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Boro vs Wolves 1-2 (Bamford)


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It was fascinating watching the Wolves formation yesterday from behind the goal, at times it looked like they were almost playing with one centre back. The other two either side were squeezing up into the full back position pushing their wingbacks forward.

 

The shape of their team was like a big V with two midfielders sat in front of it, it gave us no room to get the ball wide and we were squeezed into a congested infield, we seemed to resort to the long ball too easily which was easily snuffed out.

 

My question is what would you have done to counteract that if you were Pulis? Did we need another striker on the pitch? Should we have had a more patient build up with us moving the ball across our own back four to find some space?

 

They reminded me a lot of Chelsea last season in their shape, obviously a championship version.

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Our midfield set up was frustrating. I understand the reasoning for it but the execution was poor. We looked to close the gap between our midfield and defence to stop them playing in those areas. That worked by and large. With three midfielders, you'd probably expect one of them to sit on Neves, their architect. That didn't happen. Clayton meandered aimlessly around the park filling gaps and not really contributing much on or off the ball. Neves had the run of the park. He kept playing diagonals behind Traore and Downing and had them turning which in turn blunted our attack.

 

On the ball our midfield was useless and this was our major downfall. Three midfielders all of good quality capable of playing at a top level in the Championship and they had no idea how to organise themselves when we took possession. This is probably the most frustrating aspect given Pulis' reputation as an organiser. Besic or Leadbitter would drop on to the toes of Gibson and Ayala to collect the ball (both of which are capable of playing in to midfield themselves) at which point the other of the two would drop square alongside him as protection and resort the option to pass forward to Clayton (wherever he might be) Traore who had two men on him most of the time, Downing who was usually deep or a long ball to Bamford who had three centre halves marking him. This was the most popular option and it doesn't take a genius to guess what happened most of the time.

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Our midfield set up was frustrating. I understand the reasoning for it but the execution was poor. We looked to close the gap between our midfield and defence to stop them playing in those areas. That worked by and large. With three midfielders, you'd probably expect one of them to sit on Neves, their architect. That didn't happen. Clayton meandered aimlessly around the park filling gaps and not really contributing much on or off the ball. Neves had the run of the park. He kept playing diagonals behind Traore and Downing and had them turning which in turn blunted our attack.

 

On the ball our midfield was useless and this was our major downfall. Three midfielders all of good quality capable of playing at a top level in the Championship and they had no idea how to organise themselves when we took possession. This is probably the most frustrating aspect given Pulis' reputation as an organiser. Besic or Leadbitter would drop on to the toes of Gibson and Ayala to collect the ball (both of which are capable of playing in to midfield themselves) at which point the other of the two would drop square alongside him as protection and resort the option to pass forward to Clayton (wherever he might be) Traore who had two men on him most of the time, Downing who was usually deep or a long ball to Bamford who had three centre halves marking him. This was the most popular option and it doesn't take a genius to guess what happened most of the time.

 

I think Clayton was instructed to play further up the pitch to sit on Neves and when we had the ball to get involved in the game, in reality he was just caught in no man's land most of the time. He's too slow to play in an advanced role against a team who have good technical players in midfield. Clayton should have been sat in front of our back four or sat on the bench.

 

I know Wolves had better players than us yesterday but tactically Pulis couldn't cope with their system either.

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It was fascinating watching the Wolves formation yesterday from behind the goal, at times it looked like they were almost playing with one centre back. The other two either side were squeezing up into the full back position pushing their wingbacks forward.

 

The shape of their team was like a big V with two midfielders sat in front of it, it gave us no room to get the ball wide and we were squeezed into a congested infield, we seemed to resort to the long ball too easily which was easily snuffed out.

 

My question is what would you have done to counteract that if you were Pulis? Did we need another striker on the pitch? Should we have had a more patient build up with us moving the ball across our own back four to find some space?

 

They reminded me a lot of Chelsea last season in their shape, obviously a championship version.

 

I'm not sure there was much we could do 11 v 11, they were better than us in every match up except Traore v Doherty. As soon as Neves went off Britt should've been on, which is obviously on Pulis. I think it was about 15 minutes after the first sending off when Britt finally came on. I think Pulis was unfortunate that he brought Cranie on literally 2-3 minutes before the second red which I'd hope would've changed that decision.

 

Howson should've started, I've got no idea why he was dropped and it proved to be a poor decision as we look as unbalanced in midfield as we ever did under Monk which is disappointing after the progress we'd made. Bamford unfortunately had a poor game, partially down to not having a teammate within 20 yards of him but also partially because his first touch was horrendously bad, illustrated by him messing up a brilliant chance laid on by Adama due to an awful touch.

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It was fascinating watching the Wolves formation yesterday from behind the goal, at times it looked like they were almost playing with one centre back. The other two either side were squeezing up into the full back position pushing their wingbacks forward.

 

The shape of their team was like a big V with two midfielders sat in front of it, it gave us no room to get the ball wide and we were squeezed into a congested infield, we seemed to resort to the long ball too easily which was easily snuffed out.

 

My question is what would you have done to counteract that if you were Pulis? Did we need another striker on the pitch? Should we have had a more patient build up with us moving the ball across our own back four to find some space?

 

They reminded me a lot of Chelsea last season in their shape, obviously a championship version.

 

I'm not sure there was much we could do 11 v 11, they were better than us in every match up except Traore v Doherty. As soon as Neves went off Britt should've been on, which is obviously on Pulis. I think it was about 15 minutes after the first sending off when Britt finally came on. I think Pulis was unfortunate that he brought Cranie on literally 2-3 minutes before the second red which I'd hope would've changed that decision.

 

Howson should've started, I've got no idea why he was dropped and it proved to be a poor decision as we look as unbalanced in midfield as we ever did under Monk which is disappointing after the progress we'd made. Bamford unfortunately had a poor game, partially down to not having a teammate within 20 yards of him but also partially because his first touch was horrendously bad, illustrated by him messing up a brilliant chance laid on by Adama due to an awful touch.

 

Yeah agree with all that, in hindsight Howson should have been playing in the position Clayton was in but it probably wouldn't have led to us getting anything from the game.

 

The last 15 minutes I would have stuck Ayala up front with Britt and Bamford either side of him, we would have at least had a presence in the box when the ball came in and we were hardly short of defenders at that point.

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Our midfield set up was frustrating. I understand the reasoning for it but the execution was poor. We looked to close the gap between our midfield and defence to stop them playing in those areas. That worked by and large. With three midfielders, you'd probably expect one of them to sit on Neves, their architect. That didn't happen. Clayton meandered aimlessly around the park filling gaps and not really contributing much on or off the ball. Neves had the run of the park. He kept playing diagonals behind Traore and Downing and had them turning which in turn blunted our attack.

 

On the ball our midfield was useless and this was our major downfall. Three midfielders all of good quality capable of playing at a top level in the Championship and they had no idea how to organise themselves when we took possession. This is probably the most frustrating aspect given Pulis' reputation as an organiser. Besic or Leadbitter would drop on to the toes of Gibson and Ayala to collect the ball (both of which are capable of playing in to midfield themselves) at which point the other of the two would drop square alongside him as protection and resort the option to pass forward to Clayton (wherever he might be) Traore who had two men on him most of the time, Downing who was usually deep or a long ball to Bamford who had three centre halves marking him. This was the most popular option and it doesn't take a genius to guess what happened most of the time.

 

I think Clayton was instructed to play further up the pitch to sit on Neves and when we had the ball to get involved in the game, in reality he was just caught in no man's land most of the time. He's too slow to play in an advanced role against a team who have good technical players in midfield. Clayton should have been sat in front of our back four or sat on the bench.

 

I know Wolves had better players than us yesterday but tactically Pulis couldn't cope with their system either.

 

If he was instructed to sit on Neves, he didn't do it. I'd agree with that though.

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It was fascinating watching the Wolves formation yesterday from behind the goal, at times it looked like they were almost playing with one centre back. The other two either side were squeezing up into the full back position pushing their wingbacks forward.

 

The shape of their team was like a big V with two midfielders sat in front of it, it gave us no room to get the ball wide and we were squeezed into a congested infield, we seemed to resort to the long ball too easily which was easily snuffed out.

 

My question is what would you have done to counteract that if you were Pulis? Did we need another striker on the pitch? Should we have had a more patient build up with us moving the ball across our own back four to find some space?

 

They reminded me a lot of Chelsea last season in their shape, obviously a championship version.

 

I'm not sure there was much we could do 11 v 11, they were better than us in every match up except Traore v Doherty. As soon as Neves went off Britt should've been on, which is obviously on Pulis. I think it was about 15 minutes after the first sending off when Britt finally came on. I think Pulis was unfortunate that he brought Cranie on literally 2-3 minutes before the second red which I'd hope would've changed that decision.

 

Howson should've started, I've got no idea why he was dropped and it proved to be a poor decision as we look as unbalanced in midfield as we ever did under Monk which is disappointing after the progress we'd made. Bamford unfortunately had a poor game, partially down to not having a teammate within 20 yards of him but also partially because his first touch was horrendously bad, illustrated by him messing up a brilliant chance laid on by Adama due to an awful touch.

 

I agree, I would have preferred Howson to start. But on the flip side of that he was awful when he came on. Seemed to misplace every ball. Maybe he would have been more up to speed had he started. Who knows.

 

I don’t think we played that badly overall. Just beaten by a better side. We were all over them second half. Just lacked that bit of craft to create enough good chances.

 

Traores ball, and Bamford’s finish were both wonderful bits of football.

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We come back to the same problems week after week on this forum, mostly because the majority of people on here know what they are talking about. We need a No10 to add some guile to our attacking threat, a midfielder to link everything up going forward and a left sided attacker with pace and a cross on him. Tactically yesterday was frankly embarrassing, playing three defensive midfielders playing hop scotch in the centre circle was never going to work against a team as good as Wolves are going forward. You would think we were the away team trying to keep the score down. and once they had cottoned on to what we were doing, Neves just pulled us apart. We need three points against Burton so I hope that Pulis can admit he is wrong, drop Leadbitter, and put some movement back into midfield, his system yesterday hardly gave Besic a kick. I live in hope, but in reality, I guess GL will be the first name pencilled in on the team sheet.

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We come back to the same problems week after week on this forum, mostly because the majority of people on here know what they are talking about. We need a No10 to add some guile to our attacking threat, a midfielder to link everything up going forward and a left sided attacker with pace and a cross on him. Tactically yesterday was frankly embarrassing, playing three defensive midfielders playing hop scotch in the centre circle was never going to work against a team as good as Wolves are going forward. You would think we were the away team trying to keep the score down. and once they had cottoned on to what we were doing, Neves just pulled us apart. We need three points against Burton so I hope that Pulis can admit he is wrong, drop Leadbitter, and put some movement back into midfield, his system yesterday hardly gave Besic a kick. I live in hope, but in reality, I guess GL will be the first name pencilled in on the team sheet.

 

What would you have done differently from the start yesterday now we've had the benefit of watching the game?

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We come back to the same problems week after week on this forum, mostly because the majority of people on here know what they are talking about. We need a No10 to add some guile to our attacking threat, a midfielder to link everything up going forward and a left sided attacker with pace and a cross on him. Tactically yesterday was frankly embarrassing, playing three defensive midfielders playing hop scotch in the centre circle was never going to work against a team as good as Wolves are going forward. You would think we were the away team trying to keep the score down. and once they had cottoned on to what we were doing, Neves just pulled us apart. We need three points against Burton so I hope that Pulis can admit he is wrong, drop Leadbitter,  and put some movement back into midfield, his system yesterday hardly gave Besic a kick. I live in hope, but in reality, I guess GL will be the first name pencilled in on the team sheet.

 

What would you have done differently from the start yesterday now we've had the benefit of watching the game?

 

I watched Villa play them the other week and they flooded their midfield above the centre circle to prevent Wolves using their excellent wing backs, with Neves man marked for 90 minutes and it worked as Villa just snuffed them out. I think Pulis tried something similar yesterday but sat back far too deep, giving them the initiative. I have watched a Pulis inspired team for two seasons at WBA and it is always the same, it is like a boxer with only a counter punch to rely on.

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only watched the game on TV, but the impression i got was that the wolves players game plan from the off was to  pressure the ref into handing out cards to our players... didn't that come back to bite them...Can't think why they  even tried that 'cos, as was shown by their defending at the end and their finishing power they were certainly, at this time, better than us.

If we'd equalised or Heaven forbid, scored a winner, i'd have been embarrassed by the result.

It was a nothing game anyway really, despite losing we are in a marginally better position now than before

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We come back to the same problems week after week on this forum, mostly because the majority of people on here know what they are talking about. We need a No10 to add some guile to our attacking threat, a midfielder to link everything up going forward and a left sided attacker with pace and a cross on him. Tactically yesterday was frankly embarrassing, playing three defensive midfielders playing hop scotch in the centre circle was never going to work against a team as good as Wolves are going forward. You would think we were the away team trying to keep the score down. and once they had cottoned on to what we were doing, Neves just pulled us apart. We need three points against Burton so I hope that Pulis can admit he is wrong, drop Leadbitter,  and put some movement back into midfield, his system yesterday hardly gave Besic a kick. I live in hope, but in reality, I guess GL will be the first name pencilled in on the team sheet.

 

What would you have done differently from the start yesterday now we've had the benefit of watching the game?

 

I watched Villa play them the other week and they flooded their midfield above the centre circle to prevent Wolves using their excellent wing backs, with Neves man marked for 90 minutes and it worked as Villa just snuffed them out. I think Pulis tried something similar yesterday but sat back far too deep, giving them the initiative. I have watched a Pulis inspired team for two seasons at WBA and it is always the same, it is like a boxer with only a counter punch to rely on.

 

Yeah looking back we could have probably pushed our defence a good 10 yards up the pitch, they had no pace up there with Afobe. Saying that the runners from deep might have caught us out like Costa nearly did in the second half.

 

You're right about badly lacking a wide left player and a number 10, that's been an issue for how long now, about 2 years?

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I thought the line up yesterday was set up not to lose rather than to win. You play Leadbitter & Clayton together against a team that has the best defence in the league, it equals no creativity so you get what you deserve.

Downing's shooting for a player of his supposed skill was atrocious, Friend should have gone accident or not. We huffed and puffed and Wolves were fairly comfortable, even after the sending offs we weren't that threatening, can't remember Ruddy making a worthwhile save.

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They're the second best defence in the league, trying to score 2 against 9 men behind the ball isn't exactly simple. Another 10-20 minutes and we would've leveled.

 

So you agree we are not good enough to beat a 9 man team. May as well give up the club.

 

Personal attacks are banned on this forum but really, posts like this just make you look like an utter doyle.

 

They should be banned on this forum but they aren't as evidenced by the fact that this post is still on the forum.  I agree with the basic sentiment mind, whilst we didn't exactly look that good even with a two man advantage, I'm not sure giving up the club makes much sense on the back of one disappointing game  :rolleyes:

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What would you have done differently from the start yesterday now we've had the benefit of watching the game?

 

The problem with that question is that the manager we have essentially has one way of playing and one way only.  So regardless of what other people may have done, I'm not sure Pulis would have done a great deal different even with hindsight.

 

I thought Bamford being so isolated played into their hands as it made it pretty difficult for us to cause them any problems.  You think about the line up yesterday and we basically had one striker and two other attacking players on the park, one of which isn't that influential when it comes down to it.  If you don't carry much of a threat you simply make it easier for the opposition to threaten you.

 

That midfield three lacks much pace and mobility (I just call it legs) but it showed and let's be honest it's showed against inferior sides to Wolves.  No idea what was going on with Clayton and what that was meant to achieve but as it clearly wasn't working it's staggering that changes weren't made at half time - that's not even hindsight, that's just what was obviously required during the game.  We were two nil down and going nowhere and has it happens we didn't make any changes until after they'd gone down to 10 men - I'd say Pulis was scared but I would have thought he was too experienced for that tbh.

 

We have a manager who wants to play a limited type of game and we don't really have the squad for it - I don't ever want the squad for it for what it's worth.  I might have tried Downing through the middle along with Besic and Clayton maybe with Harrison out wide (although it's unclear to me at the moment why we even signed him).  Bamford thrives on intelligent players behind him, not on crosses into the box or whatever else, so maybe Downing further forward through the middle could have given us some of that whilst potentially adding a more aggressive attacking player out wide in Harrison.

 

As others have mentioned we could have pushed up a bit more but we lack pace at the back and Pulis is the type of manager to drop deeper not push further up.  We could have matched their formation and went man for man all over the pitch perhaps but again I don't see Pulis doing that as it's not in his nature.  

 

When it comes down to it I don't think we've improved at all under Pulis, I'd say we just got a favourable run of games against poor sides and we mostly took care of business and we got an injury to a player that has probably helped us out although it should never come down to something like that.  I doubt a Pulis lead team could have done much yesterday really even with the benefit of hindsight.

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