Note from Robert: I've been enjoying this series that Wabbit has been doing, and I think it might be interesting for us all to chime in after today's terrible showing. The basic premise is that good plays get a + and bad ones get a -. The total is just the net value. So this is on the front page now.
Okay. There is no way to put a shine on this turd. Here's the plus/minus.
Gil +4/-1 +3
Weimann +3/-0 +3
Westwood +3/-0 +3
Clark +2/ -0 +2
Sinclair +1/-0 +1
Cleverly +1/-0 +1
Agbonlahor +1/-0 +1
Delph +1/ -1 +0
Okore +1 / -1 +0
Hutton +1 / -1 +0
Guzan +1 / -1 +0
Benteke +0 / -2 -2
Richardson +1 / -4 -3
Sanchez +1 / -10 -9
WHAT WE LEARNED: If You're Gonna Play a 4-3-3 with Sanchez Holding by Himself, You are Gonna Suck!
DEAR MR. LAMBERT. THIS IS SIMPLE. SANCHEZ MUST SIT. With Sanchez in the central midfield role, he created a black hole of suck. An incredible 10 negative plays! He was a GIVEAWAY MACHINE!!! Just look at the numbers around him for the love of Ashley Westwood! Clark and Okore were split open like mangoes because Sanchez WAS NOWHERE against the counter attack. Watch back every goal and JUST LOOK for Sanchez. He was always too high today and never behind the ball. THIS IS YOUR HOLDING central midfielder. Here's what I wrote in my notes at the half: "Need to go to a 4-2-3-1. Sanchez and Cleverly OFF and Westwood and Sinclair ON. And Lambo waited until the 75th minute to take Sanchez off. It was 4-0 at the time. Now, I am not a professional soccer manager, but even I noted by halftime - when we were still in the game by the grace of God - that Ozil was crushing Sanchez.
What I wrote after Liverpool: SANCHEZ was iffy again today. Seven positive plays against 5 negative. There was one drop ball to him in the second half, I believe it was, where the ball was two yards from him and he did not move for it and Liverpool took possession. With a half-hearted effort, he easily retains possession. Maybe he did not know the Liverpudlian was lurking, but it was a dead giveaway and I hated it.
IN MY WORLD and based solely on today's action, I think Westy and Delph and Gil have to play and Sanchez - though he does so much right sometimes - has to sit.
What I wrote after Leicster: And I'm not blaming the back line here. Sanchez, another of our solid players in recent weeks, also made stink on the pitch at -3. He just seemed not himself... Or, rather, he seemed the player who first arrived and made careless errors while adjusting to the speed of the league.
Westy was good, (He had been a +7 in this game) but how much can one man do when his holding midfield partner is collapsing the build up all the time.
Folks. At this point in time, Da Wabbit can convincingly say that the stats show that Sanchez is as good or bad as the players around him. And today he did not have his nursery blanket: Westwood has been propping him up on his good days, playing in the center of the holding midfield with him. CLEVERLY in the central holding would be FAR SUPERIOR than Sanchez, especially if teamed with Westy. Because Cleverly does not make mistakes on defense. Westy completes some absurd amount of his passes. This would seem to me to be what is called for.
RICHARDSON was bad today. At -3, it wasn't until the 55th minute when his unforced giveaway led to the Ozil goal to make it 2-0. And watch where Sanchez was on this giveaway; very high and the jailbreak for Arsenal was on. Looking at this game... And I'm gonna watch it again to double check... Sanchez had a negative effect on everyone around him. If you're going to put a ZERO (read: Cleverly) in the middle of the pitch, that's one thing. But if you're gonna put a MINUS 10 in the middle of the pitch, you can just forget about it.
i DON'T THINK IT'S ALL BENTEKE'S FAULT. He's being double and triple-teamed. Until someone else proves dangerous, Benteke is going to be worthless to us. I would think if you ran out some combination trio of attacking midfield of Weimann, Gill, Agbonlahor, Sinclair, you'd have something with some duo combination of Westy, Delph, Cleverly in holding areas, your back line would benefit and we'd see more imagination going forward. At this point, you might consider leaving Benteke out, but not because he's the problem, but because we need to give our opponents a different look. You can use Gabby or Andi up in those spaces and the work rate at least will improve.
A FINAL LOOK: The RAW plus/minus for the team today was an incredible +0 with 21 positive plays and an incredible 21 negative plays. SANCHEZ alone accounted for 10 negative plays and Richardson, who was brighter last week, had 4 negative plays this week. That's 2/3 of our negative plays in only 2 pair of cleats. (Let Ally back in.)
If you wanna look at it another way, think about who our most positive players are. For argument's sake, I'll say a +3 or better deserves to be on the pitch. Gil, Hutton, Okore, Benteke, Andi, Clark and Westy are consistently at that level. I think Gabby has been playing at that level recently, possibly because he's been given a bit of a rest. Others, like Delph and Cleverly are cut the mustard types. They's steady-to-good but not always impressive. The ONE thing you CANNOT have on the pitch is MINUS players. Sanchez, never had a +3 or better yet in any game and sometimes... like today... he was a soul-crushing -9 for the game. Think about it. A MINUS 9. IN THE CENTER OF THE PARK. AGAINST ARSENAL.
I believe I am the first person to find out who Carlos Sanchez really is. And he's just not good enough to be in the starting XI.