This is actually a big part of the reason we have struggled defensively this season, no doubt. It's not just about age, tiredness etc. We've changed from a midfield of 3 work horses, doing the hard yards to provide the platform so that our front 3 + fullbacks can do the attacking, to having a (on paper anyway) more creative midfield 3. With Thiago and Elliot in there plus 1 DM, the balance of midfield is completely different to what it was, and it's not surprising the midfield isn't giving the back 4 as much protection, and isn't as good at the high press.
Obviously that has been exacerbated by the fact that Fab has been off form and Hendo is struggling to play enough games. (And by the loss of Mane, who was our best high presser. And by the fact our back 4, Robbo apart, have been slack etc etc) But a big lesson of this season, I think, is that we need at least 2 defensively strong, engine room type CMs starting every week, if we want to keep playing our high pressing, high line, high fullbacks style of play, otherwise we are too open. I'm not blaming Jürgen for trying to shift the balance. A lot of us were calling for a more creative midfield. But basically it looks like we've found out that we need at least 2 guys in the centre who are good at the ugly stuff or else the system just doesn't work.
I think we’ve covered all the rhymes and reasons why we’re sh*te at the moment, the systems of play a manager wants to use in the modern game are far advanced to those systems of play in the past, back in the ‘60’s & ‘70’s car manufacturer’s would fit the old style drum brakes and pretty primitive hand brakes designed to slow down momentum or to keep your pride and joy from escaping down a hill,
But today’s car’s have electronic anti lock braking systems, power Steering, etc etc etc, but they still have four wheels and they still get from A to B, in football it’s still 11V11, but the football of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s is a million miles from what it is today, when Jürgen & Pep G got the sub rule changed from 3 to 5, they should requested a 12 man team instead of 11,
How the F**k would that work ? I hear you ask, well think about it, a extra DM, or a extra CM or extra attacker, whatever system you use you can have a extra player to help get a win or hold onto a draw, whatever, whatever, whatever,
Like cars the game of football has moved on from that in the 60s & 70s, players are much more athletic than they were back then, today’s it’s all about health , fitness and calorie counting, back then it was pie N chips, a couple of fags and a session on the ale twice a week,
The intensity has been ramped up too, so much so that in our case we burn our players out much quicker than say a mediocre outfit, (and I’m being kind here) like Blueshite, imagine having 12 rather than 11, maybe football needs a revamp too, we’ve seen how technology has helped in some ways if operated correctly, we’ve seen goal line technology brought in, and we’ve also seen referees being miked up and have comms to the boffins in their wee shed in Milton Keynes, so why not help the players out by allowing another player to be added ?
Imagine having the luxury of four across the middle and still have three up top and four at the back, with a keeper of course, imagine the rotation we could have also, this is all hypothetical of course and I’m probably talking bollocks, nothing new then I hear you all say 🖕,
In a nutshell our lads have burnt out, the high intensity over the last five campaigns have finally caught up with us, particularly the older guy’s, and I include, Virgil, Hendo, Thiago , Milner, Ox, Bobby, Matip, all in or over their 30’s, next age wise are, Jota, Mo, Robbo, Fabinho hovering around the 26-30, all of those players which is most of the fuckn squad will need replacing within the next two to three seasons,
Like we’ve fallen behind due to the covid set back for transfers this time we really do need to get it right or what we are all witnessing now will happen again in about 4/5 seasons time.
Hope over Fear !! 🏴
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