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Plan B, C....

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#1 Manno

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 09:12 AM

Throughout most of Levein's tenure it's clear that there is no Plan B - he consistently sticks to his 4-5-1 (either with one or two holding midfielders). In my opinion, the only time it works with one holding midfielder is if it is Darren Fletcher who sits back. With two, it should be Fletch and Scott Brown, allowing Charlie Adam to push further forward. But there is no real change; the only time we've ever gone for it in a game under Levein must have been at 3-0 down to Spain, when he threw on Forrest and Goodwillie.

Watching the Euros theres been a couple of systems which have impressed me, and got me thinking 'How would that work with us?'; Italy's 3-5-2 and Ireland's 4-4-2.

Quality players aside, I think the 3-5-2 could work in our favour, especially away from home to the likes of Croatia and Belgium. I'm not anticipating throwing our best central midfielder into the defence, but the game in the US showed us that (long season or not) Charlie Mulgrew seemed out of his depth at left-back, and that Gary Caldwell needs all the help he can get. A back three of Berra, Caldwell and Mulgrew could work, with Hanley, Wilson and Webster in reserve. We have plenty of full backs who are used to bombing up and down the wings, so playing three centre-halves could allow Hutton, Bardsley, Wallace and Whittaker alot more freedom. The midfield three could work in two ways; first, with a holding midfielder, and secondly with an attacking midfielder. I'd guess our best three midfielders would be Fletcher, Brown and Adam, although I think James Morrison could play as the attacking mifielder in this system. This would leave two strikers whose job would be to press the defence at every opportunity, a job that Kenny has tried for years. CMS, Mackie and Naismith are all capable of playing as a 'second striker', while I'm sure Goodwillie and Rhodes could also play alongside someone.
Favoured XI: McGregor/Gordon; Caldwell, Berra, Mulgrew; Hutton, Brown, Adam, Fletcher, Wallace; Miller, Naismith.

Ireland's 4-4-2 works because they play with 5-6 very defensive-minded players and 4-5 more suited to attacking. Stephen Ward (the left-back) being the key here as he's only recently been converted to left-back in the last couple of seasons. They seem to play with two holding midfielders, and two attacking midfielders/wingers. Again, I think this could work for us if we use the right players. Rather than playing Fletcher, Brown and Adam, one would drop out (in my view it would be Adam). We then have James Morrison and James Forrest who could play on the right, while Jamie Mackie and Steven Naismith have also been used in wide midfield roles for their clubs. Robbie Keane seems to sit deeper for Ireland. which is something I think Kenny Miller could do. He's not going to last forever, and it's frustrating seeing him chase down the ball himself like a headless chicken game after game. If he could sit slightly deeper, he could act as a link between the midfield and the more natural finisher, either Goodwillie or Rhodes.
Favoured XI: McGregor/Gordon; Hutton, Caldwell, Mulgrew, Bardsley; Morrison, Fletcher, Brown, Naismith; Miller, Rhodes

It's just a thought; it's frustrating going into every game knowing we're going to play 4-5-1, and being fed this tosh that it's an attacking system, when only one player looks capable of breaking down a defence. We need new ideas and we need them fairly quickly as we're up against some tough teams who are all capable of taking points off each other in the next campaign.

#2 ProudScot

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 09:15 AM

We do indeed need new ideas and a freshen up with regards to attitude and formation. These are all valid points and although I think your 352 idea may leave us a little exposed much of what you say is true and we certainly need to start having a go more.

NONE of these things will happen under Levein though, we will be playing the same formation, the same style and with the same lack of passion and tactical nous untill the day he is sacked....

#3 McManus4

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 10:09 AM

3-5-2 might be the way to go, with both Mulgrew and Caldwell playing their best with their clubs with this system. It doesn't even need to be as strict as that, with Martinez at Wigan playing a sort of 3-4-2-1. Included Morrison because no matter how poor he plays he'll find his way in. There is decent cover for this formation.

McGregor



Caldwell Berra Mulgrew


Hutton.......................................Bardsley

Brown....Fletcher


Morrison...................Naismith


Miller


--------------------------------------------------

Gordon



Martin Hanley Wilson


Whittaker.......................................Wallace

Cowie....Adam


Dorrans...................Forrest


Rhodes


Though the chances of Levein playing a system that gives our attacking players this much freedom is close to zero.

Edited by McManus4, 13 June 2012 - 10:10 AM.


#4 bossman4

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:48 AM

I'd love us to try the 3-5-2 and thought he may have tried it in the US. The team above is ok but I think Caldwell would have to be in the middle, essentially being the 'free' man as he has been with Wigan. A back 3 of Hanley, Caldwell and Berra would be good but certainly the cover would be decent enough and would certainly suit Mulgrew a lot more.

Levein did talk about the 3-5-2 on talk sport the other day that Serbia and Macedonia play it.
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#5 Bzzzz

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 01:56 PM

First things first to start trying to win games. Until we do that, in particular at home, then we will go nowhere.

It's all very well and good being a footballing visionary and tactical pioneer but until we start winning or even competing and trying to win then the whole thing is absolutely pointless.

I've said this so many times now it's even boring me, I do not believe we are as bad as our results would suggest. That just says one thing to me.
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#6 Tartacus

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 09:34 AM

IMO, We have been blighted for quite some time now by managers who are either second rate or very cautious (or both). The result is we seem nervous, tentative and at times too repectful of the opposition. Systems are important but they need building on a solid pyschological base. Most systems can work if the players and manager are in tune and confident. Spain would still look great playing 4-4-2. Mentally Scotland are shot to pieces right now. Hence mediocre teams can qualify for tournaments and we can't (Ireland being the obvious example). We are predictably cautious in our approach to games and our tactics (whatever they actually are) seem to hand the iniative to our opponents right from the start. Even pish poor teams think they can beat us at home and even seem to fancy a result at Hampden. This is just not good enough. No team should be coming to Hampden and expecting a result.
If the manager doesnt really trust the players its a problem. If the fans don't trust the manager its a problem. We are locked in a vicious circle. We are spiralling downwards steadily. I cant see any progress from Levein. The easiest way to try and change is to change managers. Rebuilding Scottish football is not on the agenda. Let's see how this forthcoming campaign goes (i am not optimistic at all).

Edited by Tartacus, 14 June 2012 - 09:36 AM.

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#7 Nial

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:19 PM

Irelands 4-4-2 didnt work on Sunday and showed exactly why we shouldnt play it. As soon as you come up against able players who can form triangles and pass their way around you, you face a heavy defeat due to being out numbered in midfield. Inicidentally, Trappatoni has faced criticism in Ireland for his negatvie tactics since he took over so this idea that nominally playing with 2 strikers makes you more positive and attacking isn't accurate.

Interesting that some people are advocating going with 3 Centre Halves, when it is acknowledged that it is a weak area for us as far as personnel goes, but people want to put one more "weak" player in there. Incidentally McManus4, both those formations you give have 1 more defender in there than we have played with under Levein, yet he's the negative one?
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#8 hannibal smith

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:28 PM

Interesting that some people are advocating going with 3 Centre Halves, when it is acknowledged that it is a weak area for us as far as personnel goes, but people want to put one more "weak" player in there. Incidentally McManus4, both those formations you give have 1 more defender in there than we have played with under Levein, yet he's the negative one?


just because there is 1 more defender does not make it more negative

Leveins 4-6-0 being a prime example

we played 3 centre halves around 10 years ago and i thought it worked quite well and the personnel was not of a much higher standard with the likes of Dailly, Pressley, Webster and Wilkie

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#9 big_matt

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:28 PM

I'll say again, it's not the formation that's the issue.

4-4-2 can be attacking or defensive
3-5-2 can be attacking or defensive
4-5-1 can be attacking or defensive
4-6-0 can be...eh...

In other words, it doesn't matter which formation we choose. As long as the players are instructed to be so defensive and the striker/s are left completely isolated then we won't win many games. A 4-4-2 under this manager just means we'll have two completely isolated strikers instead of just one.

#10 Nial

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:41 PM

Do you believe that we have enough players with a good enough level of technical ability, pace, speed of thought and all round football intelligence to make that whatever formation we could play under a different manager that all it would take is a switch of mindest to a more attacking one and we'd be qualifying again?
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#11 Squirrelhumper

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:55 PM

Do you believe that we have enough players with a good enough level of technical ability, pace, speed of thought and all round football intelligence to make that whatever formation we could play under a different manager that all it would take is a switch of mindest to a more attacking one and we'd be qualifying again?


Against the likes of Lichtenstein, Lithuania and Czech Rep? Yes I do.

#12 Nial

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:07 PM

Against the likes of Lichtenstein, Lithuania and Czech Rep? Yes I do.


Qualifying groups tend to be a bit harder than that.
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#13 big_matt

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:07 PM

Do you believe that we have enough players with a good enough level of technical ability, pace, speed of thought and all round football intelligence to make that whatever formation we could play under a different manager that all it would take is a switch of mindest to a more attacking one and we'd be qualifying again?


What I do know is that if you wont go past the halfway line (even at home against average teams) you are making qualification all but impossible. See exhibit A: Euro 2012 campaign.

#14 Nial

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:14 PM

What I do know is that if you wont go past the halfway line (even at home against average teams) you are making qualification all but impossible. See exhibit A: Euro 2012 campaign.


It was a serious question.
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#15 big_matt

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:19 PM

It was a serious question.


It was a serious answer.

A new manager wouldn't turn us into guaranteed qualifiers overnight but we are currently set up so ultra-negatively that we just can't score goals and can't win many games.