So far this season, Wanderers' defensive tactical approach has had a positive effect to an extent. However, the overriding analysis is a lack of creation and incision. There is flatness, not in body language, but in the actual system that does not lend itself to too many 'clear-cut' opportunities.
The current system being deployed by Phil Parkinson is a 5-3-2 that develops into a 3-5-2 when pushing on. Defensively, last season, Bolton were brilliant. With a flat 4 or a 3, the Whites were solid with Wheater, Beevers and Dervite. This season, a disruption to the back line has seen Wheater drop out for Burke due to injury. However, when he returns this weekend, I would expect Dervite to drop out, Burke shifted across to the right hand side of the 3 and Wheater slot into the middle, I believe that is our best back 3. So far there appears to be a lack of communication and leading organisation without Wheater in the defensive structure. Confusion and a lack of early cohesion has led to costly poor starts at home to both Derby and Leeds. Away points at Millwall and Birmingham are built on the foundation of our solid defece; Parkinson's real strength.
Going forward, the flat 3 of Pratley, Karacan and Cullen is being used due to the absence of Josh Vela for a still unknown length of time. Karacan's press is crucial and I'm sure when we go into a game as favourites and more on the 'front foot' he will have more of a say going forward. Cullen is tidy and can keep things ticking along however he needs somebody ahead of him to link the play between midfield ad attack. Darren Pratley is not very good. So, in the absence of Vela, a tactical variation in order to pose some sort of threat would be the obvious requirement of a 'no.10', 'floating' etc. The player that can play it best, excluding Vela, would be Will Buckley An out and out hard-working attacking mindset that can drive forward.
So, alternative systems to the fairly bland 3-5-2 would be a 4-2-3-1. This would probably be more commonly used for home matches. This moves Burke to right back, Taylor left back with the chance to then pick two from Ameobi, Buckley and Morais. Vela or Armstrong in the middle wth Karacan and Cullen deeper. That allows a better balance to the side and 3/4 attacking options being linked and supported by a solid 2 in midfield, instead of the isolation of a front 2. Another system would be a 3-4-3. This would be a counter-attacking away match system. When I was looking at the Bolton business in the summer, I thoroughly believed we would be building for this system. A Conte-esque style of pace on the counter, hard-working midfielders and a target man focal point. Without sounding over-simplistic or silly: Madine in 'the Costa', Armstrong in 'the Hazard', Buckley in 'the Pedro'. Then you have a pivot of Karacan and Cullen in an aggressive press flanked by Antonee Robinson, and Mark Little This then allows the chance to bring Morais or Ameobi or Vela off the bench.
Of course I do not have the tactical know-how of Phil Parkinson nor the professional experience or arrogance to give him suggestions for his game. However, there is an undoubted lack of intricacy and creativity in the current setup. There's one thing w can all agree on and hope for; drop Darren