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Was the biggest problem pre-lockdown and remains the biggest problem. 

Smith has always been mid-table average at this level. 
Massengo is not good enough. 

And.....that was it in today’s squad!! Mental. 
 

We end up playing O’Dowda in there, and he’s not even a good winger, let alone a CM. 
 

We have good players in all other areas of the team. 2 x 20 goal strikers, an assist machine, an expensively assembled back line. And yet we have a totally non existent impotent midfield. 
 

Clearly the manager doesn’t even rate Nagy & Henriksen if they don’t get on the bench in favour of Vyner (supposedly the midfield sub), who’s played his life at CB or RB. 
 

Are the returning loanees eligible to play. I’d put Walsh & Morrell in there in a heartbeat. 

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1 minute ago, Harry said:

Was the biggest problem pre-lockdown and remains the biggest problem. 

Smith has always been mid-table average at this level. 
Massengo is not good enough. 

And.....that was it in today’s squad!! Mental. 
 

We end up playing O’Dowda in there, and he’s not even a good winger, let alone a CM. 
 

We have good players in all other areas of the team. 2 x 20 goal strikers, an assist machine, an expensively assembled back line. And yet we have a totally non existent impotent midfield. 
 

Clearly the manager doesn’t even rate Nagy & Henriksen if they don’t get on the bench in favour of Vyner (supposedly the midfield sub), who’s played his life at CB or RB. 
 

Are the returning loanees eligible to play. I’d put Walsh & Morrell in there in a heartbeat. 

LJs signings.....how we can have 3 CBS on the bench but no cm makes no sense to me......nagy form has dipped like rest of squad but he is still considerably better than Massengo who offers literally nothing .

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Agree we lost out in midfield today. Although the difference on the scoresheet was ultimately down to luck in the goalkeeping area. But with a better midfield we probably stop a couple of those shots even being taken. Statistically that match was very balanced and honestly on another day we come away with a point.

Couple of points: who are our two 20 goal a season strikers? Neither Wells or Afobe have ever scored 20 league goals in a season, let alone done it in the Championship. Fam got >20 once, in Ligue 2.

Also, no, current loanees are not eligible this season.

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2 minutes ago, ExiledAjax said:

Agree we lost out in midfield today. Although the difference on the scoresheet was ultimately down to luck in the goalkeeping area. But with a better midfield we probably stop a couple of those shots even being taken. Statistically that match was very balanced and honestly on another day we come away with a point.

Couple of points: who are our two 20 goal a season strikers? Neither Wells or Afobe have ever scored 20 league goals in a season, let alone done it in the Championship. Fam got >20 once, in Ligue 2.

Also, no, current loanees are not eligible this season.

You know what I mean - Wells & Afobe. The best strike force at this level that this club will ever be capable of getting. 
Yes, keeping and individual errors led to the goals, but the midfield issues shouldn't be masked - it’s a very poor midfield for this level, considering the investment in the rest of the squad. 

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3 minutes ago, Harry said:

You know what I mean - Wells & Afobe. The best strike force at this level that this club will ever be capable of getting. 
Yes, keeping and individual errors led to the goals, but the midfield issues shouldn't be masked - it’s a very poor midfield for this level, considering the investment in the rest of the squad. 

But they aren't "20 goal a season strikers". Yes Wells had a purple patch at QPR, but his best seasonal haul is 17 at Champ level.

If you break down appearances v goals for all three of the players I mention, considering appearances at Championship or Prem level then Wells (60 in 207) scores 0.29 per game, Fam (36 in 104) scores 0.35 per game and Afobe (53 in 217) is at 0.24. That respectively works out at a predicted 13, 16 and 11 league goals per season.

Regardless, as I said I agree with you that midfield was the source of our problems today. I said before the game I expected a return to 352 and that is what I hope for against Sheff Wed. 352 plays to our individual strengths and allows the flexibility in defence, midfield, and attack that our players need. Yes you probably sacrifice Eliasson but frankly that's a fair price to pay. It won't be popular on here but personally I'd cash in on Niclas this summer and go all in on 352 for next season. 

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Problem for me was both Massengo and Smith dropping deep for the ball, seriously at times both were practically in line with Kalas and Baker, with Pato higher up behind Fam it meant we had no one occupying the actual space in the middle of the pitch a lot of the time, the gap between the two and Pato was probably > 20 yards a lot of the time meaning as we saw Smith looking to hit diagonals or hit Fam which we didn't have great success with overall bar the initial ball for our goal. Fine for one of them to drop in it helped create a numerical overload vs the guys they had forward when they looked to pressure us, but the other centre mid needed to be higher towards the centre circle willing to drift into pockets of space/be willing to want the ball. Either that or Pato had to be willing to come deeper to centre circle and then break.

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11 minutes ago, Harry said:

You know what I mean - Wells & Afobe. The best strike force at this level that this club will ever be capable of getting. 

Something I would question, playing together are they both 20 goal strikers? They both seem like THE guy to me and prefer having a striker who will help set them up, we saw Wells try and turn a couple of times in the box looking to get a shot away rather than lay off to someone else with Afobe close by as well.

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4 minutes ago, hodge said:

Problem for me was both Massengo and Smith dropping deep for the ball, seriously at times both were practically in line with Kalas and Baker, with Pato higher up behind Fam it meant we had no one occupying the actual space in the middle of the pitch a lot of the time, the gap between the two and Pato was probably > 20 yards a lot of the time meaning as we saw Smith looking to hit diagonals or hit Fam which we didn't have great success with overall bar the initial ball for our goal. Fine for one of them to drop in it helped create a numerical overload vs the guys they had forward when they looked to pressure us, but the other centre mid needed to be higher towards the centre circle willing to drift into pockets of space/be willing to want the ball. Either that or Pato had to be willing to come deeper to centre circle and then break.

They both drop deep to take the ball off the CB’s feet, because by doing so they can touch the ball with no pressure on them. Invariably, they then pass it 5 yards back to the CB who then launches it. 
No one is confident in any of our CM’s receiving the ball in tight midfield area’s, that’s why they come far too deep, because they’re not good enough. 

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1 minute ago, Harry said:

They both drop deep to take the ball off the CB’s feet, because by doing so they can touch the ball with no pressure on them. Invariably, they then pass it 5 yards back to the CB who then launches it. 
No one is confident in any of our CM’s receiving the ball in tight midfield area’s, that’s why they come far too deep, because they’re not good enough. 

Looking forward to Walsh next season for this purpose

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4 minutes ago, hodge said:

Something I would question, playing together are they both 20 goal strikers? They both seem like THE guy to me and prefer having a striker who will help set them up, we saw Wells try and turn a couple of times in the box looking to get a shot away rather than lay off to someone else with Afobe close by as well.

Perhaps a debate for another thread. My point on this one being that we have as good a strike force (in whichever format) as we could possibly wish for at this level and yet we have a totally awful midfield. 
It’s like we’ve got the Rolls Royce body with a Vauxhall Chevette engine. 

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Just now, hodge said:

Looking forward to Walsh next season for this purpose

Morrell as well hopefully. The little I have seen of Morrell suggests to me that he's a flexible, confident midfielder as capable of defending on the 18 yard line as he is at picking a through ball into the strikers. That is the type of player we don't have. Smith could do it a L1 level but isn't quite there in the Champ. I guess we're yet to see if the same is true of Morrell, but I'd like him to be given that chance.

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OP is spot on, I got harangued the other day for pointing out our midfield was our Achilles heel but despite spending a lot of money in that department Brownhill’s departure has made us weak there..

Though it is going to be a huge ask to expect Walsh (7 Championship starts) & Morrell (0 Championship starts) to suddenly be 46 game players next season.

Our number one priority area to strengthen for me.

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Reading this thread, I’m reminded of what LJ said about Walsh - ie that he needed to be in a three to function well.

I’m not here to argue with that as for as well as he did with Coventry, this is a level up. However, it does get me thinking that as at this moment in time are any of our midfield combinations able to operate at a top six level in a two.

And if they aren’t, why are we playing a two?

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Just now, Silvio Dante said:

Reading this thread, I’m reminded of what LJ said about Walsh - ie that he needed to be in a three to function well.

I’m not here to argue with that as for as well as he did with Coventry, this is a level up. However, it does get me thinking that as at this moment in time are any of our midfield combinations able to operate at a top six level in a two.

And if they aren’t, why are we playing a two?

How many teams at this level play with 2 in midfield......I'm guessing less than 5 

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Just now, MC RISK77 said:

Can someone clear up if henricksen is still available?

in regards to Midfield  though yeah weak as piss, Massengo while he had a fairly promising start looks overrun in most games since October

Henriksen played in the intra squad game at Ashton, so you’d assume he’s available.

However, it’s clear that we’re not in for him permanently. As such, and with him OOC in the summer, if I was him I wouldn’t be extending past June 30th. I think that may be the answer.

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The problem is that our midfield has 3 speeds. Slow, Slower and Slower still. There is no urgency in our play and we take an age to get forward. I've long said that while he's a very nice bloke, Korey Smith lacks the passing range to be an effective CM and shouldn't be bringing the ball out from the back. His role is to stop the opposition playing not to set us going. He needs to win it and give it to someone with talent on the ball whether that be Patterson or Palmer   

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1 minute ago, Silvio Dante said:

Reading this thread, I’m reminded of what LJ said about Walsh - ie that he needed to be in a three to function well.

I’m not here to argue with that as for as well as he did with Coventry, this is a level up. However, it does get me thinking that as at this moment in time are any of our midfield combinations able to operate at a top six level in a two.

And if they aren’t, why are we playing a two?

IMO you're correct. I don't think they do. Casting some simple criticisms; Massengo is too hotheaded, Smith too safe, Nagy is too absent. Henriksen we can't say much about. I think we play a 2 because LJ expects/asks for one of other attacking players to drop deeper and help out. Trouble is he's asking that of players like Paterson, O'Dowda, Eliasson etc who just aren't as good at that part of the game. But by doing that he feels he can involve Eliasson and play just one up top, or can play a 442. 

Trouble is it seems like a cyclical problem. You ask an attacker to drop back. But he's not great at tackling so your central two drop further to cover a potential mistake. The opposition then outnumber our attacker dropping back and so can support their player and nick the ball, thus gaining territory and gaining the ball in clear space. Our midfielders are now screening but the opposition have options to get it wide, shoot, or play back and rebuild. Alternatively Massengo charges out to the player with the ball and either gives away a free kick in our half or creates space behind him to attack. Either way we "lose" the midfield - and LJ's solution is to ask more players to drop back and help, which sends you back to the beginning of this paragraph.

Would anyone have wanted Vyner on in midfield today? LJ said before the game he was on the bench as a midfielder. He's young and very athletic; would he have been an answer? I have my doubts personally.

 

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4 minutes ago, Lez said:

He wasnt any better than what we have.

Head and shoulders above every single one of them. But, I’m not gonna get into a Pack debate, it’s been done a thousand times. 

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2 minutes ago, petehinton said:

Two of his replacements in Nagy and Henrikson can’t even get in a 20 man squad 

Yet we can pick 3 CBS....sorry but this one is on LJ. 

Just now, Harry said:

Head and shoulders above every single one of them. But, I’m not gonna get into a Pack debate, it’s been done a thousand times. 

Well he isnt as he wouldn't have been shipped out at the first opportunity.

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