Talk Tactics – Should A Team Attack At All Costs?

Talk Tactics Should A Team Attack At All Costs

Against Queens Park Rangers, Paul Lambert set out his young Aston Villa side in a 3-5-2 formation. Not since the era of Brian Little, when players like Alan Wright and Gary Charles were pulling on the claret and blue have I seen a team play in such a formation – it was certainly different.

On the face of it, some might suggest a point is simply not good enough against bottom-of-the-table QPR, but a point is certainly better than a team could do against a potential banana skin team under new management. Whether Harry Redknapp will change the London club around is yet to be seen but, as they remain winless in December, they are certainly a true definition of a team in trouble.

Of course, many Villa fans have the same belief about their club as the team from B6 languish in the wrong half of the table, a problem compounded by the success of West Bromwich Albion as Steve Clarke’s team sit as close to the top as Villa are to the bottom.

Getting back to the game, 3-5-2 was a fairly attacking formation to be using away from home, though I imagine at least part of the reasoning for its usage was a desire to move the width of the team forwards into the midfield.

Villa have been enduring something of a defensive personnel crisis with Ron Vlaar, Enda Stevens, and Joe Bennett unavailable for the trip to Loftus Road. As a result, and due to the comparative abundance of midfielders, pushing the width into the midfield made a lot of sense, and this was largely the motivation for Lambert’s tactic.

As the game wore on, I know some fans were puzzled by the substitutions involved, as well as a belief that the team were sitting back happy to perch on their early lead.

However, one does have to question the substitutions that can force a 3-5-2 team to be more attacking than they currently are. To start with, let’s break down the options.

Where can you take players from to attack more?

Given the nature of the defence’s role in a 3-5-2 formation, it was rather unlikely that the team were going to make more of an attacking threat by pulling out defenders. Whilst Brazil and Uruguay had success in the 20s and 30s of the 20th century with 2-3-5 formations, the game has moved on since then.

To have less than three at the back would have been seen as a part-cavalier, part-reckless view. Had Villa conceded under these terms, the anger would have been bubbling up suggesting that you have to keep it tight at the back if you have any chance of coming away with a point or more.

So the defence was unlikely to be the area where the change was made. So let’s look at the midfield.

Given the nature of playing five in the middle, and the fact that QPR were doing the same, taking a player out of the midfield to add an extra attacker would have mean ceding the main battleground to the opposition, a tactic that would have meant far more pressure was pushed on to the defence and, with only three at the back, it would have meant even more chasing for the team.

It also would have made the team unable to have the width to deal with players who were roaming wide like Adel Taraabt, Shaun Wright-Phillips, or even Jose Boswinga. Given Villa’s lack of natural width, giving up any extra space to the aforementioned QPR players would have been tactical suicide for the manager, and thus we didn’t take a midfielder out to put an extra striker in.

So was the formation right in the first place?

With 3-5-2 fairly rigid when it comes to dealing with the opposition threat, some might have thought that another, more practical formation was a better fit for the game. However, given the personnel available, and the fact that some fans have lambasted Lambert for not attacking sufficiently, we should look at any of the other plans and whether they would be any more palatable.

4-4-2 would have meant at least one player playing out of position, Villa having to field players in wide roles that aren’t ideally suited, and would have given us no more attackers than 3-5-2 did. It would also have left Villa outnumbered in the midfield, pushing more pressure on to whoever was in defence as well as inviting more attacks in wide areas from Taraabt and Wright-Phillips.

4-5-1 would have had even less attacking threat then 3-5-2. When the major complaint from fans was that the team didn’t attack enough, playing less strikers hardly seems the right fix. It would have left Villa able to compete in the midfield though Christian Benteke would invariably have been heading balls backwards into a more congested midfield. Therefore, for me at least, that wouldn’t have worked.

4-3-3 has the same issue as 4-4-2 but with even less men in midfield meaning even more pressure on a ramshackle defence. Is it worth losing the midfield battleground just to have extra strikers? Due to the congestion in midfield, Villa would have been forced to punt the ball long on to Benteke for that to work, and then hope it stuck. If it didn’t, then Villa would have been open to counter-attacks all day long and, with QPR having talented wide players, that would have been foolhardy.

So could the manager have done it differently?

So, when it comes down to what would or wouldn’t have worked, 3-5-2 (and the substitutions that happened) was the right thing to go for. In the deployment of a different formation, Lambert adapted where many managers would have stuck with a one-size-fits-all mentality at the cost of losing the midfield battle. Whilst postulation is always hypothetical at best, I would gamble that former Villa managers with the same squad would have lost the game against QPR due to either ceding the midfield or playing even less strikers.

Did Villa win? The answer is obviously no but, in the context of the squad available and the formations that could have been played, I firmly believe Lambert made the right choices, even though we didn’t take all three points.

About the Author

Avatar of Matt Turvey

Matt TurveyMatt is the owner of, and chief writer for, Aston Villa Life. He is also a weekly columnist for the Wolverhampton Express & Star, appearing in the 247 pullout the Monday after Aston Villa play, and every Thursday as a blogger on their website. He has previously been featured as a writer on Football365 and Life's A Pitch, and was a regular pundit for Sports Tonight TV on Sky.View all posts by Matt Turvey →

  1. steamersteamer03-12-2012

    Hello Matt,
    The only thing that puzzled me was the type of MF involved in the subs, i thought that having more defensive replacements would concede more pitch to QPR, by all means make changes but i thought he may have kept like for like. Not a complaint more a slight surprise.

  2. bibulusbibulus03-12-2012

    Tactical analysis ? Where are the arrows Matt?
    One of the things i enjoy most about PL is the way he really thinks about tactics. I believe he does this to allow players to play in the correct positions and to also put us in danger of exposing oppositions weaknesses. Players seem to be responding to this by putting in a shift every match. Reading this blog over the weekend was enlightening thanks to everyone especially superbox for funniest post of the weekend. I did not see or follow the game as it was Mrs B’s birthday weekend so off to town we went to sample the german markets, go for some grub at Mr Olivers gaff and take in drink.
    To my mind this was a decent point for us in a must not lose game, must not lose as in the media coverage of a win for ‘arry would not have been great for our young squad. I dont buy into ‘arry being so great he has just had a decent run of luck (recently) and still won nowt with a top squad at totteringham (and two great wingers Frem!). He is for me to football what Nigel Farage is to politics – thats right they both belong in the circus.
    352 is a formation i like a lot, as this analysis shows it can also be used to defend although traditionally it is associated with attacking, but who knows what formation or who will play on Saturday, i feel we will start with the personnel that finished against Reading.
    Come on lads keep the faith in Lambert and get down to the Stoke game – Saturday 3pm KO – life dont get much better than that. 3 matches unbeaten.

  3. AndrewAndrew03-12-2012

    Good Morning

    I find it very refreshing and interesting that we have a manager who is working on different things and thinking all the time. He is not afraid of making changes and changing things around. Like it.

    Happy with the point and Lambos Lambs are on a bit of roll, does make me very proud seeing the youngsters play. Pleased that Holman score, has got his critics but for me he is a very direct, hungry, aggresive player. He wants to make things happen. Id have him over Ireland any day.

    Onwards and upwards.

  4. Graham O'GaraGraham O'Gara03-12-2012

    I think considering QPR would have been well up for this game, considering if was probably their best performance in their best atmosphere at Loftus this season…

    I do think people need to look around, skill is not the soul contributor to the result…

    Some of those QPR players ran more in the last game than they have in their previous games this season combined.

    Their side too was balanced for the first time this season. As much as I don’t think Redknapp is a “top class” manager… he does tend to pick balanced teams and he can motivate players.
    Irrespective of their “Journeymen” tags QPR have some decent players…

    I don’t think the justification for going 3 a back is because of a shortage of defenders. Because in fact it meant Chris Herd was played out of position at CB… with both Fullbacks (defenders again) in Midfield… We actually had more defenders on the pitch than midfielders. I found the choice of midfielders odd though. Holman for me is a Wingback. Ideal for the 352 formation up and down the line. Decent first time shot on him… very little else to write home about except hard work.

    Bent I understand, he really doesn’t contribute to the style of play. But Ireland’s omission is very strange. The one bit of genuine quality we have in midfield… people spout Granero’s ability… but Ireland trumps him…

    However their are persistant rumours that Ireland is having trouble with a dislocated shoulder or something… so he may not be completely fit. Who knows… because of the conspiracy over Bent obviously everyone 2+2=5… 3+3=10… 4+4=100000000… this is the way the press and gossip works.

    Karim too, ok he has looked off the pace but he still looks a far better player than Holman to me.

    I have firmly started to believe Holman just gives the ball away so he can chase it again… we should call him The Jack Russell from now on.

    Benteke look isolated yesterday and I didn’t enjoy watching it… we must find a effective way of putting the ball to Benteke other than Westwood or the hoof in his general direction.

    Bannan has tailed off and probably needed a rest before the game to be fair.

    The subs I do feel where more out of resting a couple of players. Bannan and Herd. Not so much tactical but out of necessity. However the player he brought on to replace Bannan should have been Ireland… if he’s on the bench he should be able to do 45mins.

    I agree with what Lambert tried to do, thwart a determined QPR and he did it to be fair, but this weekend the complaints are…. queue drum roll…. not attacking…

    Funny that… lol… he was criticised for “attacking to much” a couple of weeks ago… Hmmm…

    Whinge and whine for the sake of it. Everyone is frustrated but this is a problem the club slept walked in to and it certainly is not Lamberts fault we are where we are… yet the ever whingy Villa population seem to ignore the glaring issues and just go the simplistic “blame the manager”…

    No one is perfect or above criticism… Lambert, the younsters, the owner… but lets the criticism be fair and constructive at least eh?

    A point at QPR in ‘Arrys first game is not a bad result… if we’d have won 1-0 with the same performance what would the response be? For me the analysis of the game would have been the same. For many though I doubt the comments would be the same.

    January can’t come quick enough but for those expecting sweeping changes, huge money and proven names I’d get your valium sorted out quickly…

    On another note it was nice to see Williams… I do believe and have done 2 seasons, that he is the kid that will come through and make a big impact. And he’s starting his education at the right time….

    If Gabby had a brain I’d be almost tempted to convert him to a DM…. We still haven’t replaced Milner and until we get that powerful box to boxer IMO we will struggle, we have no drive through the middle…

  5. B62 VillaB62 Villa03-12-2012

    I don’t believe we should have attacked at all costs, however reading the match write up in the paper, they stated that we posed no threat following the Holman goal on 8mins. We set up to PCM the midfield with numbers because it’s an area we lack any quality. Except for the disallowed goal we rarely went forward, we never tried to win the game and once they equalised on 18mins we settled for a draw. If Mcleish would have set up and done this he would have got castigated and rightly so. The result was not a disaster as it was a must not lose, however with our next 4 fixtures it’s a game we should have shown more ambition. The substitutes compounded the negative tactic and they shut up shop and absorbed pressure, the post and Guzan again come to our rescue in a game we were again outplayed in. On paper Lambert is going in the right direction, and has a plan, the reality is this hasn’t transferred to the pitch. We look out of our depth against even the poorest of sides, with good performances being something of a rarity. PL has been here 6 months and the progress we have made is minimal if any. 14 points from 45 tells its own story, with a side struggling at both ends of the pitch and a non existent midfield. We need to battle through until jan and then hope we can buy some quality and improve this team, or we may find out if this team is championship standard or not when we’re playing in it.

  6. southwestvillansouthwestvillan03-12-2012

    Never been a fan of this system to be honest and it only works if you have the perfect players to suit these roles, remember Ugo,Southgate and Barry playing it and to be fair it worked for a while but teams find ways to exploit it very quickly, i think PL set his team out to get a point and succeeded.
    I actually thought a point was a good result in the circumstances and i think the important thing is to keep picking up points from every game until Jan when hopefully we can get in some reinforcements.(Anyone heard the Altidore link).
    Herd and Lowton got rave reviews against QPR but you would have to say the whole team pulled their weight to get this result, Stoke up next and we will need big Ron back for this one as they will be lumping the ball up to the big lads thats for sure.
    Nice cup draw and i think an opportunity to give the likes of Carruthers and Bowery a run out to see how they fair, cup runs are nice but the priority is staying in this league with a number of clubs getting drawn into the race including Newcastle and Sunderland.


  7. The DroydThe Droyd03-12-2012

    Matt – I loved it when Little and Gregory played 3-5-2. I thought we had the perfect personnel to play that and I wouldn’t mind us playing that formation. Lambert is flexible tactically which is refreshing to see.

    Herd, Lichaj and Bennett have the ability to play as wing backs. In fact, I think Bennett and Lichaj would be better suited to this than playing as out and out full backs. I’m not convinced however that this is a formation that Lambert will persist with. I think the injury problems meant that he wanted some extra cover for Clark and Baker as they looked exposed against Reading. (I thought Baker was very decent by the way against QPR.)

    3-5-2 is an interesting formation. Staunton excelled as a sweeper in this role once his pace had gone. Merson excelled in the free role behind the front 2 – perhaps Ireland could do the same? Very strange that he isn’t playing.

    Graham – I agree that it’s time for Bannan to be dropped. I think we should give Delph a run in that position now – a bit more pace and drive. God knows who will take the free kicks and corners though?

  8. FremFrem03-12-2012

    It was a good point as i thought we would lose but its kind of worrying we just sat back, that’s what AM does. Even against reading we were poor which is worrying

    Ballance and quallity is our biggest issue, we have none of it. Gabby and holman are really poor players. We need to replace them with quality creative players in Jan. Benteke needs competition up top and we need a cm and cb. Hopefully Henke has a few bargins lined up, if not, we will struggle

  9. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    I try and mix up the use of the graphics as some find them OTT.

    Fingers crossed for the weekend, though I think a point is about what is likely.

  10. FremFrem03-12-2012

    And we are in danger of being cut away from the middle of the park pack. Swansea, Newcastle, norwich even wigan have more enough to foght for top 10, even sundeand have good players but its not coming together for them.

  11. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    Whether we played it because of defenders not being available or not, my illustration of how other formations don’t work against what they were using explains why we adapted.

    Lambert adapts – for me that is a sign of strength, not weakness. Is a point good enough? I will certainly take it and see where we go this weekend.

  12. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    It was surprising in a sense but, looking at the bench, who would you have brought on?

    Or did you think the bench could have been different?

  13. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    I guess the short answer is wait and see – we will find out what happens in January soon enough

  14. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    Ireland for the free kicks if Bannan is rested?

  15. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    “Even Sunderland have good players but it isn’t coming together for them”

    Isn’t that much like us? You sound more sympathetic to their cause on that matter but seem to be frustrated when we have the same issues?

  16. Graham O'GaraGraham O'Gara03-12-2012

    I appreciate that Matt…

    Just saying that we may have played that formation had everyone been fit just the same.

    ———-Vlaar Clark Baker————
    Lowton Westwood Karim Bennett
    ————Benteke Weimann———

    I do like the look of it…

    I’ve put a few “left of field” names on the other thread who may be getting considered at VP.

  17. Graham O'GaraGraham O'Gara03-12-2012

    I think Westwood will do the corners and Freekicks… I do recall seeing Benteke hit a few from out side the box on Utube

  18. Graham O'GaraGraham O'Gara03-12-2012

    DiSanto at Wigan, Hangeland at Fulham and Simeon Jackson at Norwich for example….

    There are names names we could mention that are obvious to us, so I’ll sugest a few left field options I like the look of…

    Kuzmanovic (Stuttgart)- All round CM, Box to Box. Last six months of contract available for £4-6m

    Schwaab (Leverkusen) – Clever CB, 6ft 1″, strong and suited to the EPL. £3-4m

    Angoua (Valenciennes) – Strong CB. £2-3m

    Flamini – last 6 months of contract… even on laon to put him in the shop window… We know he can mix it in the EPL.

    Douglas – A name mentioned last season. Last 6 months of contract, won’t sign new one?

  19. FremFrem03-12-2012

    Matt sunderland have good ballance. They have mclean and Johnson out wide, sessegon linking play and a good all round striker in fletcher. We are playing holman gabby and Aw in those positions, they don’t fit. There not good enough

  20. FremFrem03-12-2012

    Graham- mbia diouf as well, use to play for united. Good all round striker

  21. FremFrem03-12-2012

    Douglas will be off to newcastle

  22. bibulusbibulus03-12-2012

    Nice line up for Saturday Graham !! Also seems you have a part time scouting role lined up – all those named seem agreeable.
    Three points would be welcome one will keep us unbeaten – Stoke have ridden their luck recently lets hope we get some this time.

  23. steamersteamer03-12-2012

    Very nice balance, probably need a hitman in MF though, but excellent.
    Like the others, Ireland as straight replacement for BB.
    Is that Josie Altidore ? the one who played for Wigan ( ??? ) i have to be honest, if it is, i hope he’s improved because when i saw him he was cr*p, although i think it was the red boots having an effect.

  24. Liam ScahillLiam Scahill03-12-2012

    A nice read Matt,

    The players are limited no matter what formations are employed unfortunately, we lack talent but there is bucket loads of effort how far will that get us, about as far as we are now. Lowest scorers in the prem midfield needs investment urgently, I admire Lambert for trying it the weekend but if Ireland is fit and not playing I’m bemused to say the least. We are now at least alot more difficult to beat than back in August/September.

  25. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil03-12-2012

    Afternoon Lifers

    A thoughtful leader Matt.
    “You only play as well as you`re let” was drummed into me as a kid,it`s not entirely true but it`s a sentiment I agree with to a point.

    I am impressed with Graham`s line up.Height,versus Stoke is always an issue,they are strong at set pieces and are ale house brawlers all over the field.They hold,shirt pull and time waste from 1st whistle to last,and get away with it especially in the penalty areas.
    Personally I would play Marvin Hagler and Pat Cowdell in the middle,with Roberto Duran and Tyson as a front 2.

    As we approach the came the DB debate will resurface,this is definetly not the match for him nor BB,it will be such a physical contest,I hope the players have their gumshields at the ready.

  26. steamers75steamers7503-12-2012

    you know what southwest villan is like with anything in red boots !
    cant comment on the game as l have’nt read or saw anything about the game as l had a job on working most of sat till sunday morning and then sunday night , so thought l’d have a
    read onhere and poss read the papers and watch MOTD tonight , love the sky plus because you can fast forward the s**te the the 3 wise men come out with , UTV

  27. AndrewAndrew03-12-2012

    I thought the goal we scored was very good. Actually played a bit of football and then a great strike from Holman……more passing and moving in that move then in anything i saw last year…..must be progress.

    I must admit to not being a fan of Ireland, very slow, thinks he is 100 times more better than he is and does not score enough or assist enough for the ‘free’ role. Probably on 70k plus as well!!

  28. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    Hard to argue with that swap – I see no reason why Ireland shouldn’t be in the team unless this “injury” issue is real.

  29. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    I agree, and Ireland is certainly key to our successes.

    One would imagine that there is some rationality for leaving him out as, in my opinion, he is one of few game changers we have in the team.

  30. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    Brute force may not be the route to win everything, but it is certainly a tool that needs to be employed against Stoke.

    I wish we had a real beast of a player in midfield as Delph or Bannan both come with the same height issues.

    With that said I imagine Lambert will realise this and do something in January.

  31. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    He is certainly on a fair amount of money but I don’t personally consider him slow in any sense of the word, and I admire his workrate which is statistically always high when he plays.

    The move was good, and we are clearly improving but, for most fans, I guess their issue is when will we start winning and whether we can win against higher placed teams in the league.

    I think so, but I also understand where others are concerned as beating teams around you is key to survival.

  32. J.P. WilsonJ.P. Wilson03-12-2012

    matt the formation-

    i thought we looked disjointed and un-organised this weekend. we had been playing the 4-2-3-1 so well, i really hope we dont go away from it.

  33. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil03-12-2012


    How is the father in law reactng to two defeats on the bounce,with the mighty Hutton on board?

  34. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    I don’t think we will play the same formation against Stoke (I would be surprised if we do)

    The performance wasn’t great but we got a point. Whether it could have been better, we will never know but, as you say, I think we need something different against Stoke.

  35. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    I don’t think he is speaking to me as a result. They had Jenas earlier on loan and I told him they were just a rubbish version of us.

    I think when faced with the fact that they are a substandard version of Villa and given his banter about us, he has probably decided to go mute.

  36. Graham O'GaraGraham O'Gara03-12-2012

    Unfortunately the last place where improvement is since in in the result….

  37. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil03-12-2012

    Stoke will be happy to sit back and let us have the ball.They will just wait for freekicks and corners to nick a goal.We as fans must be very patient on sauirday it will be very frustrating at times,with the diving and timewasting.

  38. Graham O'GaraGraham O'Gara03-12-2012

    I expect Herd in the CM with Westwood against Stoke and hopefully Vlaar will be back.

    Lowton Vlaar Clark Baker
    –Westwood Herd Karim–
    ——–Ireland Zoggy———

    Very Narrow but it about breaking at Stoke quickly and having the ability to pass around their lumps at the back… god I wish Zoggy was fit and hungry to play… Ireland and Zog I would just allow to roam behind Benteke and drag players around.

  39. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil03-12-2012

    Again a good selection Graham,but I worry about Hred getting an early yellow,ditto when Delph plays can be a bit wild at times.
    We will have to go through them as they won`t let us get in behind them.

  40. FremFrem03-12-2012

    Just watched AVTV rU21 vs Newcastle on AVTV. We won 3-2 and Carruthers, Burke and drennan all scored. what more do they have to do to get a game ?? Burke and carruthers could play out wide instead of Gabby, Holman or AW, they aren’t good there. Samir and Burke are wingers, get them out there. Drennans a really clever striker

    Pl likes young players but he isn’t using them. its annoying. Again, its the same problem, we dont use them right. Just look at Sterling. Bannan is now 23, 24 and hes only been in the first team 3 seasons, he should have been at 18. we waste them

  41. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012


    You say he isn’t using young players – did we not just have the youngest back four in the Premier League?

  42. FremFrem03-12-2012

    Matt- no i said he is using young players as it is, so why not stick samir and burke in as wel ?? There so much bettet than gabby and holman and AW out wide

    We will just wait until there 20 odd and by then its a bit to late. We dont even loan them out. We just rot them away in the reserve for 3 or 4 years until there 20 and and just chuck them him. We should be doing whay pool are doing with sterling. Give tjem experince early on, imaginw how goos they woyld be at 20

  43. FremFrem03-12-2012

    Give them experience early on, imagine how good they would be at 20.

    Thats what I ment. Sorry, rushing on predictive text

  44. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012

    Ah – I see now. Was confused by how the sentence:

    “Pl likes young players but he isn’t using them” was constructed. I understand now.

    Just to let you know Frem, I have bought a copy of the Citizen Khan DVD and shipped it to you as The Villa Times haven’t come through with the copy they offered for the competition.

    My apologies for the delay – was waiting for them to send me a copy but they haven’t so I’ve bought it myself. I hope you enjoy it and let me know when you receive it – should be over the next week or so.

  45. TrinityTrinity03-12-2012

    Hello all.
    Nice writing, Matt.
    Apparently, Stephen Ireland has a couple of injuries, but should be fine for Stoke. We need him for that game. IMO, BB needs a rest.
    I hope Villa move the ball as quickly as possible, run Stoke around. We have an advantage there, we’re quicker and have more resilience. We need to play down their end, especially given our poor defensive play from set pieces and their height.
    If things go well enough in the first 75 minutes, I’d bring on Bent later in the match. I support PL in what he’s doing, but IF the the situation calls for Bent to play a part, why not play the man?

  46. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey03-12-2012

    Thank you Trinity.

    I hope Ireland can come back – he was a saving grace against Reading in my opinion.

    As for Bent, I personally would have him on the bench and see if the game illustrates a need for him. If it does, I would bring him on as whatever is best for the team should be what is enacted.

    However, with the situation being far from simple, I’m not sure the call will be as easy either on the side of the manager.

  47. SuperBoxSuperBox03-12-2012

    Bibulus – Glad you enjoyed it. I am not sure it was a case of sitting back against QPR, more that they came out all guns blazing second half.

    I think it’s fair to say that PL is getting the best out of a young and inexperienced squad.

    And as if any doubted PL tactical genius, we moved up a place tonight by not even playing. Amazing.