So all-in-all – the defensive stats are telling us, that defensively, we are under no more pressure than before and we are battling as much as we were in the first half of the season as we are now. Our passing statistics are almost identical except for our passes forward, we are now passing forwards a lot less frequently than we were. And finally our possession (attacking) statistics are very similar but we aren’t creating and shooting as much as we were in the first half of the season.
I think it’s safe to say our attitude starting games has been on the whole correct, however, our games do seem to be following a familiar pattern. Start well, create and miss a host of chances, opposition score with one chance, queue capitulation. We lack a belief that we can turn a losing position into a winning one. And statistically above, we can say our attitude has been right, so that only leaves formation, team selection and tactics that can be the current problem. Not to mention individual errors which are gradually creeping into our game. For the first goal against Newcastle, see Skrtel, for all 3 goals against QPR, well take your pick from any number of players who made mistakes.
So how do we correct this slump? Well we need to find a way to start being ‘hard to beat’ again. Batten down them their hatches. If that means picking a defensive minded team and grinding out a scrappy 1-0 win then so be it. We can’t let ourselves fall into the trap of getting used to losing. If we do, we’re in real trouble. It sounds easy, but pick the right personnel, in the right formation, give them the right tactics, and this team should not be losing games as easy as they have been.
Certainly 4-3-3 did not work for us against Newcastle. We were lopsided with Gerrard and Bellamy on the right side, and with Shelvey (who had a good game) on the left side but getting dragged into the midfield battle. We need to go back to being solid. I would suggest we go back to a 4-2-3-1 system. It’s a system we are used to and a system the players have played enough times before. We must have both Spearing and Shelvey sitting in front of the back four. With Shelvey licence to roam slightly further up field. This give us a solid base, with Maxi, Gerrard and Suarez all sitting behind Carroll this gives us attacking impetus. However, the 3 players behind Carroll are the key to unlocking the opposition defences. They must be fluid. They must rotate positions, and they must pull back into a defensive zone quickly when we lose possession. All of which we haven’t been doing well enough recently. If we can get this system working again I believe it will be the key to getting us out of this mini-slump.
Here’s to 3 points and a win.
All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com – Subscribe Now (Includes a author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.