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3-5-effin-2 (aka How Do You Solve A Problem like Niclas Eliasson)


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Ok, this is not the most analytical piece I’ve ever done, and could well be ripped apart, but here goes.

We started the season in a 352/532 (back 3 type formation) and were generally tough to beat. We did switch to a four in parts of games but it was mostly a 3.

Eliasson barely started but did well off the bench.

In those games culminating in defeat at West Brom we W7D8L3 (29pts).  This was off the back of a 0-0 v Forest that forced a LJ’s hand into starting Eliasson.

We then went 4231 with Brownhill narrow and Weimann sort of behind Fam, but it was compact and despite the myth of one up top we won our next two inc Fulham. Problem solved. Not quite. This 16 game run saw 8W 8L. A drop off in ppg.  But why was it boom or bust?

If you ignore those two wins in a compromised 4231 to accommodate Nic...it becomes W6 L8, getting worse. If you the ignore the 4 wins on the bounce in a predominantly 4141, it becomes W2 L8!!!

Now this all looks like I’m blaming it all on Eliasson.  I’m not!

What I am saying is Eliasson in a 442 just doesn’t work, results-wise.  Or maybe it’s purely 442 that doesn’t work?  Some if you will be saying “no shit Sherlock” 😀

So....

LJ - if you want to play Nic, it’s gotta start 4141 it 4231.

LJ - if you want to play two strikers it’s gotta 532 without Nic.

You decide.  Time to be ruthless. 

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He should keep his place tomorrow for me. 12 assists this season speaks for itself, and ok he's had a poor couple of games but it was Leeds and WBA, they can stop most forwards in this div. Let him loose on Huddersfield tomorrow night (he slaughtered them at AG this year) and try to let him recover some form. 

Maybe in an ideal world, he finds form for the rest of the season and even if we miss play-offs we can sell him for very good money then focus next season on the 5-3-1-2 without having to worry about wasting his talent. We could on paper have a front line of Palmer behind Wells and Benik (sure we'll buy him on the cheap) and still have a tonne of Eliasson money to strengthen elsewhere. That could be a promotion level attack. 

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I think football is rarely as simple as just using some magic formation and everything will be perfect again.  Much more important is consistency of approach and personnel.

How many games have Williams and Benkovic played together?  Nagy and Henriksen?  Diedhiou and Wells?  They've barely had 3 games together between them.  Of course they're gonna look disjointed and all over the place in awful conditions against the best teams in the league.

We may have been somehow grinding out results a little better earlier in the season using 3-5-2 (often relying on Eliasson's assists from the bench, I might add) but the football wasn't any better than either.

Not to mention we have actually tried to go back to it several times anyway, usually to absolutely terrible end product (Charlton & Sheffield Wednesday away).

Edited by Roe
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Was thinking today about "my team for tomorrow", it would be interesting to see 3-5-1-1 with Palmer behind Wells and HNM,Nagy and Henriksen in a 3. HNM is mobile and I think he could get up and beyond Wells and with WB's and runners Palmer has options. Problem being he needs a run to find form, we don't have time to play players into form, so back to Eliasson.

I have been banging on about 3 in CMF for a while, Vs Leeds and even more so WBA I couldn't believe LJ didn't try it. I thought Nagy (yes he wasn't brilliant) and Henriksen were left with too much space to cover, specially up against 3 WBA MF'ers. If Smith is fit we have options of 3 from 4 , and at least 2 of those could get up to support the forwards, Smith has done so in the past and Massengo's first few games he looked like he enjoyed getting forward.

You can't deny that Eliasson is a potent weapon, and with 2 forwards to aim for could be even more dangerous, maybe a 4-3-3 ? On the other side he has been poor lately ( a few have TBF), and it may be time to rest him. The team has to come first, so if we go to a 5-3-2 and get results I wouldn't care who was dropped. On form ( ignoring Leeds), I would want Paterson , and Fam to be first names on the team sheet, along with Baker. Kalas must be close to a start at CB, and AW looks like he could do with a rest. I would expect changes for tomorrow, and the 3 CB system seems a fit, but we are talking about Lee Johnson.

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My team tomorrow would be 4 2 3 1.

 

GK - Bentley

RB - Pereira - Hunt keeps getting played and isnt great. Would give pereira a go to actually work out if hes worth purchasing, looked alright earlier in the season when he got a game

CB - Benkovic - We have clearly brought him in the start

CB - Kalas - If hes fit, hes probably our best defender

LB - Dasilva - Not many other options

CM - Henriksen - Good player with rust, hopefully he can play that off in the next couple weeks

CM - Smith/Rowe - If Smith is not fit, id bring in Rowe, its his favoured position and he would add a bit of bite and solid passing, Henriksen +smith or Rowe would be a decent 'Axis'

LW - Patterson - Has a little extra spark sometimes and works reasonably hard

ACM - Palmer - Has to be in the side to add some creativity, needs a run of games and we have to get him firing 

RW - Elliason - Our main threat - has to play even though he isnt playing great right now. Potentially needs a rest in that case start weimann wide.

ST - Wells - Has to start, movement will make a world of difference for Palmer

 

Fam would be a great option from the bench

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4312 would work with the midfield able to give some decent protection and Hunt and Dasilva still able to give a viable width option at times.

We need Palmer sliding things through to Nahki and Andi - the latter will drift wide right always so Hunt can still sit off 15 yards giving an option and ensuring their winger has to mark him - not so worried about Dasilva as he is up and down for days and we have the added protection of 3 in midfield covering.

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2 hours ago, scrumpy88 said:

Just drop Eliasson. He hasn’t been affective in games for quite a few games now. Not sure if he’s been ‘found out’ 

 

Of course he’s been ‘ found out ‘ what really gets me angry is that with two sometimes three opponents on him no one is using that space created to attack . 
 

He can’t do it all on his own and there is often little movement around him so that he can lay the ball off. 
 

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On the Eliasson to Lazio point briefly.

Lazio play a 3-5-2 or at times a 3-5-1-1. That could change but generally under Inzaghi they like 3 at the back.

Would seem an odd fit...unless of course they find a way to get a decent performance out of him in that shape, which would beg the question why couldn't LJ?

Still wonder about him in a 3-4-3, kind of like Wolves shape 2 seasons ago- not as a winger more as a wide forward.

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2 hours ago, BCFCGav said:

He should keep his place tomorrow for me. 12 assists this season speaks for itself, and ok he's had a poor couple of games but it was Leeds and WBA, they can stop most forwards in this div. Let him loose on Huddersfield tomorrow night (he slaughtered them at AG this year) and try to let him recover some form. 

Maybe in an ideal world, he finds form for the rest of the season and even if we miss play-offs we can sell him for very good money then focus next season on the 5-3-1-2 without having to worry about wasting his talent. We could on paper have a front line of Palmer behind Wells and Benik (sure we'll buy him on the cheap) and still have a tonne of Eliasson money to strengthen elsewhere. That could be a promotion level attack. 

That’s absolutely fine....but in a 442?  That’s the gist of my post....it’s not that Eliasson shouldn’t play, but it requires a compromise somewhere else.

5312 - thats one too many 😂

1 hour ago, Roe said:

I think football is rarely as simple as just using some magic formation and everything will be perfect again.  Much more important is consistency of approach and personnel.

How many games have Williams and Benkovic played together?  Nagy and Henriksen?  Diedhiou and Wells?  They've barely had 3 games together between them.  Of course they're gonna look disjointed and all over the place in awful conditions against the best teams in the league.

We may have been somehow grinding out results a little better earlier in the season using 3-5-2 (often relying on Eliasson's assists from the bench, I might add) but the football wasn't any better than either.

Not to mention we have actually tried to go back to it several times anyway, usually to absolutely terrible end product (Charlton & Sheffield Wednesday away).

Agree 100%, but playing a 442 with “touchline huggers” (which is what Eliasson does) leaves us exposed when our head-coach wants us to play out through our centre midfielders!  That’s why I think he has a decision to make.  How is he gonna progress us this season?  Pick your partnerships and stick with them (in the main).

I’m perfectly happy for 532 to grind the opposition down and Eliasson to become a super-sub, or 4231 with Eliasson but sacrificing one of our strikers.  If LJ really does want to go 442, those wide players have got to be flexible.  

1 hour ago, mozo said:

I'm not convinced that 352 is a panacea. I think we just need the team to be clear on what is expected of them and to perform to their potential. 

Definitely not, nor is 4231 either.  But with our current personnel, 442 is the worst fit.

1 hour ago, 1960maaan said:

Was thinking today about "my team for tomorrow", it would be interesting to see 3-5-1-1 with Palmer behind Wells and HNM,Nagy and Henriksen in a 3. HNM is mobile and I think he could get up and beyond Wells and with WB's and runners Palmer has options. Problem being he needs a run to find form, we don't have time to play players into form, so back to Eliasson.

I have been banging on about 3 in CMF for a while, Vs Leeds and even more so WBA I couldn't believe LJ didn't try it. I thought Nagy (yes he wasn't brilliant) and Henriksen were left with too much space to cover, specially up against 3 WBA MF'ers. If Smith is fit we have options of 3 from 4 , and at least 2 of those could get up to support the forwards, Smith has done so in the past and Massengo's first few games he looked like he enjoyed getting forward.

You can't deny that Eliasson is a potent weapon, and with 2 forwards to aim for could be even more dangerous, maybe a 4-3-3 ? On the other side he has been poor lately ( a few have TBF), and it may be time to rest him. The team has to come first, so if we go to a 5-3-2 and get results I wouldn't care who was dropped. On form ( ignoring Leeds), I would want Paterson , and Fam to be first names on the team sheet, along with Baker. Kalas must be close to a start at CB, and AW looks like he could do with a rest. I would expect changes for tomorrow, and the 3 CB system seems a fit, but we are talking about Lee Johnson.

We tried that away at West Brom.  That’s not to say it can’t work though.  As much as I like Palmer, Pato’s recent form gives him the start for me if you’re gonna play someone in there.  I appreciate Palmer is a better creative passer, and Pato more the dribbler.

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41 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

We tried that away at West Brom.  That’s not to say it can’t work though.  As much as I like Palmer, Pato’s recent form gives him the start for me if you’re gonna play someone in there.  I appreciate Palmer is a better creative passer, and Pato more the dribbler.

Forgot WBA away, but there would be 5/6 changes in personnel from that team.
As I said, Pato, Baker and Fam would start on current form, it does make it harder to do if you also add Wells as a must start, probably means 2 in CM, or play a back 4.

 

1 hour ago, Davefevs said:

or 4231 with Eliasson but sacrificing one of our strikers.

Hasn't Wells played a 10 role before? Wells, Pato and Eliasson behind Fam?

 

1 hour ago, Davefevs said:

but playing a 442 with “touchline huggers” (which is what Eliasson does) leaves us exposed

Absolutely, and after Saturday I hope he never plays that system (with  “touchline huggers” ) ever again.

As you are a man for the stat Dave, I'd love to know how many formations we play in these final 12 games. A little unfair on LJ I guess as circumstances dictate change, but would be interesting to keep an eye on it.

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7 minutes ago, 1960maaan said:

Forgot WBA away, but there would be 5/6 changes in personnel from that team.
As I said, Pato, Baker and Fam would start on current form, it does make it harder to do if you also add Wells as a must start, probably means 2 in CM, or play a back 4.

 

Hasn't Wells played a 10 role before? Wells, Pato and Eliasson behind Fam?

Saturday versus West Brom from 61 minutes onwards 😂😂😂

Seriously though, it’s not something I’ve noticed from watching him.  He can drop short though to link up.

 

Absolutely, and after Saturday I hope he never plays that system (with  “touchline huggers” ) ever again.

As you are a man for the stat Dave, I'd love to know how many formations we play in these final 12 games. A little unfair on LJ I guess as circumstances dictate change, but would be interesting to keep an eye on it.

yes, absolutely, things dictate....but I think the players coukd do with some familiarity.  I have no problems say going 532 for 65 minutes and winning it with 442 because you’ve ground down the opposition.

 

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Why does it have to be a choice between 4-4-2 or 5-3-2, what's wrong with going 4-3-3 -  certainly would suit our CM players more. Maybe against Huddersfield we can get away with playing 2 in CM and 2 wide, but against side like Leeds, Brentford, WBA who pack the midfield only a tactically inept head coach would play only 2 in CM!

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38 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

Seriously though, it’s not something I’ve noticed from watching him.  He can drop short though to link up.

I was out with a couple of QPR mates Saturday, as you'd expect Wells comes up a fair bit. I'm sure one of them said he had played as a genuine No.10. It's a shame we couldn't have had him earlier, I think him and Fam could strike up a decent partnership, maybe wells/Wiemann too. His movement is good, just wish we could create a little more .

34 minutes ago, old_eastender said:

what's wrong with going 4-3-3

I think it could work, 4-3-3 in possession, 4-5-1 out of possession ...... this is where @Davefevs said we played this last week 🤣

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                    Bentley

    Kalas    Benkovic    Baker

Hunt.            Nagy            Dasilva 

                  Henriksen 

   Massengo          Palmer/Pato

                      Wells

 

Then Fammy on for Henriksen or Nagy if we’re chasing a game, Eliasson for HNM too if needed.

We’re shipping goals, we need to sort that out first and foremost. For me this is the best defence we have with the personnel available (assumed fit).

Dasilva and Hunt are both great getting forward and both can cross. Admittedly Fam could be more suited up top, but I can’t leave Wells out!

I’d like to see HNM a bit more advanced, think he has the ability to see runs/threat himself. 

Ultimately would like to see an upgrade on Hunt. That ayling lad at Leeds looks decent  


 

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4 minutes ago, Smokey said:

In a 433 or a 343?

I don’t Know.....703 for all I care 😂😂😂

Millwall played 343....

       Bodvarsson | Bradshaw | J.Wallace

M.Wallace | Molumby | Williams | Romeo

                 Cooper | Pearce | Hutchinson
 

We could play that.

             Eliasson | Wells | Weimann

Dasilva | Henriksen | Smith | Pereira

                 Baker | Kalas | Benkovic

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6 hours ago, FreshPrinceofBristol said:

3-5-2 works for all the players we have, except for Eliasson.

I'd like to see us play 3-5-2 every game with Eliasson being plan B.

I’d certainly start 3-5-2 tomorrow. I do think teams are getting better at stopping Eliasson. I’d start with Palmer or Paterson central behind Fam and Wells. Henriksen and Nagy/Massengo as the more defensive midfielders. 

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11 hours ago, Davefevs said:

I don’t Know.....703 for all I care 😂😂😂

Millwall played 343....

       Bodvarsson | Bradshaw | J.Wallace

M.Wallace | Molumby | Williams | Romeo

                 Cooper | Pearce | Hutchinson
 

We could play that.

             Eliasson | Wells | Weimann

Dasilva | Henriksen | Smith | Pereira

                 Baker | Kalas | Benkovic

I could see that working quite well!

Eliasson Wells Weimann- flexible, fluid and yet some control with the numbers behind be it 4-3-3 or 3-4-3. Would be interesting to see...Weimann especially could drift in and out- Eliasson it'd be interesting to see.

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