A Change of System Needed vs Stoke?
With our form in severe decline and the 4-3-3 proving to be ineffective in terms of creating goalscoring chances, is there a need to change our system for a "must-win" home game on Saturday against Stoke City?
Or is it simply a case of getting back to how it worked when Clement first came in, playing to Llorente`s strengths in a 4-3-3 that helped us beat the likes of Liverpool, Southampton and Leicester City.
He won those 3 wins under his belt in his first 6 games, but his most recent 6 tells a completely contrasting story, 2 goals scored and just 1 point from a possible 18.
Our form is now so bad that you can compare his last 11 games with the 11 under Bob Bradley and there`s not a world of difference - just a draw instead of a win. Bradley picking up just 8 points (W2, D2, L7) during his time, while Clement - with a better squad following a January transfer window, has seen us get just 10 points (W3, D1, L7)
Paul Clement finished last Saturday`s defeat at Watford with a 4-4-2 diamond, playing Borja up top with Llorente, but he later took off our top scorer and brought on Ayew. But this allowed Gylfi Sigurdsson to get back into the middle. He`s wasted out wide and was pretty much anonymous at Vicarage Road - it was the same at West Ham too. There`s no way that we can allow our most talented, creative player to be anonymous because he`s played out of position. He cut a very frustrated figure during the game, and he must desperate to be given a role that gives him more attacking freedom.
To allow Sigurdsson to move into the middle would mean a system switch, either to a diamond (below) or a 4-2-3-1.
With no wingers, the width comes from the full backs getting forward. Olsson couldn`t get into attacking positions down his left side, and we also need him to get into better crossing positions. Carroll, meanwhile, who has been used to get down that left side in support, was surprisingly dropped last weekend, though I expect he`ll be back in at the weekend.
The 4-2-3-1 would be a risk that I don`t think Clement will take. He`s proved to be quite pragmatic and reserved with his selections and setup recently and you can`t help but feel that`s played a part in our drop in form.
You have to wonder how we can go from looking like a team with winning momentum - scoring some quality goals in the process and being in the top 6-8 form table, then suddenly dropping like a stone after losing at Hull City.
Switching to 4-2-3-1 is definitely a risk though. Earlier this season, under both Guidolin and Bradley, we`ve been carved open with ease, due to the lack of defensive cover in midfield. It`s not a system I`d go with to start a game, but I feel it`s one Clement should switch during a game, I don`t think he has done so far since he arrived at the start of 2017. I think he tried it from the start against Arsenal to match them, and hasn`t considered it since.
Is a change of system needed? Or do we just need to improve in our general play? Clement appeared to have ironed out some of our annoying and hindering habits - slow build-up play and negative and safety first play. All of that is creeping back in, the last few games we`ve just not looked like scoring.
Many of us have also hoped to see the return of Leon Britton to the side, but he`s not even been involved in a single matchday squad under Clement, so I can`t expect that to change on Saturday.
Let us know what you think in the comments...