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Svennis, Change The System

A month ago on sunday a tidal wave of Euro-optimism engulfed Sportcity. Two pisspoor home results later, it's clear City have to start playing on a different wavelength if we are to qualify for Europe...

Svennis was right when he stated recently that City's system had been sussed out by our Premier League rivals. However, I would dispute with him that this has been a recent development. I suggest it started just before the turn of the year. And it's precisely that reason, and our team's subsequent inability to smoothly change the system mid game, why we head into the last 10 games of the season with something of a mountain to climb.

Of course, if we would have been offered this position last summer we would have been absolutely delighted and it would be foolish to overly criticise the club's management who have transformed our team's fortunes and built solid youth based foundations for the future. But frustration over an overly cautious system and approach, particularly at home is thoroughly justified.

I was a big critic of Stuart Pearce playing a lone striker at home and Sven's failure to shake things up last weekend for Wigan Athletic echoed those unimaginative days.

83% of our site visitors agree we have stagnated.

The European style lone striker with 'one in the hole' system is really only fully effective if you have the players firing and creating on all cylinders to pull it off. That's not been the case for a while with City and the system's failings were brutally exposed against combative sides like Everton and Wigan.

Certainly the old 4-4-2 system is rarely seen in modern top flight football but there is a clear need now for City to mix things up if the squad are to get a deserved reward for all this season's hard work. Of the current top ten sides, only West Ham have scored less goals than us so the need to create more chances is paramount.

I'm going to throw some solutions and ideas into the air now with one eye on the future. Who knows, a bolder City might catch a few teams off guard before this season is done.

I think the powerful looking Caicedo warrants a start now and I would immediately start him in the Petrov role at Reading. Wide on the right in a Beckham style role, I would play Elano. I would then push in a second striker to play alongside and off Benjani. Castillo, Sturridge and eventually Bojinov would get my vote.

In the engine room, I'd settle with Hamman or Gelson breaking up play and Johnson driving forward until the end of the season. I still think we need more fire in there and one of my Blue Brothers who reads the game very well has suggested a future Richards-Johnson axis. Why not? I understand that worked very well at Academy level but should it continue to be decided that Richard's pace and strength are better utilised at centre half, then this summer we are going to have to recruit a top drawer midfield hard man to take the weight off Hamman alongside a proven midfield schemer.

It pains me to say it but right now Ireland and Vassell are not at all at the races and unless they both dramatically increase their effectiveness then they will have to go.

We can do this. Four games at home and six away, 30 points to play for. Our top flight status is secure. Nothing to lose.

Give it a go Svennis. City fans will always appreciate and reward a side that goes for it.

The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 6 2008

Time: 8:17AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I have always thought that Micah would be better employed in midfield and with our defensive options it is certainly worth giving it a go. I would also give Sturridge a chance alongside Benji for the rest of the season as I don't think that Benji is suited to the lone striker role. With his pace he is better playing off another striker.
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06/03/2008 10:42:00

Agreed alph. Many of our Pompey pals indicated similar re Benji. If we are to qualify for Europe then goals, and plenty of them are required!
Johnny Baguette
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06/03/2008 11:23:00

Well assuming there are no setbacks - for the first time since the start of the season, Sven will have a decent range of choice when it comes to strikers who can get him goals. With Bojinov coming fit, surely the answer is a Bojinov with Benjani/Sturridge mix.
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07/03/2008 01:25:00

SGE certainly has options The_Legend_Of_Zola, it's just a case of finding the right system. That we are only 3 points off the 5th and 6th UEFA places today is beyond any Blue's relief all things considered!
Johnny Baguette
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07/03/2008 08:05:00

I am waiting with baited breath to see Sven's plan B for tomorrow. With Onuoha out injured now is the perfect time to go 3-4-3 with a line up of Hart - Corluka Dunne Ball - Johnson Hamann Fernandes Garrido- Caicedo Benjani Castillo- with a bench of Isaksson Sun Ireland Elano Vassell. What does everyone think ???
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07/03/2008 11:14:00

p.s I have left Sturridge out of the equasion due to his appearances in the two semi-final Youth Cup appearances.
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07/03/2008 11:15:00

Interesting system, alph. I just can't see Sven going away without a traditional back four. I think he'll start with Jihai Sun at RB. On the other side, I'm for freshening things up with Garrido. Ball's distribution has been garbage of late and Garrido behind Caicedo could have possibilities. Etuhu would have been a useful option, but of course he's elsewhere so I'll stick with my Elano wide right plan. I'm running with: Hart, Sun, Corluka, Dunne, Garrido - Elano, Johnson, Hamman, Caicedo - Benjani, Castillo subs: Isaksson, Ireland, Vassell, Ball, Geovanni
Johnny Baguette
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07/03/2008 12:51:00

Uriah Rennie at the controls for Reading. Please can we have a penalty, Mr. R?
Johnny Baguette
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07/03/2008 21:50:00

Penalties, What are they ???
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07/03/2008 23:59:00

LOL! Just watch us concede one now I've typed that!
Johnny Baguette
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08/03/2008 08:15:00

Hart Charlie, Dunne Ball Garrido; Gelson Hamann Johnson Castillo: Benjani Elano: Subs Isaksson,Sun,Ireland,Vassell,Caicedo. I take your point regarding Richards in midfield, BUT Richards wants to play for England. There is no way he could get into the team if he started to play midfield and Richards would leave City if that happened. I personally think he is a better right back than CB. I would like to see a left sided CB. It is very dificult for a right footed player to play that role and Dunney has done his best, but he does make errors because he is right footed. At the start of the season Richards played left CB but SGE changed it round. I hope we buy one for next season.
Buzz Lightyear
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08/03/2008 08:39:00

We should be OK for a win today as Lawro has got us down to lose 1-0 !!!
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08/03/2008 10:30:00

Typical Lawro, eh Alphie? What always grates on me is his shameless arslikhan towards Liverpool. Back to Buzz's views re a CB. I'd move for Daniel Van Buyten in the summer. Top class.
Johnny Baguette
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08/03/2008 10:45:00

DVB was class when we had him for a short while, I thought we were ok for cover at the back, but now I am not so sure. DVB would fit it I think we all recognised he had talent, what worries me is that he does noty seem to be able to settle anywhere and his name is constantly over the season. If Frank gets his money back, it should be watch this space in summer. I think that SGE's estimation of three seasons is about right.
Buzz Lightyear
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08/03/2008 11:50:00

I am sure Sven will unearth another unknown gem of a defender in the summer as he did with Corluka.
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08/03/2008 12:05:00

I just thought id give my opinions on our squad. I think If we added (cf's) - FABIANO/CISSE/?????????, Benjani, Bojinov, Castillo, Sturridge, Caicedo. (Mids) Petrov, Johnson, Ireland, Fernandes, Hamann, Vassell, MODRIC, GILBERTO SILVA/?????????. (def's) Corluka, Onouha, Richards, Dunne, Ball, Garrido, CHIELLINI (gk's) Hart, Schmiechel, ROBINSON. The players in capitals are players id like us to sign. Please give your suggestions, making them realistic. I feel that if we were to sign the players i have mentioned we would have a very strong squad and most of the players in our squad already can play in many positions allowing Svennis to tamper depending on the opponents. Im definately confident that Sven will win us trophies not too far in the future. p.s I have a stupid LFC mate who seems to think that Rafa is a better manager than Sven and that harry redknapp and o'neil are also better ! Please give your thoughts on this ! My response was this. '' Rafa is good but he cant seem to inspire his premadonnas enough to beat the rags and seems to only be a cup manager and we will win title before LFC do ! Am i too bold ???
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25/03/2008 12:16:00


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