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Tactically things looking better


David Hodgson

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Results justify everything, but yesterday we had a nice balance tactically, i thought.

 

There's no doubting Gerrard's effectiveness with Torres, but in certain games he's going to naturally get dragged back into the midfield minefield, and so seeing Kuyt closer to Torres provided a consistent link between the attack and midfield, which has been missing too often over the past year or so.

 

Also, Gerrard was then able to drop deeper and dictate play and look a perfect foil for Lucas. The balance between the pair looked perfect at times.

 

Given that it was always going to be a defensively testing, we saw Maxi and Meireles having to play wider to protect the flanks. Hopefully against weaker opposition we will continue to see them playing narrower and the full backs being given license to 'bomb on'.

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I still worry about the full backs...

 

They seem to be very narrow and allow too many balls into the box...

 

I thought it was the lack of quality at FB initially but I am convinced now it is a deliberate tactic, almost allowing wide players the ball with an attitude of "ok lets see what you got"

 

Dangerous

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I thought it was the lack of quality at FB initially but I am convinced now it is a deliberate tactic, almost allowing wide players the ball with an attitude of "ok lets see what you got"

 

wouldn't mind if we had some better CBs

 

seemed to me that's roughly what we were doing in the 2005 semi-final away to Juventus, among other occasions

 

Nice to see goals scored as a result of tough tackling in their half. It's a good idea is that.

 

Hodgson must have been reading some of those internet sites

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We're playing consistently higher up the pitch, but much of that comes from confidence. Frightened teams naturally drop deeper.

 

 

Started against Blackburn though, hopefully it continues.

 

We dropped very deep second half but of course any team would in that situation. Be interesting to see how we approach Wigan now. We're back to two five man teams rather than one of eight and one of two.

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We're playing consistently higher up the pitch, but much of that comes from confidence. Frightened teams naturally drop deeper.

 

I think its mostly instruction. We seem to press in certain situations and not others. But what makes me think its instruction is the team seems to know when to press and when not to (for example we put no pressure whatsoever on their centre halves)

But whatever it is its good to see anyway

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I still worry about the full backs...

 

They seem to be very narrow and allow too many balls into the box...

 

I thought it was the lack of quality at FB initially but I am convinced now it is a deliberate tactic, almost allowing wide players the ball with an attitude of "ok lets see what you got"

 

Dangerous

 

Someone posted an analysis of Hodgson's tactics at Fulham and it was exactly as you state. The fullbacks tuck into the middle and this allows the opposition to put in crosses which in theory are easy to defend. However, it depends on having centrebacks who are strong in the air and until the Greek came into the side, we were weak in this department.

 

Skretl has improved at attacking the ball and I would guess the coaches have been working on him, but he still fails to clear the ball from the danger zone too often.

 

I bet Comolli is checking out Cahill right now

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I think its mostly instruction. We seem to press in certain situations and not others. But what makes me think its instruction is the team seems to know when to press and when not to (for example we put no pressure whatsoever on their centre halves)

But whatever it is its good to see anyway

 

 

I think that's more hesitancy in committing fully to it, ie not being certain you are being backed up, as well as us having a breather.

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Results justify everything, but yesterday we had a nice balance tactically, i thought.

 

There's no doubting Gerrard's effectiveness with Torres, but in certain games he's going to naturally get dragged back into the midfield minefield, and so seeing Kuyt closer to Torres provided a consistent link between the attack and midfield, which has been missing too often over the past year or so.

 

Also, Gerrard was then able to drop deeper and dictate play and look a perfect foil for Lucas. The balance between the pair looked perfect at times.

 

Given that it was always going to be a defensively testing, we saw Maxi and Meireles having to play wider to protect the flanks. Hopefully against weaker opposition we will continue to see them playing narrower and the full backs being given license to 'bomb on'.

Its interesting that Hodgson seems to favour the idea of pairing Torres and Kuyt together up front, with Meireles out on the right and Gerrard and AN Other in midfield. I know this has been cited as evidence of his tactical naivety but its worth remembering that before he settled on the Mascherano/Alonso/Gerrard combination Rafa used Crouch/Morientes, Bellamy/Kuyt, Torres/Kuyt and Torres/Keane up front.

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It's a bit knee jerk to judge Hodgson after the last 3 games, two of which we'd generally always win anyway.

 

Yesterday was a good result but it was a game that suited Hodgson, getting the goals and then playing deep and not allowing any space. I'm not taking any credit away from him but it would be foolish to suddenly think he's all of a sudden mastered managing us.

 

He needs a consistent November, picking up results and making sure that the team press high and dominate games.

 

We have the team to do well in this league, we shouldn't get carried away against a Chelsea who have started to struggle in some games this season. With the players we have we should be winning games.

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Started against Blackburn though, hopefully it continues.

 

We dropped very deep second half but of course any team would in that situation. Be interesting to see how we approach Wigan now. We're back to two five man teams rather than one of eight and one of two.

 

I thought we were high up enough v Sunderland and Blackpool, but just played sh*t.

 

So clearly we were extrememly frightened in the 2nd half.

 

Obviously. We are a team of fragile confidence working its way back from the dead. If any team was going to be capable of making us sh*t our pants, it was this Chelsea side.

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It's a bit knee jerk to judge Hodgson after the last 3 games, two of which we'd generally always win anyway.

 

Yesterday was a good result but it was a game that suited Hodgson, getting the goals and then playing deep and not allowing any space. I'm not taking any credit away from him but it would be foolish to suddenly think he's all of a sudden mastered managing us.

 

He needs a consistent November, picking up results and making sure that the team press high and dominate games.

 

We have the team to do well in this league, we shouldn't get carried away against a Chelsea who have started to struggle in some games this season. With the players we have we should be winning games.

As opposed to judging him after the first 6 games, 2 of which we'd naturally lose and one of which we've consistently drawn over the last 4 or 5 years?

 

He's not the best, but people need to stop willing him to fail. We're all in the same boat.

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Someone posted an analysis of Hodgson's tactics at Fulham and it was exactly as you state. The fullbacks tuck into the middle and this allows the opposition to put in crosses which in theory are easy to defend. However, it depends on having centrebacks who are strong in the air and until the Greek came into the side, we were weak in this department.

 

Skretl has improved at attacking the ball and I would guess the coaches have been working on him, but he still fails to clear the ball from the danger zone too often.

 

I bet Comolli is checking out Cahill right now

 

I've seen that analysis and I think its a simplification. In defensive mode some/many managers favour keeping everything narrow and compact to stop teams running through them centrally (which is much harder when full backs and centre backs are close to each other). The attacking challenge is to use the extra space provided on the flanks to counter act this. If the defenders have good headers of the ball then getting wide and simply slinging it in won't work, and a more sophisticated way of 'getting in behind' is required.

 

In attacking mode, so far, we have seen RH favour keeping his wide midfielders tucked in and asked his full backs to provide the width

 

We weren't even that high against Blackpool in the last ten minutes when we were 2-1 down

 

We were mate.

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There has been a fairly obvious change in tactics which has increased confidence throughout the team imo. That combination was evident yesterday, partiuclarly first half where were tearing about all over the park.

 

However, it's easy to get up for Chelsea under the floodlights at Anfield. Wigan away will be the true barometer for me. For all the spin about the Bolton game I thought we were pretty dire for large parts and got lucky in that we managed to nick a scrappy game. Beat Wigan and we can go to Stoke feeling pretty confident imo.

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As opposed to judging him after the first 6 games, 2 of which we'd naturally lose and one of which we've consistently drawn over the last 4 or 5 years?

 

He's not the best, but people need to stop willing him to fail. We're all in the same boat.

 

He wasn't just judged on his performances on the pitch though. He was also judged on his poor signings , laughable press conferences and inability to defend or praise our players. Throw in some of the worst football at the club for 20 years and he was rightly judged.

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We weren't even that high against Blackpool in the last ten minutes when we were 2-1 down

 

Agreed, we were way to deep against Blackpool and were just letting them have the ball. Possession ended up 50/50 and that was with us having 60 minutes to chase the game! It was a shocker, one of the worst Anfield displays I can remember.

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Agreed, we were way to deep against Blackpool and were just letting them have the ball. Possession ended up 50/50 and that was with us having 60 minutes to chase the game! It was a shocker, one of the worst Anfield displays I can remember.

 

 

They were playing a higher line than us in the last ten, had well better possession and rather than go into the corners were playing around us

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I thought we were high up enough v Sunderland and Blackpool, but just played sh*t.

 

 

 

Obviously. We are a team of fragile confidence working its way back from the dead. If any team was going to be capable of making us sh*t our pants, it was this Chelsea side.

We invited pressure on though, that is never a good thing, and a midfield of Ramires, Mikel and Zhirkov is not the same as Ballack Essien and Lampard. They were absolutely s*** in the middle of the park all game (for a Chelsea side), we bossed them in teh first half, then sat right back and invited them on in the second. We were lucky to get away with that.

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They were playing a higher line than us in the last ten, had well better possession and rather than go into the corners were playing around us

 

My point is that it didn't look like we were set up to sit deep against Blackpool at home. That doesn't mean when playing sh*t you don't get stretched and panic into dropping deeper. That clearly happened throughout the game. However I was watching for this carefully, and there was no doubt, that when it could, the defense was moving itself up towards the half line when it could. Just because we f8cked up and were at times over run, does not mean we set our stall out to sit deep and hit Blackpool on the break in a home game. Why would anyone do that ? Even RH at his supposed worst. Seriously.

 

We invited pressure on though, that is never a good thing, and a midfield of Ramires, Mikel and Zhirkov is not the same as Ballack Essien and Lampard. They were absolutely s*** in the middle of the park all game (for a Chelsea side), we bossed them in teh first half, then sat right back and invited them on in the second. We were lucky to get away with that.

 

 

A team, top of the table, of Chelsea's calibre don't need an invitation at 2-0 down to put pressure on. They do what teams at that level do, which is to throw the kitchen sink at you. Go and watch a video of the second half of that semi in 1985, and see how much pressure we 'invited' on to oursleves.

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