Analysis of the goals conceded against Wigan Athletic (27/4) plus some tactical points

Emerson Boyce’s goalBoyce gets up above Vertonghen and powers a header into the corner of the net.


Vertonghen is marking the eventual scorer, Boyce, whilst, once again, we have decided not to have a player on the back post.


Boyce leaps well whereas Vertonghen doesn’t – he has a habit of being a little flat-footed when defending set pieces.


Had we had a player on the post, he would likely have been able to clear this.

Callum McManaman’s goalMcCarthy picks out McManaman who steps inside Naughton and lashes in an unstoppable strike which swerves late to take it beyond Lloris.


Wigan begin to work the ball around the box early in the second half, with Kone dropping off Dawson and finding McCarthy. Naughton has tucked round on the cover at this point, because McArthur has found himself on the penalty spot, behind Vertonghen. Our three midfield players, Parker, Huddlestone, and Holtby are all very close to one another with none tracking McCarthur – this would be fine if one had stuck with McCarthy, who instead picks the ball up in space.


As McCarthy receives the ball, Naughton suddenly realises that he has a problem – he now effectively has given himself two men to mark. Holtby tries to get to McCarthy in time, but he just has too much room – he is too good a player to be allowed this much time and space.


He zips an excellent pass into McManaman’s feet and, whilst his first touch loops away from him, Naughton can’t get there in time because he’s had to make up so much ground.


What happens next from Naughton isn’t great – McManaman is primarily right-footed, but Naughton lets him skip inside on to his left far too easily.


He ends up in quite a bit of space, with Naughton over-committed.


This screen-grab doesn’t do Lloris any favours but, in truth, it swerved late and was hit with such venom that it is very difficult to blame the goalkeeper.


I am a huge fan of the 4-3-3 system, particularly as I think it can best utilise our current squad. For example, we can easily accommodate Huddlestone who currently looks incapable of playing as part of a ‘2’ in central midfield. However, with Huddlestone playing the deepest-lying role, there is no room for Parker in this formation. He is not efficient enough on the ball or swift enough in his decision-making to play as the water-carrier, and not intelligent enough in the final third to play as the most offensive midfielder. I felt his selection hindered us – whereas Dembele, Holtby and Huddlestone seems to be an ideal blend. Of course we weren’t helped by Dembele’s injury – fingers crossed it is nothing serious – which also later restricted any tactical changes.

Secondly, the 4-3-3 relies on width from the full backs, as discussed on The Fighting Cock podcast this week. This made the selection of Kyle Naughton even more baffling, as he instantly narrows the pitch when he cuts back on to his right foot. Personally I think that Assou-Ekotto at his worst is far more suited to this team than Naughton at his very best, but what do I know? On the plus side, Walker on the opposite flank was one of our best performers, and will seemingly flourish in 4-3-3.

Thirdly, we missed Adebayor. Whilst he didn’t have the best of games against City last week, his presence can occupy defenders and create space for our other attacking talents. He also drops deep and wide to receive the ball, whilst other players break forward – giving us a platform to build from. Defoe’s the opposite of this – he mostly plays on the shoulder and doesn’t tend to involve himself in build-up play, as his 19 touches yesterday will testify (by far the lowest of any player who completed 90 minutes). Defoe is an ideal impact sub, but we need Adebayor back ASAP if we are to prosper in our remaining matches.

Join the conversation

  1. Bad selesction yesterday. Pretty obviously Huddlestone or Parker.....not both. Is AVB scared to drop Parker as he doesn't want a repeat of the Chelsea dressing room rebellion? Parker is only good at breaking up play........ours and theirs. Adebayor for an hour and then Defoe. Then Lennon and Bale I guess which leaves Dempsey and Siggy on the bench. We need to sort corners out ........ours and theirs. Some points from yesterday. Hudds early freekick onto the post was so skillful ...or would have been if it had come off. Parker had an open goal (again) but took a touch. I despair. Defoe should have nailed that dropping ball with the last kick of the game. If you had to pick anybody for that chance it would have been him. That's what he's about. It was nade for him I bet he's relived that again and again. We could have moved into pole position for top 4 yesterday. Drawing has left us slight underdogs. Arsenal have to lose today and we need a draw against Chelsea. Wigan was always going to be difficult. Having got 1-0 a top team would have raised the temperature for 5 mins, not gone to sleep. Still all to play for
    1. I totally agree, the selection was a weird one. Can't get my head around AVB's love for Parker, and particularly why he's playing him as the water carrier/breaker from midfield. Makes no sense!
  2. Shame Holtby didn't go down under that high challenge.....(from Gomez?). Already on a yellow he'd have been off
    1. True, but should get plaudits for not doing the snide thing. Shouldn't take a player going down for a ref to recognise a dangerous challenge.
  3. BAE should have started instead of Naughton who could not cross first time (because right-footed) nor see the danger of a second Wigan goal coming. That would also preserve a substitution slot. NO clue why we don't use the same winning line-up last Sunday and hammer Wigan 3 goals and sit back for the fastbreakouts that Bale, Lennon and Defoe could use when Wigan pour out on us!
    1. Naughton's just not a good player IMO. BAE instantly offered more balance, and having to bring him on was a waste of a precious sub.
  4. our away record is excellent, so changing formation away from what has been working, was not advisable. avb is STILL playing people out of position when it is unecessary.... i disagree with Mike that AVB's tactics demands Parker along with hudd.
    1. Who do you have in mind - Naughton and Parker being out of position?
  5. The 2nd goal all goes back to the move b4 when kone recieved the ball all he had to do is stand his ground & hold him up until cover arives but instead he jumps in like an idiot & u can see the whole team get nervous, this led to lloris having to palm it away for throw-in, when mcmanaman picked that ball up naughton's position is fine & all he had to do was show him down the line instead as u say he overcomitted, This has nothing to do with been right- footed probably the best lb of pl era was right footed Denis Irwin, phillip. Lahm has no problem when he has played lb why because they are good players naughton isn't I like huddlestone in a 3man midfield but not holding I'd push him further up & let holtby to the holding roll & get young Carroll in there with them, I'm fed up with both ADE & defoe starting & I'd b tempted to play Dembele up there at least bale could play off him
    1. Dawson should of stood his ground instead of jumping in on kone
    2. I agree about Naughton - a level below what is required. Re: Hudd, I have to disagree. I think the holding role suits him as it means he gets more time on the ball. He doesn't have the energy to be one of the two who press...
  6. Perhaps you can explain something to me? Why is it that so many of our players watch the player with the ball instead of the movement of the other players, because unless you are near him you aren't going to affect him. However, if you watch the others and try to read the game then you should reduce the impact that player can have by nullifying the threats posed by the others he can pass to. The player nearest the one with the ball should be aiming to either limit his opportunities to shoot or pass to threatening positions. However, the English way is to charge in. That's why I like Carroll as he tries to nick the ball or at least put off te player in possession, and for this reason prefer him to Parker.
    1. Think that's an excellent point. Would hope that the coaching team work on exactly this in training. Carroll is very intelligent - Carrick-esque even - in his reading of the game.


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