Category Archives: Accrington Stanley

Is 3 5 2 The New 4 4 2?

This post looks at the emergnce if that is the right word of the 3 5 2 Formation.

Is it the new  4 4 2, which in recent years has become our default, almost formation in the English league?

The 3 5 2 Formation is not exactly new, and has been employed by a number of foreign coaches over the years, with great success.

How it works, is like this and it is accepted that there are variations of the formation, according to the coach or manager employing the tactic.

With that in mind, lets look at some of the teams who use this formation:

Accrington Stanley

AFC Wimbledon

Wolves

Newcastle United

Sheffield United

Czech Republic

MK Dons

The formation relies on the use of very speedy, and effective wingbacks.

Those Wingbacks can either be, Wingers, or they can fullbacks pushed up operating as wingers. Ashley Young is a great example of a winger turned full back over time.

If you are using fullbacks pushed up as wingers, then effectively you are leaving wingers redundant, which is in the case of AFC Wimbledon, who use 3 Central Defenders, primarily because Wally Downes who implemented the system is a defensive coach, so you could almost say he was using a 5 3 2 version, though that is digressing from the point.

The general idea is to play two full backs and one central defender, so that you keep the players positionally as close to their favoured posistion as possible, without too much disruption to the team flow.

The 3 5 2 offers a lot of flexibility to the changing needs as the game unfolds, compared to other formations, such as the 4 2 3 1, or the 4 3 3.

Wolves and Sheffield United are two great examples of this, because both clubs, have progressed through the English Football League Championship and now are in the premiership playing this formation.

It is a system that is very difficult to play against, because when it works well, the team employing it, very often outnumber the defensive team and always have the flanks overloaded through the use of the over lapping ‘outer’ defenders.

This is the reason, that Arsenal, struggled last night against Sheffield United, England came unstuck in their recent match against the Czech Republic, Wolves were able to go to the Etihad and beat Man City 2-0, while Accrington Stanley beat Ipswich on Sunday 2-0 in League 1.

In fact Sheffield United are probably the best example of how this system works effectively, because together with Wolves they have used the system the longest, Sheffield United started using it in League 1, when Chris Wilder took over.

The defending team, have absolutly no idea, where the attacks are going to come from, especially as in the case of Wolves, who employ an attacking midfielder in their version of the system, while Sheffield United, newly promoted, don’t.

It will also be interesting to see, if Newcastle United, continue to use it, because they have just reverted back to it, to cater to the teams strengths and in doing so, their results have improved.

The one downside to the system, is that though you have numbers in attack, should you get caught on the counter attack, if you lost possession, then you are liable to potentialy concede goals, through lack of cover.

Either way the teams listed in this article who use the system, will be worth following and their progress noted this season.

Advertisements

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

Who should win the League Two player of the season?

With the League Two season drawing to a close we here at 24/7 football decided to look at three candidates who could win the League Two player of the season. With the awards being presented next month we have compiled the nominees to see who could win the award. Last season saw Accrington starlet Billy Kee scoop up the award with the forward bagging 25 goals, 9 assists in 46 league games for Accrington Stanley.

1. James Norwood

Tranmere Rovers leading goalscorer, James Norwood, is the first candidate for the EFL League Two player of the season with the 28-year-old notching up 26 goals so far this season. The Eastbourne-born forward has been on fire this season with the Rovers striker currently the highest scoring player in England’s top four divisions. Norwood played a key part in helping to guide Tranmere back to the Football League last season with the forward contributing to 30 goals over the season ( 20 goals, 10 assists). Norwood has continued the fine form that he displayed in the National League and has adjusted to League football well with Norwood contributing to 46% of Tranmere’s goals this season. Furthermore, if Norwood can continue his stupendous goalscoring form, the forward could become League Two’s highest ever scoring forward in a season with the current record being held by Tom Pope who scored 31 goals in the 2012/13 season. Norwood looks a strong candidate for the award especially if the 28-year-old breaks the scoring record. Furthermore, if Norwood can guide Tranmere to back to back promotions he’s more than likely to be a favourite for the award.

2. Jay O’Shea

League Two’s highest-scoring midfielder is the second candidate for the EFL League Two player of the season with the Dublin-born attacking midfielder currently sat on 15 goals for the season. O’Shea, who started out his career at Home Farm FC, has been a pivotal player in Bury’s promotion push with the attacking midfielder helping to contribute to the Manchester-based side becoming the highest scoring team in League Two.  O’Shea, who has already achieved promotion for League Two before with Chesterfield back in 2013/14 season, looks to be helping Bury bounce back to League One at the first time of asking. O’Shea is currently experiencing his best ever season in front of goal and has formed a strong relationship with Bury’s top goalscorer Nicky Maynard. O’Shea, like Norwood, appears to be highly influential in their team’s play and if the Dublin born midfielder can guide Bury to the League Two title he’s more than likely to be one of the favourites for the award.

3.Danny Mayor

The second Bury player on this list of nominations for the Sky Bet League Two player of the season is Leyland-born Danny Mayor. Mayor has been a key creative figure for the Shakers this season with the winger contributing to 15 goals (7 goals, 8 assists). Mayor, who has played for Bury since 2014, has contributed to 18% of Bury’s goals this season. Mayor is also up for the EFL goal of the year this season with his goal against Grimsby on the 8th of September earning him a chance of another prestigious award. Mayor’s style of play has had a big influence on O’Shea with the winger creating space for O’Shea to fire shots off and score goals with O’Shea even stating in an interview “I think confidence and the way the team is playing is what has allowed me to get so many opportunities in front of goal and the way the team’s been performing has allowed me to chip in with a few myself.” If Mayor can continue his fine vein of form that earned him a nomination he’s bound to be one of the top contenders for the award.

League One: 11 Teams & an 8 point battle

As we near the business end of the season in the English Football League One, there are 11 teams, seperated by just 8 points.

8 points might not sound a lot given the previous relegation history of this league, but this has been no ordinary season in this league.

It has given us everything including drama, unexpected results, upturns in form, managerial changes, some good some bad and some just inspired.

From Bristol Rovers in 13th Position on 44 points, down to Bradford City, who this week took over from AFC Wimbledon as the strong men of the division, on 36 points, it could be said that none of the teams from 13th, down to 20th are considered safe, by any stretch.

Bristol Rovers, Scunthorpe , AFC Wimbledon, Rochdale and Bradford, among these teams have changed managers this term, with Bradford and Rochdale , being the latest to change, though it could be said, that in Bradford’s case, the appointment of Gary Bowyer, is their 4th Managerial change this season, with history not favoring relegated teams who change manager more than once.

Bristol Rovers and AFC Wimbledon, appointed managers who have fresh innovative ideas and this has been reflected in these two clubs upturn in form, both previous occupants of the bottom slot, Rovers now occupy 13th, with AFC Wimbledon sitting in 22nd position and just 3 points away from the teams directly above them.

In fact a win at home to Gillingham on Saturday, would potentially see the ‘Dons climb out of the bottom 4, which would represent a total turn around in fortunes.

Previous seasons have seen 50 points being the safety mark to avoid relegation, but given the unpredictable nature of results this season, and with just 8 games to go, it is quite conceivable that less than 50 points will be enough this season?

Either way, it promises to be a very exciting and potentially nerve-wracking end to an incredible season.

Who do you think will survive this season ?

Up and down in League Two

The basement division of the Football League, League Two, is highly competitive year in year out with teams ensuring they don’t fall through the trap door and into non-league football at one end and at the other, teams desperate for promotion and the opportunity to play some well established and reasonably sized clubs in League One.

Some big clubs have fallen out of the Football League and struggled to come back with the likes of Wrexham FC, Stockport County and Macclesfield Town to name a few still plying their trade in the non-league side of the game.

With this in mind, we take a look at the clubs who look like getting promoted this season and those who unfortunately look like falling out of the Football League.

Firstly at the bottom end of the table, Barnet FC who currently occupy the last place are going to need a miracle to survive. The ‘Bees’ find themselves 7 points adrift of safety and with just 1 win in their last 5 games, they look a team bereft of confidence. The club did this week part company with manager Graham Westley and immediately after announced that Martin Allen would be back in the hot seat for the FIFTH time.

Whether Allen can provide the great escape remains to be seen, but with the club still having to play teams around them this could provide them with a platform for that escape.

The other team in desperate trouble at the wrong end of the table are Chesterfield FC, who like Barnet have gone through a change of manager this season as they bought Jack Lester in to replace Gary Caldwell in September. Despite the change of management the ‘Spireites’ still find themselves in trouble as they are 6 points adrift of Grimsby Town who are just above them in the league table, and with the two sides locking horns in early April it could be the decider as to who ends up going down.

At the top end of the division sees the side with one of, if not the smallest budget in the league flying high. Accrington Stanley finds themselves top of the league 3 points clear of Luton Town with a game in hand and on a run of 9 games unbeaten.

John Coleman’s men have surprised many to be sitting top of the league with just 9 games to go, but having played some attractive attacking football and having 3 players in double figures with goals its hard to deny ‘Stanley’ top spot in the league table. If they can continue the terrific run they have been on then come May they will be lifting the league title.

Luton Town were the early pace-setters in the league but recent form has seen them slip to second place and on a run of 5 games without a victory it will be cause for concern for the ‘Hatters’ supporters, as they would prefer to go up automatically rather than via the playoffs.

If the club can rekindle some of the form that they were in at the start of the season then there is no reason why they can go up automatically and also push Accrington all the way to the wire in terms of who will win the league title.

Wycombe Wanderers occupy the final automatic promotion spot in League Two and find themselves 3 points ahead of the chasing playoff pack. ‘The Chairboys’ have plenty of firepower in their team with Craig Mackail-Smith, Nathan Tyson and Adebayo Akinfenwa but indifferent form in recent times hasnt helped the club consolidate a strong automatic promotion spot.

Just two wins in their last five games will be cause for concern for the Wycombe supporters but with the playing staff they have access to and the fact that they are the leagues second highest goal scorers behind Luton, they will be hoping that they can fire themselves to promotion.

League Two fans let us know who you believe will go up and unfortunately go down this season in the comments section…