Do The Statistics Lie?
Article submission by voiceoftheholte
Do the statistics lie?
Last season we played 38 league games and used 3 different starting formations, we played 4-3-3 which was 4 defenders, 3 central midfielders and three forwards (one of which was actually a winger, Ashley Young). This pretty much mirrored the formation used by Ron Saunders when we won the League. We played 7 games with this formation (Man City, Liverpool, Sunderland at home and Chelski, WBA, Spuds and Stoke away).
We won 4, drew 1 and lost 2 scoring 12 goals and conceding 10. This is an average of 1.85 points per game. Over a season this would get 70 points, enough to qualify for the champions league more often than not.
We played 4-3-3(4-5-1). This was where we had both Milner and Young, not playing as out and out wingers but supporting the lone striker, Gabi. The midfield 3 generally consisted of Sidwell, Barry and Petrov. With this formation we played 13 games (Blackburn, Boro, Manure, Fulham, Bolton, Arsenal and WBA at home and Arsenal, Bluescouse, Wet Spam, Hull and Sunderland away).
We won 9, drew 3 and lost 1 (Boro at home when Sidwell gave them a goal in the last minute). We scored 25 goals and conceded 12. This was an average of 2.31 points per game. Over a season it would be 88 points. Enough on most occasions to win the league.
The remaining games we played 4-4-2 with two out and out wingers in Milner and Young, and Barry and Petrov as the middle two. With this formation we played 18 games (Wigan, Chelski, Stoke, Spuds, Bluescouse, Wet Spam, Hull and the Barcodes at home and Pompey, Blackburn, Man City, Liverpool, Manure, Bolton, Fulham and Boro away). We won 4 (Hull, Pompey, Barcodes and Blackburn. Not exactly great scalps and Blackburn aside very average performances). We drew 7 and lost 7. We scored 17 and conceded 26.
This was a return of 1.08 points per game and would get us 41 points per season. Relegation form.
Young and Milner are both great players, but these facts simply highlight that they can not play in the same team as part of a 4-4-2 formation, only as part of a 4-3-3 (4-5-1, call it what you want). If MON can not see this fact and continues with that formation we are in trouble. It is not a Heskey, Carew, Barry, Laursen issue. It is a formation. By persisting with it only amplifies the other weaknesses in the team such as Cuellar, Davies being a weak partnership, lack of natural leader, getting overrun in midfield due to lack of numbers.
It is simply not possible in today's football environment to play two out and out wide men because every other club knows that to combat it you simply have to win the midfield battle.
MON the stats do not lie. Please adjust your formation accordingly.