Are Wednesday Neglecting The Basics For Balance?

They say that football is a simple game. And I go along with that in some respects. As we all know, this season so far hasn’t gone to plan for Wednesday, and something I have been questioning for a while is whether we’re over-complicating matters? Is there too much focus on finding symmetry and balance in the system?

Now, there are probably loads of people better qualified who understand graphs and data to say whether this is the case, but I can only go on what I see with my own eyes and talk through my opinions.

For a while, Wednesday, as a team on the pitch, have lacked an identity and a way of playing. And, from what I have seen this season, we’re no closer to establishing one so far. It always appears to me like we’re caught between multiple, rather than having the way of playing that everyone buys into.

I think Darren Moore ideally wants Wednesday to play out from the back and to play some nice stuff. And to make that happen, I believe this is why he wants the balance of a right-footer at right centre half and a left-footer at left centre half. But, in the same instance, has it led to Wednesday neglecting the basics?

I don’t want anyone reading this to think I’m putting the standard of League One down because I’m not. Let’s face it, some of our players, who have played games at higher levels, have struggled with the level so far. But, I like my defenders to be defensively sound and to head it and kick it out of the back. And I think this is what you need at this level.

Wednesday have had, and continue to have, significant issues with injuries, especially defensively. Dominic Iorfa and Chey Dunkley have been massive misses. Lewis Gibson, who is still registered as a loan player at Hillsborough, is also a long term absentee. So, it’s led to players having to fill in at centre half, such as Liam Palmer, who is fine in a three, and Marvin Johnson, primarily a wide player.

I understand if you have a system and you’re coaching it, you’re going to want to run with it. And, it makes sense. But, I have always felt you’re better served going with a formation that suits the players you have available, rather than attempting to shoehorn them into a set-up that may involve several square pegs in round holes.

An example of this is playing a formation that includes three centre halfs, when we don’t have three centre halfs available. I understand that you may run with three centre-backs because it should make you more defensively sound and allow you to build from the back. But Wednesday still concede goals. And, how effective is the playing out from the back?

The other point I’d like to make is what appears to be a desire to have symmetry and balance at the back. Look, you have to credit Marvin Johnson, a player who isn’t a centre half, or even a defender, for doing his best in the left centre back slot. But today, for example, would we have been better served with a natural defender in the position? Even if he’s naturally right-footed?

I know Jordan Storey hasn’t been with Wednesday long, and he’s not played since December, but after signing a few days ago and having a bit of time on the training pitch, would he have been a better option? Or, Ciaran Brennan, as we could have moved Palmer to left centre half, a side he is more than comfortable on.

I would have also considered a four at the back system and still would. Sam Hutchinson, who reads the game well, has played on the left of a two previously, so would be fine there. Storey could have partnered him, or Brennan, or Palmer. I just feel there is an over-determination to play with three and to have a right-footer on the right and a left-footer on the left of the defensive unit.

Wolves and Wednesday are poles apart. But, I noticed in the main, that they have a left-footer in Max Kilman at right centre half, and then another left-footer at left centre half. But still, and again, I know Wolves and Wednesday are not comparable, Wolves are sound defensively, and they can still play out from the back.

If you look at the goals we conceded against Oxford, and in general, there are many that you can put down to defensive lapses, a lack of awareness, concentration and so on. Centre backs and defenders they not only learn to head it and kick it out of the back, but they also develop an understanding of defensive situations, positioning, timing etc.

That’s why I think having defenders in these positions is crucial. And, you need defenders, especially when set-pieces against us are coming in, to use their awareness and experience to move those who aren’t defenders into the correct positions and to get things organized. For me, these are basics that are being neglected for the idea of players being deployed on their natural side.