Barlaser and O'Brien


Well-known member
Both these players have their strengths, but neither has the game to play defensive midfield. That was the main problem yesterday and against Bristol. We try and play out from the back and the ball doesn't stick in central midfield, but comes back to their forwards. We then find ourselves backpedalling and often outnumbered. Against Leicester it wasn't a problem because the whole team sat back behind the ball in a defensive posture and looked to hit on the break. But if we are going to play Carrickball, Barlasar and O'Brien aren't the right players.

Of course many other players were poor on the day, but that was largely because the system wasn't working.
But we just can’t do it with any competency.

That’s the reality it’s borderline farcical at times.

We can do it with Hackney and Howson in central midfield, but it looks like they are not coming back this season. Maybe Hackney won't play for us again.
You never see O'Brien or Barlaser winning the ball. Summed it up 2nd half when they took a short corner and their man was able to get by O'Brien with ease.
We need a better foil for a obrien / Hackney type in midfield.

not necessarily someone who is going to hare around the pitch… just someone who sits in front of the centre backs, reads the game well, makes interceptions, comfortable receiving the ball under pressure.

Someone similar to when we signed a 32 year old John Obi Mikel would do
All Barlaser does is slow down our already ponderously slow build up play. It’s so easy to defend against, as teams worked out ages ago. Robins at Coventry worked it out last season in fact when Carrick had much better attacking players to work with.
I wouldn't want McNair in there as a DM, he is too ponderous and most teams would just pass the ball around him. If I was to try any of our defenders in there it would be either Dikjsteel for his athleticism or maybe RVDB because he is pretty mobile for his size and seems to have the ability to sniff out trouble.
Neither O'Brien or barlaser are holding midfielders both more attacking that's why barlaser got all the assists at Rotherham
Barlaser is certainly no defensive MF yet the game plan has him coming deep to pick the ball from defence .... scares me when he gets it
Can we get Carrick registered as a player by Wednesday? Am sure he could do a better job than anyone we’ve got…
I like Barlaser, he's got the best vision of any player we have, and probably the best passer also, but I think we use him wrongly, but also kind of think that's down to our squad. He can definitely play, if in the right position as he did it at Rotherham, and we should be able to get more out of him than they did.

He's a centre mid or attacking mid but not much of a tackler, which is ok, there are plenty of players like that who can't tackle, but they need to be compensated with players who can. Howson's our best centre mid tackler, but I don't think that's even his main game, or it wasn't, and he's getting on now. We need a bit of a destroyer in that centre mid, to go along with him and Hackney.

Whether Barlaser is good enough for a play-off team I'm not so sure, but we won't know that until we have other players around him which make best use of him. I don't think we're going to be able to find what we need mind, finding a young, cheap ball winning centre mid, who can also play football is extremely difficult.

I don't really rate O'Brien, and can't even tell what he's good at, but I've not seen much of him, so not writing him off yet.
If Howson and Hackney are out for the rest of the season then we are going to have to play them every week. Maybe Paddy could fill that role if either are injured .
Paddy can't do what Howson and Hackney do either. He's more lumbering in the midfield than the two being criticised here. Howson will be back soon.

A change in tactics to suit the available players looks to me to be the best option with Paddy part of three at the back perhaps?