Thus far in the 2011-2012 season, we have performed well enough to be in the top half of the table, but not good enough to contend for the title it seems. This league bears no guarantees: though doubtful, champions is not yet ruled out entirely. If we want to excel, whether we win the league or not, and if we want to secure Champions League for next season, I believe we are goint to need to restructure a bit. January transfer window aside, here’s what I would propose:
Ivanovich – David Luiz – Terry – Cole
Sturridge – Ramires – Mata – Kalou
Our back four should remain a back four. Leave Ivanovich, David Luiz, and Terry in the back; Cole could push up sparingly, but I would advise against it. He has largely been unproductive offensively. Leave him in the back. In this way, we have a four man defensive line. We could defend deep and prevent counter attacks. We would save our legs as well, since we aren’t pushing up. Thus ends my proposal for the defense.
Midfield. I propose we flood the midfield. Keep Romeu in a holding midfield role. Put Ramires and Mata both as attacking midfielders. Put Sturridge on the left or the right, but he seems to do well on the right. We could utilize Kalou on the left. Yes, you counted correctly, that gives us five in the midfield. We are slow defensively. If we don’t control the midfield and force the opponents out wide, it seems to me that we will continue our ineffectual defense. Controlling the midfield seems to me to cause a trickle effect: control the midfield, control the defense. Thus ends my midfield proposal.
I would give Torres the lone ranger forward position. After all, we spent £50 million on him, and Drogba looks like he won’t be staying for more than a year anyway. Give the role to Torres. Thus ends my forward proposition.
Positions aren’t the only thing we need to address. Let’s talk offensive third tactics. Our crossing sucks. It rarely leads to a goal. We need to get bi-line and stop the early crosses. If we can’t get bi-line, then we need to pull it back and switch the ball. Posession is key: don’t force a cross for the sake of crossing it. Cross with deliberate intention, and do so from the bi-line. Otherwise, play the counter attack. If we are able to play down the middle, focus on finding Torres. He can share with Mata, a quick one-two through ball and off to the races he goes. We need to stop this kickball madness too; keep the ball low and on the ground, making it easier for the receiving player to control the ball and do something productive. Thus ends my offensive tactics proposition.
Defensively, too, we must stop sending or outside backs forward. They are very unproductive and their absence leaves our slow center backs utterly exposed. Keep four in the back. As a result, keep tight in the box and force the opponents out wide. Let the wings help out on the sides for doubling up on the ball, and let the center midfielders drop back to protect against unguarded opposition from the flanks and hail mary crosses into the box. Thus ends my defensive tactics proposition.
Well, these are my two cents on the issue. Change is in order, and my two cents may or may not work. But, clearly the tactics employed over the last month are not working. Moving forward as we finish the season in 2012, let’s embrace change and secure a top four finish.