This is going to be hugely controversial and I have my tin hat ready. Really disappointed in Shearer’s MOTD analysis.
He called out the players and slammed them for their performance. Yes, absolutely bang on. But not one mention of the tactics or formation which is the absolute crux of the problem. Basically seems like he doesn’t want to give criticism to his mate.
He’s calling out Almiron, whose role has significantly changed in Bruce’s team. Last year he was a component in a unit, we got players forward with more pace and purpose. He created space and dragged defenders out of position, turned defence into attack, and always had support. Perez and Rondon were always close to him in support or running off him, the wing backs pushed up and arrived late in attacks without being picked up, and Longstaff and Hayden took turns in getting forward depending on who it suited better tactically.
You watch highlights of us from last season from January onwards and when we changed the the back 3. Yes it was turgid at times, the main aim was to stifle and get behind the ball, but look how many men we got forward when we did attack.
Now Almiron is getting the ball deep and is 40 yards away from Joelinton – a striker who played his best football for Hoffenheim running off people, not isolated 40 yards from his teammates.
The wing backs stay deep and the only one of the central 3 players (who you could throw a f****g towel over by the way) who bursts forward is Hayden because he’s the only one athletically capable.
It’s the difference between having a world class tactician like Rafa, then going to a clueless dinosaur like Steve Bruce and, as much as I love him, Shearer’s focus on Almiron was a complete and utter cop out.
I didn’t expect him to slate his mate, but I expected better than that from a man who normally ‘gets it’.