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Boro V Derby County 3-0 (Assombalonga, Clarke OG,Johnson)


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I'm in love with a 71 year old man ❤️ There, I said it!

Finally! Nothing to dislike about that whatsoever given what's available. Just hope we win with a good performance now so we don't go back to the same old at the weekend!

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1 minute ago, boro-unger said:

Was it a Man U fan though?

Nah it was a Liverpool fan who called a few years back just before Liverpool got really good, wanting Klopp out then as well.  I actually remember the first call he made oddly enough.  He said I think he's taken us as far as he can, well yeah, you won the Champions League and you won the Premier League.  There isn't really any further to go after that 🙂

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Ok, here's a question relating to this game, and all of them so far this season.  This thought occurred to me yesterday and I meant to pop it on a thread today but forgot.  Is it possible that our high press is actually part of the reason we have been struggling to score goals? 

I looked at another stat (groan) the other day, which showed that we hardly play with the ball in our own third, and I think we all know that anyway.  We get the ball forward quickly usually, and when we don't have it we press high up the pitch in an attempt to win it back.  But is this kind of compressing or compacting the game a little bit and forcing other teams to play deeper themselves, thus they have more players between us and the goal, if we do successfully win the ball back?  Do you get what I mean? 

First half there wasn't much room for us to exploit, and I thought we did a pretty bad job of trying to play through them, but in the second half when they were pushing on, we had more room, and our two goals came really from counterattacking from mostly deeper positions.  The third goal we won it back on half way and had two players forward against their two back.  The second goal the ball got played to Spence who beat his man and started sprinting, they had a few more players back but we also had 4 players getting forward and our players were ahead of all but two of theirs.  Obviously Tav then had his shot saved and the ball got recycled for the goal.  I just wonder if a deeper press would open up more space for us to counter on, let teams come out a bit more and then try and ambush them kinda thing.  

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10 minutes ago, Changing Times said:

Ok, here's a question relating to this game, and all of them so far this season.  This thought occurred to me yesterday and I meant to pop it on a thread today but forgot.  Is it possible that our high press is actually part of the reason we have been struggling to score goals? 

I looked at another stat (groan) the other day, which showed that we hardly play with the ball in our own third, and I think we all know that anyway.  We get the ball forward quickly usually, and when we don't have it we press high up the pitch in an attempt to win it back.  But is this kind of compressing or compacting the game a little bit and forcing other teams to play deeper themselves, thus they have more players between us and the goal, if we do successfully win the ball back?  Do you get what I mean? 

First half there wasn't much room for us to exploit, and I thought we did a pretty bad job of trying to play through them, but in the second half when they were pushing on, we had more room, and our two goals came really from counterattacking from mostly deeper positions.  The third goal we won it back on half way and had two players forward against their two back.  The second goal the ball got played to Spence who beat his man and started sprinting, they had a few more players back but we also had 4 players getting forward and our players were ahead of all but two of theirs.  Obviously Tav then had his shot saved and the ball got recycled for the goal.  I just wonder if a deeper press would open up more space for us to counter on, let teams come out a bit more and then try and ambush them kinda thing.  

I definitely think our high press makes the game very scrappy. Because we press so high there is lots of players in 1/3 of the pitch. There’s no room for the players to work with. Obviously it helps defensively as we’ve seen this season, even the ball playing sides like brentford couldn’t get going. However, it definitely affects us attacking wise as the opposition team is always cramped in one third of the pitch and for players like Patrick Roberts who thrive off space there really isn’t much there for him except for when we counter

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@Changing Times Certainly a valid question. Especially the point about compressing and compacting the pitch/space further up.

With the players we have at our disposal currently, a counter attacking style would likely suit us better. We are obviously defensively very solid, so although I'm always a little apprehensive inviting pressure, we can manage it well. Especially with how we set up as a team as a defensive unit. Then when we win the ball back deeper, we have the likes of Tav, Spence and Johnson who can use their pace to exploit the space in behind. That said I wouldn't want to see us stick 10 men behind the ball for 80+ minutes. I think if we won the ball deep I'd like to see us transition quickly and effectively with us also attacking in numbers.

That said with the high press there are 2 ways I look at it. You could either attempt to steal the ball higher up the pitch off the defenders, before the opposition midfield are active in the play. For example using today's players Britt, Watmore, Roberts and Tav pressuring Derby's back 4 and nicking the ball off them at that initial stage, isolating the defence alone against our 4 attackers, giving us a numerical advantage for a small amount of time.

Or you could go the route of a high press with the intention of pinning a whole team high up the pitch, so going man for man against the midfielders and defenders. Effectively preventing a team from crossing  a certain point on the pitch (halfway line as an example). Which is what we have done a fair bit this season. But the downside to that as you rightly point out, is if you win the ball you've got the entire opposition team to get through. At the moment I don't think our team have the technical ability across the first 11 to break down compact defences as of yet. We've seen that in a lot of games this season.

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21 minutes ago, DanFromDownSouth said:

@Changing Times Certainly a valid question. Especially the point about compressing and compacting the pitch/space further up.

With the players we have at our disposal currently, a counter attacking style would likely suit us better. We are obviously defensively very solid, so although I'm always a little apprehensive inviting pressure, we can manage it well. Especially with how we set up as a team as a defensive unit. Then when we win the ball back deeper, we have the likes of Tav, Spence and Johnson who can use their pace to exploit the space in behind. That said I wouldn't want to see us stick 10 men behind the ball for 80+ minutes. I think if we won the ball deep I'd like to see us transition quickly and effectively with us also attacking in numbers.

That said with the high press there are 2 ways I look at it. You could either attempt to steal the ball higher up the pitch off the defenders, before the opposition midfield are active in the play. For example using today's players Britt, Watmore, Roberts and Tav pressuring Derby's back 4 and nicking the ball off them at that initial stage, isolating the defence alone against our 4 attackers, giving us a numerical advantage for a small amount of time.

Or you could go the route of a high press with the intention of pinning a whole team high up the pitch, so going man for man against the midfielders and defenders. Effectively preventing a team from crossing  a certain point on the pitch (halfway line as an example). Which is what we have done a fair bit this season. But the downside to that as you rightly point out, is if you win the ball you've got the entire opposition team to get through. At the moment I don't think our team have the technical ability across the first 11 to break down compact defences as of yet. We've seen that in a lot of games this season.

I'm not a massive fan of the second way and it is the way we've set up more often than not this season. But even with that general tactic I feel like there's better ways of exploiting it and we actually managed it in parts tonight - to me the key is set pieces. It we get the ball up early, do our high press then give the ball asap to Roberts, spence and tav in particular then they will draw fouls and corners. We just need to then be better at capitalising on these opportunities when we get them.

It's not pretty but I do think with a couple of tweeks, the major one being more adventurous wing play, we can score a lot more goals in this system than we are.

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4 minutes ago, Neverbefore said:

I'm not a massive fan of the second way and it is the way we've set up more often than not this season. But even with that general tactic I feel like there's better ways of exploiting it and we actually managed it in parts tonight - to me the key is set pieces. It we get the ball up early, do our high press then give the ball asap to Roberts, spence and tav in particular then they will draw fouls and corners. We just need to then be better at capitalising on these opportunities when we get them.

It's not pretty but I do think with a couple of tweeks, the major one being more adventurous wing play, we can score a lot more goals in this system than we are.

I'd agree, with the squad available to us I don't think a full team high press quite works for us. I think sitting deeper, not pressing  as high up and letting the opposition push forwards to open up space behind their defence suits us best, with team in it's current form. Combine this with situational high presses like the first part I mentioned and as you say an emphasis on making the most from set pieces too could well be a real good tactic for us.

I do think we have these basics in place already, but as you say a bit more adventure in certain areas could make all these little parts a really effective whole.

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Interesting question really, to which there is no easy answer. I guess it’s probably one of the essential questions of football strategy.

Perhaps one of the reasons behind our excellent defensive record (so far) is that we do press, thus containing the opposition in their own half. Although playing the ball around in midfield might open up more options, it does give the other team more time to organise their defence. There is a lot to be said for counter-attacking football – basically the element of surprise – but it is risky because you are playing too much in your own half and over-relying on your defenders. I’m not a great fan of that, however good they are.

To be honest, I’m quite happy with the way things are at present. Effectively we scored twice tonight (I don’t count own goals) and we were pretty clinical, which is a welcome change.  

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What a great result and I loved the lineup! Amazing how we didn’t crumble and let in loads of goals with Roberts in the team. Hopefully he gets more involvement going forward. 
 

nice to see Spence and Johnson doing well and getting some credit too as that hasn’t happened much so far this season. Bringing them on when we are ahead may be a useful tactic given they will be more likely to have space to run into which suits them. 
 

I know Watmore was a bit rusty as we’d expect but I think if he stays fit he could be a real bonus for us this season. 

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I really enjoy the way we play.

And I think the last third will be sorted out in the coming games. 

If we had been more clinical this season, we could have a handful more goals and maybe more points. 
At the moment we are 5 points after the magical 2 points per game, and NW had only a few games last season plus a weird pre-season to turn it around. So you could say, we have been turning it around by learning while doing. Imagine how good we might become in 2021? 
 

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