Blind analysis – Fulham Villa

Average position charts from ESPN.  Things to note:

Looks like the team’s going for a sort of old school imbalanced back four.   This is not uncommon in football’s history, and attacking full-backs are an important part of the game now.   At Barcelona they have a system in which Dani Alves storms forward, whereas the left back is less progressive and Sergio Busquets drops back while Alves raids.   Riise is clearly going to play a very aggressive role on the left, so I can see how – for now – the three centre-backs will shuffle over to cover for this.  You can see how much more advanced Riise was than Hughes.

Also interesting are the relative positions of Murphy and Etuhu.  The annoying Murphy/legs gone platitudes we see on message boards were missing Murphy’s fine contribution to the team, but it’s also true that Murphy is at an age where footballers typically lose something.  He had played a more defensive role under Hughes, a sort of Pirlo job that maximised his attacking and defensive talents, while Etuhu was off the leash a bit more, and Sidwell was much more box-to-box.   This time Etuhu seems to have sat deep and Murphy played ahead of him.  I didn’t see the game – at a wedding – but interesting to see how this shapes up.

We seemed to be challenging the Villa inside right channel with Duff, Zamora and AJ all prominent in that area.   This would fit with the Riise thing earlier – overload the right with attacking players where Hughes isn’t going to do too much, create space on the left for Riise.  It should be a productive tactic, especially with Dempsey cutting inside. Opposing teams will have to respect him, which really should give Riise a lot of fun this season.  Worth keeping an eye on.

10 thoughts on “Blind analysis – Fulham Villa

  1. I’ve seen it said a lot since yesterday that the idea is for Hughes to tuck in creating a back three while riise goes forward. Trouble is, I don’t think you saw that in the game and this average position chart shows that Hughes was out wide just as much as riise. Less advanced but just as wide. So Hughes is just playing as a less attacking fullback, nothing more. Baird did this for us last season as did pantsil before that. As our play is largely directed up the right flank there isn’t much scope for bounding runs by the fullback. Shame this, though, as I think Baird is perfect for the role given his passing range and ability to bolster the midfield.

  2. I think this is true. Dickson definitely played the holding role yesterday and Clint cut inside a lot to assist Murphy directing play.

  3. Dempsey cut inside a ton during the game and seemed to spend some time up top too. Duff spent some time out wide left too, making both of their positional averages on the chart a little awkward. Seemed to be a lot of fluidity.

  4. Dempsey surprisingly deep on that chart – I think that we should be playing Dempsey and Zamora upfront together to be honest.

    Dembele can then play on the wing, where he’s more comfortable I think. Upfront, albeit only for a short while, I wasn’t too impressed with Dembele. A lot of spectacular dribbles ending in us losing the ball – do a simple thing well rather than a great thing poorly! On the wing his ability to get past people would be more useful. He could use his skills as a dribbler to beat a fullback to make the killer pass, rather than trying to dribble past a defensive mid and a centre back before losing it to the other centre back or making a poor shot.

  5. I know it’s early days yet, but if Murphy continues to struggle, I wonder if Jol wouldn’t think about putting Dempsey in the attacking midfield role? You would think it could minimize the problem of his lack of pace, and Dempsey has played there before (granted, pre-Fulham).

    is there a reason why suporters don’t think he can do that job?

      1. Dempsey likes to dally on the ball far more. Likes to take a couple touches, turn in, turn out, maybe look for a pass, dribble or, ideally for him, take a shot.

        I wonder, though, if Riise would’ve converted his chance early and Murphy got credit for the assist if there’d be any worry about the captain being off of it already?

        Villa played narrow, defensively. It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but Fulham clearly seemed to be the superior side, especially after shaking some first-half jitters. No reason to jump off of any bridges, I’d imagine.

        Frankly, I thought Etuhu’s defensive work more than made up for his poor passing.

        1. Wouldn’t you potentially want a little more movement from that position, to potentially break down the defense and open up some space?

          Very true on “jumping off the bridges” comment. It was more a passing thought. I would be surprised to see Dempsey in Murphy’s role, given the evidence of the last 5 seasons/4 managers.

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