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Central Midfield Conundrum

Asthmatic Wolf

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A thought which I am posting here as it is distinct from any transfer activity (sadly).

The need for an athletic central midfielder who can carry the ball has been apparent for years. The frustration is that I really feel this is the missing piece to make us a very effective team. I can even live without a striker if it means solving this issue.

As it seems we are no closer to signing one, I think that we should look at solutions in the existing squad. The attributes of an effective wing back often make for a good midfielder in the mould described. Look at players like Zanetti (yes obviously he’s incomparably good), Zinchenko, Alaba and many others.

I think that Semedo would be particularly effective at this. He started his career at ACM iirc. I would much prefer him in that position than Dendoncker.

For what it’s worth I think both RAN and Jonny could do a job there too.

Thoughts on this may be more interesting and less depressing than the no transfers thread :(
 

Minimalist

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I wouldn’t move one of the fullbacks there.

You could put one of MGW, Neto or Podence there to get what you’re after; but I think you’d lose too much of our defensive shape.
What you gain on one hand you’d lose on the other.

If we’re going to move to a back 4 I think while we get used to it we want a decent 3 man unit protecting them.
Eventually maybe you swap one for a more attacking ball carrying version, but to begin with we might have to except that is something that’s missing.
 

WolfInSheep'sClothing

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Is his passing good enough for the middle? I'm not sure.
If we are looking within for this role l, why not gibbs-white?
 

WolfInSheep'sClothing

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I wouldn’t move one of the fullbacks there.

You could put one of MGW, Neto or Podence there to get what you’re after; but I think you’d lose too much of our defensive shape.
What you gain on one hand you’d lose on the other.

If we’re going to move to a back 4 I think while we get used to it we want a decent 3 man unit protecting them.
Eventually maybe you swap one for a more attacking ball carrying version, but to begin with we might have to except that is something that’s missing.
I think we need lose some of our defensive shape. We don't need to be as negative as we are. If we were in a 3-4-3 and had the two full backs as the wing-backs, plus neves and gibbs-white it still wouldn't be a particularly attacking line up.
 

nomadwolf

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Case for playing Coady as deep lying midfielder, to cover Ruben pushing on, and when Max or Nathan go dribbling.

When attacking our 4-3-3, or 4-2-3-1 becomes more 2-1-4-3
 

Berlin Wolf

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How many times does it have to be said that this is a terrible idea and will never happen
Probably, not the best idea.
Recall, Coady signed as a midfield player from Huddersfield, played there in the Championship before Nuno moved him into a back three.
 

Minimalist

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I think we need lose some of our defensive shape. We don't need to be as negative as we are. If we were in a 3-4-3 and had the two full backs as the wing-backs, plus neves and gibbs-white it still wouldn't be a particularly attacking line up.
If you really want to try and be more attacking then 4231 is surely the way to go. Would suit our 3 senior midfielders to take the 2 holding roles, and would suit Neto, Podence and MGW to play as a 3 behind a striker. I’m just not sure they’d be the best personnel when your under pressure.
 

Asthmatic Wolf

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I wouldn’t move one of the fullbacks there.

You could put one of MGW, Neto or Podence there to get what you’re after; but I think you’d lose too much of our defensive shape.
What you gain on one hand you’d lose on the other.

If we’re going to move to a back 4 I think while we get used to it we want a decent 3 man unit protecting them.
Eventually maybe you swap one for a more attacking ball carrying version, but to begin with we might have to except that is something that’s missing.
True we are also under stocked at fullback/wingback - but I feel we have more promise in the available depth there than at CM
 

WolfLing

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How many times does it have to be said that this is a terrible idea and will never happen

To be more specific about why it wouldn't work, Coady is great as the deepest player, with everything in front of him. He has made that position his own, to the point where he's a specialist central defender in a 3.

The moment you move him into a position where he has to concentrate on both what's in front of him and what's behind him, it would be a disaster.

Even the deepest of holding midfield players will be required to receive the ball under pressure, turn under pressure and dictate play from that position.

I've always said that our progression from a back 5 comes from pushing Coady's position 20 yards further forward, in front of the back line, rather than behind it. But not with Coady playing there.

Donk might be able to play that holding role, but again, he's not exactly cool under pressure. Neves is the most suited for that role out of all our players at the moment.
 

Minimalist

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To be more specific about why it wouldn't work, Coady is great as the deepest player, with everything in front of him. He has made that position his own, to the point where he's a specialist central defender in a 3.

The moment you move him into a position where he has to concentrate on both what's in front of him and what's behind him, it would be a disaster.

Even the deepest of holding midfield players will be required to receive the ball under pressure, turn under pressure and dictate play from that position.

I've always said that our progression from a back 5 comes from pushing Coady's position 20 yards further forward, in front of the back line, rather than behind it. But not with Coady playing there.

Donk might be able to play that holding role, but again, he's not exactly cool under pressure. Neves is the most suited for that role out of all our players at the moment.
And that’s pretty much exactly what we are doing. Slight problem is it gives very demanding roles to the other 2 midfielders, especially with the false 9 scenario..... it’s actually akin to 442 diamond which apparently is very demanding on the wider midfielders.
Would help immensely to have a proper striker then allow the wide forwards to drop back closer to the midfield. I certainly think it would help Moutinho to have Neto buzzing around just ahead of him.
 

TheRetroChief

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Probably, not the best idea.
Recall, Coady signed as a midfield player from Huddersfield, played there in the Championship before Nuno moved him into a back three.
From what I recall, Coady was pretty decent in a tough tackling midfielder snotter type roll. An Ince-lite. This was until he got sent off, can't remember which game. I remember thinking not long after he came back that he appeared to have completely removed the getting stuck in element of his game, which made him pretty ineffective otherwise in midfield.
 

Chisels_n_ommers

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With the players we have now, I'd go 4-2-1-3.

Neves/Mout in the 2
MGW behind a front 3 of Neto, Podence and Hwang.

That way we have the most possible goal scorers on the pitch and keep it tight

(but I'm in a great minority that thinks Hwang will be a good player for us, now we are playing a different formation!
+
I see MGW as a 10, rather than a wide forward in a 3)
 

SteveBullsKnee

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Re Coady I don’t see how taking our slowest CB and asking him to play a position that requires not only more speed but also the ability to turn (as much as I love Coady he turns like the Titanic) would ever work.
 

Axle

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Case for playing Coady as deep lying midfielder, to cover Ruben pushing on, and when Max or Nathan go dribbling.

When attacking our 4-3-3, or 4-2-3-1 becomes more 2-1-4-3
Nope
 

OLDGOLD

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I mentioned this on the Ait Nouri thread. I personally think him in a midfield three with Moutinho and Neves with Neto, Pod and MGW would have been worth a try in pre season with Jiminez injury....leaves us short at fullback though maybe..
 

Ponty

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Case for playing Coady as deep lying midfielder, to cover Ruben pushing on, and when Max or Nathan go dribbling.

When attacking our 4-3-3, or 4-2-3-1 becomes more 2-1-4-3
Coady was so successful in midfield we moved him to RB!
 

floydstreet

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Less of an issue if the formation changes. If we play 4-2-3-1 as it appears then neves donk or mountinho can all hold, the leg work transitions and ball carrying can be done by the 10 role (podence mgw), the full backs and inverted wingers. If we play three at the back, then more of a necessity because of players behind the ball. Ofc if Nunes is available he’d still be useful
 

Halesowen wwfc

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Case for playing Coady as deep lying midfielder, to cover Ruben pushing on, and when Max or Nathan go dribbling.

When attacking our 4-3-3, or 4-2-3-1 becomes more 2-1-4-3
Im sure if this was an option it would have been attempted in the friendlies
 

JOSWolf

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Seems that Ronan may be staying from what Liam Keen was hinting in his post match vid with Judah last night. He has interviewed him and the interview will be in express and star in the next few days.
 

OLDGOLD

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Seems that Ronan may be staying from what Liam Keen was hinting in his post match vid with Judah last night. He has interviewed him and the interview will be in express and star in the next few days.
And that's not a bad thing, I think he has always had something. Still need another option there as well....
 

northnorfolkwolf

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Case for playing Coady as deep lying midfielder, to cover Ruben pushing on, and when Max or Nathan go dribbling.

When attacking our 4-3-3, or 4-2-3-1 becomes more 2-1-4-3
Apologies but not read this thread till now and my point may have been covered. With Jonny and RAN as the FBs could not Semedo be the attacking mf we want? It seems we are not going to buy one and Ronan may need time but to me Semedo has all the qualities to switch to attacking mf; he fast, tricky, good on the ball and intelligent. It may work with him alongside Neto and Podence behind a striker?
 
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Against the grain but im dissapointed to be starting the season with Neves n Mout in middle. not cashing in on neves and reinvesting is a mistake , and im fearful of the same dull riskless football as last season. saw signs second half of lisbon game of both sitting on the toes of the centre halfs again
 

lostwolf

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None of the players mentioned have the attributes we lack.

What we actually need is an improved version of Alfred N'Diaye.
Your double negative there has my brain hole doing gambols but I think I agree: I'd have liked to have seen an athletic midfielder next to one of Neves/Mouts, sometimes sitting next to them but also driving up up the pitch.

If, and I'm not optimistic, we can get the three in front linking up with the MF and transitioning then this personell could feasibly work, I just don't see it and agree that we need one of the two to be able to link forwards more.
 

Minimalist

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Against the grain but im dissapointed to be starting the season with Neves n Mout in middle. not cashing in on neves and reinvesting is a mistake , and im fearful of the same dull riskless football as last season. saw signs second half of lisbon game of both sitting on the toes of the centre halfs again
Can’t really cash in if no one offers any cash!

The change of system will alter the dynamic of the midfield.
 

northnorfolkwolf

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Can’t really cash in if no one offers any cash!

The change of system will alter the dynamic of the midfield.
Even though FA has happened this window has, in its way, been quite amazing - no one in with concrete offers for either Neves or Traore or perhaps Jimenez and then £30 mil offered for MGW?! The club must have spent all its available cash on Collins so I can see us going into the season as we are. Please God we don't get any injuries; we need Nuno's luck from the first 3 seasons?
 

Asthmatic Wolf

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None of the players mentioned have the attributes we lack.

What we actually need is an improved version of Alfred N'Diaye.
From CM we lack athleticism, pace, mobility, ball progression through dribbling and the ability to attack the box. Those mentioned (bar perhaps Jonny for some) have those in abundance.

What they don’t have is strength, which I agree we also need and have lacked since N’Diaye.
 

manchesterwolf17

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From CM we lack athleticism, pace, mobility, ball progression through dribbling and the ability to attack the box. Those mentioned (bar perhaps Jonny for some) have those in abundance.

What they don’t have is strength, which I agree we also need and have lacked since N’Diaye.

You've confused me there man
 

Lisas Husband

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A midfielder who will run with the ball? I think they're well out of our price range for the standard we need.
Personally (and I've mentioned this before) I would like to see us try to combat this by playing more balls from midfield through the middle. Give our forwards a reason to run off the last man, rather than as last season we all knew that we were going down the flanks, every time.
And because of this it showed up how many times Fabio hadn't started for us last season as he would make a few of these runs, scratch his head and then realise, Wolves don't do that.

Maybe with this new formation we will do the flanks and through the middle.
 

Lisas Husband

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Although if he's deep enough I feel MGW has the ability to run with it. Not the way Adama can but I think he may have that in him. I hope.
 

Asthmatic Wolf

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You've confused me there man
Haha sorry - drink interference :)

What I mean is that RAN and Semedo have what we lack in central midfield attributes apart from strength - obvs converting them to central midfielders is far from easy or given
 

Ironfistedmonk

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From CM we lack athleticism, pace, mobility, ball progression through dribbling and the ability to attack the box. Those mentioned (bar perhaps Jonny for some) have those in abundance.

What they don’t have is strength, which I agree we also need and have lacked since N’Diaye.

Someone like Ibrahim Sangare who I see West Ham and Villa are being linked with
 
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