Written by WiganGooner
When we look for markers during the summer to show us where we went wrong I think we should consider the lack of true quality we have shown up front this season.
Playing one up front has stifled our attacking threat to a point that when we do bomb forward to try and press home advantage and nick a goal (because that’s all we seem to do now) we leave ourselves open on the counter. How many times have we seen it this season?
We are the only side that employ a defensive midfielder, give him the job of being that said defensive midfielder and then let him roam forwards with impunity, leaving a less-experienced, but perhaps more eager player in Jack Wilshire to stay back and try and mop up.
That’s getting away from my point though, this season we haven’t achieved a single “Goal of the month” on Match of The Day. Not one. Every year for the last fifteen-odd years we’ve always had at least one entry, not this year. We haven’t shown significant quality to do it. Why? Because going forwards we aren’t as creative, as clever or as swift as we used to be.
The Premiership has got quicker and we’ve got slower. We try to play a continental passing game, but in this Formula 1 Premiership it is too easy to defend against. It’s too slow! We even changed formation to try and play this way. We can’t play that passing game in a 4-4-2 because there aren’t enough triangles, enough combinations of players close enough to the ball, so because it doesn’t work in a 4-4-2 we’ve changed to a 4-2-3-1 to accommodate Cesc and this passing game.
This Barcelona-esque passing game is no use to us in the Premiership, in Europe it can work as it’s a more tactical game. In the Premiership it’s about pace, power and penetration. We can’t play our passing game like Barcelona, be it down to personnel, technique or opposition we haven’t been able to boss teams and score 5 goals.
The passing game is the true experiment and it looks like it has failed. Project Youth still has time to prove itself, but the Barcelona effect has to stop. Or we will struggle again.