Sunday, 17 January 2016

Dundee United 1 - 4 Celtic















I had so much to say about this game, a few tweets just wasn't going to cut it. I want to talk about  the tactical reasons we are in such a poor position. I'm of the opinion, rightly or wrongly, that the technical ability of our players is well above average but their positional awareness and their reading of the game is inexcusably poor. I will be showing screenshots from the Celtic game to demonstrate my case.

Defensive Positioning

The first thing I want to talk about is the three central defenders. I think the formation we have, in theory, can work - just not for us. We don't have the players to carry it out therefore it should be abandoned immediately.  

In this first screenshot you can see that Gunning is letting Rankin mark the player he should be taking. This stops Rankin pressing higher up the pitch and gives Celtic playmakers far too much time to pick holes. Dillon should also be trying to push the defensive line up so that he can take Souttar's man and let McGowan leave his player in an offside position.
















This next example shows something that happened consistently throughout the first half. McGowan continually chose to stick to a central position when there are no players to pick up. This left Spittal with 2 men and no cover when trying to get forward. McGowan should be much further out towards the Celtic player. In addition to this, i've highlighted John Rankin. We are killing ourselves by playing 'inactive' defensive midfieleders. By this I mean, players who aren't pressing or picking up men. Just look at this example - Rankin is not covering any player and should be higher up the pitch.
















Again we see here that Rankin is covering space as opposed to picking up an opponent. Whilst covering the front post is a sensible move, we have three central defenders who should be doing that. You can see that Dillon has taken the correct position and Rankin should be at the edge of the box picking up one of the two players with no markers.



These decision-making problems lead to goals. Here we can see Gunning for the 3rd goal. He decides to storm up the pitch to close down, not realising that it's going to make it incredibly easy to pass around him. This led to us being outnumbered on the break and not having enough men to cover.
















I've heard people blame Fraser for the fourth goal, i consider that nonsense. We needed players to be brave and try and play the ball out. When Fraser tries to take on his man there are 5/6 players behind him. This isn't a situation where he's tried to take on a player in a delicate position. The real question should be asked of the 5 players standing centrally making one player. 
















Even when the defence gets itself in order, you can see here Gunning has his man but watches the ball rather than keep an eye/grip on where his player is. This is what we are seeing time and time again this season and I can only imagine how frustrating this is for the manager.







 

Better Positioning

There were times when we did do things right; mostly after our goal when the team were on a high. It might sound simple but just look how close we are to their players - this is defending from the front done right. 
















Here we see Rankin getting stuck in, he had a fantastic 5-10 minute spell after our goal where he used his engine and really put the opposition players under pressure. Just look how the players are pressing here; we have 6 players in their half, three of them right on top of the player with the ball.
















Our defence needs to work on how it hands players off to their teammates. In the example below the orange arrows show the players who are covered well. The white arrows show the runs that the Celtic players are making and which of our players should be picking them up. The best example is Dillon, he should be telling Rankin that he'll take his man and let him press up to the next player.
















Attacking Positioning/Movement

This issue with positioning isn't just in the defensive areas of the park. Here we see us trying to play the ball out from the back. That's great, but what is the point in having 5 players behind the first opponent? That's just limiting the amount of options the defenders have to pass to. 

















This happens throughout the game and Rankin is perhaps the biggest abuser of this. If it sounds like i'm being harsh on him, it's only because I know he can do better. It's not that he's lazy (obviously!) or not trying, it's just instructions. If Rankin pushed up as i've shown below, then he offers an outlet. If he stays back beside the defenders, he's only making passes that they could have made themselves. 
















The first time we saw a quick one-two between the defence, Rankin and Souttar we ended up in this position. This is what we need to be seeing time and time again in our game - it's how we are set up to play. Get the ball through their midfield and drive at them. Souttar has his faults but let's play up to his strengths - he can pass a ball superbly. Get him in the right positions and we'll see the best of him.  
















Player Ratings


Eiji Kawashima
Position(s) Played: Goalkeeper
Match Rating: 7/10
Comments:
Looks calm, confident and has the experience to decide when to pass it out or kick it longer. Made an excellent stop from a Commons free-kick but couldn't do anything about the goals.
Ryan McGowan
Position(s) Played: Central Defender
Match Rating: 5/10
Comments:
I think highly of McGowan but due to the issues I stated above he spent too much time not taking an active role in the game. 

Sean Dillon 
Position(s) Played: Central Defender
Match Rating: 6/10
Comments:
Probably the best defender we have at the moment but trust me, that's not a compliment! Whilst he's done well enough, he's not the commanding central figure we need right now. Would be good alongside that player though.
Gavin Gunning
Position(s) Played: Central Defender
Match Rating: 3/10
Comments:
Fans had high hopes that Gunning would give this side the aggressive streak we needed to sort out our defensive issues, but that has not been the case. The defender played a poor role in every one of the four goals and has looked a shadow of the player he was when he first joined United.
Paul Dixon
Position(s) Played: Left Wing-Back
Match Rating: 6/10
Comments:
I feel bad for Dicker. He gives his all but has so little to work with it makes him look bad. If you ever think he's not contributing enough, just ask yourself - who does he have to link up with? No-one looks inside for the ball and there's no winger in front of him. Too many players hiding but Dixon isn't one of them.

Blair Spittal
Position(s) Played: Right Wing-Back
Match Rating: 5/10
Comments:
Another one of those games where he disappeared. I'll defend him for the first half as he was trying to cover two players but needs to offer more going forward. He's a young lad and a winger so inconsistency is to be expected. No howlers at least.
John Rankin
Position(s) Played: Central Midfielder
Match Rating: 4/10
Comments:
Utmost professional and a great work ethic, Ranks needs to work on the issues above if he deserves his starting spot. He could easily be one of our best players but at the moment he's one of the weaker ones.
John Souttar
Position(s) Played:Central Midfielder
Match Rating: 6/10
Comments:
I felt he did well. He doesn't shy away from the ball and put a great assist in for our goal. He lacks fitness which shouldn't be allowed in professional football but if used well he could be a good player for us. Steady improvements in his aggression/determination over the last few weeks. 

Ristu Riski
Position(s) Played: Attacking Midfielder
Match Rating: 4/10
Comments:
Bad home debut for the lad but I think there's something there. Made a few runs beyond the striker that weren't picked up (because no-one ever usually does those!) but too many times caught off the tempo or slipping on the pitch.

Scott Fraser
Position(s) Played: Attacking Midfielder
Match Rating: 5/10
Comments:
Hard one to judge. He is raw potential right now and can go on to be a very good player but not suited to a relegation dogfight. Needs to improve both the timing and quality of his final pass/cross and get himself down the gym!
Simon Murray
Position(s) Played: Striker
Match Rating: 7/10
Comments:
The one shining light of this game was the performance of Simon Murray. He gave the tenacious closing down we expect of him (and needed) but looked far more effective in a striker role than he has in his brief wing appearances. Timed his runs well and finished well for the goal. Gives us another dimension. Deserves another starting appearance in my opinion, regardless if McKay is fit.



In Conclusion

How does Mixu fix a player's footballing intelligence? Should we do double classroom sessions with Football Manager? Should we hire Andy Gray to come in with his massive iPad and show the guys where they should be looking at any given play? Do we need to break the game down into 'plays' ala American Football so players know exactly where they should run/look/be? It's difficult but I think Mixu is going to have to make tough choices about who makes his team and what system they use. I think moving away from the 5-4-1 is essential, as it the recruitment of a commanding central defender. 

I hope he figures it out soon as we really need to start winning if we are even going to pretend we have a chance at staying up. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Fantasy Football - Week 4 Update



Please find below the points for each team for Week 4 vs Hamilton.


 Player Points

Zwick - -2pts
Dixon - -2pts
McGowan - -2pts
Durnan - -5pts
Donaldson - -2pts
Souttar - 2pts
Rankin - 2pts
Spittal - 2pts 
Erskine- 2pts
Murray- 2pts
Bodul - 2pts

Connolly - 2pts
Muirhead - 2pts

No MOM this week.

 Team Selections

Adam Bremner (@AdamBremner21)   -1pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Morris, Souttar, Sneijder, Dow, Connolly, Muirhead & Bilate.

Alan Alexander (@AKC2PHOTOGRAPHY)   4pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Dillon, Morris, Paton, Rankin, Telfer, Sneijder, Murray & Bodul.

Alan Reid (@AlDo_DUFC_No1)   -1pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneijder, Dow, Connolly, Bilate & Muirhead.

Alex Alexander (N/A)    0pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneijder, Connolly, Telfer, Bilate & Muirhead.

Alex Mallet (@Eck85)    -7pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Morris, Donaldson, Paton, Rankin, Erskine, Connolly, Dow & Muirhead.

Andy The Arab (@Andy_The_Arab)    -5pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Erskine, Spittal, Connolly, Fraser & Muirhead.

ArabyzeThis (@ArabyzeThis)    -7pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Erskine, Spittal, Connolly, Rankin & Muirhead.

Ben Graham (@BentheGraham)   -3pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Fraser, Muirhead & Bilate.

Bruce Montgomery (@monty19941   -7pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Spittal, Erskine, Bilate& Bodul.

Calum McKeznie (@zilla1984)   -5pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Telfer, Connolly, Fraser, Erskine & Bodul.

Ceres Arab (@CeresArab)   -7pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Telfer, Sneijder, Johnson, Bodul & Muirhead.

Darren Reid (@darrenreid0410)   -3pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Sneidjer, Bodul & Bilate.

David Syme (@S23YME)   -3pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneidjer, Telfer, Erskine, Bilate & Johnson.

David Wilson (@davewilson1980)   -0pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneijder, Dow, Erskine, Murihead & Bilate.

Ewan Haldane (@haldanearab)   -3pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Morris, Donaldson, Telfer, Erskine, Dow, Connolly, Bodul & Muirhead.


Ferry Arab(@SamFTD83)   -5pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Fraser, Bodul, Spittal, Erskine & Muirhead.

Graeme Webster (@sneckiearab)   -7pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Telfer, Erskine, Sneidjer, Souttar, Bilate & Muirhead.

Graham Lockhart (@dufc5)   -5pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Spittal, Souttar, Sneidjer, Telfer, Erskine & Bodul.

Helen Young (@loistheliar)   -7pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Telfer, Spittal, Connolly, Murray & Bilate.

Jack (@Jack_Wag17)   -7pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Sneijder, Bodul & Muirhead.

James Young (@JammieYoungFTD)   -7pts
Szromnik, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Telfer, Bodul & Muirhead.

Joe Breen (@JBreen8)   -7pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Dow, Erskine, Bodul & Bilate.

Kurt Herd (@KurtHerd)   -5pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Telfer, Erskine, Sneijder, Bodul & Bilate.

Liam McGraw (@lmcgraw93)   -5pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Telfer, Sneijder, Erskine & Bodul.

Linzi Craig (@linzicraig00)   -5pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Telfer, Bodul & Bilate.

Lorna Moffat (@lorna_m1)   -5pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Murray, Telfer, Erskine, Bodul & Muirhead.

Mr Silverback (@silverbackarabs)   -7pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Telfer, Spittal & Bilate.

Oliver Campbell (@OllyCampbell7)   -3pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneijder, Telfer, Erskine, Bilate & Muirhead.

Our DUFC (@Our_DUFC)   -3pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Spittal, Connolly, Bodul & Muirhead.

Sean Crossan (@seancrossan_)   -5pts


Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Telfer, Erskine, Sneijder, Bodul & Bilate.

Stewart (@BCBX2)   -1pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Paton, Spittal, ErskineBodul & Muirhead.

Trio (@triodtk)   -3pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, RankinSneijderConnolly, Dow, Bodul & Muirhead.

Hamilton Accies vs Dundee United


A catastrophe. Due to such a poor outing, there's no report as I don't want to watch extended highlights of it!

Ratings provided by Ferry Arab.

Player Ratings


Luis Zwick
Position(s) Played: Goalkeeper
Match Rating: 5/10
AZT Season Average: 6.50
Comments:
N/A
Ryan McGowan
Position(s) Played: Right Back
Match Rating: 5/10
AZT Season Average: 6.75
Comments:
N/A
Paul Dixon 
Position(s) Played: Left Back
Match Rating: 5/10
AZT Season Average: 6.50
Comments:
N/A
Coll Donaldson
Position(s) Played: Centre Back
Match Rating: 5/10
AZT Season Average: 6.75
Comments:
N/A
Mark Durnan
Position(s) Played: Centre Back
Match Rating: 5/10
AZT Season Average: 6.75
Comments:
N/A
John Souttar
Position(s) Played: Centre Midfield
Match Rating: 5/10
AZT Season Average: 6.00
Comments:
N/A
John Rankin
Position(s) Played: Centre Midfield
Match Rating: 5/10
AZT Season Average: 5.67
Comments:
N/A
Blair Spittal
Position(s) Played: Left Wing
Match Rating: 6/10
AZT Season Average: 6.75
Comments:
N/A
Chris Erskine
Position(s) Played: Attacking Midfield
Match Rating: 7/10
AZT Season Average: 6.75
Comments:
N/A

Simon Murray
Position(s) Played: Right Wing
Match Rating: 5/10
AZT Season Average: 6.25
Comments:
N/A
Darko Bodul
Position(s) Played: Striker
Match Rating: 5/10
AZT Season Average: 5.50
Comments:
N/A





Substitutes 

Aidan Connolly
Position(s) Played: Right Wing
Match Rating: 6/10
AZT Season Average: 6.67
Comments:
N/A


Robbie Muirhead
Position(s) Played: Striker
Match Rating: 6/10
AZT Season Average: 6.50
Comments:
N/A







Match Analysis

Nope. I'm not watching this one, no way!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Fantasy Football - Weekly Update



Please find below the points for each team for Week 3 vs Dundee.


 Player Points

Zwick - 0pts
Dixon - 0pts
McGowan - 0pts
Durnan - 0pts
Donaldson - 0pts
Souttar - 2pts
Rankin - 4pts
Spittal - 15pts (MOM)
Connolly - 2pts
Fraser - 2pts
Bodul - 2pts

Murray - 2pts
Telfer - 2pts
Erskine - 4pts

 Team Selections

Adam Bremner (@AdamBremner21) - 4pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Morris, Souttar, Sneijder, Dow, Connolly, Muirhead & Bilate.

Alan Alexander (@AKC2PHOTOGRAPHY) - 10pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Dillon, Morris, Paton, Rankin, Telfer, Sneijder, Murray & Bodul.

Alan Reid (@AlDo_DUFC_No1) - 4pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneijder, Dow, Connolly, Bilate & Muirhead.

Alex Alexander (N/A) - 6pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneijder, Connolly, Telfer, Bilate & Muirhead.

Alex Mallet (@Eck85) - 10pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Morris, Donaldson, Paton, Rankin, Erskine, Connolly, Dow & Muirhead.

Andy The Arab (@Andy_The_Arab) - 21pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneijder, Spittal, Connolly, Fraser & Muirhead.

ArabyzeThis (@ArabyzeThis) - 25pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Erskine, Spittal, Connolly, Murray & Muirhead.

Ben Graham (@BentheGraham) - 12pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Fraser, Muirhead & Bilate.

Bruce Montgomery (@monty19941) - 27pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Spittal, Erskine, Bilate& Bodul.

Calum McKeznie (@zilla1984) - 14pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Telfer, Connolly, Fraser, Erskine & Bodul.

Ceres Arab (@CeresArab) - 6pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Telfer, Sneijder, Johnson, Bodul & Muirhead.

Darren Reid (@darrenreid0410) - 12pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Sneidjer, Bodul & Bilate.

David Syme (@S23YME) - 8pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneidjer, Telfer, Erskine, Bilate & Johnson.

David Wilson (@davewilson1980) - 6pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneijder, Dow, Erskine, Murihead & Bilate.

Ewan Haldane (@haldanearab) - 10pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Morris, Donaldson, Telfer, Erskine, Dow, Connolly, Bodul & Muirhead.

Ferry Arab(@SamFTD83) - 25pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Fraser, Bodul, Spittal, Erskine & Muirhead.

Graeme Webster (@sneckiearab) - 8pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Telfer, Erskine, Sneidjer, Souttar, Bilate & Muirhead.

Graham Lockhart (@dufc5) - 25pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Spittal, Souttar, Sneidjer, Telfer, Erskine & Bodul.

Helen Young (@loistheliar) - 8pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Telfer, Johnson, Connolly, Murray & Bilate.

Jack (@Jack_Wag17) - 12pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Sneijder, Bodul & Muirhead.

James Young (@JammieYoungFTD) - 14pts
Szromnik, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Telfer, Bodul & Muirhead.

Joe Breen (@JBreen8) - 12pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Dow, Erskine, Bodul & Bilate.

Kurt Herd (@KurtHerd) - 10pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Telfer, Erskine, Sneijder, Bodul & Bilate.

Liam McGraw (@lmcgraw93) - 14pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Telfer, Sneijder, Erskine & Bodul.

Linzi Craig (@linzicraig00) - 14pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Telfer, Bodul & Bilate.

Lorna Moffat (@lorna_m1) - 10pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneidjer, Telfer, Erskine, Bodul & Muirhead.

Mr Silverback (@silverbackarabs) - 27pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Erskine, Telfer, Spittal & Bilate.

Oliver Campbell (@OllyCampbell7) - 8pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Sneijder, Telfer, Erskine, Bilate & Muirhead.

Our DUFC (@Our_DUFC) - 25pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Rankin, Spittal, Connolly, Bodul & Muirhead.

Sean Crossan (@seancrossan_) - 10pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Telfer, Erskine, Sneijder, Bodul & Bilate.

Stewart (@BCBX2) - 23pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, Souttar, Paton, Spittal, ErskineBodul & Muirhead.

Trio (@triodtk) - 8pts
Zwick, McGowan, Dixon, Durnan, Donaldson, RankinSneijderConnolly, Dow, Bodul & Muirhead.