Often Partisan

Three Four Three

Two wins, two excellent performances and seven goals for make this week an excellent one for Blues. Lee Clark has admitted he has a selection headache ahead of the weekend trip to Reading with so many players having made a case in the last two games to retain a first team place.

It’s been a while since I’ve felt so positive about the team but right now I do think Blues are back on the up, on the pitch at least. In fact, I’d go as far to say that the second half against Swansea is probably the best team performance I can remember at home under Lee Clark. So what’s changed? How have we gone from a team struggling to score to one that is creating and burying chances seemingly at will?

I think the move to 3-4-3 has been a key component in all this. Clark appears to have found a formation which fits in with his philosophy of three at the back yet accommodates the one player that couldn’t fit in the 3-5-2 in Chris Burke. It’s allowed Blues to utilise the best quality in the majority of their full backs – the attacking aspect – and it’s given Blues more options up front with the wider forwards encouraged to cut in and play in free roles.

What pleases me most though is that it’s not a formation that is restricted to just certain players being fit. As we saw on Wednesday Paul Caddis was as adept at the right midfield position as Jonathan Spector had been and Mitch Hancox looked at ease in the left midfield position as David Murphy had done. Callum Reilly looked completely at ease in the middle playing with Tom Adeyemi and I thought Shane Ferguson offered us a threat up front which whilst not as prolific as Jesse Lingard’s debut pushed the Swansea full backs right back and caused them to make errors.

I think there is a certain amount of fluidity in the formation too; without the ball Caddis was dropping back into right back and likewise Mitch Hancox could drop into left back; the two wide forwards would become wide midfielders and Blues looked difficult to break down. The only thing that has been disappointing is that Blues have conceded twice to set pieces needlessly and I think it’s been the one weak link in the last couple of games.

However, it’s easy to praise a manager when things go right. The big question is if Clark will continue to stick with the set up if we get beaten on Saturday – and for me, I think he has to. I think some sort of tactical consistency (albeit with some interchange of players as we’re playing two games a week at the moment) is important right now. One criticism levelled at Clark  (and I don’t think it’s an unfair one) is that he can be erratic sometimes in changing things because of a minor setback. He’s still a young manager, and he’s still learning and one thing I think he needs to work on is becoming a bit calmer and accepting that blips will happen – he’s got something good going on and now he needs to build on it.

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30 Responses to “Three Four Three”

  • DoctorD says:

    From bitter experience of following Blues, two games of good fortune will be swiftly followed by a setback.

    But let’s hope Clark sticks with this formation as it seems to be working, most of the time.

  • JohnR says:

    Totally agree Dan and agree with the criticism that Clark does (did?) change the formation a little too readily. Burnley was a prime example, after a good display at QPR and an unlucky defeat why did he change it? We then got stuffed.
    I do think that 3-4-3 is the way to go as it seems to suit the players and we have players who can slot in when others are out.
    Clark has some difficult decisions to make but I think Lingard and Murphy will come in on the left but I am not sure what he will do on the right. Ii think he should go with the pair that played against Sheffield Wednesday. It will be difficult to drop Reilly so I think he will get the nod over Elliott.
    My team would be
    Randolph
    Bartley – Burn – Robinson
    Spector – Adeyami – Reilly – Murphy
    Burke – Green – Lingard
    However I wouldn’t be surprised if Caddis played in place of Spector.

  • The Flying Pig says:

    I think I’d rather see Caddis at RM.

    Elliott offers us better attacking options but leaves us weaker defensively and so I wonder if it’ll be Adeyemi [nailed on] and Spector/Reilly given that we are away at one of the more fancied sides. I suspect LC will go for Spector.

    I hope he carries on getting such selection headaches for the rest of the season!!

    KRO

  • gerald squires says:

    One would assume would one not that Clark has accidentally stumbled upon a temporary winning formula no doubt normal business resumed tomorrow?

  • Marky mark says:

    Agree 100% the last two performances have given me massive confidence for the rest of the season,
    God only knows what good it has done the players.

    LC has t o stick with the set up and try and stay consistent with first 11, we need to accept we are not going to win by 3 or 4 every game, as long as we look the part and play well we should accept the result I fancy 1-1 Reading are no mugs but don’t seem to prolific up front

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think that’s why they’ve just brought in Billy Sharp on loan. He’ll need to be watched closely if he plays.

  • Bcfc1955 says:

    Spector has to play in place of Bartley he is more mobile, quicker, better on the ball and Caddis is as good as Spector at right back
    This is a better pair of options

  • Bigmansteve0 says:

    C Y bang him up
    P P give it up
    We should not just accept anyone to be the new owner, let’s pick choose & refuse

    • almajir says:

      Steve – its not really our choice

      • Bigmansteve0 says:

        As far as picking the buyer I agree , but we are the fans and yes we are often partisan , so we should not stay silent if the new people are not worthy!
        would it be ok if a team of clowns like the K bros(old mark 1 brigade) tried to get us?
        Not for me I would want massive protests out side the ground.
        All I’m trying to say is I do not want to jump from the frying pan into the fire.
        God bless all that is royal blue in our City Kroger

  • andy says:

    It is no coincidence that the upturn in fortune is down to the excellent signing of Jesse Lingard, he obviously has had a positive impact around the players and the likes of Matt Green and Asante will prosper around such a gifted forward.

  • I thought this article was about football and on pitch formations. Why bring up all that guff about the owner and PP Bigmansteve0? We are in no position to pick or choose a new owner so why bring it up? There has been enough speculative rubbish aired on the subject of Messrs Yeung and Pannu so leave it out mate eh?

    • Bigmansteve0 says:

      Please read my reply to almajar
      “Fail to prepare , prepare to fail”.

      • Bazzathebluenose says:

        Irrelevant Steve0. The article is about football NOT the owners, the board or anything else extraneous to matters on the pitch. Save all such comments for forums (and there are many) where such matters are being discussed ad nauseum. I also fail to see what relevance the quote has in the context of the article.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    The similarities with the two goals we’ve conceded, is that they were crosses into the box and on both occasions, free headers were given away.. we just didn’t challenge. In fact 3 Sheffield players went for the ball and not one Blues player. Just need to sort that.

  • Bob Your Uncle says:

    I agree with the team selections above, we have a great choice to choose from now. We also now have a fantastic bench and will be great seeing Zig on there. The only player I hope he plays with Adeyemi is either Reilly or Elliot and not Spector in the middle. Don’t get me wrong I think Spector is a fantastic player for Blues and adds a lot of energy to the team and can compete well, but I think his passing isn’t good enough for a center mid and really doesn’t complement Adeyemi as much as the other two.
    Reading are very good from set pieces so we shall need to be organized and not as complacent as the last 2 games. Keep right on!

  • Big Al says:

    The 2nd half performance against Swansea was the best I’ve seen in a very very long time – well beyond Clark’s tenure.

    • Ali Duncan says:

      I agree with that. It’s easily the best performance home or away I’ve seen under Clark and I’m struggling to think of a Chris Hughton game where the football was that fluid. Very pleasing and looking forward too, hopefully, more of the same.

  • Rob Field says:

    What a nice position we find ourselves in for a change…!!

    It’s really nice that confidence is high and we have a feel good factor.
    I’m getting tickets for me and my lad sorted on saturday, for the Millwall and Bolton games..

    Come on then everyone else that’s been stopping away…(as I have, I will admit)

    Let’s get back behind the boys and cheer them on again!!

    Keep right on…!!

    • Rob Field says:

      Tickets sorted on line..

      Me and my lad for Tuesday night against Millwall.
      And me and two lads for the Saturday game against Bolton..

      £51 total.. Now that’s not bad value for money.
      I work with the a Leeds fan and he couldn’t believe what an incredible deal that was!!

      • Ali Duncan says:

        I think a ticket in the away end (corner) at Weeds for the league game was £36 last season, an absolute rip off.

  • mark says:

    Now the players are starting to settle into clark’s way of thinking. We as fans need to accept at times we will have a blip…….and it not always neccessary to think see are playing shite,as some fans think. Like all formations they are likely to change depending on circumstances………what clark is doing is possibly methink no other manager has had to contend with under these extreme restriction……….. Whether he falls flat on his face I personally take my blue hat off to him….kro.

    • bcfc1975 says:

      Second that mark

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I agree too mark. He’s been trying to find a formation and pattern of play that suits the players he has. He was never going to get it right first time, or even second or third. You can often buy players to suit a formation, but end up having to find a formation to suit those players instead. Well done to Lee Clark, at least he’s thinking long and hard about it. He’s not as daft as he may appear sometimes.

  • Rob Field says:

    Lee Clark finally realised that you can’t leave out a “Fit and willing ” Chris Burke.
    The guy’s a massive plus factor on his day and fell vistim to the 3-5-2 formation that didn’t work at the start of the season.

  • Chris W says:

    LC has been trying to find a formula since he arrived, he found something suitable the second half of last season, but not only were the fans restless and wanting immediate success.
    I think he also had dressing room issues with some players either reluctant to change or just couldn’t work the system. LC has brought in players that can and will work the system he wants, all that was needed was some gelling period, though I don’t think we are quite there yet, I do feel we will win more than we lose now. But yes, LC needs to just tweak this 3-4-3 system and not lose faith when we do and will hit blibs.
    Keep the Faith… KRO

  • Frankie says:

    Yep, leave it to Lee Clark, he was an imainative player and seems to a similar sort of manager.
    Reading will be a test for sure and anyone travelling there with ridiculous high hopes leaves themselves open to disappointment.
    Would take a point right now.

  • gerald squires says:

    Forecast 2_1
    Formation 3_6_1
    With jesse playing in bhind zigic


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