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Attack The Best Form Of Defence With Regards To Premier League Survival
Footytubeblog (Blog) 4 years ago
It is a conundrum for teams fighting for survival every season. Should they keep it tight at the back, or go for broke and hope for the best?

This season the need to have attacking talent and flair to wrap up games has been emphasised more than ever. Sunderland, a notable example of a team who have been astute at the back yet finds themselves one point off the relegation zone.  The flaws were initially masked in the fact that they had a goalscorer in Steven Fletcher, but even the £14million signing from Wolves has struggled to carry the burden of his team every game. If they hadn’t had Fletcher’s goals they surely would be in the bottom three by now.

This just highlights how precious a commodity having goals in a side is. There will always be games where the sides at the bottom are beaten out of sight; these games aren’t the crucial ones. The managers always talk of their sides learning lessons in these games. The reality is though that when teams face other sides around them that’s the when the managers learn most. This is when confidence plays its part in that if you know when your side is under pressure you have players who can stick a chance away it gives the team a huge boost. It definitely appears to be the case at Southampton with Rickie Lambert, and he has certainly contributed with goals so far.

The Saints have flourished in the games against teams around them not just because of Lambert. They also have a supporting cast who equally provide a goal threat. When Lambert isn’t firing there is always Lallana or Ramirez to chip in with a contribution. Whilst they took a battering at the Emirates 6-1 against Arsenal they have managed to secure wins against Aston Villa, Newcastle and QPR, all teams struggling around them at the moment.

Their defence may be leaking goals like a sieve, but the fact that they have scored more goals so far than anyone else in the bottom half, except Fulham, gives them reason to be buoyant about their chances of survival. It is not just the goals though that is crucial, it is having an attack that has the incision and ability to slice open opposition defences when they are vulnerable. They appear to possess this at St Mary’s, hence the faith the supporters have shown in Nigel Adkins when he has been under pressure. QPR have struggled because they have failed to display any cohesion in attack and if you are rudderless up front you pile the pressure on your back line. They have had a world class goalkeeper in Julio Cesar before his recent injury and even he hasn’t been able to stem the tide, because if his attacking players can’t relieve the pressure off the defence, then there is only so much even a keeper like Cesar can do.

This was why there was so much frustration building at Loftus Road prior to Mark Hughes’s sacking, because they rarely looked like scoring. This is a problem that doesn’t have a quick fix. If there are problems in defence, the manager can bulk up his options. There will be plenty of Premier League options open in this department in January.  If you are looking for a creative talent and a goalscorer this is a far more of a difficult type of player to find.

They also cost a lot more money to bring in, so a chairman can only afford 1 or 2 of these at most in a window. A manager appears to live and die by which attacking talent he brings in. O’Neill was lauded by his decision to bring in Adam Johnson at this summer, but his reliance upon the player being a good fit for Sunderland hasn’t worked out so far. The fans at the Stadium of Light have only seen glimpse of what the England international is capable of and this has meant his manager has been heaped under pressure.

At the end of the day the only way a defender will be a hero at the end of the season is if he scores a goal that keeps his side up.  The teams at the bottom may be worried that their defences can’t handle the onslaught given to them by the likes of Mata at Chelsea or Van Persie when they play Manchester United. This won’t matter one jot come the end of the season if the teams at the bottom find the goals to survive.  It may certainly be something to consider at Madjeski stadium, with Reading languishing in the relegation positions, is Le Fondre and Roberts enough to keep them up? I am not sure it is. Should Martin O’ Neill look to add another attacking option in January? Either that or get his attacking players performing as soon as possible.

When sides are at the bottom of the table teams and scrapping is required teams look to their main men up front. Newcastle has Demba Ba, or Cisse, which is why you suspect they will claw themselves away from trouble if they get support from their teammates. A clean sheet will count for nothing at the end of the season if relegation ensues. So it may be an idea for manager’s to find what makes their attacks click before it is too late.

Blog by Grant Miles

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.
BoleynGhost (West Ham United) 4 years ago
I completely disagree. What is the main difference between West Ham who are comfortably in mid table and the 2 other promoted sides who are fighting relegation? The foundations of West Ham´s success this season has been built from the back. Despite the Hammers having strikers who can´t score goals (Maiga 2, Cole 1 and Carroll 1)the Hammers are full of confidence. Nothing drains confidence from a team more than a leaky defence and as we know confidence is possibly the most important factor. Teams with a strong defence can always nick a goal and they are often strong at set pieces. Look at Stoke and Wigan. Similar sized teams but it is Stoke who are almost every season comfortably mid table and Wigan who always just cling on for survival.

I´m sorry but you are completely wrong on this. As a Hammers fan for many seasons we know a thing or 2 about relegation battles in the premier league, maybe more than any other team and it was the seasons when our defence was strong that we managed to stay up. You may recall how we got relegated under Grant despite scoring 4 against Man utd, 3 against Liverpool and coming back from 3 down to draw 3-3 at West Brom. Yep we were probably more exciting to watch then but not so much fun when your defence is poor. I could give many examples but I will save it

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