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Re: I don't think a Cantona type would thrive in today's Premier League
I respectfully disagreeÖ
I think there is more and ore scope for players who drag the holding players away from the centre forward. I would say the holding players are more involved with tracking those wide forwards than the traditional number 10s. We tend to think of formations in horizontal lines but I think it makes as much sense to think of the verticals too, in which case a disruptive, space finding player who can switch the play between flanks, like our James, can be very useful.
he was very good at finding space between the banks of four that were standard in the 90s but there's no way he would have been afforded that kind of freedom had he been playing in the modern era. He'd have been neutralised by pacey centre backs or decent holding midfielders.
How many clubs in top leagues have that sort of players anymore?
I donít see why itís so hard to fit him in, other than that teams seem to be universally set up with two wide forwards these days, be it in a 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, 3-4-3. Even in a 4-4-2 often the front two are more like old fashioned inside rights/lefts than centre forwards. I think thatís why back threes are back in vogue as it makes it easier to support the full backs without leaving gaping holes in the centre of defence.
If we were to use James in a Sheringham or Cantona type of linking forward it could work, especially as we now have Townsend and Gray who can play more traditional wide midfield roles than e.g Iwobi. A lot though depends on the blend of the other midfielders and signing a fullback who can provide similar service to Digne but on the right.
Delph can do one though!
Wonderful player but you need to build your team around him. Last season once others figured out the weaknesses he created in the team our gameplan went to shit and Ancelotti had to start playing defensively.
Unlikes Ancelotti, Benitez is a systems man. It's just very hard to see how James could fit. And he's 30 and injury-prone so building the system to fit him would not be a good idea.
He is a lovely player so I don't want to see him go either but I can see the reasoning.