Vital Football

Latest Blackpool FC News

The Ideal Three Man Midfield

The Ideal Three Man Midfield

A review by Zonal Marking of the Manchester derby didn't do much to heighten the enjoyment of a truly awful football match, however, it did inspire this article about Blackpool's midfield. The review touched on the idea of the ideal combination of a midfield three, both examples on that night were far from ideal and were cited as being factors behind the drab stalemate. The ideal combinations offered by the article included the breakdown that a team playing three in midfield should have a ball winner, a passer and an attacking creator. Instantly the Championship midfield trio of Southern, Adam and Vaughan sprung to mind, that had everything last season; balance, grit, energy, precision, vision and creativity to name a few characteristics. This season two of that trio are still playing exceptionally, but due to injury the ball winner was unavailable and Elliot Grandin came in to become a part of the midfield. Grandin has many qualities and has excited the Blackpool fans with his performances so far. He of the three though is the one that Holloway tends to sacrifice when he feels changes are needed. Does this mean that Grandin isn't offering the midfield balance that Holloway is looking for or is his role something else entirely.

Ian Holloway appears to have set roles for each player to perform within his system and this allows him to make changes such as the 10 he made against Villa, without changing the shape or style of the team. Each of the three must have a set role, and as Holloway has openly cited Spain as an influence on how he wants his team to play then maybe he's looking for Blackpool to have their own Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta or as defined above a ball winner, a passer and an attacking creator. If this is the case how does Blackpool's midfield measure up against that ideal combination.

Last Saturday the midfield trio lined up against West Ham, in the tackle David Vaughan won all of five of his challenges, Charlie Adam won two and Grandin none. Given that Vaughan tends to sit deeper than the other two and won the most tackles then on the day he was the ball winner.

Looking at the number and accuracy of passes should give an idea of who the passer in the team is. Grandin was only on the pitch till the 59th minute so the passes were only counted till then. Vaughan completed thirty out of thirty four passes, Adam twenty five from thirty one and Grandin sixteen from twenty. Vaughan comes out on top here as the passer and looking back on previous games, he tends to rack up the most passes out of the trio in the games that have been played this season. You can see the differences in Vaughan and Grandin's pasing below. Vaughan's passes covering box to box and generally much deeper than Grandin.



Finally, who stood out as the attacking creator? This is the most obvious selection, Adam gets involved in most of the plays that Blackpool have, he is the nearest thing there is to a playmaker in the midfield. There were no goals against West Ham which would have given a better indication of the 'attacking creator' based on assists, however, when looking at the goal scoring chances from open play then Adam was involved in five chances, Vaughan five and Grandin one. This backs up the assertion that Adam makes plays, but Vaughan is his equal. Over the season though Adam has created the most goals for the Tangerines and again that should see him fit in as the playmaker and it's fair to say that Holloway does give him license to try the extra ball that carries a higher risk, such as the diagonal pass with the outside of his left foot that Campbell pounced on to score at St James'. You can see below a couple of passes that Adam has made this season to contribute to goals (Adam is circled in red).



What does this say about Blackpool's midfield or even Blackpool's tactics for that matter? Well, first and foremost it shows just how important David Vaughan is to the midfield unit. He's a true all rounder and almost the midfield lynch-pin, Adam gets the plaudits and the media glare but Vaughan is equally as important. It shows that if Holloway has an approach to his midfield three similar to that as described above then there is a lack of balance with Vaughan seemingly playing two roles and Grandin none. It could indicate that this season Holloway has moved away from a midfield three and sees his midfield as Vaughan and Adam with Grandin as a forward, a second striker perhaps filling in behind Campbell. The match against Wolves should go some way to understanding where the midfield is right now. Should Grandin drop to the bench to replaced by Southern or Sylvestre then perhaps Holloway is aiming for the ideal combination in midfield.



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:John Kane
Date:Thursday November 18 2010
Time: 3:00PM

Login to post a comment

Recent Blackpool Articles

Fans Groups Invited To Meeting With Club

Karl Oyston has offered Blackpool FC fans groups such as the BSA, BST, Yorkshire Seasiders and Basil a chance to meet him in an effort to improve relations

Oldham vs Blackpool Preview

Unbeaten in four, Blackpool take on Oldham away from home tomorrow.

The Tangerines have been in good form, beating Gillingham 1-0 in their previous match and face an Oldham side who have stru

January PotM Nomination - Aldred

The January nominations for the Sky Bet League 1 Player of the Month Award are in.

Blackpool 1 Gillingham 0

Blackpool extended their unbeaten run to four games after picking up an impressive three points against promotion hopefuls Gillingham.

Hayden White and Jim McAlister missed the fixture through illness which meant Danny Philliskirk was shifted out to right wing, Mark Cullen started up top and Emmerson Boyce came in at right back.

Despite weather conditions having an impact on early proceedings, Pool were able to deal with the heavy hail and created the first chance when Redshaw

Archived Vital Blackpool Articles

Vital Blackpool articles from

Site Journalists

Dan Bennett
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Who Has Been Pool's Best Player So Far This Season?
Suggested By:
Colin Doyle32%
Tom Aldred53%
Brad Potts2%
Mark Cullen4%
Jack Redshaw3%
Other6%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Burton 29 19 3 7 60 16
2 Walsall 29 16 8 5 56 17
3 Wigan 30 15 10 5 55 21
4 Gillingham 30 16 7 7 55 19
5 Coventry 30 13 10 7 49 16
6 Millwall 29 14 5 10 47 9
7 Southend 29 13 8 8 47 6
8 Peterborough 29 13 5 11 44 13
9 Port Vale 31 12 8 11 44 -1
10 Barnsley 29 13 3 13 42 6
11 Sheff Utd 29 11 9 9 42 4
12 Bradford 28 11 8 9 41 -3
13 Scunthorpe 28 11 5 12 38 -4
14 Rochdale 28 10 7 11 37 -2
15 Bury 28 10 7 11 37 -7
16 Doncaster 29 9 9 11 36 -4
17 Swindon 30 10 6 14 36 -5
18 Blackpool 29 9 6 14 33 -7
19 Chesterfield 29 9 3 17 30 -11
20 Shrewsbury 30 8 6 16 30 -15
21 Fleetwood 28 7 8 13 29 -3
22 Crewe 29 6 8 15 26 -20
23 Oldham 27 4 12 11 24 -13
24 Colchester 29 5 7 17 22 -32
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Blackpool Fixtures (view all)

Feb 13 2016 3:00PM : Shrewsbury Town (H)
Sky Bet League One
Feb 16 2016 7:45PM : Oldham Athletic (H)
Sky Bet League One
Feb 20 2016 3:00PM : Swindon Town (a)
Sky Bet League One
Feb 27 2016 3:00PM : Bradford City (H)
Sky Bet League One
Mar 1 2016 7:45PM : Chesterfield (a)
Sky Bet League One
Mar 5 2016 3:00PM : Millwall (a)
Sky Bet League One

Recent Blackpool Results (view all)

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.Bear195149
2.premier 137
3.SeasideEssexXile25
4.BobHatton22
5.whitey194220
6.53CODGER14
7.Layton_Seasider11
8.DONKEY_LASHER9
9.Hastings9
10.Morbid9