Easy fix, Torres wide left, Sterling wide right, no inverted winger shit that funnels everything to the D of the box and reduces the space to play in.The quiet triumphalism of Pep signing what is in effect (given that we’re only 8 games into this campaign) a 3 year deal on Thursday, lasted about 48 hours. As long as it took for Jose Mourinho to become the latest manager to exploit an Achilles Heel so large it would probably require a boot from the Apollo XI mission to cover it adequately, in fact.
Bus parking (and associated counterattacking) is not a new phenomenon, but the prevalence of it is, to the point that I’ve begun to relish match day about as much as a trip to the dentist. You know exactly what’s coming and you know it’s going to be painful = like pulling teeth in fact! At the back end of last season United did it to us and won, Chelsea did it to us and won, Southampton did it to us and won, Arsenal did it to us and won, Lyon did it to us and won. Following suit this season, Leicester did it to us and won, West Ham did it to us and drew, Spurs did it to us and won.
10 goals in 8 games tells its own story.
Two years ago we had a turbo charged generational talent in Sane hugging one flank, Sterling hugging the other, Dave sitting between the bank of 5 and the bank of 4. poking little balls inside the full backs, and if anyone managed to smuggle a pass out past the front line press, then Fernandinho would nail the recipient in the blink of an eye, and any parked buses would buckle under the strain eventually.
Those players and that balance have gone from the squad. It takes two men to do Fernandinho’s job, both of them chronically slow and incapable of pressing effectively (with the gormless free kick conceded for ‘shoves from behind’ tally off the scale), Kev looks knackered, Sergio’s another year older, we’ve got inverted wingers floating inswinging balls over to no-one (and harmlessly out over the dead ball line for goal kicks) and don’t even get me started on Mahrez. In short we’ve got a squad built for playing a particular way, but without the attributes to play that way effectively. And yet we keep trying to play that way, even though everyone now knows how to thwart us.
The question is what can we do about it? We can’t wave a magic wand and make Rodri and Gundogan quicker, we can’t force feed Mahrez a king sized tub of Creatine or get him a heart, we can’t prevent Mendy and Walker from making impulsive challenges. So what can we do given the players at our disposal? I don’t have an answer myself, but if we don’t come up with one soon we won’t be playing European football next season, with all the financial implications that will have, cos parked buses are all we’re going to face from here on in. If anyone’s got any ideas please tell Pep quick
Pep is a massive fan of inverted wingers though, probably why he pissed Sane off.