The Case for the Defence

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by London Fields Hammer » Sun Jan 02, 2022 1:07 pm

I am surprised at the way Diop appears to be going backwards. All sorts of other reasons why (absence of Cresswell etc) but I had hoped that Moyes would work his magic and address the obvious problems with some coaching effort or tactical shift. Diop seems to be getting worse personally and within the way we play.

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funky chicken
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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by funky chicken » Sun Jan 02, 2022 1:14 pm

It is a shame with Diop as I thought he had finally turned a corner this season. Ever since the Atalanta game all the way to our game against Burnley, I thought he was actually playing really well. And I’m not even his biggest fan! But it’s true. Other than the very shaky first half away at Genk, I can’t remember Diop doing anything wrong. It’s a real shame as I really wanted things to work out. But I just can’t see it now.

We’re at the same point with Diop now as we were with Haller before we sold him. This could be our last chance to sell him for a decent(ish) fee these next 2 windows. Any offer received needs to be seriously considered.

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by Big George » Sun Jan 02, 2022 7:00 pm

Surprised we haven't seen more of Emmanuel Longelo. I thiught he was the standout youngster against Zagreb.

Arthur won't be sold because he gives us attacking options down the left and Moyes is clearly a fan.

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by Clucking Bell » Mon Jan 03, 2022 1:33 am

The problem is consistency.

Assuming the first choice back four are Cresswell, Ogbonna, Zouma and Coufal, these guys are all very consistent players: 7/10 every week with the odd 8 or 9 and the odd 5 or 6 on the downside. Their 'bad' games where they really stink the place out, only tends to happen once or twice a season

The issue with the back ups (and I'll make an exception for Dawson) is that their 'off' days happen far too frequently. Arthur and Diop do have 9/10 days once in a blue moon but, unfortunately, their 3/10 days come along a lot more often. To me, Dawson has the same problem as Mark Noble, that is, no pace. As such, it's not really a problem when we play the teams in the bottom half of the PL where they look like 7/10 players but, when we've got to deal with the Bindippers front three or Citeh it's a different story.

All of that said, you can make the same argument about a fair few of the players in front of them too. Lanzini deservedly was man of the match yesterday ...... but, he's he's been a bloody liability on more than one occasion and you can say the same thing about Antonio, Benrahma and, to a lesser extent, Fornals and Bowen.

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by 'stone hammer » Mon Jan 03, 2022 3:08 am

Big George wrote:
Sun Jan 02, 2022 7:00 pm


Arthur won't be sold because he gives us attacking options down the left and Moyes is clearly a fan.
I'm not so sure about Moyes being a fan, given that he started Johnson against Palace. In terms of Masuaku being sold, I'd be surprised if we got £5 million for him so it'd be a fairly pointless sale for what is an unreliable but quite versatile player. I like Masuaku but he's just a complete wildcard; if we were looking at midtable mediocrity then I'd be all for playing him, but we need consistency and solidity.

As an attacking player however I think he's worth having on the bench at least, a cheaper version of Yarmolenko essentially. Most of the time he'll come off the bench and do **** all and potentially give a goal away, but will produce a bit of class now and then.

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funky chicken
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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by funky chicken » Mon Jan 03, 2022 7:44 am

To be fair, as bad as the defence and at times goalkeeping has been this season, should questions even been asked of (dare I say it) what Rice and Soucek are offering from a defensive perspective? Part of their roles in the team is to add some protection to the defence. The amount of goals we’ve conceded and lack of clean sheets we’ve picked up tells me they haven’t offered a great deal of protection. Whether that’s their fault for not listening to instructions, or even Moyes himself.

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by Burnley Hammer » Mon Jan 03, 2022 8:13 am

funky chicken wrote:
Mon Jan 03, 2022 7:44 am
To be fair, as bad as the defence and at times goalkeeping has been this season, should questions even been asked of (dare I say it) what Rice and Soucek are offering from a defensive perspective? Part of their roles in the team is to add some protection to the defence. The amount of goals we’ve conceded and lack of clean sheets we’ve picked up tells me they haven’t offered a great deal of protection. Whether that’s their fault for not listening to instructions, or even Moyes himself.
There's only so much that 2 players can cover. As well as screening the defence, they're also responsible for transitioning play from defence to attack, and currently also trying to cover for the deficiencies of some of our defenders. They can't be everywhere at once. Not only that but there's not enough respite either at the moment due to our extremely wasteful passing out of defence. As I've mentioned a few times now, I think that this is having much more detrimental impact than people realise and it needs improving quickly. Our ball retention whilst under pressure was much better with Ogbonna and Cresswell in the team. At present we're losing the ball far too many times before we even make it as far as the halfway line. Far too many sloppy passes are being made by Diop and Johnson, and the hit rate of Dawsons long passes forward is too low. Sometimes they come off but far too many times they're way out. It's not helping at all.

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by funky chicken » Mon Jan 03, 2022 8:43 am

Burnley Hammer wrote:
Mon Jan 03, 2022 8:13 am
There's only so much that 2 players can cover. As well as screening the defence, they're also responsible for transitioning play from defence to attack, and currently also trying to cover for the deficiencies of some of our defenders.
See that’s where the excuses don’t completely wash with me. Why do both players need to be responsible for all those jobs mentioned? For example why does Rice need to keep bombing forward when we have a midfielder in Soucek who is more than capable of creating chances, or scoring goals. We can’t even say this is a ‘current’ problem. As even before the injuries at the start of the season we were conceding an awful lot of goals. Our best run of form in terms of clean sheets and conceding less goals in the League coincided when we went with a defensive minded right back (Johnson).

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by Crouchend_Hammer » Mon Jan 03, 2022 9:11 am

You make a very good point Fubky Chicken
I have often thought the midfield get away with some criticism regarding defensive security, esp Soucek
He is good at winning headers in front of the back four but he has very little positional awareness and is pretty rubbish at tracking midfield runners.
I appreciate he gets up and down a lot but sometimes even if he is in position he ends up in no man's land

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by 'stone hammer » Mon Jan 03, 2022 9:27 am

funky chicken wrote:
Mon Jan 03, 2022 8:43 am
For example why does Rice need to keep bombing forward when we have a midfielder in Soucek who is more than capable of creating chances
Since when does Soucek create chances? The bloke scores them. Can Soucek make driving runs and pick a killer pass like Rice? No.
Can Rice make runs into the box and dominate centre backs in the air? Probably not.
funky chicken wrote:
Mon Jan 03, 2022 8:43 am

should questions even been asked of (dare I say it) what Rice and Soucek are offering from a defensive perspective?


Christ no. From what I can see, they're doing the work of three midfielders as a pair; both box-to-box midfielders who are very effective and diligent when it comes to defending and the defensive aspect is probably their biggest and most consistent strength. Soucek's main weakness is his technical ability on the ball, a great striker of the ball but his passing can let him down. But when it comes to tackling, shepherding and pressing the bloke is mustard.
Need we talk about Rice from a defensive perspective?

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by mickthekeeper » Mon Jan 03, 2022 9:34 am

Given the grief Diop is getting, I watched both Palace goals back as I too thought he ducked for the first and that originally his tackle wasn’t a foul.

This might not be a popular position, but I don’t think he is directly at fault for either goal.

The first, it was a good ball into the box that was nowhere near him. As somebody said he looks to be ducking because he is following the flight of the ball, which I agree with. I think he’s in a decent position for the LCB covering the space on that side of the box given where the play is. However, the player who scored starts his run from close to Dawson, and Coufal was marking another attacker. If anything, Dawson should be closer to the scorer and Vlasic shouldn’t have given the player who crossed the ball so much room to do so.

The second, as Ayew plays the ball to the right, Soucek is tracking his run but doesn’t follow him as he starts off toward the corner of the box. As the ball is played in to him, Diop sees the danger and tries to nick the ball before catching Ayew. Yes, it’s a foul, but if Soucek follows Ayew, Diop doesn’t get dragged out to make the tackle and concede the foul.

As I said, it’s probably not a popular point of view, but it is an alternative view on the two goals.

I like Diop, but he is prone to the odd mistake in a game that seems to be ammunition and justification for the amount of stick he gets. Some of it is justified but not to the extent of the that everything becomes his fault.

As I’ve said (along with others), he’s a reserve CB and we’re currently relying on 3 of our backup defenders and I think he should be cut a little more slack.

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by Crouchend_Hammer » Mon Jan 03, 2022 9:47 am

Diop definitely wasn't at fault for the first goal.
Someone else on thr match thread (I thjnk) also tried to blame Masuaku for it!

He did give away the free kick for the goal which was a bit rash. However when as a team you are under the cosh for long periods these things happen.

Soucek gave away a worse one v Southampton and it wasn't mentioned at all

Diop, along with Arthur, happens to be the fall guy at the moment

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by 'stone hammer » Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:03 am

mickthekeeper wrote:
Mon Jan 03, 2022 9:34 am
This might not be a popular position, but I don’t think he is directly at fault for either goal.
For the first goal I think it's a fair criticism of Diop. At first glance I thought he could and should have intercepted, having watched the replays it looks like he's caught a bit flat footed for it, but ultimately it was a very good cross and like Benrahma's, sometimes the only way to stop the goal was to stop the cross in the first place.

To say Dawson should have been closer however is just plain wrong as he's where he should be - trying to block Benteke from getting anywhere near the ball.

For the second goal I completely agree, and being overly aggressive in trying to close down the striker is something that both Dawson and Ogbonna regularly do and give away fouls. It happens.

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by Ethanadict » Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:03 am

Dawson and Diop are great as back up to Oggie and Zouma and have played very well during the Europa games. Unfortunately they’re having to step up and play every match now which is a massive ask. Particularly Dawson considering his age.

They’re not as good as Oggie or Zouma but I think they’ve earned the right for us to get behind them rather than be ready to jump on their every mistake at every opportunity.

All clubs have to contend with this sort of thing. Liverpool we’re a shadow of their former selves when Van Dyke missed a season.

But considering the ages of Oggie and Dawson it clearly makes sense to bring in a fifth CB sooner rather than later. The injuries just make it more urgent.

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by Diogenes » Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:08 am

Crouchend_Hammer wrote:
Mon Jan 03, 2022 9:47 am
Diop definitely wasn't at fault for the first goal.
Someone else on thr match thread (I thjnk) also tried to blame Masuaku for it!

He did give away the free kick for the goal which was a bit rash. However when as a team you are under the cosh for long periods these things happen.

Soucek gave away a worse one v Southampton and it wasn't mentioned at all

Diop, along with Arthur, happens to be the fall guy at the moment
Im sorry Crouchend, but I have to disagree with you. Diop ducks for their first. If he jumps, even if he cant get it, he stands a chance of putting the attacker off. He and Masuaku have a catalogue of defensive lapses, well over normal forgivable averages, that are impossible to ignore. With Masuaku, he switches off, and Diop his hesitancy is his failing. Arthur, at least, has a saving grace as a wingback and forward play. Indeed, when given simple instructions (like Saturday) to just stop Ayew anyway you can he was fine. However, with Diop both defensive and distribution liabilities are hard to accept. They are the fall guys, because their errors happen far to often to be ignored. Diop is 4th choice for a reason and will never form.a partnership with Zouma.

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by prophet:marginal » Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:12 am

Palace's first goal



Diop ducks as it goes over his head.

Rice once did that at Arsenal and got pelters from his own coach after the match, when still in his late teens (or very early 20s).

Diop watches the ball. He might not reach it, if, instead of ducking, he jumped upwards, but to duck suggests two things

(a) he expects his keeper to save a ball that is aiming towards our goal, and
(b) he has no idea that the striker is behind him.

Problem with (b) is that, as the ball is hit, that is the direction he is looking.

I cannot fathom how people are absolving him of any responsibility here. I remain of the personal view that we are riding our luck with this guy in the team.

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by Crouchend_Hammer » Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:28 am

Diop is in the correct position for a LCB with the ball right out on the left flank. Dawson and Coufal behind him are marking the two strikwrs with Soucek also in the vicinity and available to drop in to double up on Eduoard. Dawson can see the play and should shuffle over to mark Eduoard and Siucek just stands there as Eduoard runs off him

Diop is not getting that cross even if he jumps. Dawson and Soucek didn't mark Eduoard properly so are more at fault IMHO but sometimes you just have to accept the cross is of such a high quality it is hard to defend against

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by 'stone hammer » Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:35 am

Crouchend_Hammer wrote:
Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:28 am


Diop is not getting that cross even if he jumps.
Come on! Seriously!? :lol:

And how exactly was Dawson meant to mark Eduoard when he's already marking Benteke?

Edit: He's marking Mateta, not Benteke

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by Burnley Hammer » Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:39 am

Crouchend_Hammer wrote:
Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:28 am
Diop is not getting that cross even if he jumps.
He may or not not be at fault in this instance - but that little snippet is a regular feature of Diops game. There's a reason why some players such as Dawson, Zouma, and previously Collins appear to be ball magnets when crosses come in - and it's not just because they're tall. It's because of their instinct and their ability to read a cross. They see early on where that cross is going and where they need to be. I'm not sure whether this is something learnt or whether it's just natural instinct in a lot of players - but I have clearly noticed that it's something that Diop is missing and something he's not really improved with since joining. I've said it a number of times in the last few years but Diop is missing the natural instinct that a lot of central defenders tend to have.

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Re: The Case for the Defence

Post by Crouchend_Hammer » Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:41 am

Benteke wasn't on the pitch
When you play CB you have to be aware of the situation.
The ball is on the left. The LCB shuffles over to fill the space and the RCB shuffles across to mark the forward in thr middle as Coufal is there to mark Matata.

Soucek is also there marking no one and Eduoard runs off the back of him

They have two strikers in the box and between Dawson, Coufal and Soucek they should be covered

However it was q great cross and very good forward play from Eduoard to take up a position between the CBs. Sometimes a goal is hard to avoid when the attacking play is good. Sqme as our first one

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