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For many years, we fans have felt the team has under achieved.

Just to start a discussion; has City consistently had a poor defence, particularly late in games which causes forwards to be cautious in case they need to get back and help out?

2007/08 City took the lead against relegation bound Leicester in the 92nd minute, but could only draw.

City equalised against Sheff U in the 94th minute and still lost.

Relegation bound Sunderland were 3-0 down at half time at AG, but they went home with a point.

More recently 2-0 and then 4-2 up against Hull and had to fight back to draw 5-5.

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5 minutes ago, 22A said:

For many years, we fans have felt the team has under achieved.

Just to start a discussion; has City consistently had a poor defence, particularly late in games which causes forwards to be cautious in case they need to get back and help out?

2007/08 City took the lead against relegation bound Leicester in the 92nd minute, but could only draw.

City equalised against Sheff U in the 94th minute and still lost.

Relegation bound Sunderland were 3-0 down at half time at AG, but they went home with a point.

More recently 2-0 and then 4-2 up against Hull and had to fight back to draw 5-5.

 

BIB, we have?

Never felt that in anyway shape or form tbh

As for the defence stuff. We actually have a great defence, legitimately! Most effectively proven Prem or Champs defenders and internationals. What we do not have is and never have had since Little/Ayling and before that Shaun Taylor esque stuff is any cohesivity in the defence. It some times that the players are playing in phases and to instructions and not each other as a team this is most glaring when one mistake is made and we fall apart. See Wickham's Free Header on Sun, or a myriad of other things.

 

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City don’t have a recognised defensive midfielder ala Skuse, Pack and Brownhill had played there as well.To me thats significant in our tendency to ship goals.

I guess Smith could adopt a deeper role..........:dunno:

 

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Is our defence a problem? Yes, certainly if you look at recent games and results.

Should it be? No, not in my opinion.

Hunt and Rowe are two decent, experienced players. Dasilva is very good at this level, and Pereira is reasonable.

In the middle Baker is a good top half championship player in my opinion, Kalas is excellent - and his record proves it. Williams is decent, and has buckets of experience.

I also think oft forgotten Bailey Wright is still a pretty good player at this level, certainly good enough as back up. Taylor Moore and Zak Vyner have both been on loan and done really well by all accounts.

Maenpaa and Bentley are both quality keepers at this level too, recently form notwithstanding.

I reckon as a group they're pretty much good enough for top 6. What's directly in front of them, as others have said, perhaps not.

Having them change partnerships every 2-3 games, either with their direct pairing (centre 2), what's in front of them (midfield, wings), or what's around them (formation) is certainly a huge issue.

Look at top defences and in general I think you'll see one thing - you could pick all of them pretty much every single game. Our last two games had 9 different players user in defence I believe - that's the problem.

Edited by IAmNick
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Yes, I think you’re really on to something.  What we’ve needed is leadership, and to me the only players showing any leadership this season have been Williams, Brownhill and Taylor Moore.  As soon as Kalas came back you could see things start to fall apart, and I think the shelving of Ashley Williams and the loan of Taylor Moore were serious mistakes, compounded by the transfer of Brownhill.  Sadly Korey looks a shadow of his former self, and I don’t see anyone on the field driving the players on and picking them up when they’re down.  I think leadership in football, especially from the back, is often underrated, but to me a commanding presence in central defence, who inspires the other players, is priceless.  It’s what Exeter lacked last night...

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1 hour ago, mossey said:

Midfield or lack of, for the last few season doesn’t help defence.

 

40 minutes ago, robin_unreliant said:

I agree. Our midfield has been the problem - along with LJ playing 2 against 3 in the middle on a regular basis. 

But, but, but, but....you gotta win the boxes. 😂😂😂

I think it’s a team thing, only needs 1 or 2 players to not do their jobs and you are struggling.

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I realise I may be in the minority but I don't think many of them are good enough. JD gets found out defending, not really a plus when you are a defender, peirera is average and nothing more and do we know that although kalas spent lots of time out on loan from Chelsea, know one apart from us took the plunge to sign him

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1 hour ago, Robbored said:

City don’t have a recognised defensive midfielder ala Skuse, Pack and Brownhill had played there as well.To me thats significant in our tendency to ship goals.

I guess Smith could adopt a deeper role..........:dunno:

 

I'm in the opinion that Smith is done. He doesn't cover the ground he used to and injuries have taken their toll. His goal return has been dreadful,has he ever scored in the league? 

He's been a good player for this club but doesn't contribute much in the opposition half, his passing imo has always been well below championship standard.

Will always be remembered to the LG1 cup double and that goal, and he comes a cross as a fantastic bloke but we need to start thinking beyond him and very quickly.

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1 hour ago, Robbored said:

City don’t have a recognised defensive midfielder ala Skuse, Pack and Brownhill had played there as well.To me thats significant in our tendency to ship goals.

I guess Smith could adopt a deeper role..........:dunno:

 

If Smith or Massengo dropped any deeper, they'd be sat in the South Stand

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Defence or protection of the defence perhaps.

1 hour ago, robin_unreliant said:

I agree. Our midfield has been the problem - along with LJ playing 2 against 3 in the middle on a regular basis

This, this and this again!!

On a wider note, if you have issues in the midfield, the CM increasingly these days, it can all go South from there.

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2 hours ago, Robbored said:

City don’t have a recognised defensive midfielder ala Skuse, Pack and Brownhill had played there as well.To me thats significant in our tendency to ship goals.

I guess Smith could adopt a deeper role..........:dunno:

 

He'd have to play as a centre back then. He rarely pushes the team forward by going over the halfway line as it is. When he does venture forward, it's more obvious and usually because we're chasing the game, as usual.

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2 minutes ago, The Dolman Pragmatist said:

Ok, that’s what you think, but, assuming the players are not robots, what has been the problem on the field.

The manager changing the set up, personal, defensive structure every week. How are players going to deeop consistent positive habits if the formation and line up comes out of a tombola 

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3 hours ago, mossey said:

Midfield or lack of, for the last few season doesn’t help defence.

.. or the attack.

Which is utterly bizarre given our manager was a midfield player and should know a little bit about that midfield zone. 

 

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3 minutes ago, The Dolman Pragmatist said:

Ok, that’s what you think, but, assuming the players are not robots, what has been the problem on the field.

If you don't mind, can I respond to this.

I take it you mean, why haven't the players taken responsibility to make things happen or affect what happens on the pitch. In answer to that, it's because they're being stifled by the management, along with no continuity in selection, formation and style of play. If I were a carpenter employed on a construction firm and I was asked to fit skirtings in the morning with an apprentice, roof rafters in the afternoon with a labourer, shuttering the next day with different colleagues then back to second fix work for the last couple of hours, I'd know how to do all of them and be competent in all of them but, I'd lose momentum from the change, I'd have to change my kit and lose momentum and I'd have to convey different instructions to different people, sometimes causing confusion. Now then, if the same thing was happening to the plumbers, the brickies and the decorators, the building firm wouldn't run as smoothly as it should and there'd be cock ups happening. Who do you blame for the lack of cohesion, the workers, or the boss organising the work?

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2 hours ago, Rich said:

If you don't mind, can I respond to this.

I take it you mean, why haven't the players taken responsibility to make things happen or affect what happens on the pitch. In answer to that, it's because they're being stifled by the management, along with no continuity in selection, formation and style of play. If I were a carpenter employed on a construction firm and I was asked to fit skirtings in the morning with an apprentice, roof rafters in the afternoon with a labourer, shuttering the next day with different colleagues then back to second fix work for the last couple of hours, I'd know how to do all of them and be competent in all of them but, I'd lose momentum from the change, I'd have to change my kit and lose momentum and I'd have to convey different instructions to different people, sometimes causing confusion. Now then, if the same thing was happening to the plumbers, the brickies and the decorators, the building firm wouldn't run as smoothly as it should and there'd be cock ups happening. Who do you blame for the lack of cohesion, the workers, or the boss organising the work?

Thanks for this interesting reply, Rich.  My problem is trying to understand what has gone wrong, and why, because we were doing well at one point this season, and now we’re not; and we’ve seen this pattern repeated over the last four years.  The interesting thing about Johnson’s tenure has been the peaks and troughs.  People talk about ‘streaky Lee’ but no one really offers an explanation of it.  What I’ve noticed is that we are always poor after a break; that we don’t seem to be able to recover within games; and that we can’t turn things around when they go wrong.  It is not that Lee cannot manage a team doing well - we’ve have had some notable highs over the last last few seasons - so why can’t we sustain it, and why do we struggle to reverse bad runs.  I’ve managed at a very senior level, and I’ve rarely seen anyone who appears to be so inconsistent in what they are able to achieve as a manager.

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Quite simply midfield is and has always been the issue.

we have always missed the link between defence-midfield and midfield-attack. Either don’t  have the player or the player signed for that role is far from capable.
 

in DM we need a player to buzz around, break up play, track t opposition player and keep him quiet and protect the back 4/5 whilst also being readily available to take the ball from defence or inside from wide to keep it moving.

in AM we need a player that thinks nothing but FORWARD. Any time receiving the ball, the immediate thought should be, how and where can I find a player or space in front of me. Also need them to have great special awareness with the ability to read the game and constantly pass and move and provide a constant link for triangle passing through the opposition.

 

palmer could be the AM in my opinion but is not played at all or often enough to enable this or to enable him to improve.

massengo and/or Nagy should be able to do the DM role but similar situation arises to Palmer.

I also don’t think LJ has the ability to coach them to be better players.

it was easily pointed out by James who does analysis videos that there was literally no one in midfield against Wednesday allowing bannan et all free reign to control the game whilst also meaning there was no links to the forwards, hence, bugger all in terms of efforts on goal.

 

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28 minutes ago, BOSRed said:

Quite simply midfield is and has always been the issue.

we have always missed the link between defence-midfield and midfield-attack. Either don’t  have the player or the player signed for that role is far from capable.
 

in DM we need a player to buzz around, break up play, track t opposition player and keep him quiet and protect the back 4/5 whilst also being readily available to take the ball from defence or inside from wide to keep it moving.

in AM we need a player that thinks nothing but FORWARD. Any time receiving the ball, the immediate thought should be, how and where can I find a player or space in front of me. Also need them to have great special awareness with the ability to read the game and constantly pass and move and provide a constant link for triangle passing through the opposition.

 

palmer could be the AM in my opinion but is not played at all or often enough to enable this or to enable him to improve.

massengo and/or Nagy should be able to do the DM role but similar situation arises to Palmer.

I also don’t think LJ has the ability to coach them to be better players.

it was easily pointed out by James who does analysis videos that there was literally no one in midfield against Wednesday allowing bannan et all free reign to control the game whilst also meaning there was no links to the forwards, hence, bugger all in terms of efforts on goal.

 

Check the numbers- we're generally fighting an uphill battle from the off.

2 vs 3 always as a starting point. I know people cite O'Dowda, Palmer or Paterson as the 3rd CM but vs most opposition it doesn't work/isn't suitable!

I'll happily go through a number of sides and how they line up, injuries and suspension of course play a part:

Leeds- When fit they have not been hesitant to use Phillips-Klich-Forshaw. Hernandez in place of Forshaw at times too, but Bielsa at times can make erratic or stubborn selections, such as Roberts behind Bamford.

WBA- Livermore, Sawyers and Pereira- sort of a hybrtid of 4-3-3/4-2-3-1, bit like in the above example when Leeds play Hernandez centrally. Sometimes they have played Harper in an absolute 3 and Pereira wider, for example.

Brentford- DaSilva-Norgaard-Jensen first choice. Marcondes as a first reserve. We know how they play, they know how they play and how good they are/can be!

Fulham- Have the players for a 3 but often can have a weird hybrid between 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3. Today however it was Cairney-Reed-Arter. Johansen too can slot in, so can a certain Reid- Onomah you name it.

Nottingham Forest- I don't know about them enough to be sure, but it's either a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3. Silva and Johnson featured in each of the last 2 games, and then the third man was Yates one game, Watson another.  They're a team happier without the ball, quite good at counterpressing or just counterattacking generally however- and numerical advantage can spring a side in that scenario as well.

Cardiff- A much more defensive and robust 3 but a 3 nonetheless. Today it was Bacuna-Pack-Ralls. Other times Vaulks may slot in but it's always a real 3 barring injuries.

Preston- Can switch with some ease between 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3, in-game or certainly to start. Johnson-Browne-Pearson in perhaps whatever order. Gallagher appears to be listed on a number of games as well so I'm not entirely sure which!

Swansea- Byers and Grimes are certainly CM. Seems to be potential switching between those two again- but again like a lot of these, with ease in game if injuries don't decimate. Gallagher the third man anyway- he certainly played there for Charlton!

Derby- If Rooney is playing deeper then I suppose he's adapted. Bird is definitely a CM, Sibley potentially- Holmes can but I don't know how often.

Blackburn- When a reasonable array fit, Evans and Travis can do nicely centrally and Holtby can drop back into a 3. Dack is more of an attacking player, fantastic though he is- now they are significantly hit by injuries and the like they look a bit of a mess but...

There's your top 10. Most can play it or slot into it- I don't even mention Wigan who play a hybrid of the 2 and have been in superb form, or Sheffield Wednesday for whom that exta man can give Bannan a bit more space/protection.

All these sides (and more I expect) can outnumber us. They just can- that as a starting point puts us behind the 8-ball, are you suggesting DM and Palmer or?

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What I’m suggesting are what we require out of a player in those roles that currently isn’t being fulfilled. Either that is down to the right player not being played in the right position, or not being played at all, and/or the tactics aren't  correct. I think it’s all of the above.
 

players from other teams have a role like DM for example but they are also comfortable at playing across the midfield and are mobile and smart with special awareness and pitch management. Our players seem bereft of that. Not one of our players thinks, where is the space? I’ll occupy that and provide an outball. Instead they all chase the ball around together like 12 year olds and just lump it forward.
 

an example of that against sheff weds was when a ball was passed through to the forwards on the edge of the box, all three of our forwards went for it and got in each other’s way and we lost possession. 
 

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19 hours ago, The Dolman Pragmatist said:

Thanks for this interesting reply, Rich.  My problem is trying to understand what has gone wrong, and why, because we were doing well at one point this season, and now we’re not; and we’ve seen this pattern repeated over the last four years.  The interesting thing about Johnson’s tenure has been the peaks and troughs.  People talk about ‘streaky Lee’ but no one really offers an explanation of it.  What I’ve noticed is that we are always poor after a break; that we don’t seem to be able to recover within games; and that we can’t turn things around when they go wrong.  It is not that Lee cannot manage a team doing well - we’ve have had some notable highs over the last last few seasons - so why can’t we sustain it, and why do we struggle to reverse bad runs.  I’ve managed at a very senior level, and I’ve rarely seen anyone who appears to be so inconsistent in what they are able to achieve as a manager.

I honestly believe the major problem is the size of the squad, it gives the manager too many options to pick players of similar abilities, ending up with change for change sake. It cannot be a consequence that when we've had a reduced squad due to injuries/suspensions, or whatever, that we've stuck with a nucleus of players and then produced consistent results. Consistently changing the personnel and formation produces inconsistency, it's bound to.

Another analogy. My tea used to be lovely, made in a pot and brewed for five minutes, then I couldn't get my normal tea. So I changed the amount, made it in a different pot, tried two different teas, made it in a mug and then started drinking coffee out of frustration. Then I got my usual tea but, it didn't taste the same made in a mug, or with extra tea, or brewed for three minutes in a pot. Why doesn't my tea taste like it used to?

Life is simple if you do the things that work and repeat them until you perfect it. 

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I would like to see Moore and Kalas next season if we go 442. Or both of them in a 3 at the back if thats what we go with.

But then there is the problem of what is ahead of them. Need to find the right balance going forward and defensively.

I thought we really needed a ball playing centre back in that second half tonight.

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