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A Night to Learn From

Antonio Conte will likely not sleep for the next couple of days having binge-watched the latest video analysis of our defeat to Liverpool; and there will be lots to discuss having dropped five points from our last two games, with some areas of our team limiting the effectiveness of how we play on the ball, and how the opposition plays against us.

Starting from the back -

It has been apparent for more than a season now that we have needed the option of fullbacks who can pose a consistent threat to the opposition, and who can help create space for our wingers. Now with our attacking focus aimed specifically at wide areas, it's never been more important. Liverpool exposed this brilliantly yesterday, by being able to aggressively press Hazard and Willian with the knowledge that our fullbacks won't be there to offer them support.

Midfield -

There is logic to why Conte persists with the midfield three of Matic, Kante and Oscar. All three players are tactically astute and defensively disciplined to act as defensive shield for our defence to protect us from the opposition counter-attacking right at the heart of our defence. Which achieves the same result as Guardiola's use of 'inverted fullbacks'. So far it has worked, although Conte has the rather frustrating job of trying to eliminate any mistakes and lapses of concentration from our defence, with 1/3 of the goals we conceded this season being from set-pieces, while the rest have been from mistakes, or more noticeably our defenders not being aware of players coming in behind them (think Lovren and Capoue's goals).

Where the problem lies in our midfield (excluding Kante) comes down to personnel. Both Matic and Oscar have shown so far to be limited in their passing range, ability to move the ball quickly across the flanks and lack of goal threat. One Fabregas free alternative to this problem is for Conte to reconsider his view of using David Luiz solely as a CB and to search within the squad at a certain Nathinal Chalobah.

Yesterday was disappointing, however we can't expect ourselves to be suddenly performing like a title-winning team having performed like a mid-table team for the majority of last season.

posted on 17/9/16

I agree with most of it, but, although Fabregas will offer more in an attacking sense, his defensive duties are limited by the fact he is slow and couldn't tackle a goldfish.

Chalobah also is pointless talking about as the chances of it happening is about 0.01%.

Now I would definitely prefer to have Luiz at the back than that liability Cahill, he needs someone to hold his hand as does pretty much everyone in our defence apart from Dave and the person who does the hand holding is Terry so he should be in there every opportunity when fit.

As a few of you may have now realised that the problems from last year are still there, and they are there.. They've been there even at the start of the season. We've GOT to be better off the ball and we HAVE to work hard as ANY team who are decent will steal points of us this season.. We must be better than the first few games as I'm starting to feel like maybe we've been lucky so far which has led even myself into a false sense of security...

Let's wait and see, give it a month, exclude the Arsenal game as if we can beat them home and away in a terrible season then technically we should beat them Saturday.. I guess we'll have to see

posted on 17/9/16

We're not blessed with great midfield options so Conte may have to use Chalobah if he still sees Fabregas as an impact sub

posted on 18/9/16

Once in a while someone will take time to actually write something insightful, this article is one of them

Yesterday Liverpool found it so easy to press us because there wasn't anyone in our team with any decent passing range. What we really needed was a midfielder who was comfortable in possession and able to make a long pass to bypass their midfield. Oscar, Matic and Kante were uncomfortable doing this. In fact the only player able to make a decisive pass yesterday was Luiz

The other issue was the fullbacks. Azpi playing LB, and Ivanovic at RB, doesn't give us any natural width at all. Late in the game we needed the support of the fullbacks to try open teams up, however Azpi and Ivanovic failed to do this. The team I envy the most in the premier league for their fullbacks are City, as their effectiveness in supplying width is unrivalled by any EPL team.

posted on 18/9/16

Very good article.. but i have to ask one question...

Who here honestly thinks Fabregas would have been given the time and space to influence the game on Friday?

I for one do not!

I think the issue is the full backs as per my article yesterday. Withy the best teams pressing like never before, the only way to counter is to have skillful and fast full backs who will stop teams pressing to far high up the pitch.

posted on 18/9/16

comment by Joaquin (U16342)
posted 13 hours, 21 minutes ago
Once in a while someone will take time to actually write something insightful, this article is one of them

Yesterday Liverpool found it so easy to press us because there wasn't anyone in our team with any decent passing range. What we really needed was a midfielder who was comfortable in possession and able to make a long pass to bypass their midfield. Oscar, Matic and Kante were uncomfortable doing this. In fact the only player able to make a decisive pass yesterday was Luiz

The other issue was the fullbacks. Azpi playing LB, and Ivanovic at RB, doesn't give us any natural width at all. Late in the game we needed the support of the fullbacks to try open teams up, however Azpi and Ivanovic failed to do this. The team I envy the most in the premier league for their fullbacks are City, as their effectiveness in supplying width is unrivalled by any EPL team.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
And Spurs...with Walker and Rose. Yes Walker may not be the best defensively, but he is a threat going forward..Rose has it both.

posted on 18/9/16

Fabregas wouldn't have been able to influence the game, though he would have given us an option (alongside Luiz) of the long ball to Costa.

posted on 18/9/16

Brana chipped in with some long balls

soccer?lol.

comment by Gazza (U1266)

posted on 18/9/16

It is very likely that Luiz in midfield is the only way to get our best 11 players on the pitch at the same time so it would stupid for Conte to not explore the possibility.

A Luiz, Kante and Fabregas midfield is very interesting on paper.

posted on 19/9/16

I like the way you say start from the back and immediately hop to the defence...start at the back Courtois is not a very good keeper hes a shot stopper but thats it. He doesnt control his area his passing and kicking are at best average, when making saves much of the time he pushes it back towards the attackers(schoolboy error) and it seems our defence has lost a lot of confidence in him. At least twice on Friday he remained on his line when he should have come for the ball and put pressure on Luiz, which makes people think Luiz is at fault. yes Luiz has a brain fart every now and then but no more than Cahill but Luiz is 10 times the player that Cahill is even Brana is a better back than Cahill. i want a back four of dave ivan terry and Alonso (hope hes ok). push Luiz up into Matics spot bring in Cesc for Oscar and drop Willian for Moses. Willian has been carp this season so far.

posted on 19/9/16

Ironically when Courtois first joined us his shot-stopping was what least impressed me. Doesn't seem to be as dominant and aggressive in his box as he used to

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