The "Doughnut of Sadness" - Bolton's Tempo Issues

Where fellow sufferers gather to share the pain, longing and unrequited transfer requests that make being a Wanderer what it is...

Moderator: Zulus Thousand of em

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 6034
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:51 pm

The "Doughnut of Sadness" - Bolton's Tempo Issues

Post by GhostoftheBok » Wed Nov 17, 2021 4:55 am

The Doughnut of Sadness is a phrase that some wag analyst coined about Mikel Arteta's Arsenal in their display against Brentford. Arteta's side played two deeper midfielders against Brentford's low block. In a similar showing to our display against Crewe, Arsenal vacated the centre of the park and ended up passing around the outside of Brentford with their players forming a horseshoe shape that was about as interesting as a traffic jam on the M25.

Against Crewe. our shape often looked like this:

Screenshot 2021-11-14 065202.png
Screenshot 2021-11-14 065202.png (130.57 KiB) Viewed 2121 times

When our deeper midfielders got on the ball they were forced to try and break two lines to find a progressive pass, rather than one - which in reality meant they went backwards or wide. In the game itself, it looked like this:

Screenshot 2021-11-17 042813.png
Screenshot 2021-11-17 042813.png (3 MiB) Viewed 2122 times

No players in the centre of the park and the ball rolling around the "traffic jam of shame." In reality, our performance in those wide areas wasn't as poor as Arsenal's and we made chances, but our inability to play vertically through the centre made our general play very, very slow. It's an issue we have had before playing the "double pivot" and probably one of the reasons we don't use it in some games where we perhaps should.

One of the reasons we were more effective than we might otherwise have been was the display of Izzy at right back, who was able to cut inside with the ball and take up an advanced midfield position to play-make from:

Screenshot 2021-11-17 044758.png
Screenshot 2021-11-17 044758.png (2.05 MiB) Viewed 2122 times

In the second half we switched up our system slightly, by pushing Sheehan up into that vacated space and asking Declan John to step inside into the channel. That gave Williams and Rico more progressive options and allowed us to improve our tempo.

If we want to play with the double pivot in the long term we will need to find a midfielder who can carry the ball through at least one line from deep and reliably pass/carry through a second. Arsenal's solution has been the growth of Sambi Lakonga, who provides that penetration and reliable passing. We will also need to maintain our ability to progress the ball inside from right back, as that was a really important tool in breaking Crewe down.

Given that Izzy doesn't like playing there, you'd think that would mean two new faces in either the January or Summer windows, to improve Evatt's tactical options.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: brommers95 and 24 guests