qldvillan says ‘Change the way we play at home or be content with 6th or below.. Again.’
We are undoubtedly a superb team away from home. I put this down to the vision Mon has had for the team and how he has constructed a style of play that fits this vision. Put simply, it works.. AWAY FROM HOME!
I like a good statistic here and there and this one is no different. We were the third best team away from home this season, 4pts behind Man U and 2pts behind Chelsea. 4,5 and 6pts clear of arsenal, city and spurs respectively.
One of the reasons i believe we are so successful away from villa park is that the onus is on the home team to push on and try and win the game, and the pace we have on the counter attack is a huge asset in this respect. we are able to sit back and let teams come at us with the knowledge that there’s space in behind for Gabby, Ash and Downing to push into and work their magic.
However, we shoot ourselves in the foot at home by taking the same approach – a fundamental error in my opinion. we finished as the 12th best team at home. the onus is on us to force the issue, yet we play the same deep line and don’t push up when we have possession, expecting teams to commit the same amount of men forward in their attacks as they would at home. it just doesn’t work like that and our counter raids are closed down more easily as there isn’t that space in behind for Gabby and co to apply the afterburners.
At times its almost as though we are ‘scared’ to commit forward for the fear of a counter attack. what we don’t seem to realise is that pace can also be used in defence, not just attack. I’m not saying gabbs should be getting back but certainly ash and downing have the pace and stamina to do so, but for me, downing seems lazy at times in defence and could put in a bit more of a shift.
As such, i feel we should be playing two completely different systems, one for away and one for at home. keep the away system the same, minus Heskey. Re-jig the home system to incorporate two central midfielders who both push forward in attack.
We can either play 4-5-1 with one player still sitting in front of the back 4 and two pushing on with gabby as the lone striker, or 4-4-2. i think now that our defence is more solid we can handle not having that holding midfielder at home which will also allow us to apply the extra strike power up front. (key operating word here is strike power – ie a goal scorer. not a Heskey. a creative midfielder is going to create a lot more goals than a hit and hope for Heskey’s flick ons for Gabby or his goal scoring prowess.) two creative midfielders supplying two goal scorers is better than one creative midfielder supplying one goal scorer.