Brown backs the diamond, do you?
We have tried an orthodox 4-4-2, albeit not very often, what is sometimes 'said' to be a 4-3-3 but is more often than not a 4-5-1 in reality but a 4-4-2 with a 'diamond' midfield set-up, similar to how Chelski play is the preferred method for Paul Hart.
This is a set-up that Michael Brown has told The News he likes, and thinks is 'coming on' well: 'the diamond has been coming along well and having those extra numbers in midfield has helped in the second halves of a lot of games lately.
'It's been a touch unusual for me to play on the left side of a diamond and I'm still learning that position, rather than coming on to the ball centrally.'
Brown is also confident that we will avoid the drop, but his thoughts on formations are what interested me the most...
He also feels that this is something we will 'change' at times to 'mix it up' as we will be too 'one dimensional' otherwise - although, and this is not me knocking Hart too much, I am not that sure that he will 'mix it up' too much to be honest - against 'the big boys' he might, but this will just be to go 4-5-1 I would suspect to really pack the midfield, which is fair enough.
To be fair this is working fairly well, the problem is we are so narrow!
We tend to break fairly quickly but you need some width and we are not getting enough of this, we tend to be finding again that the width is offered by one of the strikers, we then find we are short of numbers in the box as the one you want to be finishing the chances is supplying them - that said we are seeing people arrive from the midfield.
Width is certainly something we could do with, as this will help...
Although that said, to be fair to Hart, we do not exactly have an abundance of wide players available to him, do we?
Yep, Tommy Smith can do this, as can Nadir Belhadj and 'apparently so' John Utaka but Hart is happier keeping the midfield compact and using this as a further shield for the defence.
It all comes down to getting the balance right though.
For me, the quartet of Jamie O'Hara, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Hassan Yebda and Brown do this pretty well.
I think and do try to get wide, and certainly offer more support attacking wise but I would like to see Belhadj introduced into this mix a little more, especially when one of those 4 is out - as it is, and I am not trying to single Aaron Mokoena out, who gives everything - and I have really hated hearing getting booed by his own fans, when we bring him in we lose so much attacking impetus and the diamond does not seem to work - if used in this surely he needs to be at the back of this, and this is not always the case.
So, all in all I tend to agree with Brown that this is working - but we really need injuries and suspensions to be kind to us as when they are not that is when it looks much less affective!
'If/when' this happens that is when I think Hart probably needs to be thinking more along the lines of 'mixing it up'.
Some players just cannot fit into a system that you might prefer, this is when you have to rethink and change things - stubbornness will get you nowhere. So, at times you cannot keep trying to put those round pegs into square holes, trying a different formation that better suits, not accommodates, players is sometimes needed...
PLAY UP POMPEY!