Something to be looked at going forward.
Stephen Kenny’s Ireland suffered back-to-back losses against Armenia and Ukraine, with things looking extremely grim for Stephen Kenny.
His tactics for Ireland are not really working, and things need to change.
There was once a time when playing five at the back was a no-brainer for Ireland. We had Matt Doherty, one of the best right-wing backs in the Premier League at the time, and the rest of the back five were all playing in that formation for their club.
And to an extent, it worked. It helped us get good results against some top teams, including Belgium, Serbia and Portugal.
But now without a goal against Ukraine and Armenia, and our biggest threat in both games being set-pieces, we need to change things up.
Ireland tactics change
A 4-2-3-1 with the striker remaining central and high should be how we lineup against Scotland to try and fix this problem.
Nathan Collins should start at the back alongside Shane Duffy (with John Egan unlikely to feature). Enda Stevens can play on the left, while Dara O’Shea (or Seamus Coleman, if fit) could play on the right.
The players aren’t even the most important thing here. It’s about providing protection for the back four while still making chances.
Josh Cullen and Jeff Hendrick seem to be Kenny’s preferred midfield duo, so if they start in front of the back four, not only will they provide cover, but there will be more options in front of them to give the ball too.
There will be three players in front of the midfield then, making runs in behind and coming short to feet. It provides confusion for the other team, and more security on the ball for Ireland.
We miss Adam Idah up front, as he would be the focal point, but Callum Robinson or Troy Parrott could both do this job. The most important thing for them to do is make the ball stick, and to get shots away.
If the ball goes into the striker’s feet and he has three players running off him instead of two, we have a better chance of scoring.
The three behind the striker can have a mix of pace and creativity, all tasked with creating chances. If chances are being created, Kenny can say that he is doing his job, even if they aren’t being put away.
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