Here’s a little test of your tactical sense of the game. Have a look at these three scenarios and see what course of action you would take.
1) Your team is at home and leading 1-0in a game you really need to win. It is halfway through the second half and you are well on top. You have two strikers on the pitch. One (for arguments sake lets call him Kane) is playing terribly so needs to be replaced immediately. The other (lets call him Toro’s) is just back from injury and is short of fitness so is tiring so will have to come off soon. What do you do? Do you…
a) Bring a forward on for Kane and then shore the midfield up with a defensive player to see out the last few minutes
b) Push your Right-Midfielder up the pitch as he is a converted striker (lets call him Kite) and replace Kane with another right midfielder and then replace Toro’s with a forward so you keep both your shape and your momentum in order to get the second goal that will win the game
c) Replace Kane with your worst player (lets call him Benny Noon) and then remove Toro’s for for second worst player, a defensive midfielder (called Mucus). This then allows your opponents who have not really been in the game as an attacking force in the second half, to seize the initiative. Benny Noon then proceeds to give away a stupid free-kick and allow the opposition their best chance to score, which they take. You then bring your one forward on the bench on the last 30 seconds in a bold and daring move (hope the sarcasm is coming across!).
2) You are at home. Your team has just equalised thanks to a moment of magic. There is 25 minutes to go. You have decided to counter the opposition’s attacking force consisting of one striker and one attacking midfielder with two defensive midfielders. You have 2 strikers and a winger on the bench. The opposition have not left their half since they scored and you have been well on top. What do you do? Do you….
a) Withdraw one of the defensive midfielders for a striker and play 4-4-2 in search of the win
b) Really go for it by switching to 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 formation and go for the win.
c) Do neither and leave both defensive midfielders on, both strikers on the bench and play for the draw
3) You are away. You have played well in the first half but have struggled in the second half with Toro’s getting frustrated by his lack of support. Even so, you are well on top and you are playing against a team who is missing its creative force. As a result their strikers have had no service and your keeper has not had to make a save. What do you do? Do you…
a) Take off your worst performing player (lets call him Bubble) for a striker.
b) Take off your second worst performer, who has been completely anonymous (Mucus) and put on a striker.
c) Take off Toros for a winger, leaving you playing a 4-2-4-0 formation. Then take off Benny Noon (who astonishingly has played quite well) for Kite and play him on the right. Mucus then concedes a penalty, which the opposition score. You then decide to play a striker for the last 7 minutes but take off your best player (lets call him Gerald) to do so.
If you answered aor b: Then congratulations! You like attacking football and are aware that you need to score goals in order to win games. If you answered c: then thanks for reading Rafa!
The stupidity of Rafa’s decision making in the last three games has amazed me. I’m sure he must think the way the football pools are scored is the same way league games are scored as we always play for the draw. We have managed not to win three games we have been in total control of and it is all down to his aversion to attacking. We have also conceded two goals thanks to the failure of zonal marking, which he either can’t coach, or our players can’t do. Either way we have to scrap this system, as it only works when everyone stands still as the ball comes in. We simply couldn’t handle Cahills movement and it led to two goals.
Our tactics in the second half of the Wigan game were a complete joke. We played like an under-7 team in that we just gave the ball to our best players and stood back and let them do everything. Lucas showed he has the intelligence of a plank of wood in tackling Koumas the way he did.
Mascherano is really worrying me this season. He has completely regressed. In fact, he is now plying like Momo Sissoko. He is just launching himself headlong into tackles he has no realistic chance of winning and his passing is appalling (I am aware he set last nights goal up, I’m talking about the season as a whole).
Wigan was missing their best player and one creative force (Valencia), but they do have one real weapon. He is, in my opinion, one of the hidden gems of the league. I am talking about the free-kick taking of Ryan Taylor. Now, Liverpool are a professional club, they will have scouted Wigan many times and Rafa will have watched tons of video so he will have known about Taylor and warned his players to be disciplined around the area.
Cue Mascherano and Lucas, who took every opportunity to foul Wigan players and give Taylor countless opportunities on goal or to deliver a dangerous ball into the box. Mascherano nearly lost us the game when one of his reckless challenges led to debutant Rodallega hitting the bar right at the end.
The only times Benitez has brought attacking players on in the last three games is after we have conceded late equalisers. This is not good enough and we need a manager with a pair of cojones who is not afraid to win.
Someone on TV last night was describing Benitez is a ‘glass half-empty manager’. This is not true. I would describe him as a ‘not only is his glass half-empty there is a lid on it so he doesn’t lose any more to evaporation’ manager.
We have now drawn our last 4 games and have gifted Man United the initiative. We are now behind Chelsea on goal difference and at the moment I wouldn’t bet n us finishing ahead of Aston Villa who are only one point behind (and have a manager who likes to win games, not draw every single one!).
We play Chelsea on Sunday. My money will be on the Benitez victory, or as we all know it, 0-0. I cannot see us winning a title while he is in charge. We need a manager who goes for the win and is not content sit back on a slender lead. Benitez is not that man..