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Our style of play


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Be interested to hear what others think about what is becoming clearer about our style of play.

I would somewhat simplistically summarise our style/approach as seeking to contain or nullify teams, being prepared to let the opposition have plenty of the ball and relying upon us converting from the limited goal scoring opportunities we create.

This style fundamentally depends on a well drilled/organised team structure and clinical finishing.

While we have generally been reasonably solid at the back (in part thanks to some superb displays from DB) the better teams have exposed us e.g. Reading yesterday and Norwich. In the defensive third we look ok passing around but rarely find a decisive ball to midfield or our forwards. Consequently too often we turn over possession and are quickly back to defending again.

Our forwards work hard but I don’t consider them to be creating enough scoring opportunities nor IMO are they clinical. Although they are too often not being served well.

Which brings me to the ongoing issues in midfield, which despite the plethora of players available, remains for me pivotal. We lack creativity, guile and balance which means things either breakdown quickly or we pass the ball around without hurting the opponents.

I appreciate we have lots of injuries and our league position is decent. However, sadly I don’t see our style leading to long term success, for a number reasons, including:

Better teams will beat us

We aren’t creating many scoring chances

We will tend to win by the odd goal (which although ok isn’t ideal)

We are relying too much on our defence

Ironically (given the options available) the key IMO is in midfield where the link up play needs to be much more energetic, creative and decisive.

The adage the table doesn’t lie is a truism, however, I believe it relates to the final table at the season’s end. There have been discussions on here about us being in a false position, I reckon Forest, Cardiff and Derby fans would certainly feel that we were very fortunate to win against them and on another day their possession and chances would have been enough for a point or three.

As per my opening line, interested in what others think about the style we are playing.

 

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When we have a firm plan we go straight up the pitch and more often than not create a scoring chance as have  most of the opposition teams we've faced. More and more though as with yesterday we get as far as the half way line and individuals start over thinking things or have their own ideas without seeing what is in front of them. By then all the opposition are back behind the ball.

I often have to remind myself that our overhead view is very different to the players' but there often seems to be a preprogrammed 2/3 passes when 1 would do.

I know nothing!!

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It appeared to me that both Watford and Reading marked us man to man and the City players could not cope as they prefer long passes.

Watching yesterday's game on TV, all too often, short passes were either under hit or else easily intercepted.

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I think it’s had to change....due to injuries and because of risk of injuries, e.g. less pressing.  We actually made 466 passes yesterday at 85% accuracy, which is very good, but like Derby who made 600+ passes against us, very few were in the final third and when they were the ball was turned over.

Mawson’s injury has hit us hard.  He controlled the tempo of play, and passed the ball with a lovely weight to allow the receiver to move forward with the ball and make it difficult for our opponents to get into shape behind the ball.

I accept that sometimes you rotate possession by a defender knocking it into Nagy and getting it back again, but unless someone is working the angle off of it, it serves little purpose.

A combination of Weimann and Bakinson being out too.  The midfield of these two with Paterson looked effective if not necessarily a natural looking trio.  Weimann is not a tackler per se, but he is “aggressive” in everything he does.  Bakinson will get his foot in too, which lessens the impact on Paterson being a non-tackler.  Little surprise that opposition midfields feel less threatened by the current three of Nagy, O’Dowda and Paterson, who don’t have any aggression or physicality....and that not just tackling, but intent too.  We don’t commit our opponent like say Weimann would with a really aggressive run off the ball.  O’Dowda does make a few, but it looks less like it has a purpose than when Weimann does it.  I did think Nagy tried to be positive yesterday.  Pato was just poor.

Then we have to look at our striker partnerships. Semenyo and Diedhiou didn’t get on each other’s wavelength yesterday.  Martin, who had a disappointing game against Derby is key.  We need to get him on the pitch for as many minutes as we can.  Wells sparks off of him, so does Semenyo.  Even Diedhiou might too, perhaps if we use Martin as the final third link to get good possession high up.  We had none of that yesterday until he came on.  Similar against Watford too.  You can build territorial pressure with Martin on the pitch.

Finally, and only yesterday, I thought Hunt played too high when we were in possession.  He pushed up onto Richards, but it meant he couldn’t receive passes from Vyner, but it meant little space for Semenyo to roam into, and space in behind him for Olise and Ejaria to fill.  Vyner forced to go long, albeit sometimes he was too keen.

A few things to tweak.  A few things to learn from.  But ultimately, without Kalas too we had a second string spine out there yesterday and have done for several of the last half a dozen games.  I don’t expect Dean to have read the riot act, but a few will be left in no doubt that yesterday wasn’t good enough.

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To me it appears we can do 'one or the other' at the moment. Defensively we have looked sound on the whole, but with sacrifice to our attacking intent.

Then we go 1-0 down, we put three up front and look far more dangerous but suddenly more vulnerable in defence. Reading's second goal summing that up yesterday.

Personally, we need a leader in that back three at all times. One of Mawson, Kalas or Marriappa when fit - which would be the case had it not been for injuries.

Overall though, Liam Walsh is the player that really could change our fortunes. That transition from defence to attack could be made far more slick when we get him back to fitness. There's no doubt O'Dowda is giving his all in that role, but the benefit of a geniuine, agile and intelligent CM will be a massive plus. Can't wait to see Williams in contention too. 

Positive for me, is I'm 99% certain we will take it up a level when these key players return. I believe our current style is dictated by availability and no one can complain at the points return under circumstances, appreciating performances on the whole have been a bit dissapointing to watch. 

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1 hour ago, Jerseybean said:

Be interested to hear what others think about what is becoming clearer about our style of play.

I would somewhat simplistically summarise our style/approach as seeking to contain or nullify teams, being prepared to let the opposition have plenty of the ball and relying upon us converting from the limited goal scoring opportunities we create.

This style fundamentally depends on a well drilled/organised team structure and clinical finishing.

While we have generally been reasonably solid at the back (in part thanks to some superb displays from DB) the better teams have exposed us e.g. Reading yesterday and Norwich. In the defensive third we look ok passing around but rarely find a decisive ball to midfield or our forwards. Consequently too often we turn over possession and are quickly back to defending again.

Our forwards work hard but I don’t consider them to be creating enough scoring opportunities nor IMO are they clinical. Although they are too often not being served well.

Which brings me to the ongoing issues in midfield, which despite the plethora of players available, remains for me pivotal. We lack creativity, guile and balance which means things either breakdown quickly or we pass the ball around without hurting the opponents.

I appreciate we have lots of injuries and our league position is decent. However, sadly I don’t see our style leading to long term success, for a number reasons, including:

Better teams will beat us

We aren’t creating many scoring chances

We will tend to win by the odd goal (which although ok isn’t ideal)

We are relying too much on our defence

Ironically (given the options available) the key IMO is in midfield where the link up play needs to be much more energetic, creative and decisive.

The adage the table doesn’t lie is a truism, however, I believe it relates to the final table at the season’s end. There have been discussions on here about us being in a false position, I reckon Forest, Cardiff and Derby fans would certainly feel that we were very fortunate to win against them and on another day their possession and chances would have been enough for a point or three.

As per my opening line, interested in what others think about the style we are playing.

 

I think the word is ‘ pragmatic ‘ . We are dealing with two games a week with a multitude of first teamers out injured. 
 

Sexy attacking football and  high energy pressing may just have to wait a bit until, and if , we get most of the key players back and firing.

We are a work in progress and there are many, many positives to take from the season so far.

Holden and his staff know what is needed and we can be sure that they will be looking to improve constantly.

 

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15 minutes ago, Major Isewater said:

I think the word is ‘ pragmatic ‘ . We are dealing with two games a week with a multitude of first teamers out injured. 
 

Sexy attacking football and  high energy pressing may just have to wait a bit until, and if , we get most of the key players back and firing.

We are a work in progress and there are many, many positives to take from the season so far.

Holden and his staff know what is needed and we can be sure that they will be looking to improve constantly.

 

Dream on !

I have a horrible feeling our style of football won't change whoever will be in the starting eleven.

 

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14 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

To keep it short the style of play is the same as LJ, with a few small improvements and we all know how that ended up.

Beat me to it. At least LJ Had Eliasson and Fam to throw on for the last 20 minutes to make things happen.

We can only hope that with all the injuries we are just treading water and that when they return we will look much better going forward.

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Need to move the ball forward quicker.  Bakinson and hopefully Walsh will do this.  Martin needed a rest but he's still key for me, as it needs to stick. 

Probably get shot down for this but I would like to see a front three of O'Dowda, Martin and Semenyo.   

 

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We now look and play like an established Championship side. If you didn't know it was City, we could be anyone.

Shape when defending is much better but we are careless with possession when playing forward. Too many passes get intercepted. Too many passes not done with conviction.

 

It's all very safe and a bit turgid.

 

I know people don't like it, but the xg table is always a good indication of which part of the table you're likely to end up in. Few exceptions each year...but it gives a good reflection on how your team is playing.

 

We are currently 14th. 

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I haven’t been able to detect a defined style of play this season, other than being a bit stodgy. With various injuries we haven’t always looked solid at the back, and the midfield is lacking in creativity. Various forwards are good at assists but don’t look like being prolific. Somehow we’re challenging for promotion so the basics must be ok. 

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21 minutes ago, pongo88 said:

I haven’t been able to detect a defined style of play this season, other than being a bit stodgy. With various injuries we haven’t always looked solid at the back, and the midfield is lacking in creativity. Various forwards are good at assists but don’t look like being prolific. Somehow we’re challenging for promotion so the basics must be ok. 

I spotted two:

1. a possession based system in a 352 with either WBs or Vyner joining in and using Martin to build attacks off of. But with a bit of tempo. 
 

2. a more get behind the ball system where we look to use less energy whilst we deal with injuries to key players.

I think we just need to be patient and keep picking up results. 
 

Several sides are suffering similar issues and asking questions in the search for fast flowing attacking football. The fixture list isn’t helping. 

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1 hour ago, Top Robin said:

Let's be honest, we are so dull and boring at the moment. No fast flowing footie and so few chances created. 

Circumstances dictate unfortunately . We weren’t like that with Mawson & wiemann fit . Injuries have hit us hard and we’ve had to change the way we play. If we ever get to see williams in a city shirt , it will hopefully change us again . 

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Resilient, hard working, defensive cohesion. Somewhere dull and boring going forward, yet at times clinical 

A number of times this season, I've felt like, we've won; that's all that matters. 

I feel we are stronger mentally this season which is a massive plus. But I wouldn't call it wonderful football, yet anyway. 

 

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46 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

I spotted two:

1. a possession based system in a 352 with either WBs or Vyner joining in and using Martin to build attacks off of. But with a bit of tempo. 
 

2. a more get behind the ball system where we look to use less energy whilst we deal with injuries to key players.

I think we just need to be patient and keep picking up results. 
 

Several sides are suffering similar issues and asking questions in the search for fast flowing attacking football. The fixture list isn’t helping. 

We aren't very good at keeping possession Dave. In fact I think we are very wasteful in possession.

We play balls going forward, that often have little chance of success. Into spaces taken by defenders.

These quick passes in the final third are often in hope that they might work, and rely on error rather than skill.

We often end up losing the ball and on the backdoor and out of position and chasing back.

Yesterday there was another example if that for one of Readings goal...we went from attack, mistake and quickly conceding.

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1 hour ago, spudski said:

We aren't very good at keeping possession Dave. In fact I think we are very wasteful in possession.

We play balls going forward, that often have little chance of success. Into spaces taken by defenders.

These quick passes in the final third are often in hope that they might work, and rely on error rather than skill.

We often end up losing the ball and on the backdoor and out of position and chasing back.

Yesterday there was another example if that for one of Readings goal...we went from attack, mistake and quickly conceding.

I think you are guilty of taking the last few games and generalising across the whole season.  Have you not noticed it’s changed from the opening games?  That’s why I’m saying I’ve spotted the two main systems, the one that started the season, the one we have now.  In the main I’ve enjoyed watching us.  I’d take Norwich first half, Huddersfield first 60 mins and yesterday (large chunks) as the only bits of games I’ve been really unhappy with.

I think there are huge mitigating factors why too.  Other sides are starting to get injuries and COVID cases too.  Let’s see how they cope.

I think we are far too quick to reach conclusions about a whole season based on one game, and usually a defeat.  Absolutely their were flaws yesterday, what we’ve seen from Dean is an ability to spot them and try to deal with them.  He hasn’t solved them all, but he’s learning quickly.

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What is really frustrating is that all the early promise of more attacking more exiting  play has evaporated in the 3 5 2 system and as others have said we are dull as at anytime under LJ. The only real difference to me is Semenyo.

Stats are showing we are bottom of the charts for shooting outside the box and close to bottom for shots per game. We are top of the league when it comes to being nice though - only 12 yellow card so far this season - by comparison Norwich and Bournemouth are roughly on double this!

1269755334_Screenshot(14).png.6d16eb96d2c608aecd86a41ad4b82fb7.png

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3 minutes ago, hantsred said:

What is really frustrating is that all the early promise of more attacking more exiting  play has evaporated in the 3 5 2 system and as others have said we are dull as at anytime under LJ. The only real difference to me is Semenyo.

Stats are showing we are bottom of the charts for shooting outside the box and close to bottom for shots per game. We are top of the league when it comes to being nice though - only 12 yellow card so far this season - by comparison Norwich and Bournemouth are roughly on double this!

1269755334_Screenshot(14).png.6d16eb96d2c608aecd86a41ad4b82fb7.png

Notice QPR and Birmingham are down there with us who we play next. I know we were poor yesterday but that’s a great chance to get maximum points after a rough run of fixtures. 
 

 

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For me against Reading, the key things that let us down were a) Not playing Chris Martin from the start instead of Fammy and b) Pato having a really poor game.

Playing 3-5-2, Martin is crucial as he can hold onto balls hit towards him and bring others into play, Fammy has rarely been able to do this. I know Martin didn't play well against Derby but that was in a 4-3-3, for 3-5-2 he is the key to link us up to be able to threaten as well as defend well.

Pato we all know, and all but a few rose-tinted fans accept, has games where he just does not make any impact. Although he can be the creative player we need, my view is if he gets picked again and again when not playing that well, he goes more and more into stroller mode. Needs to be dropped for QPR to give him a virtual kick-up-the-arse.

I think 3-5-2 suits us to start games, with the option of switching to 4-3-3 if needed. However, just cannot underestimate how important Martin is to make that formation work for us offensively.

 

 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, old_eastender said:

For me against Reading, the key things that let us down were a) Not playing Chris Martin from the start instead of Fammy and b) Pato having a really poor game.

Playing 3-5-2, Martin is crucial as he can hold onto balls hit towards him and bring others into play, Fammy has rarely been able to do this. I know Martin didn't play well against Derby but that was in a 4-3-3, for 3-5-2 he is the key to link us up to be able to threaten as well as defend well.

Pato we all know, and all but a few rose-tinted fans accept, has games where he just does not make any impact. Although he can be the creative player we need, my view is if he gets picked again and again when not playing that well, he goes more and more into stroller mode. Needs to be dropped for QPR to give him a virtual kick-up-the-arse.

I think 3-5-2 suits us to start games, with the option of switching to 4-3-3 if needed. However, just cannot underestimate how important Martin is to make that formation work for us offensively.

 

 

 

 

 

Agree with that.

I think if anything Fam would have been better starting in the 433 against Derby. I much prefer Fam as the one main striker with 2 wingers, rather than in a pair.

Martin has played up top as the main lone striker a lot in his career. But for us so far I think he looks better with a strike partner than he does on his own.

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3 minutes ago, JonDolman said:

Agree with that.

I think if anything Fam would have been better starting in the 433 against Derby. I much prefer Fam as the one main striker with 2 wingers, rather than in a pair.

Martin has played up top as the main lone striker a lot in his career. But for us so far I think he looks better with a strike partner than he does on his own.

What about as the left-forward?  Ignore his defensive skills for the mo, he likes to drift left and we’ve seen a few goals where he squares up defenders around the box to get shots away.  Would be good for diags too.  Of course tracking back his full-back might be a huge no-no, but offensively I could see benefits.

Blackburn are benefitting from playing Brereton as a left forward this season.

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1 hour ago, Davefevs said:

I think you are guilty of taking the last few games and generalising across the whole season.  Have you not noticed it’s changed from the opening games?  That’s why I’m saying I’ve spotted the two main systems, the one that started the season, the one we have now.  In the main I’ve enjoyed watching us.  I’d take Norwich first half, Huddersfield first 60 mins and yesterday (large chunks) as the only bits of games I’ve been really unhappy with.

I think there are huge mitigating factors why too.  Other sides are starting to get injuries and COVID cases too.  Let’s see how they cope.

I think we are far too quick to reach conclusions about a whole season based on one game, and usually a defeat.  Absolutely their were flaws yesterday, what we’ve seen from Dean is an ability to spot them and try to deal with them.  He hasn’t solved them all, but he’s learning quickly.

No Dave...my thoughts are based on what I've seen all season...regardless of formations.

Yes we've won games, but I could see in them also that we could easily have lost games too.

Bentley has been outstanding this season and if it wasn't for him things could look a whole lot differently.

It echoes of last season...where we were winning but you could see methods would eventually fail...which they did.

We keep our shape and discipline better. But imo...our offensive work is reckless, and puts us under immense pressure when we lose the ball so often.

It often feels like we are trying to walk the ball in the net.

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3 minutes ago, spudski said:

No Dave...my thoughts are based on what I've seen all season...regardless of formations.

Yes we've won games, but I could see in them also that we could easily have lost games too.

Bentley has been outstanding this season and if it wasn't for him things could look a whole lot differently.

It echoes of last season...where we were winning but you could see methods would eventually fail...which they did.

We keep our shape and discipline better. But imo...our offensive work is reckless, and puts us under immense pressure when we lose the ball so often.

It often feels like we are trying to walk the ball in the net.

I’m not talking about formations I’m talking style of play.

Bentley has been good, but he’s had games where he’s had nothing / little to do too.  Even Watford he had one save all night, it was a good one.  He’s not saving a cricket score every game is he?

So you honestly believe we are playing the same way / style now as we were earlier this season when we had different personnel?  If so, you surprise me.  Even the head-coach is admitting that it’s different.

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Unbelievable length of excuses to an otherwise good thread, IMO

Lj was never this defensive, DH thinking 0-0 with the chance of a breakaway goal will get us close to top 6. 

Every club with a squad as big as ours, has the same, or worse injuries. If we can stay top half and deliver some more narrow wins (we won't beat anyone convincingly) there is every chance of nicking 6th place which is probably the best anyone of us could predict or hope for. 

Some of the excuses and 'stats' make me chuckle. You can make ANY excuse. We were 2nd or 3rd best at MadStad! 

We can win win on Tues and /or Sat which will make us all happier again

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23 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

What about as the left-forward?  Ignore his defensive skills for the mo, he likes to drift left and we’ve seen a few goals where he squares up defenders around the box to get shots away.  Would be good for diags too.  Of course tracking back his full-back might be a huge no-no, but offensively I could see benefits.

Blackburn are benefitting from playing Brereton as a left forward this season.

He was good there when he came on against Huddersfield. Interesting. Not really sure if it would work. Not a big fan of Wells there.

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