If you haven’t seen the video, here it is.
Michael Keane – 3 minutes, 3 games Video Report from EveryTeamNeedsARon on Vimeo.
I should stress that these conclusions are based on these 3 games. If I’ve happened to pick 3 games where Keane didn’t exhibit Hummels-esque passing ability or Riise-esque shots from distance, then I can only shrug and apologise for not spending more of my free-time watching Burnley.
What I wanted to focus on in this, the Bonus Features, is something which relates to the Ray Wilkins clip which did the rounds a few days or so ago. Ray “when they come from Europe the fee always starts with a 3, or a 4, or a 5” Wilkins said on Sky Sports that Manchester United choosing Victor Lindelöf over Michael Keane was silly, as the former had done nothing and the latter was proven Premier League talent. United would know what they were getting.
But the truth is that – and it’s why I put that block of text into the video – they wouldn’t. Continue reading
- ‘Gladbach vs Barcelona: 28 September 2016
- Fiorentina vs ‘Gladbach: 23 February 2017
- ‘Gladbach vs Schalke: 16 March 2017
If you’re reading this then you probably watched the video put together on Andreas Christensen, so I won’t go over much of the ground covered in that in detail. This is intended to be a supplementary article, because you can’t talk about everything in a 3-minute vid. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:
Andreas Christensen – 3 game, 3 minute video report from EveryTeamNeedsARon on Vimeo.
The video opens with a mention that Christensen looks pretty good in the middle of a 3, but his weaknesses are a little more exposed in a centre-back duo, which is to be expected. The middle role in a 3 can be pretty forgiving for a centre-back as you’re both a sweeper and a reference point for the wider centre-backs. Back 3s, the ones I’ve seen anyway for Chelsea, Tottenham, and bits of Mönchengladbach now, have also all been pretty deep defensive lines, which can also shelter a centre-back and make them look better than they are, or probably more accurately cover for their deficiencies. Continue reading
Chris Smalling (over 6 games, 2015/16 season)
Games: vs Newcastle (27/08/15); at Arsenal (04/10/15); vs Man City (25/10/15); at Newcastle (12/01/16); at Liverpool (17/01/16); at West Brom (06/03/16). There’s also a decent sized conclusion at the bottom if you just want to skip down to that.
If you’ve not read one of these before, I look at a centre-back through the broad categories: ball-playing; positioning; awareness; decision-making; speed/strength. These (more here, including ones on Laporte and Alderweireld) are generally over just a single game, but over six here for a more in-depth look.
Smalling is a very bizarre player when looking at his ball-playing. Continue reading
Toby Alderweireld (vs Manchester City 14/02/16)
A fair amount of Alderweireld’s first half was spent in positions ready to receive the ball, as opposed to having to do much defending. During this time he executed several decent passes – through the opposition midfield or cross-field to Danny Rose, one of which forced Sergio Aguero back to head it away – though he wasn’t particularly under much pressure when on the ball. Continue reading
What could he have done? – John Stones (vs Tottenham Hotspur 03/01/16)
NB: The gifs in this may take a while to load, apologies, I’m working on editing them to reduce the size and loading time
[This is a more ‘coaching focused’ (I say this though have never coached in my life) piece; instead of just drawing attention to good or bad parts of a player’s game, I’ll try to suggest how they could change in future to improve. This sounds pompous already.]
Coincidentally, one of the first instances of room for improvement also features one of the tendencies of Stones which my gut has a sincere problem with. Continue reading
Andreas Christensen (vs Borussia Dortmund, 23/01/16)
(Ball-playing; positioning; awareness; decision-making/fundamental errors; speed/strength (/how to overcome them))
There were a couple of moments when team-mates on the ball around him seemed to think about passing to him and then decide against it, which can sometimes give you an idea of their skill on the ball, an spectre of an absence of trust. There was once instance where he took a heavy touch which led on to a bad pass, though for the rest of the match he was largely average; nothing special, nothing bad. He did manage a midfield splitting pass which set up a good Mönchengladbach attack though, which hints at an ability that perhaps just needs to be refined. Continue reading
Sam Byram (vs Manchester City 23/01/16)
For those who haven’t come across one of these before, this is a kind of scouting report, looking at one player in one match. I normally focus on centre-backs, but it’s always good to branch out. The categories are what I think you should look at for defenders, though there is of course crossover between them.
There was a sense that some of Byram’s team-mates preferred not to pass the ball to him, which is perfectly understandable given that it was his debut against Manchester City, and isn’t the same type of low-level criticism of him as it is when it happens with other players. He was, in fact, largely calm on the ball, including a lovely long pass which would have been called a hoof had it not been so graceful which got onto Match of the Day.
There were a few iffy moments, Continue reading