Saturday, 23 February 2013

Diamonds are a goal's best friend

 

Welcome to the first ever article from Forest Boffin, where we'll be explaining why we think all Forest fans are in for a feast of goals for the rest of the season. Anybody witnessing the entertaining and revealing game against Huddersfield recently would have been thrilled by the attacking flair Forest utilised, however the Garibaldi were not exactly defending like AC Milan! It made for a very lively game, certainly one for the neutrals - but why was it such an open game, and can we expect more of the same?
A diamond formation is a very fragile affair - without the correct players there are glaring defensive deficiencies that will be exposed by good players. The gleam on the gem is that it is a very useful tactic if you have creative players - Forest are spoilt in this department. It is the theory of Forest Boffin that Billy has shrewdly decided to play to the strengths of our current playing staff. So what's the problem?
 
 What we may see (definitely will see) is our beautiful shiny diamond occasionally shatter from time to time because Forest don't have the players to cope with this formation when the opposition have the ball. The situation in figure 2 is familiar from Billy's last spell as manager. At no stage did Forest have a consistent partnership on the left side of the defence between left back and left winger/midfielder - subsequently as our defence moves to face a thrust towards our right back, huge spaces appeared in front of the left back. This was occurring anew against Huddersfield.
Forest under Billy used to get away with this mainly because of the experience, organisation and vision of Paul McKenna. Guedioura does not possess these skills yet and was being repeatedly sucked out of position against Bolton & Huddersfield leaving even more space. To make things even more precarious, our left sided midfielders (Reid & McGugan will be deployed here) aren't the best motivated defensively.
 
This lack of a partnership between left back and left midfielder has already cost Billy a goal as Huddersfield outnumbered Cohen, catching the defence by surprise with a good cross and great finish to put them 1-0 up, similar to the recurring scenario in fig. 3. This seems an incurable illness at Forest as no-matter who is in charge we are constantly over-run here - the only time we've looked stable has been when we loaned a truly class left back able to deal with a very difficult task.
These are only a couple of illustrations of how the diamond formation exacerbates the problems of unsupported full-backs. There are some excellent attacking players in the Championship who will find too much space down our left flank. It won't be as much of a problem in front of Jara - he is an accomplished, diligent defender supported by the hard-working Henri Lansbury. Our opponents will choose the easier route.
 
This is, however, not a negative article lambasting Billy's continued reliance on 'square pegs'. Indeed, the way Davies has set out his teams so far, together with the way he appears happy to use the players he already has, has made me look forward to the rest of this season more than any other - because I think we're going to see goals goals and more goals. I think Billy, securely basking in the adoration of the masses, is going to take the risks that can only bring carnage between both sets of goalposts.
 
Deploying Guedioura in the Gillett role may be a stroke of  genius - he is energetic and motivated, but more importantly the Algerian is decisive with the ball at his feet. Gueddy will make mistakes and get caught and dragged out of position, but he will also become the fulcrum of our attacking threat. He'll gather the ball from our defenders and create from our own half. He'll play concise and cogent balls up-field where they will hurt.
Which brings me to the jewel in King Billy's diamond encrusted crown: Raddy Majewski. I was surprised at how the pole executed Huddersfield so clinically - he does it now and again but not too often. I was not surprised at the havoc he was causing when collecting forward passes as he flitted around the Terriers' defence. Majewski is too technical for this level of football, he is able to receive and shift the ball in tight spots whilst hurting his opponents. At the head of the diamond though, he is in an unusually dangerous and advanced position. To make things even more interesting, with Raddy up there laying the ball off our defensively deficient left wing turns into the advantage of an extremely attacking left-midfielder (Reid), being supported by a rampaging, energetic left back/midfielder (Cohen).
 
Add to this a glut of hungry strikers proven to be able to score goals at this level - many are of the opinion that the likes of Cox and Sharp have not received enough service this season. They will surely have ample opportunity to add to their tallies in the remaining games, starting with Charlton this afternoon. If not today, I've a feeling we are going to see alot more goals as Billy goes for broke as we try and score our way into the playoffs.
 
I have not been as optimistic or excited about a Forest side in many years - am I caught up in the aftermath of an unusually splendid victory? Am I drunk on the memory of Billy's big-screen message? Am I getting carried away?
 
Who cares - COYR!
 
Genuine thanks for reading.
 
 

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