- Sep 13, 2015
I think the problem is you are talking about Milner, Henderson and Gini.. A midfield 3 I highly doubt we will see at all next season.I think it's more a question of different approaches. Neither of them necessarily being right or wrong. I can certainly get on board with accepting that our front three is world class and that if they're fresh for the big games that will give us the best chance of winning them. In order to keep them fresh (or to compensate for if they're struggling for form) we need to add quality rotation/competition so that if one of them is missing the quality of our attacking triumvirate doesn't drop off too much. We can then field, consistently, a potent attacking three with our world class trio being fresh for the crunch games. Would adding Dembele do that? Possibly.
However, the two league games we played against City we had all three of our world class players. In both games our midfield three was Wijnaldum, Milner, Henderson.
The draw at home followed the defeat away to Napoli where we were awful - we then struggled at Anfield four days later and were lucky to get away with a 0-0 draw thanks to Mahrez missing the penalty at the end. We lacked control and were somewhat fortunate. It's possible that rotating in someone like Dembele instead of one of our front three would have made the difference but I think we'd have been better that game if we had more quality in and greater potency from midfield. We've lacked a consistent goal threat from midfield this season, which you might say will be addressed by AOC but he's never scored more than 3 goals in a PL season. Kai Havertz, at the age of 19, scored 17 and assisted 4 from midfield last year. My personal view is that having someone like him in AM/CM rather than any of our other options for that role would have been more likely to have made the difference than substituting out one of our front three for Dembele.
In addition, having a goal threat arriving from midfield would also take some attention away from the front three, making them even more dangerous. It adds another threat from another direction, decreasing the ability of teams to counter the threats already posed by our front three.
The second league game against City where we also had our front three. They were all fresh and on form, coming off a 5-1 hammering of Arsenal where they all scored (Firmino got a hat-trick). Our midfield three was, again, Wijnaldum, Milner, Henderson. Again we struggled to control the game and pretty much had to by-pass our midfield. D Silva, Fernandinho, B Silva v Wijnaldum, Milner, Henderson is, I'm afraid, a miss-match. Sure, Fabinho's now part of our starting midfield 3 but our AM/CM options in front of him remain weaker than City's. Add Havertz into the mix and I think that's a much more even contest and, as I suggest above, would also increase the potential potency of our front three.
Taking the pressure off them during games might also help keep the three fresh reducing the need to rotate them. Giving us greater control, an increased goal threat, we ought to be able to manage their game time even better such that we're not needing them to play 90 minutes on a consistent basis and we won't need a £90m substitute on the bench. We could instead use Origi, Wilson or Brewster.
If we want to continue with maintaining a potent front three approach for as many games as possible then perhaps Dembele is a good option. But instead we could look at adding a different type of threat - taking the pressure off Mo, Bobby and Sadio to some extent whilst simultaneously making them more dangerous whilst also allowing us greater variety and control in the big matches.
It will be Fabinho + Gini or Hendo + Oxlade or Keita. I agree our midfield was out matched but we have the improvements here already.
What we lack of genuine superstar options for our front 3. I agree Havertz/Sancho would be my picks btw. But I don't think are available and if Dembele is we'd be crazy not to be in the mix as he would be a quality addition.