BALANCE VS DEPTH

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Pete:

Chris suggested we take this opportunity to formalise an ongoing ‘discussion’ we’ve been having. I use inverted commas there as Chris and I aren’t really discussing, we don’t really listen to eachother, we argue. I put myself firmly in the squad depth camp some weeks ago now, if not right at the start of the season. It would be unfair to single out anyone else’s team in this critical time so I’ll have a look at Chris’ team v my team and let’s see what we think.

Chris:

This is like a battle from 8 mile. Bring it.

Pete:

I’m promoting squad depth, asides of my non-playing goalkeeper, McCarthy (WBA), the rest of my squad are all playing players. Further, following the Payet injury in GW12 I have brought in a playing midfielder, Lanzini (5.3m) who I intend to use as my first sub. I don’t think I’m mad to do this and importantly, I have the cash to afford him. Chris’ fifth midfielder is Victor Wanyama (4.3m). If I had put Victor in then I would have had an extra 1m in the bank to use elsewhere. I may or may not make that move in the future but for now, and in anticipation of rotations over Christmas, I’m happy to have a bench of Lanzini, Simpson (4.0m) and Francis (4.5m). Annoyingly my third defender is Evans who is about to hit a bad run of fixtures but I’m pretty much stuck with him for a while, and I can bring in Simpson if Evans has a bad fixture, or Francis if Bournemouth somehow stop conceding goals.

So my team lines up like this:

Butland, McCarthy

Kompany, Azpilicueta, Evans, Simpson, Francis

Ozil, Sanchez, Ayew, Mahrez, Lanzini

Vardy, Pelle, Mitrovic.

And I currently have 8.2 million in the bank.

Mitrovic is on his way out imminently, with Pelle and Ayew to follow. Only then can I really attend to defensive changes.

The difference between me and Chris is that if and when rotations / injuries occur, I at least have players to fall back on. Chris has Targett (SOT) instead of my Simpson (LEI), though he does have a stronger player in Dawson (WBA) to my Francis (BOU). But I have Lanzini (WHU) instead of Wanyama which gives me confidence that if one of my midfielders (or attackers) sits out then I’ll have someone coming on who could potentially get me some points while Chris will only have 1 or 2 points from his beloved Victor.

Which is right? Well both. Balance and depth. I made some hard decisions, bringing in Simpson a few weeks ago, when I could have made a more profitable transfer. And I saved my extra transfer for this international break, which meant playing Mitrovic (and Pelle) again. So my squad needs a bit of work. But, if a few players do get rested GW13 (there’s a lot of rumours about Sanchez) then I’ll be playing Lanzini, and I’ll have Simpson and Francis as back up.

Chris:

Zzzzzz… Thanks Pete for your 500 words, i wont need half of that

I wont keep you long.

Let the beat drop…

Over the years I have developed a template for my bench, i.e. those that do not start every week. Cheapest sub keeper possible. 1 x 4.0 (or less) def ideally that starts every week. 1 x 4.0 – 4.5 def who starts every week & my 5th midfielder is the cheapest possible (4.5) nailed on midfielder. This allows me balance in my squad, i know who my first XI is and they start every week. The bench is there for cover in emergencies.

Pete on the other hand tries to cover as many bases as possible, looking for depth so he has options each week, hedging his bets. This naive approach might be ok if we lived in a perfect & predictable world but we don’t. His midfield is a great example of this. Each week he must decide (flip a coin) as to who to play and who to drop to the bench. Its a fantasy minefield and Pete can blow up at any moment (and regularly does). His team lacks direction & leadership and there is only 1 person responsible for this.

Can you ever have a perfect squad? No.

It is possible to have a perfect 1st XI though.

My team isnt perfect, but everyone knows their jobs. We are getting close.

Key to my strategy is that I optimise my starting XI, getting the best players money can buy.

Pete doesnt.

Oh and he still has Mitrovic in his side.

 

 

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