I grew up in East London, this one hurts me a lot! It has been a while since we wrote anything, I have moved and currently still have no internet or TV and ChrisWadds has been on a couple of stag do’s (his own) so it is lucky he can still speak let alone write something.
So let us jump back in, plan A really didn’t work on Sunday but that is not entirely the teams/AVBs fault. WH’s 4-6-0 formation worked well is also a major factor. Is it anti football? Not really given the score line. I wrote an article a while back (here) about a plan B and came to the conclusion that our bench really can just be like for like. Is this AVB’s Achilles heel, not wanting to move from the 4-2-3-1 cum 4-3-3 formation?
The opposing formations meant that 11 of the 20 outfield players were all vying for the same third of the pitch, a problem exacerbated by playing inverted wingers. Unless you pass like Barcelona or have dribblers like Messi and Ronaldo, there were simply too many players there able to mark space as well as players. This is highlighted in FourFourTwo’s statszone (here), where four of our top five passing combinations were between defenders – the top two were between our centre backs. There were no options for them to move the ball forward due to overcrowding. Some will say they should have taken the ball forward themselves and that may well be true but they would have added yet another player to the already overcrowded space.
Without a target man we only have the option for short balls and WH knew this so packing the midfield prevented our natural game. Out of 502 passes attempted only 42 were long balls, I don’t want to see balls pinged about all the time but with such a congested midfield surely a few more were needed. Had they been good balls then WH would have had to start closing our centre backs down which in turn would have lead to more space in the middle. If a game ever needed a lanky striker in a lilywhite shirt then this was it!
When playing with a right footed left back I think it is a mistake to play with an inverted left winger, we needed width that was not forthcoming from either Naughton or Sigurdsson. This is something that needs addressing as clearly AVB wants inverted wingers, Rose was a big loss.
It was a crap result, we know that. This is the first game we have not matched or bettered last season’s corresponding fixture (assuming CP = QPR and Car = Wig) so look for positives – ok there are not any about this game, it hurts too much. We struggled to break teams down last season also but still came away with a record points haul though so chins up!
I have said previously that we are learning something new at the moment and there will be hiccups along the way, granted I was not predicting 3-0 home defeats but still bumps in the road. The squad is better than last years and will get better at breaking the opposition down. The reaction to the result itself is a positive, the media have jumped on it and that is because we are a better team now. I never knew I knew so many WH fans but they all crawled out of the woodwork at about 17:45 on Sunday.
This was AVB’s biggest home defeat but it wasn’t so long ago that defeats like this were far more likely to occur. We need to stay positive, support the team until the final whistle. Yes boo at the end if you want but during them 90 minutes, as long as they are wearing a lilywhite shirt then support them like your life depends on it!
Look on the bright side, there cannot be that many more international breaks to lose a game before during the rest of the season…
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