3 Man midfield

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Post by Mr Nick09 Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:54 am

Just a reflection on football and our midfield. Was thinking about how @Halamadrid reacted when he found out Camavinga is not the number 6 to replace Casemiro in the future and all his deficiencies when we are playing from the back.

The format of our midfield is CM-DM-CM
Given that we have two converted AMs playing as CMs, having a third more defensive player to balance them out is extremely important. Casemiro is the best defensive pivot in football for my money but his limitations are also evident. On the ball, when playing from the back he struggles a lot against the press. Not to say that he hasn’t had good performances in key games in that role but if I think back at the last time we lost in CL against two pressing teams, he did not shine.

Zidane has often fixed this by pooling Kronos and Modric down from their position to be the primary outlet from the back and to advance the ball forward. This created attacking midfield Casemiro, which is one of the most infuriating things I have seen in my time as a fan lol.

This is also one of the reasons why I think Zidane often used Isco in CL. Pulling Modeic down to bring the ball out creates a vacuum that Casemiro can’t fill so a floating player like Isco could move in between the lines and close the gaps. It was a clever approach and we know how that went out.

Casemiro back up
Now we have often commented that we need a Casemiro back up, but do we? I think there is a argument to be made that moving away from the model we currently have with a single DM who has limited quality when playing from the back, is a smarter option.

Those players who are equality gifted on and off the ball are not easy to find. So why persist? A few years ago Juventus was running the opposite of our midfield with Pirlo as the pivot and two box to box players on each side.

Instead of another DM that would struggle like Casemiro with playing from the back, I wonder if the better approach wouldn’t simply be to start looking for a pivot who has more ball skills to play from the back and build a more athletic midfield around him to balance things out.

Anyway curious to hear your thoughts
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Post by Valkyrja Wed Sep 02, 2020 7:58 am

I agree completely, Casemiro's backup should not be a 1-to-1 replacement, but a quiet different player who can offer other things. My preferred choices are Roca who acts as a DLP and Zambo Anguissa from Vilarreal (on loan from Fulham, where he was shit) who is at his best in a 2 man mid.

His future replacement (hopefully Camavinga, as he ticks all the boxes, including the age difference to his potential tutor Casemiro) should not be similar to him at all, he should complement our future starting midfielders who in my opinion are at their best in 4231.

I like this structure more than the one we used in the 3peat, because from my pov they complement each other much better than Modric-Casemiro-Kroos. our best midfield ever, but quiet static and flat, with a few issues - Casemiro with his lack of ball skills, and Kroos with his lack of defensive nous and pace. I don't see weaknesses in Valverde-Camavinga-Odegaard, they can all hold their own in any situation

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Post by Mr Nick09 Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:59 pm

The point of view that I am using here is really that if you are building a team that plays from the back then it takes different players to allow that build up for your team. Keep in mind I am talking about extreme cases of high pressing teams which is now the new trend in European football.

Bayern for example use Thiago in that regard, despite the 2 man set up and he so elite that they are less issues building from behind. In Madrid Casemiro can’t be that primary outlet and we have often used Kronos and Modric to do it, causing the problems I described above,

While you agree that a different kind of player is necessary I think the mention of Roca or Anguissa doesn’t quite line up with this issue of playing from the back. Rica would struggle to deal with the press and so will Anguissa.
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Post by Valkyrja Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:03 am

Neither Roca nor Anguissa are world beaters or anything but considering their overall profile from my pov they are the best options for us. Casemiro is not moving anywhere for the next 4 years at least, and hopefully by then we’ll have Camavinga lined up who looks like a complete midfielder. We can’t expect borderline world class players come here to play 10 games a season as a deputy to Casemiro. He’s the least of our problems right now (a few years ago I would have said otherwise, but he’s got better in the meantime while his legendary partners have regressed)

With regard to your stance on competing against high pressing teams in Europa, I agree again and I would like for us to put together a truly functional team for this decade but it should start with the goalkeeper, as Conetois is not suited at all to the sweeper keeper role that’s needed in this kind of system. The GK should act as a an extra field player in transition in order to break the press easier and Tbu is incapable of that. A left footed CB would also be nice - Militao even if good against City, was found out on his weaker foot imo. Ramos would bang them pinpoint passes like nothing, while Eder can only play with his right which affects our transition. Mendy’s complete shit on the ball too, before we used Marcelo as an outlet to get out of defense





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Post by Chad31 Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:42 pm

Don't see what's so wrong having casemiro like player, Why every player have to be the dribble dribble type to be effective? I swear this is the same argument since pogba juve days, Casemiro is not that limited imo just not a youtube flare player, an upgrade/backup for him would be a more consistent passer from deep, not another runner dribbler, Martin, kubo and valverde already provide that quality, I get casemiro is boring or whatever compared to YouTube hype, but winning>YouTube videos, again you made the same argument for pogba, I remember sports saying madrid would regret missing him etc, nothing happened team still won and pogba became a joke.

The 3 man midfield is solid and brought the team success, modric looks set to accept a bench role and kroos can rotate a bit more, so a ode-case-valverde is a very dynamic midfield for the future, plus Valverde can slot in for case as well, case is not the or a problem anyway, I have seen the team have the same issues when llorente played, only difference llorente made the occasional run now and again, now that I think about it lots of people wanted to bench casemiro for him too lol.

As usual I actually appreciate what casemiro does, if he can improve his decision making and passing a bit, to go along with that he brings then he start for another 3 seasons for all I care.

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Post by Mr Nick09 Thu Sep 03, 2020 5:17 pm

Oh piss off Chad
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Post by Valkyrja Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:17 am

Chad31 wrote:Don't see what's so wrong having casemiro like player, Why every player have to be the dribble dribble type to be effective? I swear this is the same argument since pogba juve days, Casemiro is not that limited imo just not a youtube flare player, an upgrade/backup for him would be a more consistent passer from deep, not another runner dribbler, Martin, kubo and valverde already provide that quality, I get casemiro is boring or whatever compared to YouTube hype, but winning>YouTube videos, again you made the same argument for pogba, I remember sports saying madrid would regret missing him etc, nothing happened team still won and pogba became a joke.

The 3 man midfield is solid and brought the team success, modric looks set to accept a bench role and kroos can rotate a bit more, so a ode-case-valverde is a very dynamic midfield for the future, plus Valverde can slot in for case as well, case is not the or a problem anyway, I have seen the team have the same issues when llorente played, only difference llorente made the occasional run now and again, now that I think about it lots of people wanted to bench casemiro for him too lol.

As usual I actually appreciate what casemiro does, if he can improve his decision making and passing a bit, to go along with that he brings then he start for another 3 seasons for all I care.


who said anything about dribbling, u genius ?
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Post by Adit Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:00 pm

Against City Casemiro was exposed. He couldn't string a pass that game and if we had a different player to substitute him who can play out from the back things would have been different, at least a more even game would have happened.

I really like him as a player but we does need a tactical variety in that position to change the game if things are not going right.
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Post by Doc Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:08 pm

If you must know, Chad had issues with us hyping up Casemiro and now, he loves him. Growth imo. Still waiting on that apology for lying about us hyping up Lucas Silva though.

Also, improve decision making and passing, two things he is already great at, sure. Easy pz stuff. Um, personally think Casemiro is relatively fine as long as Zidane actually uses him in the role he excels in i.e a DM. But he isn't as press resistant as Kroos, Modric or Isco is so he'll constantly be a target for teams like City, Bayern, etc. But do we need a like for like replacement...no. Football is pretty flexible and we can have different options to go with different scenarios.

But my concern is the Modric replacement and not so Casemiro. As stated, I think Casemiro is relatively fine. However, it is proving pretty difficult to find that player in the squad that can do what Modric did and it seems Zidane insists on having that all encompassing midfielder that Modric was by still using Modric himself there despite the fact the man is no longer the player he once was.

Personally think/hope Zidane actually tries to go past that set up and explore other options as we do have very talented footballers to utilise.

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Post by futbol_bill Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:35 pm

Doc, isn’t that where Odegaard is going to play?
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Post by Doc Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:55 pm

futbol_bill wrote:Doc, isn’t that where Odegaard is going to play?

Ode has a lot of convincing to do to fill that gap but sure, technically he can play there. It is if Zidane would use him there.
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Post by futbol_bill Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:04 pm

Oh ye of little faith! Did you see any of la real games last year? Modric is going to be a “Iniesta like” final year role, not to mention Isco will also play some. Then there is Valverde.
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Post by Doc Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:11 pm

I did and he impressed me but I'm not Zidane so I'm judging him based on how Zidane (as best as I could assume that is) evaluates his lads.
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Post by futbol_bill Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:29 pm

I’ve changed my opinion of Zidane based on how he did play the prospects last year. Vinicius, Militao, Mendy, Rodrygo, Asensio, Valverde all got significant minutes last season plus he did change up formation based on who was playing.

Sure looks like we are going with a 22 man squad (ignoring the golfer), so I’m expecting everyone to get significant minutes. This year will be a year long evaluation to see what we really need once this Covid mess is over with and we have some money to spend. Quite frankly, I believe the midfield is the least of our concerns.

And given the nonsense going on in Cataluña, la liga IMO is in the bag.
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Post by titosantill Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:46 pm

tbh i'm not sure i buy into this. it sounds like a "makelele  can only pass sideways and backwards" take. passing out from the back (and i'm talking about difficult passes under pressure) isn't difficult because of lack of skill, it is difficult because of the situation, being close to your goal and pressured by attackers, u lose the ball it could cost a goal. even xabi alonso had problems when barca and utd put pressure on him on the defensive end.

the main thing in that role is to be adept defensively, getting loose balls, putting tackles in, stopping attacks. to pass out from attacking pressure requires ure teammates providing those options to you, not being so far apart.

attempting gong ho passes in your defense under pressure, looking to dribble through a bunch of attackers in ure own half isn't a requirement for my dm, cb, or goalkeeper; too risky. if u're left on an island being pressured without teammates close by for short passing outlets, even xabi would have problems.


Last edited by titosantill on Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by titosantill Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:57 pm

i'm not saying the suggestions arent warranted, and if we do want to play someone in the defensive area of the park because they can make a 40 yard pass, or they can fancily hold unto the ball, my thing is they must first be great at squashing attacks and helping out our defense......that for me is a MUST for a dm, everything else is secondary.
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Post by Casciavit Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:03 pm

Well, complimentary dynamics tell me if you want to play a passer at the base, you'll need a runner beside him and not Modric. It seems like Valverde can do the running job. The bigger problem is who you would buy as a 6.

It feels like the profile you're suggesting is kind of dead nowadays. The DM's coming up now are destroyers while the CM's are press resistant ball carriers. Coaches have been fielding them in two man midfields together. You could take advantage of the CM's ball playing skills and play them at the base, but then you have to realize that their positional discipline is shit, their passing range is meh, and you're limiting their best quality of carrying the ball. Didn't you have this issue with Kovacic?

There aren't really that many good DM's who can actually distribute now. Even then the best distributors in the past were failed 10s. You don't see that positional switch anymore. You'd think we would have a mobile Alonso by now, but there's no sign of that player coming up. It's an interesting dilemma.
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Post by Mr Nick09 Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:35 pm

One of the issues is that as soon as DMs with good ball skills come up, they are pushed forward by the clubs so much that they get used to playing in higher positions on the pitch. When that happens they become less willing to move back to DM as it limits their exposure.

I think Spain has brought up a couple of players recently who could have been in that mould starting like Rodri, Merino or Roca. Although the last 2, i dont think they do well with pressing.
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Post by sportsczy Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:50 pm

The three biggest skills for me in a DM when he gets the ball:
- Not get nervous in possession when pressured
- Understand where you are on the pitch and take risks when it makes sense... if that makes sense lol
- Ability to hit the pass that breaks the line

Granted, you can count guys who can do this on one hand if you think about it. But this is a wish list.
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Post by futbol_bill Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:53 pm

I feel with Valverde performing, the formation of b2b of Valverde, Kroos with Odegaard in front is more than sufficient when Casemiro is out of lineup.
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Post by Mr Nick09 Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:17 pm

sportsczy wrote:The three biggest skills for me in a DM when he gets the ball:
-  Not get nervous in possession when pressured
-  Understand where you are on the pitch and take risks when it makes sense... if that makes sense lol
-  Ability to hit the pass that breaks the line

Granted, you can count guys who can do this on one hand if you think about it.  But this is a wish list.
A very optimistic wishlist, i think items 1 and 3 (specially 3) are very hard to come by.

i would have taken flyer on Guendouzi, even on a loan
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