It comes as no surprise that many consider Tomas Soucek had his best game in some while against Watford!
At last the brilliant Czech midfielder was released to do what he does best – turn defence into attack – with those stealthy runs which saw him find the net 10 times last term and three so far this time around in a more defensive role.
Nobes was the one doing the dirty work behind him and – it has to be said – doing it very well as Tomas became more like the Hammer of the Year we saw last year.
There are very few defensive midfield players we can find with such a scoring record and even in 2018/19 he was responsible for 10 goals in the Czech League .
This is very much a central part of the player’s game and very rare at the top level where even Declan – with those surging runs of late – has managed just one Premier League goal against Villa.
The switch in roles has surprised a lot of us – your views please!
Needs a more flexible system. Both can go forward when its right for one of them to do so.
Seems to me this – unusal and brilliant though it is – sees us wasting Soucek’s natural game in the hope that Rice might do it – but he hasn’t and isn’t
But the fact is that when Dec’s around he has been told to sit and I don’t get that after last season
Switch them back, no brainer, especially with the 2 better centre backs out and in need of protection.
I would personally like to see how we would do in a 4-3-3 formation with Dec, Soucek and Kral in the center, and Bowen, Antonio, Benny in front. The players can obviously be changed (Nobes/Lanzini/Fornals in center mid and Fornals/Lanzini/Vlasic in a front 3), but thats not the point. The worry for me then is how our CMs would help defend on the flanks, as it would likely be a more narrow formation. The benefit would obviously be attacking freedom from the mid 3, allowing atleast 1 to sit back and protect defence as we do today. Benny, Bowen, Lanzini and Vlasic all tend to run inwards, and would rotate the No10 role.
I don’t see Rice “bombing” forward a problem. His game has progressed that he can do this. Soucek was always going to either be marked differently or go off the boil a tad. He was new to the PL teams work these things out. Rice is clearly the better allround player. This year without Cresswell we have been weaker down the left and that is where Rice is positioned. Cresswell has great assists and is better defensively but isn’t the quickest.
Rice needs more help down the left,Soucek had Coufal playing excellently last season down his right this season Soucek hasn’t had that relationship with him so much.It happens. Teams evolve and get better at times then lose a few like we have. Now we have won it all seems better. Bowen also helps out down the right more than whoever is down the left. Rice’s rest will do him good,he can see what is happening when he is not there and can see the team needs to give more,that was seen yesterday.
Historically, Soucek’s goal over several seaons say something different Boleyn. Dec doesn’t begin to compare tbh and may be a better defensive bet
Soucek looks like he’s been told to let Rice go forward and play a more defensive role himself. It hasn’t worked. Rice as captain has to see that. Also game time for Kral has to be increased or he’ll stagnate. 4-3-2-1 for me.
Yes Hugh many of us lamented that Tomas is ‘sacrificed’ from going forward to accommodate Dec attacking more. Stats show the balance is wrong – DM started it by pushing Dec on, he needs to address it. Simply, Tomas attacks better than Dec, who is a better defender/ interceptor. Play to their strengths, not forced whims. It wasn’t broke, didn’t need tweaking
My view entirely Pete. I worry that Tom will be getting fed up – body language not great
When Rice ‘bombs’ forward, as somebody said above, it seems to come out of the blue. It takes the opposition by surprise -and maybe Soucek as well.
So maybe all it needs is for the two of them to form a better understanding. Most of the time, Soucek would attack whilst Dec defends, but occasionally (cos that’s all it needs) Dec would bomb and Soucec would know and cover.
Maybe that’s rubbish: Either can’t be done or is too simplistic.
I would prefer to see Declan sit and concentrate on what got him selected to play for his country in the first place, for his defensive holding midfielder abilities. Allow Souchek to get forward. Souchek is a naturally more offensive player and has had great success doing it. To Declan I would say get forward by all means if we are winning by a two or more goal margin, or if we are chasing the game trying to get an equaliser late on for instance, but otherwise I would tell him to sit deep, and do what he’s best at protecting the back four and spreading the ball forwards to the attacking players.
Rice has said he wants to improve his own game by getting more goals and that is costing us. Tbh most of his shots are way off target or easy for the keeper. The way Vlasic is coming on leaps and bounds it really isn’t needed.
I’m in a good mood after Watford (& our postman’s a Watford fan – you should have seen his face). So I agree with everything that’s been said. Moysie ain’t gonna read ut anyway, so we can’t pass on our advice😚
Rice bombing makes me remember when Bobby Moore used to make one of his rare foward runs through the middle.
Defenders backed off as if they were afraid he would beat them as well as he could take the ball off of fowards. It usually ended in a tame shot. I think he got 27 goals over his career.
I’m sure Bob wouldn’t mind me staying that Dec is much better at it. He scares the **** out of the opposition when he suddenly bombs. But yes, he does need to improve his shooting accuracy.
If we press higher up the pitch like we did when Moyes came back and early last season then both of them can get forward, most of our problems come when we don’t commit enough players to attack, Dec breaking through the lines is quite good but as you say he is not as big a goal threat as Soucek arriving late in the box, Soucek is a brilliant finisher, Dec has a way to go on that front, Soucek is also far more dangerous because he finds space so we need players to put the ball into that space for him to tap in a few, the more goal threat we have the better and on that front between him and Dec it is no competition. I hope he gets released a lot more often to score more goals, I would rather win 5 – 4 than try and protect a 1 – 0 lead, too often now I see us get an equaliser or a goal and sit back, thats what teams want it makes it easy for them, the top teams continue to press the game when they are ahead.