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Defence


Rory Fitzgerald

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At the moment I am very frustrated with our defence. Besides Pepe, not one player in that back line can say that they have started the season well.

 

We gave away 3 headed chances to Birmingham and were bailed out by Pepe. We were not so fortunate against Utd with 3 goals coming from crosses. The goal we conceded to Arsenal, whilst freakish, also came from a cross and 2 of the 3 goals conceded at City came from a corner and a cut back.

 

It was mentioned in another topic about dropping Carra & Skrtel for Agger & Kyrgiakos and I would not be against it. In fact I would supplement them 2 with Kelly at right back and stick in Aurelio at LB if he is fit as a statement to the current incumbents that they have been shit.

 

With Carra getting on and Skrtel not improving - Agger is the only player back there that gives me some confidence. I dont even want to talk about the full back position.

 

It needs an overhaul.

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Apart from our vulnerability at crosses (I wonder how long it'll be before Sky acknowledge that we might have regressed since the abndonment of Rafa' system in that respect) I have been really dismayed at how sloppy Konchesky and Johnson are in possession. The two key areas that we are really vulnerable from and the profligate use of the ball by the full backs puts pressure on us in exactly those positions.....

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It obviously needs a shake up and as we are in a transition period anyway where I have already written off any chance of silverware or CL spot until we have new owners, I'd rather see us trying to establish a good brand of football then the stuff we are doing now with guff results.

 

-Pepe is nailed on starter.

-I'd go with Kelly at right back at the moment as he looks more assured than Glen despite his youth at the moment. Would also be blooding him for the future.

-As far as CB goes I think Carra needs to be dropped for a while. I'd like to see Agger and Skrtel given a run.

-Not much of a choice at LB at the moment so konchesly will have to do.

- With Dirk out at the moment and Maxi not exactly doing anything to suggest he will be able to keep Kuyt out on his return, I'd go with Johnson at RM. Takes the spotlight off him at RB at the moment, we all know he can attack and enjoys doing it, but it also gives extra strength to the back 4 as he can drop to help Kelly or cover overlaps.

- The only other thing I would do to make us more defensively stable but still make us expansive and not justy a side to sit back, woudl be to play Lucas and Meirles as the deep lying midfielders. Poulson I still dont know why we bought him, and he is too slow for the PL. But both Lucas and Raul can do a good job lying deep but either can support the attack if needed. Gerard I'd rather see in the attacking midfield role.

 

LM is still a question mark area from a defensive perspective, and Torres picks himself up front (although we need a better backup or partner for 2 up front as we are becoming a bit reliant on Torres here and also too predictable - but that is for another topic).

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Drop Skretl should be No 1 on the list.

 

A centre back who won't/can't head the ball? We are at risk from every cross because we have no aerial presence whatsoever. In both the Birmingham & Utd games, virtually every high ball into either our penalty area or theirs was won by an opposing player. Our only hope is the header is misdirected or Pepe makes a save while our attacking threat in the air is non-existent. Heading is a huge part of the game, especially in the Premiership and I bet we are the weakest in the League. We have regressed so much in this aspect since the days of Hyypia & Crouch it's unbelievable.

 

Skretl's game plan is to hold his opponent ahead of the ball so it goes over both of their heads - that's not clearing the ball though. He seems to be scared of putting his head on the ball ever since Carra booted him in the face 1st game of last season.

 

As someone posted earlier, I really thought Hodgson would have sussed this out like he did with Fulham when he bought Hangeland very early on.

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It was poor stuff from Carra on the winning goal. The cross wasn't whipped in at pace, although Jovanovic should have closed down better than he did - all Carra had to do was enough to put Berbatov off his header.

 

Thought he was caught ball watching on the 2nd manc goal as well, carra was drawn across the line, berbatov should never have had the time and room for the overhead. great finish (even though it pains me to say it), but never should've happened.

 

I think that the fact that all 3 of the manc goals came from poor defending was probably the worst aspect of yesterdays performance. if you go somewhere for a draw (yes, i know thats an argument for elsewhere) you have to defend well. There's definitely a big argument for giving Carra a 'rest', probably the Turtle too. I'd be concerned about the hoofing as well, but think that we can worry more about that when there's a bit of defensive solidity.

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Agger out criticizing our style of play now. Stating that Hodgson wants the ball hoofed out of defense and that the "nice" football should be played further up the pitch. Something that dosnt suit his style of play, so arguably our best defender will be left on the bench for the foreseeable future...

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It was poor stuff from Carra on the winning goal. The cross wasn't whipped in at pace, although Jovanovic should have closed down better than he did - all Carra had to do was enough to put Berbatov off his header.

 

Absolutely - Berbatov isn't the most physical of players either. Carragher just needed to check his run and get hold of him earlier rather than giving him a run and clean header. We are desperately poor at dealing with crosses both from open play and set pieces.

 

Personally I'd be playing Agger and Krygiakos as my first choice at present so one can play football and the other win headers. Carra and Skrtel is a very poor combination - neither is commanding in the air, neither is too hot on the ball, both are 'scrapper' types and as a partnership share the same deficiencies to a certain extent. This means we are poor as a team in the areas they are both poor at, when the whole point of a centre half partnership is to complement each other.

 

We are absolutely pathetic defending the aerial ball, no aggression there at all. Its absolutely killing us, just like it killed us last season. Fair enough Berbatov's second was amazing, the problem is we've given them the first and third.

 

The whole defence needs an overhaul, the only centre half I'd keep long term would be Agger. I'd downgrade Carra from playing every game to something more similar to Sami's role before he left (this would help him) and ship out Skrtel and Krygiakos.

Edited by Leo No.8
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Stating that Hodgson wants the ball hoofed out of defense and that the "nice" football should be played further up the pitch.

For the mostpart, we passed the ball out from the back yesterday so either Carra and Skrtel weren't following instructions or something has been lost in translation from that interview.

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Steve Bruce appears to be one of those managers that manages to get something from us with his time at Brum, Wigan and now Sunderland - even if it was a beachball that scored it.

 

If he decides to play Gyan and Bent against us, they could well take some more points from us because they will give our defence a game.

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Agger out criticizing our style of play now.

 

 

What 'style of play' ?

 

The only style we seem to have is to only start playing in the 2nd half of football matches and to play keep-ball in midfield, without moving the ball forward. Utter dross.

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from what I've been able to see the issue with the center backs is more about the ease with which the opposition are able to get crosses in virtually (sometimes not even virtually) unchallenged - better delivery of the cross makes it harder to defend against

 

And this seems to be an aspect of the wider issue of apparently not bothering to challenge for the ball

 

Why anyone imagines this 'tactic' could be successful is anyone's guess

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carra and skrtel shouldnt be first choice the way they are playing

 

even after a rest midweek they still stank the place out yesterday

 

neither of them were agressive enough yesterday in the air or on the deck.. rooney and berbatov have no pace so they should have had the defence playing a lot

 

further up the pitch but we were camped on the edge of the box for most of the match and just hoofing aimless clearances up the pitch

 

berbatov probably hasnt scored an easier hat-trick since he was a schoolboy.. 2 free headers and take the other down on his knee and overhead into the net

 

schoolboy defending and giving up gimme goals

 

kyriagkos is a limited player but he is a tough, hard street fighter of a centre half and he would have bullied berbatov off the park yesterday and

 

gave rooney some physical stuff too

 

i would have him nailed into the team beside agger at the moment

 

skrtel is just not good enough and carra seems to be in semi retirement mode

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i would have him nailed into the team beside agger at the moment

 

skrtel is just not good enough and carra seems to be in semi retirement mode

Agreed. We need Sotiris in there ASAP. We need a lot more physical presence in the centre of defence and he's the only player we've got that offers that. And Agger should be nailed on to play as well as he's probably the best centre back we have at the moment.

 

But the next transfers windows (when we have money... 2017?) need to be used buying us a new defence. The back 4 is our weakest link unfortunately.

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on the basis of what's gone on before, the calls for skrtel out are probably fair enough. on the basis of what went on yesterday don't think they are.

 

personally don't think agger solves our problems that much, if at all, although in form he's obviously the best footballer of the lot.

 

loads of these issues were there last season, not sure if we haven't gone backwards a little in terms of stopping the crosses in the first place. was too easy for them yesterday.

 

thought carra could have been tighter/stronger for both berbatov's header and the overhead. ball got there too easily in the first place, though.

Edited by george lees
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