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Thoughts on formation change & trends in goals conceded

A formation is as good as its execution?!

Scott Heavey

Formation, from one cliff to another?

Against QPR, the much maligned 4-2-2-2 was replaced with new fan favorite 4-2-3-1 and Yaya pushed up.

Idea, or so we thought, was to provide cover for a leaky & shaky defense.

But change of formation didn’t help as defensive shakiness persisted. Rather it exposed us on two fronts. First, with Yaya pushed up the field, we lost his passing, control, composure and link between defense-attack in central midfield area. Basically, we lost the guy who makes us tick in midfield (play him in central midfield, we have a problem; don’t play him in central midfield, we have a problem). Second, it exposed our lack of goal scoring threat from attacking midfield players. Navas has a famous dislike for goals, Yaya is still on & off and Nasri (though one of our better scoring options) is not pure #10 and is just brushing off his injury hangover. So, while decent plays with decent chances were still getting created, there were not many outlets to convert those. Only serious goal threat on the pitch was a certain Sergio Aguero. This lack of goal scoring threat gets compounded when you are on field to score 2 or 3 to compensate for defensive frailties.

In essence, by playing 4231, while we failed to cover our weaknesses (defense), we limited our strengths too (scoring ability)!  

Same number of goals conceded as last season

In first 11 games of last & present season, City has conceded exact same number of goals – 12. But the manner in which these goals are conceded lies some difference. 

Let’s map number of goals conceded in 2013-14 & 2014-15.

Goals conceded: 13-14 Vs 14-15

What stands out? Lots of two’s!!

  • Two goals conceded in first 11 games of 2013-14 Vs 2014-15: 1 (10%) Vs 4 (40%)
  • Two goals conceded in 38 games of 2013: 7 (18%) (already conceded half of it in one third of the games).

And it becomes apparent why & how we are dropping points. When a team is shipping 2 goals far too often – 40% of the time (!!!) – it is natural that either you lose or get lucky to get a draw as it becomes next to impossible to consistently outscore opposition. Pellegrini wants to play attack minded game but I am pretty sure even he would agree that shipping two goals so frequently is not good for City’s, and his own, health.