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23 Sep 2021 10:38:34
Just one final thought on Tuesday night. If I’d been in Bielsa’s position, I’d have been tempted to have allocated the back 4 and DM roles differently - with Firpo playing at left CB alongside Cresswell, as he has played there previously for Real Betis. That would have left the others in more customary positions - Shack at RB, Dallas LB and Phillips DM.

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23 Sep 2021 10:58:28
Pressed send again when halfway through the post.

Was going on to say, that I would have been thinking that would give us a better chance to win that one game - with, an balance, players having greater familiarity with their roles, both individually and collectively. It might have worked out better than it did over the 90 minutes, but might not.

However, I suspect Bielsa may have been looking at a slightly bigger picture. For our season as a whole, it is probably far more important for Firpo to get used to playing LB within Bielsaball, and starting to develop and understanding with James. Playing him at CB would have disrupted that development process. That he chose to play Shack at DM, rather than keeping him at RB, with Dallas at DM maybe also pointed to his thinking for the rest of the season - checking whether Shack might be a viable backup for KP, given the struggles of Koch and Struijk in that position. Having watched the game on LUTV, I thought Shack did quite well. I’d be interested to know thought of others who’ve seen the game, or indeed were actually at Craven Cottage.

23 Sep 2021 12:46:13
I saw the game on TV. Shack had a better game at DM than some others that played there. He was better at RB though imo. No reason he couldn't grow into that DM role more though. I thinkbthe second point was what Bielsa had in mind with Firpo, he needs to get used to his regular position first ideally.

23 Sep 2021 13:59:35
Is it possible for Drameh, Cresswell, Cooper, Firpo. or is Coops injured? I would have no worries seeing that on the teamsheet especially as KP would be covering.

23 Sep 2021 15:04:38
Thought u kicked it mid post.
So happy u didn’t. 👍.

23 Sep 2021 15:07:54
Leo - I’d love to see Drameh in at RB, even with Ayling fit. But I guess it’s more likely Shack will be in there. Don’t think Coops injured, guess they didn’t want to risk the only fit first team CB against Fulham.

23 Sep 2021 16:30:09
Reading reports of Bielsa’s presser, looks like he would definitely have been planning to play KP at CB again if Ayling out v Hammers, but Cresswell’s performance at Fulham has given him pause for thought. Previously it’s been said that when making decisions on whether to put in u23s he looks at how the 1st team regulars respond to them. So, as well as Cresswell’s own good performance on Tuesday presumably Bielsa will have noted the evident confidence other players had in passing, and giving responsibility to him during the game. Hopefully he gets the start on Saturday.

23 Sep 2021 16:51:05
Guess the U23 lineup tomorrow evening at home to Blackburn might give some pointers. Possible Struijk will start for them again, to help maintain his fitness.



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