It's been a hell of a season, and despite the fact few of us really expected us to win the title this season, the fact we came close (and we saw just how badly the other teams played) left a little bitter feeling in what is ultimately a very decent season.
Here are some my thought about some things we learnt this year and what we need to do, moving forward:
Enough now. Seriously. Let's get a fucking striker.
undoubtedly criticizing Oscar will raise eyebrows but here is my qualm with him - Oscar just looks to score goals - not create them. Within a system like ours, He is meant to be an 'assister' or a 'passer' - an advanced playmaker who unlocks defences with clever passing and slips through our inside forwards who should be looking to cut behind the opp fullbacks. In a system with a lone striker and 'inside forwards' (which most successful teams employ atm), the no.10 (or most advanced playmaker) is not usually a goalscorer, but an assister - Ozil, Tony Kroos, Isco, Iniesta etc.
It doesn't fit the system, and its a part of the reason why we struggle to unlock packed defences, because our team is now completely direct as opposed to creative (Hazard Willian Oscar are all more direct than creative atm). If we wanna play with inside forwards, especially when we dont have a player in the pivot who is truly a creative genius, we better look for someone who is more concerned with creating a chance than smashing a long shot. Oscar would have worked great in a system which has someone like Gundagan, Alonso or Pirlo working the strings from behind.
It's a shame because we had two INCREDIBLY talented 'passer'/'creative' oriented players, and sold them both at the same transfer window. I don't want to get to the whole Mata and KdB debate, but one of them should have been kept - I reckon they're both better than Salah and more of what we need for our team.
Sort of the darling of this site atm, and has improved DRASTICALLY over the tail end of the season, but is simply just not that great. The guy is great in defence and good for counter attacks but has a disgraceful end product and does not remotely justify the price tag. He's not that young too so don't tell me he's still raw. We want to compete with Bayern, Real and Barca, but Willian is indisputably worse than all of Bayern and Real's attacking players (bench included), so how can he be starting for us. We want a a winger who works hard? get me Mueller or Di Maria, ill swap William for them in a heartbeat, and throw them like 10-15 mil along the way - they are wingers who work hard but produce much more in the other end. Willian was barely given a thought by Brazil before the move to Chelsea despite the fact he looked impressing for Shaktar for years and Brazil have a tendency of giving chances to non-big-league players (Fred, Jo, Andre Santos etc).
So saddening to write this. I really believed in him (and i havent given up hope) but he's regressed this year. I dont know what has happened to his discipline and why he gets so careless so often now - some poor decision making, rash tackles, petulant things. He still has a role to play but maybe we should look for someone of higher quality to start with matic. Ramires can function as the rotator for them. I feel bad about writing this - i love him and i hope he can come back next year and just turn it right back around. His passing ability will always be an issue though.
Ok so what the F**K is the deal? Why do we keep buying left wingers and try play them on the right wing? Especially when we want to play with LEFT footed players on the right wing? Schurrle, Willian and i think Salah too all played on the left wing for their club, and theyre all right footed. If we want to get the inside forward system going, we need to get a left footed inside forward, or if we cant, at least a right footed winger who is USED to playing on the right. Have you seen how much better Schurrele is when playing of the left? He is pretty shitty on the right, but from the left he's been smashing goals in.
Other teams have noticed this. Coupled with the fact that Iva is next to useless in attack, we get funneled to the right side all the time. Iva is not closed down and afforded time on the ball on purpose because they know he doesn't know what to do with it in the final third. Earlier in the season I brought some stats showing how many passes are made to the right side, and how in the games we lost/drew to Newcastle and West Brom consecutively, Iva received almost double the amount of passes as most other players.
***EDIT - apparently Salah is a left footer, so I guess we are finally making a move in the right direction. At the same time, Salah is obviously no way near the level of players playing for clubs like Barca Real or Bayern. This season, Barca brought in Neymar, Madrid brought in Bale and Isco, and Bayern brought in Gotze...we brought in Salah and Willian. Enough said.***
I love Iva, he's a great player, i want him in the squad, i want him in rotation. However, He isn't the right back we need if we wanna play attacking style football with inside forwards. For that type of system, you need a marauding fullback, who overlaps, widening the play and thus stretching the closely parked bus which teams so successfully use against us.
Put Azpi on the right , instruct him to maraud forward, get someone good for left back who can do the same, and get one of the pivot players to drop deep as the 'quarterback' or 'halfback' concept, creating a 3 man safety net in case of a counter. That's how Barca and Bayern won trebles, this is how City and united won their titles - Alves, Alaba, Lahm, Evra, Rafael, Zabaleta, Clichy and Kolarov - all fullbacks who operate as incredibly offensive wingbacks and some of which are questionably better at attacking than defending. The inside forward system, and most 'attacking/aesthetically pleasing' systems, rely on attacking wingbacks providing width.
That was a long post. I hope some of you read the whole thing and are happy to discuss. God knows im gonna have football missing from my life for too long now :(. KTBFFH!!!