in 2020. Plus assisted eg v Sheffield Wednesday.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, JoeH said:

No statistical evidence for that at all, in-fact the exact opposite.

He scored 20 goals in a season playing centrally for Coventry, albeit in L1.

He hasn't played centrally for Rovers often enough to make any judgement either way.

Edited by Hoochie Bloochie Mama

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15 minutes ago, roversfan99 said:

He scored many of the goals from playing central early in 2020. Plus assisted eg v Sheffield Wednesday.

Would be no further wide in the system I've proposed than how wide he was at Sheffield Wednesday tbh. Never plays very central even when he is "central"

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8 minutes ago, JoeH said:

Would be no further wide in the system I've proposed than how wide he was at Sheffield Wednesday tbh. Never plays very central even when he is "central"

Either way, your system is to complicated for me, false 9 should be an experiment never to be repeated.

A 4-2-3-1 is much simpler. It doesnt have to involve direct play like we played with Graham, but we dont need to come up with complicated formations or copy off other teams.

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Just got the playoff first leg on and if we’ve got largely the same squad and are looking at 3 CBs then surely Swansea’s current formation of 3-4-1-2 (er even 5-2-1-2) is the way to go?

That way Dack can stay as no.10 as when he was tried as a false 9 earlier in the season looked like a fish out of water, and means we could see Arma and Gallagher as a strike partnership? Could even let Arma drift out wide as and when he likes and have Gallagher as more of a focal point for Dack to play off (granted this is putting a lot of faith in Gallagher being able to properly play up top as a striker).

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Thanks @JoeH for such an in depth analysis and way forward next season tactically. 

I agree with @roversfan99 that we should start with 4-2-3-1 being our main formation even tho we disagree how we should play the 3 behind the striker should play. I also feel that Nymabe isn't good enough going forward for us, so I would be looking for attacking right back to challenge Nyambe for that position. 

I also feel we need a plan B would I used 4-2-2-2 or 4-3-3 formation. 

But it is crucial for me that we bring in an quality keeper, centre back and left back. 

I would play Armstrong as the number 9 next season. He is quality forward and scores goals for fun. Plus use his pace, movement and flair in that role. 

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Joe,

As you have the time to look at stats and Im lazy and cant be bothered but how many times did Armstrong not back tracking when playing wide cost us defensively?

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Just now, chaddyrovers said:

 

I would play Armstrong as the number 9 next season. He is quality forward and scores goals for fun. Plus use his pace, movement and flair in that role. 

Hardly say his record means he scores goals for fun. Let him get 20+ a season then Ill agree.

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35 minutes ago, chaddyrovers said:

Thanks @JoeH for such an in depth analysis and way forward next season tactically. 

I agree with @roversfan99 that we should start with 4-2-3-1 being our main formation even tho we disagree how we should play the 3 behind the striker should play. I also feel that Nymabe isn't good enough going forward for us, so I would be looking for attacking right back to challenge Nyambe for that position. 

I also feel we need a plan B would I used 4-2-2-2 or 4-3-3 formation. 

But it is crucial for me that we bring in an quality keeper, centre back and left back. 

I would play Armstrong as the number 9 next season. He is quality forward and scores goals for fun. Plus use his pace, movement and flair in that role. 

Do we disagree on how those behind the striker should play?

You never say what your opinion is, just repeatedly state what Mowbray does and doesnt do.

Do you agree with wide strikers or do you prefer wingers to play there?

You dont need to change a formation to have a "Plan B" but either way, you perfect Plan A first. You can change players. For example, Dack off Armstrong is plan A. Plan B could be to move Armstrong wide and put Gallagher up front. Struggling to break a team down with Travis and Evans in midfield? Put a Downing or Holtby there. Stick to the same formation all the time and it promotes consistency.

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25 minutes ago, roversfan99 said:

You dont need to change a formation to have a "Plan B" but either way, you perfect Plan A first. You can change players. For example, Dack off Armstrong is plan A. Plan B could be to move Armstrong wide and put Gallagher up front. Struggling to break a team down with Travis and Evans in midfield? Put a Downing or Holtby there. Stick to the same formation all the time and it promotes consistency.

But isn't that a problem with Mowbray when he makes subs? He just moves the personnel round when it is clear that the system isn't working, often doing it twice within 10 minutes. I dont mind plan B is changing personnel from plan A but when plan C is also a variation of A then that shows little imagination from the manager.

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19 minutes ago, roversfan99 said:

Do we disagree on how those behind the striker should play?

You never say what your opinion is, just repeatedly state what Mowbray does and doesnt do.

Do you agree with wide strikers or do you prefer wingers to play there?

You dont need to change a formation to have a "Plan B" but either way, you perfect Plan A first. You can change players. For example, Dack off Armstrong is plan A. Plan B could be to move Armstrong wide and put Gallagher up front. Struggling to break a team down with Travis and Evans in midfield? Put a Downing or Holtby there. Stick to the same formation all the time and it promotes consistency.

Yes, I want my wide players to not just to stick to touchline but roam inside and allow the full backs to overlap. I don't want them to be rigid but play with freedom like if Holtby or Rothwell start on the right or left to roam inside and link up with Dack or Armstrong more. Yes we play a natural some games like Chapman or a new signing of winger if Chapman moves. So I am happy to adapt the way we play 3 behind in certain games situations or opposition tactics

Gallagher shouldn't be used in wide striker role. 

Yes you do need a plan B like WBA or Brentford have used this season. I have seen Brentford switch from 3-4-3 formation which they used earlier in the season into 4-3-3 formation now. WBA have switch from 4-3-3 system to 4-2-3-1. So IMO, plan B is important. 

 

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Lets get plan A sorted before we worry about Plan B. And no false 9, box midfield, wide strikers crap.

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Just now, roversfan99 said:

Lets get plan A sorted before we worry about Plan B. And no false 9, box midfield, wide strikers crap.

The players are used to Plan A apart from the new signings. 

I like 4-2-2-2 cos we have number 10's at the club. 

Agree on the false 9 thing. 

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1 minute ago, roversfan99 said:

What is Plan A? Clearly didnt work that well.

You why we move to 4-3-3 after lockdown. So why do we keep having to go over it time after time

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Just now, chaddyrovers said:

You why we move to 4-3-3 after lockdown. So why do we keep having to go over it time after time

Becsuse it didnt work.

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Just now, Inglorious basturk said:

It’s interesting that the charlatan coyle could see how simple it was to use Sam Gallagher but lemon drizzle can’t 

It just a shame he couldnt work out what to do with the other 10?

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Just now, roversfan99 said:

Becsuse it didnt work.

not my point, but why we start playing 4-3-3 after the lockdown

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