Back in the middle of June I wrote an article looking at the last half a dozen games of last season and thinking that given that starting 11 we would be doing OK. However, since then the midfield has left and the attack has a new look. So the question becomes have we strength in depth or do we still have square pegs in round holes?
Looking at our current squad I’ll skip quickly over Goalkeepers, because with Krul out on loan we have Sels, Darlow and Elliott chasing the starting berth.
In defence we have right footed right backs in Anita, Gamez and Yedlin as well as left footed left backs in Lazaar and Haidara. Clark and Dummett are also left footed and can play full back so no excuses there. Center backs we have Lascelles, Mbemba, Haley, Clarke and Dummett all chasing two places. For once in recent years I’m happy about our defence.
In midfield things are a bit more fluid. It depends upon our formation. In my opinion we only have 2 outright defensive central midfielders in Hayden and Colback, with arguably Anita backing them up, so I’m not thinking 4-2-3-1 as much as 4-1 something. In the midfield we have left footers in Colback, Aarons, Ritchie and Atsu, right footed in Gouffran, Perez, Diame, and Shelvey. I’m thinking 4-1-3-2 with a diamond midfield.
That would give us Ritchie, Atsu and Aarons on the left, but only Gouffran on the right with Diame and Shelvey up front in the middle. That of course assumes we play left footed left wingers and right footed right wingers. Football used to be a simple game.
Then up front we have two big men, Mitrovitch and Murphy and two second strikers in Gayle and Perez.
Looking at that squad it is clear that we could have done with another right footed winger, hence the McMannaman, Morrisson and Markovitch rumours. Fortunately I think we dodged a couple of bullets there. Obviously I have assumed no versatility and players only covering one position and given what we have several formations are doable, I’ll leave that to the Gaffer.
This squad bears very little resemblance to last seasons, and that in itself can cause problems, but we have got off to a reasonable start and with players coming back and others bedding in, hopefully we can look forward positively to a successful season.