Style of play

JCRD

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Im not one to usually start any kind of thread, I tend to tag onto any thread available but felt a tad compelled to start something on our style of play. This isnt a trigger happy post but a post based on whats happened over the last couple of years in terms of performances in the main.

When Poch first came and particularly at WHL we had a style of play an identity which I feel over the last couple of years has since disappeared. It could be as Poch calls it adaptation or perhaps it is evolving into something else but the question is "to what"?

We had a style of play that meant our full backs bombed forward supporting our attack, we played with intensity and purpose and that bought the best out of all our players - Kane, Dele, Eriksen, Dembele at the time etc. Now our play and tactics is such that it kinda makes our players look tired, lackadaisical, slow. Kane for example today had nothing, Eriksen was useless as were one or two others but i dont really blame them, I blame how we play and how we are set up. I dont think it is right that we have one of the best strikers in the world who was running around like a headless chicken searching for the football... and it isnt the first time.

So my question is has our actual play gone backwards, are we really getting the best out of our current players? Is Poch overthinking things eg the diamond formation or not playing our best formation and tactics to our strengths?

I appreciate it sounds ludicrous given how far we have come and how close we were last season to winning the CL.

Thank you for your time...
 

stormfly

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I think Poch used the right system for the players we had at the time. Walker and Rose were fantastic that season and Dembele and Dier were a fantastic shield for the defence. Dele and Kane clicked and it all fell into place. Then we sold Walker, Dembele got old and Dele’s levels dropped a bit as he was young and we’ve never been the same.
 

dricha1

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I reckon it’s a combination of things.
Not adequately replacing Walker, loss of form - injury to Dier and Wanyama who were our protection to the defence, and Poch also being ruthless with our older players.

I also think he took to heart the Poch has no Plan B and has taken it to the extreme with a Plan B, Plan C, Plan D.....
 

Scott Spur

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I do understand that today we played in a compact way to avoid being carved open by a first rate City side, at home. But I also miss our pressing game, we’ve been ‘out pressed’ by both City and Liverpool in recent times and have seemingly discarded it as a tactic. A real shame.
 

mpickard2087

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The technical stuff I don't see that much difference to be honest. We're missing from then a bit of thrust down both flanks, and Dembele's ball conduit insurance policy stuff in the centre circle (but not really going anywhere else), but the nuts and bolts are the same. Quite slow play out from the back, struggling against teams that press high, too many of our players enjoying too many touches of the ball etc etc. were all there before week in, week out.

Main difference is the intensity, I think our press leads that. What we do off the ball feeds into our tempo with the ball. I don't think Kane, Alli, Eriksen etc. press as well as they used to at the front, or work as hard to tell the truth. Son has never been great at it. Lucas does it intermittently. Lamela of course does but has been a bit part player. Standards have slipped and that has a knock on effect on our defence/rest of the team. People look at the defenders when assessing our defensive record but we're not as compact as we used to be, teams get through us much easier and most of that is what happens at the front and then those at the back are scrambling to cover and plug gaps.
 

SdB

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Completely agree. When I watch games I no longer have any idea what we're trying to do.
Today I thought Sissoko was there to add protection to KWP but so often he was too far forward or out of position and KWP was constantly dealing with an overlap.
Pressing has gone
Pissing about passing at the back seems to be flavour of the month as does passing sideways for ages and then finally giving it to Lloris to lump aimlessly.
Today Eriksen and Kane simply jogged around up front closing down

I'm hoping that Lo Celso and Ndombele getting up to speed will see us passing forward quickly and breaking through the lines at pace but I am really starting to wonder about Poch's tactics. Seems odd to say given top 4 is now regualr and last seasons CL run but for me so often our football is too slow and turgid.
 

DEFchenkOE

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I have the same concerns not just based on today but on quite a lot of games last season and villa this season. I listened to pochs interview and he mentioned how unsettled the team is due to the window and I'm more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think we have to judge our style of play in a couple of months when lo Celso and Ndombele are a bit more settled as they should change the dynamic of our midfield when they're adjusted. Also we'll know if we have a semi committed or fully committed Eriksen by then.
 

Yiddo100

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I do understand that today we played in a compact way to avoid being carved open by a first rate City side, at home. But I also miss our pressing game, we’ve been ‘out pressed’ by both City and Liverpool in recent times and have seemingly discarded it as a tactic. A real shame.
Pressing is great against certain opponents, playing the villas Norwich and sheff u ect we will be fine, when we go to anfield and the ethiad using the same tactic will be suicidal.
Today I feel we played a mourinho style game, sit back and play on the counter, however city were just to good and didn’t allow us to get out
 

walworthyid

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Pressing is great against certain opponents, playing the villas Norwich and sheff u ect we will be fine, when we go to anfield and the ethiad using the same tactic will be suicidal.
Today I feel we played a mourinho style game, sit back and play on the counter, however city were just to good and didn’t allow us to get out
I think you are probably correct. I've seen us go and try to press city and get destroyed. I think we are still settling as a squad and today we just didn't quite have the right balance. Without son we didn't have a threat going forward and as a result city knew that they could press us.

I hope, and believe, that once we settle and integrate our new players we will be more cohesive.

We also wont play city every week!

It also shows how far we have come when we get a draw away at possibly the best team in Europe, with key players missing, and both the fans and manager are not happy.

About 95% of the teams in world football would be celebrating that result tonight!

It's no longer good enough for spurs to hang on in games, no matter who the opponent!
 

TheHodFather

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Firstly, I'd like to stress that I fully expect that we'll get better once the new boys have bedded in. But I agree that the quality of the performances hasn't really been great for a little while now, and overall we just don't look as strong as we did a few years ago. The CL run was obviously fantastic, but we also lost a worrying number of games last season.

As others have said, Walker and Rose were such a key part of how we played a few years back. Their pace and the way they got up and down the flanks caused teams a lot of problems. We've never properly replaced Walker, and Rose isn't quite the player he was.

I also don't think the constant changing of formation helps either. It's good to have some flexibility, and you can probably make a decent argument that Poch was a bit too inflexible in how he played a few years ago. However, I do wonder if we've gone too far the other way now. I literally have no idea how we're going to line up these days, and I can't help thinking that maybe the players are having to overthink things a little as a result of all the formation changes. In a familar set-up that you're used to, you know exactly what your job is and you can just get on with it. But when your job keeps changing from week to week does that introduce an extra level of complexity? Instead of being able to play largely instinctively, is there a degree to which the players are now having to also think about what their job is this week? Dunno.
 

fishhhandaricecake

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Im not one to usually start any kind of thread, I tend to tag onto any thread available but felt a tad compelled to start something on our style of play. This isnt a trigger happy post but a post based on whats happened over the last couple of years in terms of performances in the main.

When Poch first came and particularly at WHL we had a style of play an identity which I feel over the last couple of years has since disappeared. It could be as Poch calls it adaptation or perhaps it is evolving into something else but the question is "to what"?

We had a style of play that meant our full backs bombed forward supporting our attack, we played with intensity and purpose and that bought the best out of all our players - Kane, Dele, Eriksen, Dembele at the time etc. Now our play and tactics is such that it kinda makes our players look tired, lackadaisical, slow. Kane for example today had nothing, Eriksen was useless as were one or two others but i dont really blame them, I blame how we play and how we are set up. I dont think it is right that we have one of the best strikers in the world who was running around like a headless chicken searching for the football... and it isnt the first time.

So my question is has our actual play gone backwards, are we really getting the best out of our current players? Is Poch overthinking things eg the diamond formation or not playing our best formation and tactics to our strengths?

I appreciate it sounds ludicrous given how far we have come and how close we were last season to winning the CL.

Thank you for your time...
Great post and fully agree.
I thought one reason was walker going and rose injury means full backs with no pace so change our style + adapted to CL and also finding a plan B but now I’m just clueless to how poch actually wants us to play or how he plans to set us up with our best XI, it’s not consistent or obvious anymore and if anything it’s beconing a bit of a random mess, our form was quite poor at the end of last season and our performances have been the same so far this season.

I like poch and he’s squeezed a lot out of our team but he’s very hit and miss with tactics and I’m frustrated by how he doesn’t seem to give us a style of play anymore. Sure last season we had a lot of injuries etc but this season we have no excuse and we’ve been pony first 2 games and very lucky to have 4 points.
 

Primativ

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I also have to say I have concerns at the moment about Poch.

Firstly, our system and formation seem all wrong.

Secondly I believe he made a big mistake not starting Moura today. We needed pace and we had none of it.

Thirdly I’m not convinced the balance in CM is correct.

So yeah, I feel over the last 18 months we seem to have badly stagnated and our convincing performances are few and far between.

I don’t feel Poch is getting the best out of the talent we have available compared to say Klopp.
I sincerely do not see them as having a vastly superior starting 11 or squad but on the pitch they look so much more polished and well defined style of play wise and individual and collective performance wise.
 

kcmei

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we dont have fullbacks that can handle attacking and defending against a rampant man city side
 

Bobbins

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It's threads like this where I really miss some of our old posters like BC or Joey55, who would be weighing in here with some real heavyweight tactical analysis stuff.
 

yiddo

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Pressing is great against certain opponents, playing the villas Norwich and sheff u ect we will be fine, when we go to anfield and the ethiad using the same tactic will be suicidal.
Today I feel we played a mourinho style game, sit back and play on the counter, however city were just to good and didn’t allow us to get out
This.

Our game plan fell over because we couldn't play out under the City press. On the few occasions we did manage to get through the first line of the City press, the 2nd line of press was just as aggressive and 99% of the time we were dispossessed or forced into an error before the ball got anywhere near Harry.
We had no answer at all and that is what Poch and the team need to work on because I think both City and Liverpool will attempt to do this to us.

I thought Poch would try and break the lines through Winks & Ndombele but I don't remember it happening once in the game. Maybe Pepe anticipated this and shut it down?
 

@Bobby__Lucky

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For the first time poch has choices. Don't think he's handling that all that well, however new players and fitting in your best players doesn't always make the best team.

Lot of uncertainty plus new parts to the spine are making us look a bit disjointed.

I was a bit disappointed with the flat 442/4411. You can see there is a rotation going on but the players are moving around in to shape but have no movement. I mentioned this last week against villa. Lots of interchanging and changing shape. Into a 4321 into a 433 lamela dropping back eriksen forward, Sissoko left, Sissoko right, Sissoko middle, ndombele left then central. Lots of interchanging but no real. Movement aside of that. Interchanging is not movement, we are very static and it is causing us problems. No showing for the ball, no expand contract. This could be down to new personnel and new systems maybe a bit of both. But the players seem a little confused and maybe don't have confidence in the planning.
 

cliff jones

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65% possession, 50% in our own defensive third
never more than three good chances created per game
aim to beat the oposition by a goal, having faith in the defence not to concede

too many touches on the ball, no ambitious passes, no one two s or running beyond

Looks to me like Poch has hit a bit of a ceiling?

Anyway, I'll take this because we were sht for years
 

hellava_tough

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The last couple of seasons there seems to have been a pattern of poor first half performances, with a lack of intensity, with the tempo being raised in the second half where we usually go on to win the game (sometimes with a late goal).

It looks like Poch is playing percentage football; he knows that we're fitter and better at finishing than most teams, and probably mentally stronger too, so he tells the lads to keep possession in the first half, don't tire themselves out, and then to turn the screw in the second half to squeeze out the victory. War of attrition stuff.

3 or 4 years back we didn't play in this fashion; as I seem to remember we were flying out of the blocks in the first half and blitzing teams, winning games comfortably by half time. However, there was criticism that all this high-energy football led to us running out of steam, especially in the seasons where we finished behind Leicester and Chelsea.

Perhaps Poch realised this and decided to fundamentally change his tactical approach, so we made it to May with our energy levels intact.

Of course the problem with this 'new' approach is that it's simply not good enough to beat the likes of City and Liverpool in the league, who can play with a high tempo for the whole season.

Anyway, that's the overall tactical approach as I see it, but there are other factors to consider; our full backs not being what they once were, injury and international tournament problems in previous seasons, a weaker squad compared to our rivals, Poch getting team selections and formations wrong, not having a home stadium for 2 seasons, etc, etc.

There are a lot of moving parts to consider and they're all relative to our rivals, who are actually some of the best squads that English football has ever seen.

Overall, we're still good for top 4 finishes, but we certainly shouldn't be resting on our laurels. Firstly, we'll never win anything with that attitude and secondly you'd have to say that over the next couple of seasons there's a chance that 2 from Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal will get their act together and start to challenge again.
 

stonebrow

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This.

Our game plan fell over because we couldn't play out under the City press. On the few occasions we did manage to get through the first line of the City press, the 2nd line of press was just as aggressive and 99% of the time we were dispossessed or forced into an error before the ball got anywhere near Harry.
We had no answer at all and that is what Poch and the team need to work on because I think both City and Liverpool will attempt to do this to us.

I thought Poch would try and break the lines through Winks & Ndombele but I don't remember it happening once in the game. Maybe Pepe anticipated this and shut it down?
Good job we have another 34 games after we’ve played these two then!
 

nugsie

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I think part of it is down to the fact all teams now see us as a huge club and one of the best teams in the league. We've catapulted ourselves there over the past 3-4 years or so.
Nearly all teams now come to stunt our play.

Combine that with certain players leaving, new players bedding in and Poch trying new formations/tactics etc, I think our style of play or identity can get lost.
 
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