I would love to know how many times Slav changed our formation and personnel before he was sacked in our relegation season. The reason I’d love to know is that it seems like Scott Parker is on the same track, with yet another change to personnel through 3 matches of the current Premier League season. Is not having a world-renowned Left-Centre-Back this impactful for us? To the point that our manager would rather opt for a 3-4-3 because two centre backs would just be too confusing right? Wrong. 3-0 Villa; that’s the tweet.
I’ve been a big supporter of Parker, but just like Slavisa, he spent the majority of the time in the championship using a solid 4-2-3-1 (4-3-3 if you will) that established “Parker-ball” in all the right areas. He had a consistent lineup, with just a couple changes here and there. Slavisa was the same with his 4-3-3, and again, just a couple changes here and there. So what happens? We start the season with a 4-2-3-1 versus Arsenal, get clobbered due to terrible decision making and bad fortune, and right away the system is thrown out for Leeds away. We get clobbered again – and now the system is changed for Villa at home!? If it took more than 6 months to develop a consistent system in the championship, why on earth would Parker set up a 3-4-3 formation that is clearly too advanced for our level of defenders? It baffles me, and I won’t understand what has just happened in this 3-0 clobbering at the Cottage.
There is such an emphasis on signing a left centre-back. As if that is where our true problem area really is? It is like we all started playing Football Manager, saw Tim Ream’s age, and computer ratings – and told him to go ahead and retire – you’ve developed arthritis in less than 3 months – thanks for getting us promoted again – goodbye. As if Tim Ream is the reason we are bottom of the table. I am not saying we do not need an upgrade, but to put all our eggs into the LCB basket is an absolute farce.
What made sense today is two-fold. The very clear fact that Parker needs to regain his system, and not fall for the over-complication of what the opponent’s system is. Just because Leeds plays man marking, doesn’t mean you need to put Odoi as LCB; just because Mitro scores for us – doesn’t mean you play wingbacks so we can cross to him in between two defenders all match. The second clear fact is that we do need an upgrade in multiple positions. We need wingers who can score (or at least hit the target, Cavaleiro), and a commanding centre-back (right or left) that can build a relationship through consistency.
This loss was embarrassing. What’s worse is there are remnants of our relegation season showing up so early. I hope Parker learns from it, and I hope we can all grab some type of momentum – either via a new signing (that can actually play soon) or some type of resurgence to our system. Regardless, it’s time for something to happen.