I guess like me, you all thought 4-4-2 when it was announced, would be refreshing and see the Reds keeping City pushed back for the majority of the game. How wrong we were, with Agger getting rinsed by Micah Richards and Andy Johnson from the start, the signs were not good.
Then a goal down and the Reds show no improvement, constantly being harassed off the ball, misplaced passes and the gift of space to the opposition. The cause, well it’s simple really, you cannot play 4-4-2 without wingers. Jovonavich was non-existent as a pleyer let alone a winger. He hardly showed out wide and when he did receive the ball his step over was about the only thing he did, starting to look like another Lucas, no imagination and totally inept on the ball when under pressure. As for giving Agger support, he looked like a headless chicken. On the other side Kuyt was playing too tight, was not giving us width either, mainly because Gerrard couldn’t get forward into that space behind the front two, so Kuyt was trying to adjust for that, but by the time he gets the ball City are back in force and we are under pressure again. City’ defense was comfortable all night, because we could not get behind them.
What Roy could have done after the first goal, was get a message out, to push Gerrard forward, Lucas too hold and watch for the runs from midfield, Jovanovich and Kuyt to stay wide and work the line hard. I would like to think this would help give us more possession at worst, at best get us into better positions in the City box. It does not matter how many shots we had, look at the quality of them, nothing to shout about in my opinion.
If the adjustment during the first half does not help, I would have taken Jovanovich off for Maxi, then be thinking of taking off Torres or Ngog for Babel after 10-15 minutes, still playing with Gerrard in behind the front two, 4-1-2-1-2 – back four, Lucas, Maxi and Kuyt, Gerrard, Torres and Babel. This formation is an improved version of 4-4-2, allowing for you to play wide using your front two and still having the threat from Gerrard and/or the wingers cutting in as they join the attack, watch the teams that score and this is what you will see (Barry goal)!
Nice try Roy, I just hope you not counting on Cole, because tonight you looked totally lost (no adjustments or subs till it was too late!).