My Swansea City Line-Up vs AFC Bournemouth
Swansea City are back at the Liberty Stadium this weekend, and once again - we're hosting a team that are competing around us in the table and one that we should be looking to get points from.
It's fair to say that we couldn't have much of an easier start at home so far, we've played the three promoted sides - losing twice and winning one, as well as Leicester - who were struggling for form at the time, Watford - who didn't look any better than average on that day, and Manchester United - who blew us away in the end.
Despite what the club and Paul Clement might tell us via the media, the head coach's job has to be hanging on by a thin thread. The stats tell the story, not to mention the abysmal performances on the pitch. 7 games in 12 we've failed to score, 7 goals scored in 12 and 2 wins in 12, with 8 defeats.
Recently, we published an article outlining some of the things that Paul Clement could do to the team on the pitch to improve performances and results - with the help of Swans fans on twitter for ideas.
Seeing as things haven't changed at all since then - apart from get even worse - that article still applies - unfortunately. So now I thought I'd post up what I think the team should be. I often see on twitter fans asking the question - What would your team be? As they suggest that Clement is limited with his options, and that whatever team he puts out, the outcome is the same. I can't agree with that entirely. I still think another manager could come in and make some much needed changes. Injuries haven't helped, but Clement needs to get an idea for his strongest team. In his defence on this point, very very few players are consistent enough to continuously get picked. So given that, here's my team - and I believe that if injuries - or lack of them allow - I'd like to see the same team and system used for a decent run of games to establish some much-needed consistency.
Firstly, while I believe that 4-3-3 is our best system in terms of balance - it allows for three midfielders to protect the defence, you also have width from the two wide attackers.
However, my main frustration with the way Clement adopts a 4-3-3 is how he instructs the two wide midfielders (Fer and Carroll for example) to move out wide, leaving the central midfielder all alone in the middle. This leaves us wide open to the counter attack.
The 4-3-1-2 below sees a key change - with the addition of a much-needed central attacking midfielder to support the front 2 - a good combination of Tammy Abraham's pace with Wilfried Bony's hold-up play. Clement has complained in the past about the poor hold-up ability up top, and we needed Bony to get up and running to bring us that quality.
Ki has been in and out form this season and I'd hope that we would perform better when playing in a more attacking position - playing some through balls for Abraham to run through on to through the channels.
With Britton holding, Clucas and Sanches either side should be encouraged to operate in the inside channels more, and closer to Leon Britton to help limit the large areas of space we keep seeing, and to also encourage more attacking play through the middle.
It's simply stupid to keep carrying on with the same tactics that just don't work. Playing down the sides, and full backs forced to put in hopeless crosses continuously is wearing thin on the fans. Surely we need to be a bit more inventive and creative going forward, Bony's hold up play will need more players operating around him in the middle, so it's no use having the likes of Clucas and Sanches operating as wingers simply to feed the ball to the fullbacks.
While the width will be provided by the full backs only, and you could argue that the side does lack pace - you could get around that issue simply by increasing the tempo of our overall passing game. If you have more players moving forward through the middle, it encourages the opposition to defend narrow, and the full backs pushing forward are likely to be in an unmarked position to receive the ball if needed.
The 4-3-1-2 was one of the key changes at the end of last season - along with the introduction of Leon Britton that helped begin a run of 4 wins in 5. I'd argue that Leon Britton is a better option that anyone else to play in the deep-lying midfield position. Mesa can't get a look in so it's pointless suggesting the Spaniard's inclusion. Fer - I don't need to comment on - same goes for either Clucas or Carroll in that position, while Ki is better at the opposite end of the pitch.
The line-up can also be adapted and changed in the second half, introducing the likes of Mesa for Britton after the hour mark, and bringing on the pace of Dyer, Narsingh or Ayew.
What do you think? What would your line-up be for Saturday? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...