Pass and move


It may seem fundamental to any football coach yet the basic art of passing and moving off the ball seems to have passed Paul Lambert by.

The more I hear him talk about this ‘new playing style’ the more I actually believe that the man is deluded. He thinks that our players making three hundred short passes in our own half is the way forward and, although it frustrates every fan in the ground, he persists with it.

As fans, it is exasperating to watch, as we have to endure slow passing with no possibility of creating chances. Players have to move off the ball yet all we get is Andreas Weimann running from one side of the pitch to the other, not touching the ball.

Gabby Agbonlahor, another totally ineffective player over the festive period, has taken up a central midfield position, which helps no-one. He now drops deep to collect the ball yet generally fails to do anything productive with it.

One of the highlights of the last couple of weeks has been the performances of midfielder Carlos Sancheź. He has been top class and looks to me like the player we lost when Stiliyan Petrov retired. What we’ve seen recently is his ability to pick out a forward pass and he rarely loses possession.

If Lambert wants to make this new system work then he has to make it work around Christian Benteke. He is our main goal-scorer: if players fail to give him the right service, how can he score any goals? We need to utilise the Belgian striker more and get into better positions earlier in games so that we don’t have to pepper the opposition’s penalty area and take wild shots in the concluding minutes.

I hope that Lambert uses this weekend’s game against Blackpool as an opportunity to allow his players to get forward more and play on the attack rather than sitting back and allowing pressure to build. We have to beat The Seasiders and this ‘new brand’ of football, which reminds me of a poor-man’s Barcelona, has to be changed. The Villans simply cannot continue to sit back when they have no advantage on the scoreboard.


  1. We are built to counter attack, hence when we come up against a packed defence we find it impossible to score, especially with the massively increassed percentage in possession.

    It looks like Gabby Zoggy and Winegum don’t have to tools to play in these games, to me. I like the possession, but there must be more of an end product.

    We tend to go down the wings but never get dangerous crosses in and our only natural goal scorer apart from Benteke is suffering , Winegum should have far more goals than he has and so should Benteke. If we cant cut through the defences then the crosses must be better and we must draw more fouls around the edge of the box and win corners and at least we have a chance of nicking a goal.

    The trouble is we need to get an earlyish goal to make the opposition come out a bit, leaving space that the front 3 are suited to exploit.

    And as to transfers Lambert probably will only replace Delph with youth and potential, he probably feels there is enough in Cole Bacuna Grealish Robinson and Gardiner to keep his money in the bank but we should go for Lennon, even if on loan. He would be a great asset.

  2. To play the Guardiolla way, you have to have a technically gifted midfield.
    That’s exactly what Lerner or Lambert havnt got. That style also needs gifted strikers. Again, when your dealing with crocs freebies,rejects and out of form players on a cut budget, is the problem. Until they bring in class players it won’t happen.

  3. The current useless playing style is the reason we don’t score and that’s against bottom teams we need to beat. Cleverly Westwood & Co spend 80% of the game playing too square across the pitch “crab style”. No balls into Benteke when was the last time he got a pin point cross? Gabby and Weimann just haven’t got it and this style doesn’t help. If Vlaar is going to Napoli or wherever let him go now, why keep breaking up the Clark/Okore partnership just to accommodate someone who is going anyway? Let him go sit on the treatment table somewhere else instead of Villa. Same with Delph. Lets at least get something for them, it can be counterproductive for the other players sharing a dressing room with players who would sooner be elsewhere.

  4. It amazes me that Benteke appears immune to any criticism from the fans, at the palace game all three front players were not making movement off the ball to create space for the midfielders to be able to pass the ball forward and also the left back needs to learn how to overlap and run into space and make the opposition turn.

  5. But we must realise that having a good defence and solid midfield is something brilliant to build on and is a fundamental basic need for success, and the ability to comfortably pass and move and keep the ball is to be applauded. These improvements are not to be sniffed at and with the introduction of a couple of good buys could really push us on,so in theory if Lerner allows us to bring in say 2 10 mil players in the summer next season could be very interesting, and i dont think anything will happen till then. Both Bent and i think Zoggy will be gone so wages should not be a problem so until then it looks like we are going to have a few loans in, sinclair has been mentioned today but I cant see him having much of an immediate impact, whereas Lennon would.

    We all want to see us win, and score more goals, at times lambert makes me so depressed but he may just crack it, may take the rest of this season and we may only escape relegation by a few points but I would rather experiment this season and get things right for next season, and this includes giving time to the kids. If this is our new playing style then it will take a bit of time, and Lambert will need the tools to make it happen, if only we can just score a few more goals.

    Westwood does play off Benteke quite well, we have missed him, he is not spectacular but
    he links the front well, and his dead balls have been missed, and when you are scratching for a goal you need the players with the keys to the door.

    Lambert obviously thinks this new style is going to work, and there is every possibility that it will
    if he is given the money to get the players needed. But its his lack of balls that hack every one off,, we have not had a plan to break down defences now for 3 years and it is getting hard to take, and players who can make a difference get overlooked. I am glad our style is changing, being battered and sitting deep for 70 minutes of a match gets very depressing, but at least we get a chance to break on the counter – having 70 minutes of the ball gets very depressing when nothing happens and you don’t score and you feel like it’s groundhog day.

    So Lambert has found the worst of both worlds and he must take some of the blame, as must the forwards , full backs and the midfield but to me if your midfield dont score or create don’t play 3 of them, if your full backs cant cross, put the onus on players who can cross and leave the full backs to win the ball back, suport the forward players and provide movement and space for other players to use and if the midfield don’t create provide a link between them and the forwards. 4231, probably suited to our team , cant be 352 as it requires full backs that can cross. 442 or 4411 ok too and full backs don’t always have to get forward, they can act as midfielders allowing midfielders who are often more gifted to get forward.


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