What Formation suits Leeds the best?
23 Jul 2015 03:38pm, by Oscar
With just two weeks until the season starts, the time has surely come to see how Leeds may line up next season and what options are available to Leeds at the moment for the game against Burnley. With Uwe Rosler discussing the idea of bringing the heavy metal style of football to Leeds, a style which Jurgen Klopp brought to Dortmund (with great success), Leeds games next season might be similar to Liverpool in 2013-2014 with a lot of goals inside the first 20 minutes. I also expect watching Leeds next season will be like watching a tennis match, from one box to another box within seconds. This of course all depends on whether Leeds do end up playing this style of football, i.e. launching the ball from one box to the the other, is not heavy metal football, in my opinion that is more a hit and hope style of football.
Heavy Metal football in my opinion, is using our pace and ensuring that our full backs are overlapping on every attack not 50% of them. It also requires every member of our central midfield to be able to play box to box, meaning fitness is a huge requirement, is that possible? With Cook, Mowatt and Murphy I think this is very much possible, as they all have plenty of energy. The midfield also needs to make decisions and needs to do two things with these decisions; A) Make the correct decision and B) Make the decision quickly. For example, if we are on the counter attack and a through ball is available to Chris Wood we have to ensure we get the ball quickly through to Wood, rather than what we did last season which was either, wait 5-10 seconds to make the pass or try to play a simple pass and eventually get the ball to the striker, which is why I think are service to the strikers last season was so poor.
So how could the Leeds team look verses Burnley? (Assuming Murphy will still be injured for the Burnley game)
Option 1) 4-2-3-1
GK Silvestri, RB Berardi, CB Bellusci, CB Bamba, LB Taylor, CM Bianchi/Adeyemi, CM Cook, RM Byram, CAM Mowatt, LM Doukara, STR Wood.
Have we seen this formation before? Not really maybe a few times under Grayson and Warnock.
Advantages: It builds on the heavy metal style 3 defend (Bellusci, Bamba, Bianchi/Adeyemi.) 3 defend and attack requires the most fitness (Berardi, Taylor and Cook.) Whilst the other 4 are attacking for the majority of the game (Byram,Mowatt,Doukara and Wood.) With this style everyone has a clear role. It bought teams such as Chelsea,MK Dons and Real Madrid success last season.
Disadvantages: It puts pressure on Wood (made even worse when he is already under pressure as a new signing), I am not sure about the left wing Doukara looks the best option for that position, but it is an area where I think we could strengthen. Chris Dawson can also play there (but didn't go on the pre season tour as far as I know) and I think maybe Erwin could play there as well.
Possible outcome: We score more goals but concede more goals i.e. more 3-2's than 1-0's.
Option 2) 4-4-2
GK Silvestri RB Berardi CB Bellusci CB Bamba LB Taylor RM Byram CM Cook CM Mowatt LM Doukara STR Wood STR Erwin/ Antenucci.
Have we seen that formation before? Yes, under Redfearn before new year, however, it was a much narrower 4-4-2 where RM became a RCM, it didn't work that way, so, it would have to be a wide 4-4-2 for it to be a success. We also saw it a few times under Grayson, and a lot under Warnock and Gary MCAlister.
Advantages: I am a fan of the 4-4-2 and it has been a successful formation in the championship for other teams i.e. Bournemouth, Leicester, Burnley, Reading, Southampton and Norwich (when these teams went up.) It gives more balance in my opinion and can be adaptable i.e. it can become a diamond or a narrow 4-4-2 (if necessary.) It would also give Chris Wood more support up front. We had some success with it last season.
Disadvantages: It puts pressure on Cook and Mowatt, I don't think Cook is a natural defensive midfielder and it means he is more restricted in joining attacks as it leaves too much space. It also puts more pressure on are wingers (who are not in my opinion out and out wingers) to make excellent deliveries as there will be less service from Cook and Mowatt using this formation, plus are full backs may be less able to attack with this formation. You will also probably see less goals from midfield using the 4-4-2 putting extra pressure on the strikers.
Possible outcome: closer games less goals, however, that could work in Leeds favour especially with the high tempo heavy metal style, if we go 1 up and a team tries to attack us one piece of skill from Alex Mowatt etc past a defender and all of a sudden he has 4 options and we can outnumber the oppositions defence.
Option 3) 4-3-3
GK Silvestri RB Byram CB Bellusci CB Bamba LB Taylor CM Adeyemi/Bianchi CM Cook CM Mowatt RF Erwin CF Wood LF Doukara.
Have we seen that formation before: Yes, under McDermott initially it was a success, we also saw this syle under Hockaday, Redfearn used it during the last 6 weeks of the season.
Advantages: I call it a control the game formation, as you have 3 central midfielders to control the midfield and protect the back 4 and 3 Strikers to try and outnumber the oppositions defence. It also frees up space for our full backs to attack. It is a good formation for away games.
Disadvantages: It restricts the midfielders influence in an attacking sense, it is not suitable for home games in my opinion, it would probably mean dropping players such as Berardi ( I would like to see Berardi at right back with Sam Byram ahead of him). Also for it to function it does need a natural defensive midfielder which could involve dropping one of: Cook,Mowatt or Murphy which is not good. Plus, it requires pace do we have enough of that with Erwin, Wood and Doukara?
Possible Outcome: Similar games to last season, we have a better away record than home record and there aren't many goals for or against.
Option 4) 3-5-2/5-3-2
GK: Silvestri RWB/RM: Byram CB: Berardi? if he can play there (maybe at RCB) if not Bamba and Bellusci plus one of: Cooper,Wooton and Killock, LWB/LM: Taylor, CM: Cook, CM: Adeyemi/Bianchi, CM Mowatt, STR Erwin/Antenucci, STR Wood.
Have we seen this formation before: Yes for a large part of Brian McDermott's time at Leeds i.e. from October to March. Successful at times i.e. 4-0 vs Birmingham, 4-2 vs Charlton and 2-0 vs Wigan and very unsuccessful i.e. 6-0 vs Sheffield Wednesday and 4-2 vs Reading (went 4-0 down.)
Advantages: Means we can play without wingers Sam Byram and Charlie Taylor are more than capable of playing the wing back roles. It means we can keep the 3 man midfield of Cook, Murphy and Mowatt as we have the extra cover from the 3rd centre back. Up front we have a front two who will get support from the wing backs and the 3 centre midfielders who can now push forward.
Disadvantages: It requires centre backs to be flexible i.e. can they play right back or left back when Byram and Taylor are out of position. It also seems to struggle against teams who play 4-5-1 or park the bus. I believe we tried it in the first half at Harrogate and it didn't work very well.
Possible outcome: Excellent record verses teams in the top 10 and are record against the rest depends on how clinical are strikers are if they are not clinical we will have a poor record if they are we will have a great record.
In my opinion the formation we suit the best is the 3-5-2 with our current players. However, I think the most likely formation we will see is the 4-2-3-1 or the 4-3-3 with the 3-5-2 appearing very unlikely. This is my opinion of course, the question is, in your opinion is Heavy Metal football the best style we can play? and which formation/team would you like to see us start with for the Burnley game?