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Diamond Formation - could we adopt it?

Stoke executed the diamond formation very well yesterday, and it led me to wonder whether this would be a good fit for the players we have available. People have been demanding that Celina play as a 10 - but in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 there are no strong options for the left attacking position. Not only that, but as we well know Ayew isn't a natural right winger either. On top of that our best head-height crosser of the ball is Bidwell - and in a diamond formation the width comes from the full backs. 

Given the players we have available a diamond would be a good fit, with Ayew and Baston up top (with Routledge as an option off the bench), Celina playing at the tip of the diamond (with any of Byers, Dhanda or Routledge deputising), Grimes anchoring the midfield, and any two of Byers, Fulton, Carroll and Dhanda taking up the wide positions in the diamond. 

Ayew and Baston have shown they have a good work ethic, which would help us maintain a high press with the diamond - as illustrated by Stoke yesterday. Celina would have to up his work rate defensively to do a similar job to the one performed by Joe Allen yesterday - but to be fair Cooper has been getting more out of Celina defensively already this season - so I don't think its unrealistic to ask him to improve further. 

It's a bit of a radical departure from our current setup - but it does seem to put a lot of round pegs in round holes. If we are to make a big change like this, the international break is as good a time as any to implement it. 

Comments

  • edited October 6
    Grimes isn't suitable to be the anchor in a diamond. One of the two at the wide points of the diamond perhaps. But to be the anchor you must have energy, tenacity, strength, and ball winning ability. Grimes has many attributes, but none of those. 

    For me, we don't have a player good enough to perform that very important role so a diamond is not a goer for me. 

    Brownie often mentions having an 'African' player in midfield - while I'm not quite sure ethnicity matters, I sort of know what he means when he says it. It's that type of all energy, hustling player that we lack. 
    jasper_T
  • I don't think I could disagree more. For a start Grimes is energetic, and our best tackler, the exact opposite of what you claim. Statistically Grimes is very strong in passing and strong in holding onto the ball, tackling (style of play: "likes to tackle") and blocking the ball, and only weak in "defensive contribution" - which all-in-all hardly supports your thesis:  https://www.whoscored.com/Players/138584/Show/Matt-Grimes.  He also has the range of passing for that deep-lying role - I think he'd relish it. 

    I know what you mean by an 'African' player in midfield - and again I find it amazing that anyone who supports a team that boasted the class act that was Leon Britton as its fulcrum, would champion the sort of athletic, physically imposing defensive mid that corresponds to many a African defensive mid. Nothing wrong with that sort of player, and would suit Cardiff to a tee, but for a possession based team we really should be looking for a ball hogger in the Leon mould. 
  • @Wyn,

    Firstly, you've sort of made my point for me there. I'm not sure about the veracity of that website personally, but if we're going to run with it, then acknowledging he is weak in "defensive contribution" constitutes a massive problem in what is a completely different role to a deeper lying midfielder in a 4-2-3-1. In the system we usually play, two players tend to play a bit deeper, Grimes + 1 usually. So he has help. He has cover. 

    In a diamond, he would be isolated. And the demands of the role are completely different. You have to have mobility, dynamism, energy and your primary role is to protect your back 4. If that website is correct and he's weak in "defensive contribution" then that doesn't sound a very good fit to me.

    Secondly, you're misrepresenting my point about an African player. If you'd read my original post properly, I clearly stated that I don't see why the ethnicity of a player matters. I was simply acknowledging what I believe Brownie meant by "African" player, which is a player with certain characteristics to play the holding role in a diamond. Characteristics that in my view Grimes simply does not have enough of. 

    Leon was a fabulous player but in a completely different system and role to a diamond so it is futile to make that comparison.
  • Could a match fit Kalulu fit the bill ?
    He says he can play anywhere. 
  • Whoscored measure "defensive contribution" by volume of headers, interceptions, tackles and recoveries, which are going to tend towards the low side in possession-oriented teams. They consider his tackling a strength due to the high success % of his tackling rather than the number he regularly has to perform.

    Strangely enough Fulton isn't considered weak in his defensive contribution despite their own stats saying he has only made 0.1 more tackles and interceptions per game, 0.2 less blocks (shots and passes) and twice as many fouls. His tackle success rate is lower and he's dribbled past more often. Someone at whoscored has a clear anti-Grimes agenda.
  • Grimes isn't perfect as a defensive mid by any means, and his failed attempts to steal the ball in the Reading and Stoke games led directly to the equalisers in both games. But a diamond formation needn't be a rigid 4-1-2-1-2 in all phases of play. In the defensive phase the players occupying the sides of the diamond can drop back to make a three, giving Grimes more defensive cover than he would have in a double pivot. In fact Juventus are currently playing a 4-3-1-2 under Sarri, to accomodate Ramsey. This in spite of Sarri's notoriously inflexible 4-3-3 at Napoli and Chelsea. If it's good enough for Juventus, why not for us, especially as we lack quality out wide?
  • The formation didn't hold us back when we were top of the league- we also don't look too dusty defensively at tough places like Leeds Bristol etc. 
    No need to change the plan - just execute it better.
    I firmly believe that the problem agaisnt Stoke was fatigue. Our mistake was not rotating our players with a quick turn around IMO 
    rob_h
  • Jackareme said:
    The formation didn't hold us back when we were top of the league- we also don't look too dusty defensively at tough places like Leeds Bristol etc. 
    No need to change the plan - just execute it better.
    I firmly believe that the problem agaisnt Stoke was fatigue. Our mistake was not rotating our players with a quick turn around IMO 
    I've already agreed that fatigue is a partial factor - but it doesn't really stack up as the main reason given that we were dominant in the latter stages, with Stoke dominating proceedings in the middle part of the match. 

    I'm not saying we should definitely switch to a diamond formation, but without pacy wingers (apart from the raw Garrick) and a number of square pegs in round holes, then I would like to think that Cooper has the flexibility to consider this as an option. There is a danger of us becoming predictable - a Plan B is a must for any team. Potter changed formation several times in a match, why not Cooper?
  • I think the fresh legs of George Byers on 62 and Wayne Routledge on 66 helped us during the latter stages.
  • Jackareme said:
    The formation didn't hold us back when we were top of the league- we also don't look too dusty defensively at tough places like Leeds Bristol etc. 
    No need to change the plan - just execute it better.
    I firmly believe that the problem agaisnt Stoke was fatigue. Our mistake was not rotating our players with a quick turn around IMO 
    We can't expect the same plan to work to the same result every week. Not every team we face has the same plan up against us. "Focusing on us" only goes so far. It's competitive sport, not one man against his laptop.
    Wyn
  • Unfortunately we know how plan B's work out for us. I do agree about pace though, and that is rotating the personnel in the current formation.
  • edited October 8
    Jackareme said:
    Unfortunately we know how plan B's work out for us.


    Agreed.

    What got us into the mess that led to relegation was not paying enough attention to Plan A. 

    When Pulis was at Stoke, he had the same noise directed at him, but in the opposite way - fans demanding a better spectacle. So he tried tinkering a bit, signing a few more technical players. But he didn't change the overall style because ultimately he did not believe in it. They became the same muddled mess as us, just in a different way. 

    You either sign a load of 6 footers and play percentages, or you don't. You can't have a halfway house in my opinion. It doesn't work - or if it does, it won't for very long (Monk). 
    JackaremeGingergit
  • This does strike me as binary thinking. If having a Plan B is such a bad thing God knows what you made of Potter last season, who had plans A, B, C, D and E. What underpinned all his tactical setups was a commitment to building from the back through the thirds, with the ball mainly on the ground. Long may that continue, but that commitment to a possession based game still allows plenty of variation in terms of how we deploy the team formation wise. 
    Pablo
  • Wyn said:
    This does strike me as binary thinking. If having a Plan B is such a bad thing God knows what you made of Potter last season, who had plans A, B, C, D and E. What underpinned all his tactical setups was a commitment to building from the back through the thirds, with the ball mainly on the ground. Long may that continue, but that commitment to a possession based game still allows plenty of variation in terms of how we deploy the team formation wise. 
    partially agree Wyn - but I worry when players are asked to adapt their formation and roles - I much prefer coaching them in their role to achieve excellence. As Cooper says there is a reason we set up as we do - because we believe it gives us the best chance to win matches. Avoid confusion and concentrate on execution is my mantra. And have all of the age grade teams play exactly the same way as well to provide continuity to the first XI
    Pablo
  • Good academies don't have their age group sides play "exactly the same way" as whatever the first team happens to be doing. You have broad policies regarding the style of play but systems, gameplans etc. are always adjusted to specific players available, type of game being played (the u23s didn't play PSV the same way they played Sunderland) and other development decisions (Stuart Webber asks Norwich's academy sides to play 4-4-2 as it gets two strikers and two left-sided players on the pitch at a time, and they're the hardest/most expensive positions to buy).

    It's not good for the kids to learn one single way of doing things, and not good for the academy to produce a limited bunch of players and damn the ones that don't fit into the vision of the current manager of the senior team. He'll be gone by the time most are in a position to graduate to senior football either here or elsewhere.
  • Don't agree @jasper_T - if we are (for example) developing hard physical direct athletic specimens with less emphasis on technical and passing ability we are developing them for other clubs - not our own.
    Pablo
  • Jackareme said:
    Don't agree @jasper_T - if we are (for example) developing hard physical direct athletic specimens with less emphasis on technical and passing ability we are developing them for other clubs - not our own.
    That would be "broad policies" and when you look at Bidwell and Cabango maybe that's Cooper's preference anyway?
  • @jasper_T

    If you're right on that - and I'm not entirely sure you are, yet - that a more physical type of player is Cooper's bag, then we are heading for trouble unless Birch is prepared to unconditionally back his man. 

    I said this a couple of years ago when Clement was struggling and I'll say it again - if you employ a manager who wants to play a more physical direct style, then give him the players to implement it, or don't employ him in the first place.

    This was the problem under Monk, Guidolin and Clement - the club continued to pay lip service to "the Swansea way" by signing neat and tidy technical players, whilst simultaneously going in the opposite direction with their managerial choices. 

    In very simple terms: don't give the likes of Allardyce or Pulis the job if you aren't giving them carte blanche to ditch the technical players and sign loads of 6-footers. 

    That is effectively what we did during that spell. Potter was the best manager we had for years for getting the max out of the type of squad we had. I'm not convinced Cooper is as snug a fit right now but we will see. 
    Jackareme
  • How many formations did Potter play?
    How many times did he change mid match even?
    Tactical flexibility is the game and doing the unexpected now and then
    Playing Celina at number 10 Dyer at number 7 and Petersen at 11 maybe at home and the successful alternative in away games with Dhanda at 10 and Celina at 11 ( maybe )
    Remember Liverpool used to drop Toshack for away games back in the day and bring him out at Anfield
    What's wrong with 2 different approaches?
  • No matter if it’s a diamond, Xmas tree, or whatever formation,  It has to be better than the  6 at the back, at home, Cooper’s playing at this moment in time. 
    4 at the back, with Grimes and Fulton in front of them, is the reason no one is supporting the attacks. 
    Its not geophysics, rocket science, brain surgery, it’s about getting more bodies up the pitch,  for feck sake. 
  • I'm with Jacka here. The formation is irrelevant really (though I don't think it suits our players) it's more about the philosophy and style of play.

    Potter's style was to play open, enterprising, progressive passing football.

    Cooper (so far) seems to be more of a pragmatist and all the key metrics back that up. 
  • Forget the diamond they’re for expensive ladies.the best formation is 4-5-1 for swans but you’ve got to get the balance. Fabiasky, cook walker Williams Coleman 
    bode martinez Briton 
    trundle michu James 

    Cutler
    monk
    roberts
    cornforth
    hodge
    lorente 
    routledge






    Chris_SharmanSeaJack
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