We have a clear goalscoring problem that is, in my opinion, a direct consequence of how deep we have to sit (especially the midfielders) in order to compensate for VVD's absence. His absence is even bigger than what most of us anticipated. A lot of the blame is currently being laid on the front three yet when I watch the games, all I see is 3 desperately isolated players who are dealing with defenders doubling and tripling up on them. The only creativity I see is the quality pass or two from deep from Thiago and the crosses from the full-back. I don't think I am surprising anybody here by saying that none of our front three is built to receive and pounce on crosses. This usually works because our midfield is pressing super high and pounces on the 2nd and 3rd balls either by being a scoring position themselves or passing it back to the front 3 while the opposition's defence is out of shape (counter of the counter). They can do that because of the crazy tactical awareness of VVD in how he positions himself and Joe + the sheer amount of yards these two can cover in a matter of seconds running back. Now of course this does not excuse the fact that the 3 guys upfront need to be much sharper (it would've made the difference in more than a couple of our recent games) but the truth is that they are desperately underfed.
Are we actually better off going for somebody that can come and slot in at the back or are we better off operating some sort of change in our tactics to allocate more players upfront (something like a 4-2-3-1 with Shaq in the 10 and more options once Jota is back)?
I ask this question because if my theory is correct (which is a big if as I don't pretend to be a tactical expert of some sort) most of our offensive woes are the result of the huge tactical hole VVD leaves behind in his prolonged absence then what are the chances, in January, that we pick somebody with enough quality to patch such a hole? I mean I don't see Botman or Kabak coming in and just solving such a problem. Sure its one more able body who can play CB but does it even begin to address the problem mentioned above?
I get that such a logic does not address the issues one might have with the quality of a Rhys or Phillips but I also can't say that neither of them has been sh*t. Rhys has impressed me most of the time he's been out there. Also, back to my point, our problem is not defensive in the sense of leaking goals. If you subtract the 7 goals conceded in the freak game against Villa (VVD was in that lineup too), we have 14 goals allowed, one more than the best defense in the league (City).