The first of two TSW debuts today, first up is Lucy Carpenter looking at whether we should be looking to start games with an alternate formation
Whilst watching the build up for the Stoke City vs Swansea City game on Sunday, something caught my attention. Although I typically don’t take too much notice in the views of the majority of sky pundits (particularly when it comes to their ill-informed views on Swansea City - and lets face it, they were talking about Peter Crouch before the match as if he were Ronaldinho), one passing comment sparked a train of thought.
Unfortunately I can’t exactly remember who in particular said it and do not wish to commit myself to guessing as it is not really relevant to the point… It was essentially said that we were predictable and everyone knows what to expect from Swansea. Now this point is an obvious one that didn’t really need to be said. We all know the famous ‘Swansea Way’ - heck any half decent football fan does nowadays. The fluid possession based 4-5-1. The merits of which I feel need no explanation here from me. However I do feel like it would be interesting to experiment occasionally with the formation in certain situations.
During pre-season Garry Monk stated that a plan B and C are necessary for success in the modern game. At the fans' forum he also suggested the possibility of using a different formation for some matches. Switching to a 4 4 2 with a diamond midfield and the promising new addition to our strike force in the form of Gomis makes this option look more attractive than in recent seasons as lets face it we have not exactly had the wealth of options up front to try this.
Now it is unclear when (if) we would use this system, obviously not making it a regular thing and only using it in certain situations. However, I think it could be argued that this past weekend's fixture at Stoke could have been the ideal match to give it a try. My main reasons being Jonjo’s one match suspension and Leon’s injury that left us with a space in midfield, Also Stokes infamous "style", especially at home can, based on past matches, be a particular hinderance to ours. Sort of an ‘Anti Swans’ if you will.
Despite this I was not in the least bit surprised by Monks decision to select Tom Carroll as a direct replacement for Jonjo. Nor am I saying it was the wrong choice. In fact I thought that Carroll looked pretty well in the role - especially considering Stoke away is not the easiest place for a youngster to make your inaugural premier league start. I thought combined with Ki they controlled the midfield well in the first half.
In the 64th minute we got the change, with Carroll being replaced by Gomis thus looking like a switch to the ‘plan B’ formation with the intention of going on and pushing for the win. However, this quite drastic change resulted in dwindling our level of control on the game taking away our dominance in the midfield and therefore it pains me to say eventually losing 2 -1, conceding the second after we had changed system. So maybe Plan B wouldn’t work after all? Maybe its that we're just too ingrained in our system for it to work properly? Or it could be something we would need to start with in order for it to work.
This particular point reminded me of how under Laudrup we would sometimes use the ‘Three wingers’, which would only work really well when we started that way, and not so much when we changed during the match. It will be interesting going forward if we would see us start with our Plan B, although maybe giving it a trail run in an early stage FA cup game may be a sensible option.
Thank to Lucy for getting in touch with her first piece. It's good to finally have a female contributor to the site too! The more the merrier, and if you want to write for The Swansea Way get in touch. You can follow Lucy on Twitter @LucyMay18.
I have to say I agree about our "Plan B" needing to be employed from the start. We've had the same formation for so long now that I think offering up a different proposition for opponents from the off would definitely be a good idea, and being brutally honest switching to 4-4-2 against Stoke only made matters worse. Do you think we need a second formation? Or should we just get better at the same one we've used for years?