The System (Ghost rambles on)

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The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by GhostoftheBok » Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:04 am

Having rewatched the Bradford game and now watched a fair bit of Barrow under Evatt, I thought I'd hazard a guess at what it is we are going to try to achieve this season with the style and system. Anyone who thinks I am way off, or even off in places, let me know.

I think we are basically going for an adapted “mixed zone” system like the one Juventus used in the 80s. In that way of playing you need to get rid of your typical idea of positions from the English game and think about players having to control zones of the pitch, with their zone of control changing based on where other players are and who has the ball. So a centre back might also be a midfielder and your wing back might also be a wide forward, depending on what is happening on the pitch. Based on what we saw in the cup, my guess is that each of our roles will work like this (capitalised zones are key and zones are in priority order):

Keeper: Your usual modern “recycling” goalkeeper. Not a sweeper-keeper, but a one or two touch passing option to shift the ball across for angles. Used to be easy because the keeper could pick up back passes, now requires a goalie who can play.

Sweeper: The “Baptiste” position yesterday, the only pure defender in the team. He can chose to step out and play, but he has no midfield duties. Has to be able to read the game and organise. (DEFENCE)

Right Centre Back: Given the balance in our team, the “Santos” position covers the right defensive channel and the areas in midfield usual taken up by the right-sided mid in a 4-4-2. The “Delfouneso” role will run that right channel every time the RCB carries the ball forward and will expect a lot of through balls. (DEFENCE/MIDFIELD)

Left Centre Back: The more defensive “Taft” position. Still has midfield duties but is supposed to draw players and release a mid or the left wing back and then drop back into defence. Also has to cover left back when being countered, with the right wing back forming a back four. (DEFENCE/midfield)

Right Wing Back: Traditional wing back, expected to drop back to make a back four during transitions and supply crosses from deep. (DEFENCE/MIDFIELD)

Deep Mid: When we have possession Comley will have duties right across defence filling in for runners and right across midfield creating angles. When out of possession and free he will be expected to go and win the ball. Should be looking to either lay it off or find a runner. (MIDFIELD/defence)

Left Wing Back: Far fewer defensive responsibilities than the right-sided player. Expected to offer width in attack and hit the back post when the ball is crossed in from the right. Basically a wide mid that tracks back when needed. Also expected to score goals. (MIDFIELD/attack/defence)

Recycling mid: Basically a passing box-to-box player who breaks up play when we don't have possession and keeps the ball moving when we do. This was the one that White played so well. Covers the defence during transitions as needed. (MIDFIELD/defence/attack)

Attacking mid: Odd one this, as usually you'd want a playmaker to make this system work but instead we had another industrious runner in Sarcevic. No defensive third responsibilities, but is expected to press in attack and midfield. Should score for fun. (MIDFIELD/ATTACK)

Forward: A player expected to do the running in the final third. Drop off to receive, run channels and generally create space and chances in attack. Delfouneso did it well the other day, I thought. For us he looks likely to run the right channel most often, with the left being run by Gordon/Mascoll or Sarcevic depending who is passing. (ATTACK/midfield)

Striker: Just a proper, traditional striker. Should basically be attacking space at all times. Even when out of possession he should be on the shoulder and looking for the transition. It's the job of the rest of the team to make him look good by finding him. Is expected to press when we lose the ball, but otherwise is there to score and create goals. Doyle didn't get any service against Bradford, but there you go. (ATTACK)

I don't know whether all that is obvious or not, to be honest; but I do think it explains why some people on social media think we were “out of position” or the “system broke down” when actually it didn't, we just cocked it up and lost the ball. A player people think of as a defender might end up in the "10" position at times, or a midfielder might end up at fullback.

So the system basically has one out-and-out defender, one out-and-out attacker and the other eight outfield players are expected to play multiple different roles depending on the situation. It is a famously taxing system mentally for players – both in terms of focus and tactical awareness. It also requires a lot of running...a really stupid amount for certain positions (Gordon, in our case). Also, famously, every player needs to be able to pass well. The system is an Italian adaptation of the Dutch total football of the 70s, the Italian system was then adapted again by Cruyff into what Barca played for most of the 2000s. Obviously Evatt has his own version, which generally seems to involved more grafting players and less flair - but that could just be the level we (and Barrow) are at.

It's interesting to see it played as a 3-at-the-back when most expressions have had a nominal back four and relied on a sitting mid (as with Busquets) since the 90s.

Well done if you made it through all that. Have a cookie.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by Dave Sutton's barnet » Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:10 am

Fascinating stuff, Ghost. I’m certainly glad you’re around to ramble. Not entirely sure Evatt is reviving the system but it’s an interesting thought and a thoughtful interest... guess we will see!

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by BWFC_Insane » Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:17 am

I’m not convinced it’s quite as complex as you make out. Evatt has said he expects the two wide centre halves to be the spare men and to take the ball forward. The wing backs in this system have to operate a lot of their time as wingers. I don’t think there is a difference in what is expected of either wing back or either centre back. It just looks like that because Gordon is still learning and Jones didn’t look like he had much clue in the top third of the pitch. Obviously they have to learn defensive shape and when one centre half pushes on we need to find the balance between a high line and leaving an easily exploitable gap behind. Over time I feel the only way this system works is if you become very good at creating openings at the right moment whilst the rest of the time not giving the ball away. If we can do that and add a more effective press it could be a nightmare for teams to play against. But it needs all those factors to be right. It’s harder than a basic and compact 442 or 433 because it depends the whole unit do a lot more individually and collectively.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by GhostoftheBok » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:43 pm

I agree it's a "time will tell" thing and we have only seen one game(on a dodgy camera angle at that).

I don't think any player on the pitch (except those rare, exceptional players) have some complex, tactical map in their brain. Every system has to be as simple as you can make it in a game played at the pace of football. What I think is different with Evatt's system is that it isn't just asking players to hit a spot or player with the ball, they need to have an idea of space. That's normal in the Premier League these days, but it's not for this level. It's certainly more than "knock it up to the big lad, Dave."

On Gordon, it may be right that he's expected to play the same as Jones. However, it's worth noting that Kay (a winger) played left wing back at Barrow and one was of their main attacking threats. Also worth noting that we signed two fast, attacking lads for the left and two natural full backs for the right. We've also signed two left-sided centre backs with a history of playing left back - at Barrow Evatt converted a left back to play that position. Again, at Barrow, it was a more defensive right wing back except when injuries had Kay switching over to the right. I do agree we want more going forward on the right and more defensively on the left than we got vs Bradford and that we saw limitations from players, but I also think we might have signed different types of players for a reason.

I don't think it is very complex (nothing can be in a game as fast as football) and players don't need to be super computers; but as you say it is more taxing than a traditional 4-4-2 and I do think we might have to adjust what we expect from players in different positions. High-level, modern football assumes a lot of the stuff that was revolutionary in the 80s and Evatt won't be playing Football Manager and trying to recreate a classic system - but I think we have a manager who is intent on playing an "elite level" system with lower league players.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by irie Cee Bee » Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:06 pm

Very interesting review Ghost. The role I am not clear on is the #10 role which our Captain plays. Is he the one to provide the Doyle with that final pass in the box through the opposition defense? Or is he the one to run into the box late to score? Or does he drop deep and make that telling pass from behind to the running wing backs?

For me Sarcs was missing in action for most of the game. What is his main role? I suggest that maybe he has a free attacking role. Never saw it in the game. His role must be very key to creating chances.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by GhostoftheBok » Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:08 pm

irie Cee Bee wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:06 pm
Very interesting review Ghost. The role I am not clear on is the #10 role which our Captain plays. Is he the one to provide the Doyle with that final pass in the box through the opposition defense? Or is he the one to run into the box late to score? Or does he drop deep and make that telling pass from behind to the running wing backs?

For me Sarcs was missing in action for most of the game. What is his main role? I suggest that maybe he has a free attacking role. Never saw it in the game. His role must be very key to creating chances.
Honestly don't know, mate. I've seen Sarcevic play over the years, but I can't say I know his game inside and out. Last game he was marked out of most of it and his final ball was poor. If not for his goal he'd arguably have done less than Comley. He can obvious shift with the ball and play direct. I'm not sure he can play-make. Looks like a threat in the box, though. Others on here might now if he has more to his game, but I suspect if he did he'd be a higher level.

I agree he looked to have a bit of a free role, but that may be because he was trying to get away from his marker. He's certainly not an old fashioned "hook" player, so he won't just sit there.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by nicholaldo » Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:50 pm

Re Sarcevic: Evatt likes his wing-backs to push towards the by-line and whip crosses into the six-yard box. Doyle will obviously make the early run in the hope of getting on the end of them, but there will also be a player behind who rushes into the penalty area late to pick up on any rebound. Expect Sarcevic to be that man, and expect to see it a lot.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by officer_dibble » Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:00 pm

Sarcevic was well marked out generally Saturday (but still scored!) and didn’t seem to influence the game. I thought it was notable that Crawford didn’t start AND we looked poorer when he came on.

Doyle has no service and continued to drop deeper and deeper.

Centre backs - I thought they looked liked overlapping centre halves a la Wilder, but they didn’t know overlap!

I think it’s a decent analysis but I would say it’s only one game in. What I would say is we need more from those wing backs - and I was a fan of jones. In hindsight he didn’t get anywhere near as many crosses from the touch line in, but he certainly influenced the game a lot more than Gordon. I do think there is a fair chance the chap we signed from Wycombe could be the actual left wing back signed for the first team, it’s just that Gordon was here first. His shirt to lose.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by TonyDomingos » Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:36 pm

Ghostie, do you ever think you spend too much time watching, analysing and writing about eleven fellas kicking a pig's bladder around a park for 90 minutes? :mrgreen:
Às armas, às armas!
Sobre a terra, sobre o mar,
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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by GhostoftheBok » Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:54 pm

TonyDomingos wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:36 pm
Ghostie, do you ever think you spend too much time watching, analysing and writing about eleven fellas kicking a pig's bladder around a park for 90 minutes? :mrgreen:
It may have occurred to me :lol:

Plenty of time off at the minute to overthink 22 cloggers trying not to fall over the ball.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by Dave Sutton's barnet » Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:28 pm

TonyDomingos wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:36 pm
Ghostie, do you ever think you spend too much time watching, analysing and writing about eleven fellas kicking a pig's bladder around a park for 90 minutes? :mrgreen:
Are you saying that’s not a fitting pursuit for a gentleman?

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by irie Cee Bee » Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:13 pm

Do we have anything better to do?? (Smile). I look forward to more analysis from DSB and Ghost during the season. Very balanced and well researched information. Always a good read and full of interesting information.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by Spartan2 » Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:46 am

Enjoyed reading that, thanks. I've no idea if you're right or not, it certainly sounds plausible. I hope it's all true. My interest in football has waned over the last few years, if nothing else IE is making it interesting again.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by GhostoftheBok » Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:56 pm

Spartan2 wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:46 am
Enjoyed reading that, thanks. I've no idea if you're right or not, it certainly sounds plausible. I hope it's all true. My interest in football has waned over the last few years, if nothing else IE is making it interesting again.
I also have no idea how close I am to what he's trying. It could all be far more pedestrian than that. Loads of teams played 3-5-2 in L2 last season and most did it in a very direct and defensive way. I don't image that's what we are going for (obviously), but it shows there's loads of ways to play formations that look the same on paper.

We'll have a better idea in the next few weeks. Loads of football coming up, lockdowns allowing.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by officer_dibble » Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:45 pm

We can’t be defensive with our set up - most teams will simply try to nullify our threats and hit us on the break. We are the big boys here, lets play like it!

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by Worthy4England » Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:48 pm

officer_dibble wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:45 pm
We can’t be defensive with our set up - most teams will simply try to nullify our threats and hit us on the break. We are the big boys here, lets play like it!
Not sure anyone's saying "be defensive", Dibs. More defend well when it's necessary to do so. History has shown, you don't win many when the oppo scores 2 or more. So we should be aiming for no more than 1 conceded. We've been leaking 2 a game for too many years now.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by GhostoftheBok » Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:40 pm

I agree we can't play defensively with the squad we have. I don't agree that we can go in with a "we're the big boys" attitude when we don't have the squad. We have a couple of lads who have shown they can do very well in this league, a couple more who are seen as good players at this level and then a lot of average league two players and younger lads with potential. Like I said in another thread, the badge doesn't win games. This is not a "piss the league" squad by any stretch. It remains to be seen how many points Evatt is worth a season.

We need to try to play football, but if we're not the best prepared, fittest and hardest working side out there this season we are not going up. We need to play every game like we have something to prove, because we do.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by TonyDomingos » Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:44 pm

Dave Sutton's barnet wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:28 pm
TonyDomingos wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:36 pm
Ghostie, do you ever think you spend too much time watching, analysing and writing about eleven fellas kicking a pig's bladder around a park for 90 minutes? :mrgreen:
Are you saying that’s not a fitting pursuit for a gentleman?

If the cap fits .... :D

All I'm saying is that "did we score more than them?" ought to be the extent of it.
Às armas, às armas!
Sobre a terra, sobre o mar,
Às armas, às armas!
Pela Pátria lutar!
Contra os canhões marchar, marchar!

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by irie Cee Bee » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:58 pm

TonyDomingos wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:44 pm
Dave Sutton's barnet wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:28 pm
TonyDomingos wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:36 pm
Ghostie, do you ever think you spend too much time watching, analysing and writing about eleven fellas kicking a pig's bladder around a park for 90 minutes? :mrgreen:
Are you saying that’s not a fitting pursuit for a gentleman?

If the cap fits .... :D

All I'm saying is that "did we score more than them?" ought to be the extent of it.
Definitely the objective of the Game Tony, but there is a lot more to it.

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Re: The System (Ghost rambles on)

Post by TonyDomingos » Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:09 pm

irie Cee Bee wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:58 pm
TonyDomingos wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:44 pm
Dave Sutton's barnet wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:28 pm
TonyDomingos wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:36 pm
Ghostie, do you ever think you spend too much time watching, analysing and writing about eleven fellas kicking a pig's bladder around a park for 90 minutes? :mrgreen:
Are you saying that’s not a fitting pursuit for a gentleman?

If the cap fits .... :D

All I'm saying is that "did we score more than them?" ought to be the extent of it.
Definitely the objective of the Game Tony, but there is a lot more to it.

My simplistic view is that there isn't any more to it. I've been watching football for 50 years next season and I'm still non the wiser if a player has run the channels, run box to box or shown his arse on the town hall steps.
Às armas, às armas!
Sobre a terra, sobre o mar,
Às armas, às armas!
Pela Pátria lutar!
Contra os canhões marchar, marchar!

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