Bloody frigging obvious, right?
Ours must be the only 4-4-2 on earth which has no width at all. Milan, when they play the diamond midfield 4-4-2 may not have obvious wingers, but they do have 2 of the best full backs around in Zambrotta and Jankulovski and that gives them width.
We have Steven Whittaker and Sasa Papac. It’s not quite on the same level.
So when you look at the team, we have no reliable and dedicated wingers at all. Just crude utility players like Davis, Adam, Papac, Lafferty and Whittaker who try to give us width yet clearly it isn’t their main strength.
Walter is insisting on this 4-4-2 but any moron will tell you a 4-4-2 needs 2 CMs – one holding and one attacking, flanked by 2 wingers. Man Utd have Carrick and Scholes in the middle, with Nani and Ronaldo or Park or whoever. Proper mids and proper wingers. Even Celtic have 3 or 4 main CMs who get rotated – Hartley, Robson, Brown and 3 or 4 dependable wingers in Maloney, McGeady, Nakamura and this Mizuno character.
Look at us. While it’s improved a bit, our CM is still imbalanced as we have 2 Gerrard types in Ferguson and Mendes – rather than one holding such as Thomson or the frozen out Edu or even Hemdani and one more forward thinking one like indeed Mendes.
And as for wingers … well, what is Smith’s problem? We have quite a few players who are frankly wingers – DMB (albeit he does need form), Burke (no matter what you think of him he’s still a good player who could do a job) and of course young Aaron.
But instead stubborn old Walter persists with an imbalanced midfield in every position.
If you’re going to play a 4-4-2, you have to have the players to fit it. If you don’t, you fit an accurate and appropriate system around the players and adapt the setup to them.
You do not shoehorn players into the wrong positions through sheer brass neck arrogance and refusal to change.