A tactics thread, fantastic, I have a few observations.
Nolito is better defending than attacking, plenty of good work in defence but waste of space up front.
Solution, don’t play him unless you have to.
Shendm asked the question ‘how long have 31 year-olds Navas and Nolito got left’, I was hopeful, but not now, not so much.
I came to the conclusion that lots of wing play is going out of fashion, it’s had its day, and you can see when looking at the best European teams, their wingers are producing the killer moves from inside the penalty area. And that is why, I would have played Ganso AND Mudo Vazquez last night. It was a game that we could predict, Sevilla possession and pressure, Spartak counter. For that reason alone, there was no reason to go with the more vertical line-up.
For me, Nzonzi was the imperial emperor supreme last night, complete dominion of the centre. Also impressive was Ben Yedder, winning control (almost everything that was passed towards him) with bigger, stronger defenders in contention and connecting with his coleagues. Sure he lacks presence for corners and crosses but he’s scored 8 this season against Cristano Ronaldo’s 2.
Escudero has also recovered level, while Sarabia was off form. It’s fair to remember that Sarabia has scored a couple of missiles from outside the box, and with both feet which puts him in elite company, but this was not his game.
Banega was average, apart from the goal although he was demanding the goal by being the most advanced player for the two minutes before the goal, so maybe he had a premonition or just read the game perfectly. Not too keen on his corners, or any other player’s corners for that matter but we have scored 2 of the last 4 goals from corners.
Tactically, we are naive, but I think we’re getting on top of the defensive problems, the Nzonzi Pizarro combination is working. The big questions are the forward line, wing play and workers v magicians.
Every game is different and needs different appraisal but my solution is this; Take off the wingers, let the overlapping wingbacks to that work, move the play infield a lot more, use Ganso, Correa and Mudo as false wingers and concentrate play in their penalty box.