|[Blog] Hello Paul Jewell - Welcome to 2012!|
Written by itfcjoe on Tuesday, 28th Feb 2012 13:49
What a difference a few weeks makes in football, six weeks back Jewell was a dead man walking and now he seems to have won round a number of the nay-sayers. However, I could rephrase the first part of that sentence to say 'What a difference a formation makes in football'.
Paul Jewell has embraced the in vogue formation of 4-2-3-1 since the Blackpool game and the performances and results have improved drastically - it is clear that this formation was forced on Jewell by the personnel but he has been brave enough to keep it, and leave the high wage earners on the bench, so credit where it is due.
The problem I always felt with Jewell is that he was stuck in the past with regards to football tactics. In the last 10 years, the playing area has grown dramatically in the game of football, not literally of course. With the rule changes with regards to offside, it is no longer possible to play a high line and a compact game.
Think back to Arrigo Sacchi's Milan where the forwards positioned themselves around 35 yards ahead of defenders at all times (if you're old enough to remember/sad enough to watch tactics on YouTube!). This now means that the distance between defenders and attacks is to vast to line four men across it, or to have a diamond where two players are effectively in the middle of where play happens and isolated.
If you were to try and note down what formation a team is playing, rather than the traditional 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 - there almost needs to be a fourth 'line of play' - 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1. Gone are the days of a midfielder that is good going forward and solid defensively, the heart and lungs man, the box to box midfielder etc. Football positions can now almost be split into the following four categories:
- Defenders - Defensive midfielders (ball winners, holding players, deep lying ball players - think Andrea Pirlo) - Attacking midfielders (Wingers playing on natural side, wingers who cut in, number 10s - those who play in the hole and create things) - Strikers
Any players who were traditionally an up and down midfielder need to really reinvent themselves and this is why I believe the inclusion of Lee Bowyer and Grant Leadbitter led to poor performances for the team earlier in the season, they neither get forward enough or back enough so are bypassed. I think Leadbitter can play a role similar to what Andy Drury has been doing for our current team so I wouldn't write him off yet - he is young enough and a good enough footballer to adapt.
I hope Jewell sees this throughout the rest of the season and his recruitment is more structured for next season. Last year there was a scattergun approach and in my view we recruited people who were 'good players' without any thought given to how they will fit into a system - and in reality, what system and style of play we would look to play throughout the season.
If Jewell makes the same mistakes this summer with regards to buying players who don't fit into our current system then the sack will be too good for him! Obviously we do need to be flexible but they still need to be 2012 footballers so no central midfielders who can't play in the positions stated above.
Brighton 3-0 Ipswich
I will try and tactically review every game I go to between now and the end of the season, apologies for being a bit slack but I kind of lost interest in it when we were on a bad run making same mistakes week in, week out - and have been busy at work since the run turned round. Also apologies that we have to start with a defeat since the good run!
We lined up in the same shape we have since the Blackpool game, the energetic central three of Drury, Luke Hyam and Lee Martin where matched by Brighton, who lined up in an effective 4-3-0-3 - they played an exceptionally high front three and this caused us problems from almost the first minute.
The play was spread wide on a number of occasions and Will Buckley on the right wing, gave Aaron Cresswell a torrid time. Martin couldn't get on the ball and this was allowing their midfielders to pass from deep to the sideline hugging Buckley and Cresswell's lack of height was exposed. The third time this happened we were punished and went 1-0 down.
If I were in charge I would have slightly changed the formation to counter Brighton's threat, which was all coming from deep with balls for their pacey front three, by pushing Drury up and dropping Martin slightly so that more pressure was put on the ball in their defensive third to cut the supply chain off at source.
I think Hyam could have coped as a sole holding midfielder as they didn't produce much threat from their attacking midfield positions. We dominated possession for most of the half, but by them having a back four with three sitting fairly deep in front of them space was limited and we struggled to create anything of note other than a couple of long-ish range shots which the keeper saved.
What also didn't help us trying to get on top of Brighton was that Hyam had been booked so he wasn't able to be his normal combative self, he was also being dragged forward by the deeper lying Brighton three and this left us a bit out of shape for parts of the game.
We started the second half in the ascendancy and once again had a great deal of possession in threatening areas but couldn't break through. We didn't move the ball quickly enough and allowed them to get back into their shape and made it difficult to break down.
Some of the movement, especially down the left hand side, was a bit laboured and this was fairly easy to defend against and we struggled to create. Hyam was replaced by Leadbitter to add a bit more quality on the ball but before he had a chance to get into the game a dreadful kick by Arran Lee-Barrett was punished by Ashley Barnes to effectively kill the game.
After this, with Leadbitter's greater quality on the ball, and a reticence from Brighton to attack, we looked a little bit more threatening - however the ball didn't fall for us at any point in the box and it was really just one of those days. Jason Scotland replaced Daryl Murphy and joined Michael Chopra up front for the last 20 minutes but even he struggled to hold the ball up on what must have been a tricky pitch to play on.
The game petered out over the last seven or eight minutes and when a third Brighton goal was scored three minutes from time, I made a swift exit to get the train.
We didn't deserve to lose 3-0, and bossed possession against a good Championship side away from home. I think JET looked threatening on the ball and the team worked hard all game and had good energy.
There wasn't a huge goal threat and we were caught out the same way three times before a goal was conceded down our left. Damien Delaney needs to help Cresswell through the games and I have my doubts about him defensively away at good sides (not a criticism more an action point to improve on).
Some of the movement by Murphy and Chopra was a bit sluggish and they may be feeling effect of playing a lot of games recently. Hyam committed a rash challenge, which on another day could have been a red, and this yellow card affected his performance as couldn't harry and harass as much as usual - again, he's young and will learn and has been a revelation, so not a criticism.
Up Next - Bristol City (h)
I went to the return fixture and they were a very poor side, I hope Jewell sticks with the successful team from the winning run, with the possible exception of Tommy Smith. I rate Tommy and think he should be given a new contract, but after following his arduous journey on Twitter to Auckland (Ipswich-Heathrow-Bangkok-Sydney-Auckland), with a return flight this week he will be mentally and physically drained and will be an important player in the run in so we shouldn't risk injury.
Comfortable 3-1 victory.
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