Why do coaches try to be so clever?

Published: Monday, 27 September 2021

Musings this week. Just thoughts that

come into my head as I write. The first question is - ‘why are PL coaches trying to be so clever?’ Football is a simple game. If you’ve got good players it shouldn’t be difficult to get results. Most of the time, the team with best players win. So if you’ve got good players why try to confuse them? Why ask them to do things that aren’t natural to them? Why keep changing systems? Guilty this weekend - by their own admission - Nuno and Tuchel. Also guilty - as usual - but he got away with it - Guardiola.

After seeing his team torn apart in the first 45 minutes at Arsenal Nuno made changes. He later said he’d started with the wrong team. On the credit side - at least he played Harry Kane at centre forward. What was that all about last week - left of three? Too clever Nuno.

On the debit side - Deli Alli. It’s awful to think that we’ve seen the best of him, but I’m afraid there are no signs of him ever returning to the sort of form that once made his the best £5m any club ever spent. He’s lost. There’s no energy. There’s no confidence. Mourinho was right. He contributes nothing. He might be a favourite at Spurs - but that shouldn’t be a reason to pick him. Deli is a shadow of what he once was. It looks as though his lifestyle has caught up with him. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last to waste a god-given talent, but as long as Nuno continues to start him, he’ll be picking the wrong team.

Spurs were better without him in the second-half. They were more solid. They should’ve had a pen when Kane was fouled - but the ref and VAR fouled up again. If Spurs had scored then - with half an hour to go - who knows what might have happened? Arsenal won in a canter while Spurs were wide open. There wasn’t much to beat at that stage - but a reply before Son scores would’ve had them sweating. It was a great result but Arsenal are still fragile.

Tuchel got it wrong against City. Why did he pick two 6’s? Why did he ask Kante to do things he’s not accustomed to? It was City that had the psychological problems going into the game. Chelsea had beaten them three times in a row. They’d looked solid against them. And brave. They were at home - City really had it all do do. So why get so clever? I was amazed at what Tuchel did. By changing it all round he placed doubt in his players minds. They’ve looked terrific this season - let them go and play. Fine - change the faces of you want to - but not the system. Too clever Tomas.

Guardiola had Foden playing as a false 9. Why? He had a real 9 on the pitch who did what goal scorers do when he turned - hit a spawny shot that got deflected - and got the winner. My point is that he was where he should’ve been all game - at centre forward. Too clever Guardiola.

City deserved to win, but I don’t go along with the view that they were super dominant. Yes - they had plenty of the ball of course - but possession alone doesn’t win football matches. I don’t remember Chelsea’s keeper making too many - if any - saves across the 90 minutes.

Wolves discovered that at Southampton. After a dreary 80 minutes of tippy tappy football their keeper put his foot through one - and in less time that it took their centre-backs to pass between themselves again - Raul had the ball in the net. Again - he did what centre-forwards do. Get the ball to them and the chances are they’ll score a goal. They can’t if they’re starved of service. Don’t try to be so clever. I’ve got to add that I was chuffed to bits for Raul. Good luck to him after what he’s been through.

It’s one of many reasons that I like the way Klopp plays. You know exactly what Liverpool are going to do. Ok - the faces might change - but it’s a straight forward 4-3-3 and they back themselves to be better than the opponent. They play exciting football. On Saturday they came up against a team that believed in what they do and it made for wonderful entertainment. I hope Brentford keep believing.

Villa were fantastic at Old Trafford - but they were only playing against seven! Those of us that warned fitting Ronaldo in would cause as many problems as it solved look as though we might be right. He doesn’t like doing the dirty stuff. Nor does Fernandes. Nor does Pogba. Having one luxury is ok - the rest of the lads will chip in and do his work of he wins games - but carrying three is too much. Too often last season United had to carry Fernandes and Pogba and now they’ve got another one. It’s ok if these guys make the difference, but if they’re all having an off day - then you’re in trouble. Solskjaer has got to work out a way to cover for them when that’s the case.

Tonight (Monday) Brighton can top. I can’t follow that so I’ll call it a day by wishing them luck!