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Gregor

Maybe time to try 442 formation

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Some of our players come in for abuse and are overly criticised at times namely Polworth and the strikers.

A different way to look at this we have three centre forwards who have some of the best conversion ratios in  start/goals  in the championship , Polworth does get assists and is a decent player, but so are the strikers their goals ratio to starts would back that up, but I think we would get more from Polworth and more goals if we played two up top together.One of the best games Polworth had was when we changed to 442 after being three goals down to Queens away and pulled back to draw in last twenty minutes of game.Polworth got the space in middle of park to drive forward as we played with width, stretched the game, and defenders had two forwards to contend with and space opened up.

I personally think the formation is stifling Polworth with 3 in the middle and we would get so much more goal opportunities with having two forwards on from the start.In thinking all of this i looked at the stats of our strikers compared to their peers in the Championship and looked at our midfield to front players stats in their time with the club.

In my mind 4231 is not getting us the wins we need , so surely when we have three of the best strikers in the league at least maybe the manager should try them as a pairing to get more goals.

In all competitions this season

White 13  starts 8 goals ratio of 1.62 only Shankland Dobbie and McKay have better ratios of top 25 goalscorers from Championship

Austin 7 starts 4 goals ratio of 1.75 only Shankland Dobbie  McKay and White have better ratios

Oakley 10  starts 5 goals ratio of 2 only Shankland Dobbie McKay White and Trouten have better ratios

If you take league games only Shankland Dobbie and Mckay have better ratios than both Oakley and White, thats why I get annoyed when the strikers are constantly criticised as these two guys are decent players.

We play five midfielders every week out of six and only play one forward out of 3.

Have a look at stats below which is all games started for the club and goals scored, maybe this is  why we dont score enough goals, we are not giving enough starts to the players who will get the goals by only playing 1 forward every game. Actually we dont play Austin at all now and he has marginally the best ratio of all players. I understand the strikers should have the better ratios but to play five midfielders and only one striker is not helping our quest for goals.

player             starts     goals    ratio    % chance of scoring
                
AUSTIN            16         10         1.6                       62%
WHITE              13          8         1.62                      61%
OAKLEY           39          17        2.29                     43%
WALSH            21           7           3                         33%
DORAN           148         28       5.28                      19%
WELSH            16           3        5.33                      19%
POLWORTH   147        16        9.18                      11%
CHALMERS     63         5         12.6                       8%

Trafford has started 32 games and yet to score, Vigurs on the other hand in his last spell with us  here started 106 games scoring 21 goals ratio of 5.04 which relates to 20% chance of scoring a goal when starting. I think its fair to say we miss him as he brings a bigger goal threat than all other midfielders apart from Tom Walsh.

Some people dont like stats and say you can use them to prove anything, but surely they give a little insight as to why we may be hampering our chances of scoring the goals we need to win games

Maybe this  could be the  time for the manager to at least try something different and give two lads out of three an opportunity to start some games together for the benefit of all 4 players including Polworth and the club .If we dont try we wont know if a partnership of Oakley and White would work ,Robbo hasnt  tried these two as a  starting pairing all season, maybe now is the time.

Maybe we have the answer in front of us just by tweaking things and changing formation to 442

Edited by Gregor
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Good post.  Interesting stats.

The point about Polworth driving forward is an important one because all too often when he does try to drive forward, there is so little on in front of him.  Not only is there not an obvious ball for him to play but opposition defenders can close him down without leaving someone they are marking, or even leaving any real space that other attackers can run into.  We simply don't get enough players forward quickly enough to stretch the defence.  We have a wide park and our game should seek to exploit the space that allows.  Welsh, Chalmers and Trafford never get forward enough in my view and as a result we are always outnumbered up front except when we break quickly after corners etc.

Playing 2 up front obviously leads to you being a bit more stretched at the back but it is hardly a novel concept and works well for many teams.  As you say, our strikers do, in fact, have decent conversion rates and they would be scoring more if they saw more of the ball.  White, like Polworth, has also come in for a fair bit of stick, but whilst there are some obvious weaknesses in his game, he is good at being in the right place at the right time, which is why he has scored as many as he has.  Get more guys forward to open up a bit more space for Polworth's creativity and goals will come.

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An excellent and well thought out OP. I think that football is made overcomplicated these days and that a simple old fashioned 4-4-2 would suit our personnel quite well.

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Don't be fooled by stats White is without a doubt a shocking striker he's not even a grafter or a target man maybe it's just me but I think he's 1 of the worst strikers wev had in recent seasons!

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If we possessed two worthy strikers then I would always go 4-4-2, especially at home. BUT I don't think that Oakley, White and Austin can play together. I still think that we need one in the centre - Oakley to me is the only target man / lone striker available - play Polworth in the number 10 role, get pace and width on both flanks and 2 holding players.

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Good post Gregor although I am not always convinced about stats we do need to tweak things as the current way we are playing is not working. 

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I  would like to see Rooney in an attacking right midfield or wing position with Polworth playing a roaming centre midfield. As it stands we are too defensive minded, especially after we score. also we need much more movement, creating space for the ball to be played into.  At throw ins it looks as if nobody wants the ball, very little movement, we are not takeing advantage. Back post awareness at crosses is also lacking. I dont care what the formation is called I just want to see  the right effort and attitude on the field.

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3 hours ago, Gregor said:

Some people dont like stats and say you can use them to prove anything, but surely they give a little insight as to why we may be hampering our chances of scoring the goals we need to win games

I'll come back to the stats later. Excellent post though. Austin playing off a big man like White or Oakley has never really been tried. I fear that Robbo knows what most of us have worked out - Polworth is our best CM by a distance, but Polworth plus A.N. Other in CM ( e.g. Trafford or Chalmers) will get overrun. So he uses 3, which means we can often dominate the possession, but do sod all with it. Maybe if we got somebody like Draper on loan we could get away with it.

Now, back to the stats. You're trying too hard in repeatedly saying that the strikers are "decent". They're not, not at the level we aspire to be anyway. Bizarrely you've quoted starts/goals rather than the other way around.

You're implying that our 3 are somehow just behind Shankland etc. The fact is there is a huge gap between the best strikers and the rest. If you take White as 8/13 = 0.62, then Shankland is 18/16 = 1.13 (league only). That's double the strike rate. If you include Cup games it's 1.26.

White is 26 and has had 10 clubs. His most significant spell by far was 2 years at Livi where he scored 21 in 69. At 3 of his other clubs he scored no goals at all. For a big man he can't jump, and his second touch is a tackle. Oakley and Austin have similar histories. George had 3 years at AFC Wimbledon where he failed to score at all. OK, only 9 appearances, but he's been loaned out to lesser clubs and failed to impress. Somebody recently, an AFCW fan, said he was surprised George had ended up at us, as he thought he wouldn't make it at English League 2 level.

I don't know if you're old enough to remember Wyness, Ritchie, Wilson, Bingham, Hislop, Xausa, Christie. All players challenging at the top of the second tier and coveted by rival clubs. And later on, Hayes, Foran, Rooney. If any of the current 3 are transferred/loaned in the window it will be to Lg 1 clubs. I realise we are where we are though.

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49 minutes ago, Alan Simpson said:

Don't be fooled by stats White is without a doubt a shocking striker he's not even a grafter or a target man maybe it's just me but I think he's 1 of the worst strikers wev had in recent seasons!

He has scored 99 goals in his career so i will stick by what ive said  and seen mate

but you carry on and have your own view.

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36 minutes ago, TheMantis said:

I'll come back to the stats later. Excellent post though. Austin playing off a big man like White or Oakley has never really been tried. I fear that Robbo knows what most of us have worked out - Polworth is our best CM by a distance, but Polworth plus A.N. Other in CM ( e.g. Trafford or Chalmers) will get overrun. So he uses 3, which means we can often dominate the possession, but do sod all with it. Maybe if we got somebody like Draper on loan we could get away with it.

Now, back to the stats. You're trying too hard in repeatedly saying that the strikers are "decent". They're not, not at the level we aspire to be anyway. Bizarrely you've quoted starts/goals rather than the other way around.

You're implying that our 3 are somehow just behind Shankland etc. The fact is there is a huge gap between the best strikers and the rest. If you take White as 8/13 = 0.62, then Shankland is 18/16 = 1.13 (league only). That's double the strike rate. If you include Cup games it's 1.26.

White is 26 and has had 10 clubs. His most significant spell by far was 2 years at Livi where he scored 21 in 69. At 3 of his other clubs he scored no goals at all. For a big man he can't jump, and his second touch is a tackle. Oakley and Austin have similar histories. George had 3 years at AFC Wimbledon where he failed to score at all. OK, only 9 appearances, but he's been loaned out to lesser clubs and failed to impress. Somebody recently, an AFCW fan, said he was surprised George had ended up at us, as he thought he wouldn't make it at English League 2 level.

I don't know if you're old enough to remember Wyness, Ritchie, Wilson, Bingham, Hislop, Xausa, Christie. All players challenging at the top of the second tier and coveted by rival clubs. And later on, Hayes, Foran, Rooney. If any of the current 3 are transferred/loaned in the window it will be to Lg 1 clubs. I realise we are where we are though.

Shankland is having an incredible season but my point is that Oakley and White have only 3 strikers ahead of them in ratio of goals to starts.

I think if asked most fans if you could have  two strikers who would score around  1 goal every 2 starts then they would be very happy, my point is we have these strikers in Oakley and White and if we play them together we may get more goals.

If White  and Oakley had started the same total number of games as Shankland and Dobbie which is 23 then given the ratio

White wouuld be on 14 goals with Oakley on 11 which is more than decent halfway through a season.

 

Edited by Gregor
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4-4-2 has generally meant Polly being shunted out to the right from where he struggles to impose himself. It's all very well having him in a central 2 when we're chasing a 3 goal deficit, but if we did that every week teams would play through us. Playing two holders behind him frees Polworth up to make the the forward runs from which most of our goals are created. The system already plays to his strengths, it's just that the players around him aren't good enough.

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6 hours ago, Caley Stan said:

4-4-2 has generally meant Polly being shunted out to the right from where he struggles to impose himself. It's all very well having him in a central 2 when we're chasing a 3 goal deficit, but if we did that every week teams would play through us. Playing two holders behind him frees Polworth up to make the the forward runs from which most of our goals are created. The system already plays to his strengths, it's just that the players around him aren't good enough.

Ok so we all think we need to play Polly and to play in his most effective position which is central mid.

We all agree we need to win games and our current formation of 4231 isn’t winning  is enough games

We have 3 Strikers who have good ratios and it’s my view that we need to accommodate more strikers on the field of play to give us a greater chance of getting more goals and therefore winning games

So if Polly and one other can’t be trusted in midfield as in you words ‘teams would play through us’ we need 3 in the middle but we also need two up top so that leaves another suggestion of playing to our strengths like Livingston do and employ a 352

Of the players available we could have McCart Donaldson and Brad who could play in a 3 central combination 

Rooney who most feel is better going forward than defending on right side with Walsh on the other side 

Centre 3 from Polly Welsh Chalmers Doran and Trafford 

Up Top 2 from White Oakley and Austin

Livi play to their strengths maybe it’s time we do too, get the two strikers starting get the ball wide get the ball into the box  and give it a go, can’t keep saying we haven’t got the strikers as the stats prove otherwise . We need wins we won’t win without goals and the players to get us goals are the strikers. 

What is certainly obvious is by playing only one striker we are not winning enough games .Keeping a striker on the bench who has scored 6 goals in his last 6 starts and continue to play 5 midfielders instead of him isn’t working.

A tweak is all that’s needed two up top instead of one is the change that’s required  but we need to keep Polly in the middle as on the wing he is a man down.

We need to be bold recognise where we are and play to the strengths of the players we have just like Livingston

Not doing them much harm is it.

 

Edited by Gregor

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Our midfields not good enough to accomadate 2 up top they'd be overrun unless the lesser seen Beith is like Pirlo eh! Besides play all our strikers at once they'd still struggle to score just shows how stats can make eventhe worst of players i.e. White who wears lead boots look half decent!

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1 hour ago, Alan Simpson said:

Our midfields not good enough to accomadate 2 up top they'd be overrun unless the lesser seen Beith is like Pirlo eh! Besides play all our strikers at once they'd still struggle to score just shows how stats can make eventhe worst of players i.e. White who wears lead boots look half decent!

I’ve come through the conclusion that you don’t like White 😅has he stolen your girlfriend or something  😂

I reckon if he scores 20 goals this season and is our top scorer you still would like him.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Gregor said:

I’ve come through the conclusion that you don’t like White 😅has he stolen your girlfriend or something  😂

I reckon if he scores 20 goals this season and is our top scorer you still would like him.

 

 

White don't move quick enough to steal my bird pal besides he can have her! Na just think he's proper lazy can't jump slow don't hold the ball up tho if he bangs in a few he could still end up on the back of my top lol

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its incredible when you look at the stats you see the possible answer to our problems of lack of wins staring us in the face.

We have played 23 games so far this season

The stats tell us that if we start with two strikers from the start then we give ourselves nearly 2 times more chance to win games than playing with only one striker. As you can see below we have have only won four games from fifteen starting with one up top , but have won four games out of eight when starting with two up top.Add into the mix getting a draw  at Dumfries  clawing back three goals in the last twenty minutes by going two up. It is certainly the more attacking way to play. We only lose the same % of games but have 30% less draws which sicken us all.

 

image.png.bc2756dd01eba39d9e112c1ee132e2bd.png

We started the season playing with two up for the first five games and won 4 out of 5 games only getting beat by Hearts when we played one up top.

However as they say in investment terms past performance is no guarantee of future performance, but surely trying this formation again is worth the risk.

Edited by Gregor
updated stats

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We've won 4 league games. 3 of them were with 1 up front.

Your stats show that we are more likely to win against part-time teams from the leagues below.

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1 hour ago, Caley Stan said:

We've won 4 league games. 3 of them were with 1 up front.

Your stats show that we are more likely to win against part-time teams from the leagues below.

Thanks for pointing that out Stan as I had missed one of the wins and have updated the stats accordingly.

However we also won two of those three games against Partick who at the time of us playing them have been one of the poorer teams in the league.

Fact remains we have only won 4 games out of 15  starting with 1 striker against Partick twice ,Dunfermline and Edinburgh City who are also part time.

We have won 4 games with 2 starting in only 8 games instead of 15 against Falkirk, Raith and two teams who are part time in Cowdenbeath and Cove Rangers.

Certainly think there is merit in considering trying two strikers for the next 7 games and then we could get a like for like comparison of 15 games with each system, we would only need to win 1 game out of the 7 to be an improvment in win ratios, surely thats worth taking a chance on.

 

Edited by Gregor

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Great stats and a bit of work gone into compiling them.

I think we show a lot more fear towards losing than we do faith in winning and that has caused us to become some what turgid in our approach and we've been sussed out, yes there's a lot to be said for playing to a system that everyone understands but currently it's not working to it's full potential.

Ditch the fear factor and make a change and I agree it comes with the formation, the best teams mix it up a bit and have a plan B and sometimes a plan C.

We're in a weird situation where 4 wins from 16 is absolutely not good enough but then 1 loss in 16 is exceptional, it's the bit in the middle, the 11 draws that have killed us. 

Interestingly, I have just noticed that in the last 5 league games no one team has won more than 2 games. It'll either stay close or one team will hit great form, go on a run and pull away from the rest, to ensure we don't fall behind if that happens we need to step it up somehow. 

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I’ll certainly give you props for the work put in for the post and believe a change in formation is needed however I’ll have to go with a few others and say 2 up just doesn’t work. We have 3 strikers but only 1 viable candidate(Oakley) I think white and Austin just wouldn’t get it done with a partner. 

 

However the bigger issue is deeper then. Less cover in the centre of the park when polly isn’t really a “worker” but creator. The biggest issue would be no cover for Rooney who NEVER recovers well! I mean it’s shocking and has been at fault of so many goals because of it! I think switching to 4123 is a better switch and having Welch sit and allow polly and MacGregor push forward to create and have Walsh and Doran come in more for extra options.

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You think White and Austin who have the best stats at the club wouldn’t get it done with a partner.

thats it settled then 😂 

 

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Stats can only show so much, Just because individuals have good figures doesn't mean they can and will combine together.

442 or 4411 other logical as that's what players grow up with and as we have seen examples of Aberdeen, hearts and Scotland change formation for matches it has a huge negative effect and results much worse than anticipated simply because they don't have players experienced in those roles and able to adapt - think we all agree our players have generally less ability.

We need to establish the strengths then build around that so if we see it as Donaldson and Polly then we locate players to complement and create partnerships. The tinkering of these positions and players does have an effect but the real problem is the lack of creativity and ability up front - right now our players seem to lack this so no later how many tweeks we do to the rest of the park its not going to resolve in the timescale required

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Robbo in both spells has created a side which has focused on being hard to beat rather than free flowing attacking football. Strange considering he was an out and out goalscorer as a player but perhaps more a reflection on his personality/outlook.

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6 hours ago, IMMORTAL HOWDEN ENDER said:

Unfortunately the bottom line is that Robbo does'nt know.

Robbo knows our strikers are limited to say the least wev got the most immobile strike force iv ever seen tho might change if wee get Quitongo in the whole dynamic of the team would change he's pace to get in behind White would struggle to win a primary school sprint

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