The 451 Code

Andy Munro talks Blues tactics.

Watching Blues (admittedly from the comfort of my lounge) struggling to an average Palace side at Selhurst Park set me wondering again about our tactics, particularly away from home. The good news was that the standard of our approach work was superb compared with the ginger era. The bad news was that we were as toothless as the Wicked Witch of the West.

There is a strongly-held view amongst the football intelligensia that the plea for 4-4-2 is a case of tactical chav and that, anyway, 4-5-1 can really represent 4-3-3. I remain unconvinced, particularly as the only forward we have with both the power and brains to make the ball stick, Chris Wood, hasn’t been playing regularly. Of the present incumbents, Marlon King is not particularly big for a centre forward and is better playing off a big target man whilst Ziggy is too easily dispossessed and doesn’t possess the mobility needed by a lone front man.

I accept Chris Hughton’s point about the need to anchor the midfield if you play two wingers but one of those central midfielders still needs to be a natural box to box man. Unfortunately we haven’t got one and they don’t come cheap. Without a box to box presence, the opposition centre-backs might as well have a cup of tea while they enjoy a scenario that is literally a piece of cake…marking a lonely forward as crosses from our wingmen vainly rain in.

My thought is that until we can balance things properly in the middle then we need to play with two ‘proper’ forwards even if one is slightly withdrawn. Preferably this should be Woods and King and that way we can have more than one body in the box even when playing two ‘static’ midfielders. We can keep the exciting wing play that has made the Blues so attractive this season.

Let’s hope we go for it against both the Hammers and the Seasiders!