Is it possible to get offensive productivity out of our full-backs?

Fortitude

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Now that our frontline and midfield are pre-occupying and driving teams right back into their defensive third, we're seeing absolutely oodles of space and opportunities for our full-backs to influence the play. Indeed, if you put two world class offensive full-backs in this current side, the chances to contain us as an offensive force would be remote.

When watching us in the flow and momentum we currently have, there are pretty distinct pauses and losses of superfluous movement when our full-backs have to make a decisive action in the final third. Both of them are actually getting up in support of the attack, but neither of them really know how to hone in on the openings they're being presented with.

Shaw, for instance, will have time and the space to really thrust into the box or take a shot on or attempt a threatening pass or cross, but what he ends up doing is hesitating and then recycling the play to someone higher up the chain of command. He nullifies his threat with decisions he makes where, there is a good reason to believe there's a goal or two in it for him as well as a fair amount of assists or the winning of corners/free kicks/penalties if he'd take to the play and make decisions without that hesitation and doubt he has.

Wan Bissaka doesn't make the same kind of driving initial runs as Shaw, so his threat is not so much about getting chances on goal nor winning us set-piece plays, but as Mason darts diagonally towards the box, Bissaka often finds himself flanked wide on the overlap with the opportunity to really dribble to the edge of the box, thus drawing men to him (and away from their intended marks), if not that, the same time and space affords him a window of opportunity to play balls in, but he is hesitant to take on challenging aerial crosses or use the time and space he is being afforded to try and play the most threatening driven balls into the box he can. His first instinct seems to be to turn back inside and hand the offensive duties over to an offensive player - being the offensive threat in his own right is a secondary consideration.

Of course, both players are regarded as defensive full-backs first and foremost, and as such, you're not going to get Marcelo and Dani Alves in the final 3rd, but in the modern game, and particularly with what our midfield and attacking units offer us in pinning teams back, the importance of our full-backs could really be taken up at least a notch or two if they can somehow pick up the confidence and intricacies of the role they have the potential to play as this team re-shapes and starts to think of itself as challengers and contenders rather than plucky go luckys who are merely in good form. I think it's evident that with Pogba and Fernandes in tandem, and the development of Greenwood, we're on the precipice of being more the former than the latter, but to solidify it the offensive threat from the full-backs needs a boost.

Whether it's Greenwood or Sancho out on the right flank next season, what is absolutely guaranteed is that Wan Bissaka will have a plethora of opportunities to influence the game in an offensive capacity. Sancho requires a two-man operation to contain, and it isn't out of the question that six months down the line Greenwood will, too. Point is, irrespective of whom it is of the aforementioned: Bissaka is going to become a player with even more opportunities than he has now to be an influential and decisive cog in this team.

My question is as stated in the header. Do you believe it's a case of familiarity with almost constantly finding themselves in space so high up the pitch will eventually engender confidence and take them up a level or two, or even, do you think they can be coached (and coaxed) out of their shells to be influential and legitimate offensive threats? Directly or indirectly, there's a good 10-15 more goals to be had over a season if our full-backs are up to par with what title challengers demand from their fullbacks these days.
 

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Really comes down to the system. If you're going to ask them to bomb up and cross the ball like Trent and Robertson, you're setting them up for failure.

They are decent passers though - especially Shaw. We need to set them up for cut backs to Pogba/Bruno or even outside-in through balls to Rashford/Martial/Greenwood.
 

Andersons Dietician

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Remember if we press high they are the only ones with the pace to cover the back line. Maguire and Lindelof have no hope of catching anyone if a move breaks and if Shaw and Bissaka are the furthest forward Matic isn’t going to do anything.

We rely on them to be less committed to cover the lack of pace in our 2 CB’s.
Not saying both can’t improve on their final ball or choice when they are up there but it’s not necessarily their main focus.

We tend to also build play slower down the left in a more controlled manner as that is where most of our ball players like to play freeing space on the right for Bissaka. There is a balance and technique to our team but both do seem to be improving what they are offering in attacking phases. Shaw’s had a hand in 4 goals is it since the restart and created many more dangerous moments where Bissaka has a few assists. Not really worried about them as we aren’t relying on them to be wingers as such.

I just feel like part of the hesitation to really go forward and go at teams is due to the lack of pace behind them. We’ve already seen teams exploit the space when they are pushed up.
 
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abailey123

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I think it’s a little bit harsh this post. Wan Bissaka has developed since the start of the season. Remember his assist away at Chelsea before the pause in the season? He also got a good assist against Sheffield United a couple of weeks back. Shaw also seems to have kicked on since the emergence of Williams and I don’t think I’ve seen him get as many shots away as he has over the last few weeks.

I genuinely think it’s more a case of our attackers continuing to attack the 6 yard box giving options for our full backs, adapt their games to become poachers and give the full backs more opportunities
 
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Fortitude

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I wouldn't say there's an issue with them actually getting forward, but rather than hesitancy when up there.

Shaw has quite a few chances per game to make a decisive action on his last touch, but won't pull the trigger on a cross or shot, instead tending to lay the ball off in a laboured manner (because of reticence to use it during the initial action), and Bissaka, despite already getting himself into optimal position to cross or attack the byline, will turn in on himself, not trusting in his ability to affect play directly.

In one instance, this gives the opposition that bit more time to reshape and get back in alignment where the first-time decisive action from the full-backs completely prevents that and at worst has the opposition making desperate clearances that are more likely to fall back to us for a recycling of the attacking phase.

If Shaw and Bissaka legitimised themselves as attacking threats, the space in between the CB's and full-backs opposing us is prised wide open.

No campaign to replace either, but as an emerging dominant side in terms of attacking, their input on the offensive end would prove emphatic for us.
 

wolvored

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I can see Willliams gradually taking over from Shaw as he has a more direct attacking threat. WB has come on leaps and bounds and is improving all the time. Whether both can get to the standards of G Neville though remains to be seen and thats the level of full back we should aspire to.
 

youngrell

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Completely agree on your assessment of Shaw, he lacks confidence and conviction in attacking areas. He often has so much space to make a run which would really help the attack but shows hesitancy most of the time.

The one time he made the correct run against Bournemouth it opened up the opportunity for Martial to score that lovely goal. Hopefully outcomes like that encourage him to do it more often.

His crossing also lacks the conviction required as he tends to just knock it in and hope rather than trying to pick someone out, although he is good at doing that when he reaches the byline for a cutback or square ball.

There is definitely room for improvement with just a little kick in confidence.

As for AWB, he seems to be growing in belief already and just needs to hone his delivery technique.
 

Fortitude

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Completely agree on your assessment of Shaw, he lacks confidence and conviction in attacking areas. He often has so much space to make a run which would really help the attack but shows hesitancy most of the time.

The one time he made the correct run against Bournemouth it opened up the opportunity for Martial to score that lovely goal. Hopefully outcomes like that encourage him to do it more often.

His crossing also lacks the conviction required as he tends to just knock it in and hope rather than trying to pick someone out, although he is good at doing that when he reaches the byline for a cutback or square ball.

There is definitely room for improvement with just a little kick in confidence.

As for AWB, he seems to be growing in belief already and just needs to hone his delivery technique.
I wonder if getting an Irwin or Neville in, or some kind of coach who can work directly with them would help. When Shaw first got here, before the leg break, he was really driving into the same areas we see now full of conviction and bluster; I've no doubt that that Shaw would attempt what this Shaw doesn't in terms of his final action, but it's a weird thing - because we're really able to turn the attacking screws up on the opposition these days with Pogba, Bruno and our frontline suffocating and occupying them - that the reluctance remains.

I don't know what Shaw's shooting is like, or whether he has reason to doubt in it, but if you never try, you're never going to get any better in a department that could benefit you (keeping your place amidst more attack-minded contenders for LB) and your team (in opening up the field in a myriad of ways). His crossing hasn't been the best, but there's more ways than one to put an effective cross into the box, and if the aerial route isn't great for him, then work on low drivers and cut-backs, which more rely on you driving on the overlap and positioning yourself in sweet spots.

Shaw already finds himself in a lot of positions where, really, if he would commit to the play, there are assists and goals in it for him, so it is a bit of an annoyance when he then just turns to the 'better' attacker in the hope they'll take the weight of responsibility off him and do something creative from a now lesser opportunity than initially forged. We'd/we'll be so much harder to play against if Shaw took advantage of the positions he constantly finds himself in.

Funny too, because being in those positions in the first place shows, to me at least, that he is nowhere near bereft of the intelligence or impetus, just the very last action: shoot first time; drive that cross; play that pass etc.

I guess, as has been stated, Bissaka is a different kettle of fish because he doesn't work for the same angles and more finds himself in positions on the wide overlap - much more Neville-esque in that I don't think we can ever expect a high goal tally from him, but certainly, he has plenty of opportunity to hit crosses or really run into the penalty area and cut back or across the box from there. Whatever he would choose, as long as it was certain enough to be a threat the opposition have to come out to deal with ASAP, he could be a massive nuisance who gives those we play against food for thought whilst really stretching the field for Greenwood, Bruno and Martial to exploit on his inside. We don't need Alves, TAA etc. level delivery out of him for him to be extremely effective.
 

ivaldo

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I think we are seeing improvement in recent weeks from the fullbacks. AWB has started putting in some decent early crosses that have created opportunities.

Shaw isn't playing like an attacking fullback in a conventional sense but he's now causing issues. He's drifting infield and picking up some dangerous positions. He's also making the run on the inside of the fullback which they just seem unable to deal with right now. It's also giving Rashford a little more space out there to square up his player. I like what I'm seeing.
 

EwanI Ted

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AWB I'm a bit less worried about, he seems to be improving at using the space we keep finding on the right. He still doesn't have the natural poise of someone who thinks like an attacker, but he is at least getting better at putting the ball into dangerous areas, and has even shown ability to make a bit of space for himself in one on ones. I dont think every team has to be like Liverpool, with a full back who makes more assists than some of their attackers. But you at least need to have a full back who the opposition have to go out and close down, and who can cause problems if the opposition don't. I also think that having a regular partner will help him significantly. He's mostly played with Mata, James and occasionally Lingard, none of whom he's been able to build up any rapport with, not to mention their limitations as attackers.

Shaw I think is a bit of a concern. Its not a burning problem we need to fix this summer, but he needs to show improvement to his attacking game. The angles of his runs into the box can be excellent, making options for our attackers, either to pass to, or to drag defenders away from. However if he does get the ball he seems to have very little clue about what to do with it, and frankly, he doesn't make enough of those runs in the first place. Particularly in games where we play Matic, who makes up a defensive back three when we have the ball, there really is no reason for Shaw to be hesitant about going forward. Shaw hasn't had a steady partner down the left either due to injuries this season, but he's had more consistency there than AWB, and of course has played down the left with Rashford and/or Martial in previous seasons too.
 

charlenefan

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AWB would have got his 5th assist of the season at the weekend had it not been for knats bollock offside call. He's doing fine
 

UpWithRivers

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Now that our frontline and midfield are pre-occupying and driving teams right back into their defensive third, we're seeing absolutely oodles of space and opportunities for our full-backs to influence the play. Indeed, if you put two world class offensive full-backs in this current side, the chances to contain us as an offensive force would be remote.

When watching us in the flow and momentum we currently have, there are pretty distinct pauses and losses of superfluous movement when our full-backs have to make a decisive action in the final third. Both of them are actually getting up in support of the attack, but neither of them really know how to hone in on the openings they're being presented with.

Shaw, for instance, will have time and the space to really thrust into the box or take a shot on or attempt a threatening pass or cross, but what he ends up doing is hesitating and then recycling the play to someone higher up the chain of command. He nullifies his threat with decisions he makes where, there is a good reason to believe there's a goal or two in it for him as well as a fair amount of assists or the winning of corners/free kicks/penalties if he'd take to the play and make decisions without that hesitation and doubt he has.

Wan Bissaka doesn't make the same kind of driving initial runs as Shaw, so his threat is not so much about getting chances on goal nor winning us set-piece plays, but as Mason darts diagonally towards the box, Bissaka often finds himself flanked wide on the overlap with the opportunity to really dribble to the edge of the box, thus drawing men to him (and away from their intended marks), if not that, the same time and space affords him a window of opportunity to play balls in, but he is hesitant to take on challenging aerial crosses or use the time and space he is being afforded to try and play the most threatening driven balls into the box he can. His first instinct seems to be to turn back inside and hand the offensive duties over to an offensive player - being the offensive threat in his own right is a secondary consideration.

Of course, both players are regarded as defensive full-backs first and foremost, and as such, you're not going to get Marcelo and Dani Alves in the final 3rd, but in the modern game, and particularly with what our midfield and attacking units offer us in pinning teams back, the importance of our full-backs could really be taken up at least a notch or two if they can somehow pick up the confidence and intricacies of the role they have the potential to play as this team re-shapes and starts to think of itself as challengers and contenders rather than plucky go luckys who are merely in good form. I think it's evident that with Pogba and Fernandes in tandem, and the development of Greenwood, we're on the precipice of being more the former than the latter, but to solidify it the offensive threat from the full-backs needs a boost.

Whether it's Greenwood or Sancho out on the right flank next season, what is absolutely guaranteed is that Wan Bissaka will have a plethora of opportunities to influence the game in an offensive capacity. Sancho requires a two-man operation to contain, and it isn't out of the question that six months down the line Greenwood will, too. Point is, irrespective of whom it is of the aforementioned: Bissaka is going to become a player with even more opportunities than he has now to be an influential and decisive cog in this team.

My question is as stated in the header. Do you believe it's a case of familiarity with almost constantly finding themselves in space so high up the pitch will eventually engender confidence and take them up a level or two, or even, do you think they can be coached (and coaxed) out of their shells to be influential and legitimate offensive threats? Directly or indirectly, there's a good 10-15 more goals to be had over a season if our full-backs are up to par with what title challengers demand from their fullbacks these days.
What is the requirement for title challengers these days? Liverpool level? Cos thats never going to happen. The next level down from Liverpool is about 5/6 assists and 2/3 goals. Thats not 10/15 more goals. But yes we need to improve. Can they both get 6 assists and 2/3 goals? Ithink Wan B. Maybe. Shaw....hmmm I doubt it.
 

youngrell

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I wonder if getting an Irwin or Neville in, or some kind of coach who can work directly with them would help. When Shaw first got here, before the leg break, he was really driving into the same areas we see now full of conviction and bluster; I've no doubt that that Shaw would attempt what this Shaw doesn't in terms of his final action, but it's a weird thing - because we're really able to turn the attacking screws up on the opposition these days with Pogba, Bruno and our frontline suffocating and occupying them - that the reluctance remains.

I don't know what Shaw's shooting is like, or whether he has reason to doubt in it, but if you never try, you're never going to get any better in a department that could benefit you (keeping your place amidst more attack-minded contenders for LB) and your team (in opening up the field in a myriad of ways). His crossing hasn't been the best, but there's more ways than one to put an effective cross into the box, and if the aerial route isn't great for him, then work on low drivers and cut-backs, which more rely on you driving on the overlap and positioning yourself in sweet spots.

Shaw already finds himself in a lot of positions where, really, if he would commit to the play, there are assists and goals in it for him, so it is a bit of an annoyance when he then just turns to the 'better' attacker in the hope they'll take the weight of responsibility off him and do something creative from a now lesser opportunity than initially forged. We'd/we'll be so much harder to play against if Shaw took advantage of the positions he constantly finds himself in.

Funny too, because being in those positions in the first place shows, to me at least, that he is nowhere near bereft of the intelligence or impetus, just the very last action: shoot first time; drive that cross; play that pass etc.

I guess, as has been stated, Bissaka is a different kettle of fish because he doesn't work for the same angles and more finds himself in positions on the wide overlap - much more Neville-esque in that I don't think we can ever expect a high goal tally from him, but certainly, he has plenty of opportunity to hit crosses or really run into the penalty area and cut back or across the box from there. Whatever he would choose, as long as it was certain enough to be a threat the opposition have to come out to deal with ASAP, he could be a massive nuisance who gives those we play against food for thought whilst really stretching the field for Greenwood, Bruno and Martial to exploit on his inside. We don't need Alves, TAA etc. level delivery out of him for him to be extremely effective.
I think it may be an habitual thing with Shaw since his serious injury. I always put his reluctance to make these runs down to him not backing his fitness more than his ability, but this season the has been pretty fit and sharp so no reason to keep holding back. It is frustrating because as you say, weh ave seen him do it i the past.

Another frustrating thing about him is his lack of urgency around the half way mark. He often gets the ball with acres of space in front of him and he nonchalantly carries it up field when he could drive with the ball for 20 yards or so to unsettle the opposition defence. This more than anything causes him to cut inside and pass the ball off to a superior attacker, IMO.

I wish he had the urgency of Valencia when bringing the ball upfield, hopefully he starts to get it.
 

youngrell

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AWB would have got his 5th assist of the season at the weekend had it not been for knats bollock offside call. He's doing fine
He is doing fine, but there is certainly plenty of room for improvement from him. We should look for/expect that improvement and not rest on our laurels.
 

fps

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I think it’s a little bit harsh this post. Wan Bissaka has developed since the start of the season. Remember his assist away at Chelsea before the pause in the season? He also got a good assist against Sheffield United a couple of weeks back. Shaw also seems to have kicked on since the emergence of Williams and I don’t think I’ve seen him get as many shots away as he has over the last few weeks.

I genuinely think it’s more a case of our attackers continuing to attack the 6 yard box giving options for our full backs, adapt their games to become poachers and give the full backs more opportunities
Agreed, AWB has improved his attacking hugely and you can see him trying things in matches that he's learned. He'll continue to improve, he's got the mindset and work ethic. Shaw is playing pretty well these days, I've noticed he's been getting more crosses in. He's been a defence first player for a while, but that is partly because there was no guarantee his team would keep the ball when in midfield possession. Things looks very different now. I'm not totally sold on him but he seems on a clear upward trajectory.
 

Fortitude

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What is the requirement for title challengers these days? Liverpool level? Cos thats never going to happen. The next level down from Liverpool is about 5/6 assists and 2/3 goals. Thats not 10/15 more goals. But yes we need to improve. Can they both get 6 assists and 2/3 goals? Ithink Wan B. Maybe. Shaw....hmmm I doubt it.
To clarify, it's not just about their direct output, it's also the indirect, which comes from certainty and conviction of purpose. If you, as the opposing full-back know your man is absolutely certain to try and do something productive with the ball 1st time, you have to close him down. At the very least, you have to be pre-emptive in anticipation something harmful can be coming from the man you're supposed to be marking. In turn, that causes the chain reactions modern full-backs are renowned for creating because everyone on the inside of that full-back has to shuffle over and try and shore up the breach that has now manifested as otherwise, there's far too much open space to be ran or played into in the channel and, more often than not, inside the penalty area, which is obviously red alert status.

Decisive first-time actions from full-backs is the ace up the sleeve that is separating the top teams from the pack at the moment. I don't know what the numbers in terms of direct contribution (goals and assists) look like across the top teams, so pinning either of them to an output requirement in that regard, I wouldn't necessarily do, but if they develop reputations as players who will take on the play, we'll reap dividends directly and/or indirectly, I'm certain of that.

Shaw is the one who gets involved more in our final third build-ups and often finds himself in positions that could be really devastating, but as @EwanI Ted stated, he doesn't look like he knows, or perhaps believes in himself just at the point all the onus and opportunity is on him to make that final, decisive action, and it's often at this point, you'll see the freeze before he simply lays the ball off. In this fashion he tends to break the momentum of the build-up, too as we then tend to have to work the ball around to generate another opening like Shaw had for that split second he hesitated in.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Shaw would take the plays on he currently doesn't, people would rate him entirely differently, despite the only thing having changed is him pulling the trigger when he should instead of hesitating as he does now.
 

limerickcitykid

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They’ve already been involved in 5 or 6 goals since the return so yes it’s possible. It’s already happening.

Shaw has also created a few fantastic chances that the forwards completely squandered.
 

Nas-JR

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Now that our frontline and midfield are pre-occupying and driving teams right back into their defensive third, we're seeing absolutely oodles of space and opportunities for our full-backs to influence the play. Indeed, if you put two world class offensive full-backs in this current side, the chances to contain us as an offensive force would be remote.

When watching us in the flow and momentum we currently have, there are pretty distinct pauses and losses of superfluous movement when our full-backs have to make a decisive action in the final third. Both of them are actually getting up in support of the attack, but neither of them really know how to hone in on the openings they're being presented with.

Shaw, for instance, will have time and the space to really thrust into the box or take a shot on or attempt a threatening pass or cross, but what he ends up doing is hesitating and then recycling the play to someone higher up the chain of command. He nullifies his threat with decisions he makes where, there is a good reason to believe there's a goal or two in it for him as well as a fair amount of assists or the winning of corners/free kicks/penalties if he'd take to the play and make decisions without that hesitation and doubt he has.

Wan Bissaka doesn't make the same kind of driving initial runs as Shaw, so his threat is not so much about getting chances on goal nor winning us set-piece plays, but as Mason darts diagonally towards the box, Bissaka often finds himself flanked wide on the overlap with the opportunity to really dribble to the edge of the box, thus drawing men to him (and away from their intended marks), if not that, the same time and space affords him a window of opportunity to play balls in, but he is hesitant to take on challenging aerial crosses or use the time and space he is being afforded to try and play the most threatening driven balls into the box he can. His first instinct seems to be to turn back inside and hand the offensive duties over to an offensive player - being the offensive threat in his own right is a secondary consideration.

Of course, both players are regarded as defensive full-backs first and foremost, and as such, you're not going to get Marcelo and Dani Alves in the final 3rd, but in the modern game, and particularly with what our midfield and attacking units offer us in pinning teams back, the importance of our full-backs could really be taken up at least a notch or two if they can somehow pick up the confidence and intricacies of the role they have the potential to play as this team re-shapes and starts to think of itself as challengers and contenders rather than plucky go luckys who are merely in good form. I think it's evident that with Pogba and Fernandes in tandem, and the development of Greenwood, we're on the precipice of being more the former than the latter, but to solidify it the offensive threat from the full-backs needs a boost.

Whether it's Greenwood or Sancho out on the right flank next season, what is absolutely guaranteed is that Wan Bissaka will have a plethora of opportunities to influence the game in an offensive capacity. Sancho requires a two-man operation to contain, and it isn't out of the question that six months down the line Greenwood will, too. Point is, irrespective of whom it is of the aforementioned: Bissaka is going to become a player with even more opportunities than he has now to be an influential and decisive cog in this team.

My question is as stated in the header. Do you believe it's a case of familiarity with almost constantly finding themselves in space so high up the pitch will eventually engender confidence and take them up a level or two, or even, do you think they can be coached (and coaxed) out of their shells to be influential and legitimate offensive threats? Directly or indirectly, there's a good 10-15 more goals to be had over a season if our full-backs are up to par with what title challengers demand from their fullbacks these days.
We are currently playing with 5 very offensive minded players... I think having full back who are solid defensively (which both AWB and shaw are) is far more important than those that are purely offensive minded. Having these two allows our attacking players to risk staying further up the pitch, thus causing more damage. You need to strike a balance at the end of the day. Liverpool have 3 workhorses in midfield to compensate for the attacking work of their full backs. it's not as simple as having as many offensive players on the pitch as possible.
 

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Yes, of course it is. It’s happening right now. Do we have an Alexander-Arnold? No. But he’s the exception, not the norm. I’d still like it if the club were to dip into the market for a more attacking alternative to Shaw. Williams is a right back, ultimately.
 

Aouer-United

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I think that'll give you idea of what we can get out from our fullback

 

el3mel

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AWB has developed his offensive game a lot as the season went on and this made me really pleased with him. I like it when players want to really improve their weakness instead of just depending on what they are good at. Great mentality.

Shaw has been doing very good runs behind defenses in last 2 games as well so long may it continue. I think Shawn's problem is he needs few games in a row before regaining his form and starting to perform. He was very poor in the first half against Spurs but from on there he kept improving from game to the other till he finally regained his form.
 

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I like Luke Shaw, but if we could get a Dani Alves type threat from left back it would do wonders for our team. AWB has the right locked down, it's almost like a back 3, and the DM can rotate over to cover for our LB if they were too bomb forward.

Before he was injured he was a great offensive weapon, but it looks like he'll never be the same. Fine as a back up.
 

Isotope

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Imho, both our main fullbacks are still poor offensively. Both look awkward and seem confused when they got the ball. It's like they're reactive to the situation, where they only start to think about their move when they get the ball. You don't see that on top teams fullbacks, where they look to move freely / natural.

That's why as LB, I prefer Williams. When attacking, he has this natural move of top fullback, imho.
 

cyril C

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Get Neville or Evra to be assistant coach and train all of them on how to make overlapping run and cross.
 

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We are currently playing with 5 very offensive minded players... I think having full back who are solid defensively (which both AWB and shaw are) is far more important than those that are purely offensive minded. Having these two allows our attacking players to risk staying further up the pitch, thus causing more damage. You need to strike a balance at the end of the day. Liverpool have 3 workhorses in midfield to compensate for the attacking work of their full backs. it's not as simple as having as many offensive players on the pitch as possible.
This. We’ve got a front 5 of attacking players, and the fullback are doing a good job of supporting that as we’ve seen recently. That’s our system and it works.

Can’t have every player on the pitch being gung ho on the pitch, we’d get ruined.
 

Roane

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It's a confidence thing for me.

Over the last couple of games I see players doing things they weren't before. Whether it's Martial smiling again or AWB getting to the byline.

One of my own pet beefs was how no one was making runs into the box, forcing players to play back. I see more forays now. Think it will come with games and time.
 
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cyril C

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Why, neither of them were great crossers of the ball, and Evra made his name with his underlapping runs.
Do you mean Gary Neville not a great crosser of the ball? Take away his cross, his overlapping run, Gary is what?
 

Isotope

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This. We’ve got a front 5 of attacking players, and the fullback are doing a good job of supporting that as we’ve seen recently. That’s our system and it works.

Can’t have every player on the pitch being gung ho on the pitch, we’d get ruined.
It's not about suggesting going gung ho or attacking furiously. It's more about what they do when they're attacking.
 

Dan_F

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I think we are seeing improvement in recent weeks from the fullbacks. AWB has started putting in some decent early crosses that have created opportunities.

Shaw isn't playing like an attacking fullback in a conventional sense but he's now causing issues. He's drifting infield and picking up some dangerous positions. He's also making the run on the inside of the fullback which they just seem unable to deal with right now. It's also giving Rashford a little more space out there to square up his player. I like what I'm seeing.
I agree about Shaw’s position. I don’t think he’s being asked to overlap all the time, like people seem to be wanting. He’s finding pockets of space in field, freeing Rashford up on the left.

He maybe doesn’t do enough with the ball when in those positions, but finding a full back to play like a midfielder isn’t easy.
 

Fosu-Mens

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My question is as stated in the header. Do you believe it's a case of familiarity with almost constantly finding themselves in space so high up the pitch will eventually engender confidence and take them up a level or two, or even, do you think they can be coached (and coaxed) out of their shells to be influential and legitimate offensive threats? Directly or indirectly, there's a good 10-15 more goals to be had over a season if our full-backs are up to par with what title challengers demand from their fullbacks these days.
AWB is a technical issue. His way of controlling the ball influences all of his game. Difficult to make good crosses when the ball is constantly between your feet, or have an overview when you are always leaning forward and looking down on the ball. As long as he does not become a cog in the offensive play simply by giving him the ball, we should be happy. The other culprit of taking 5 hours to make a decision, Shaw, seems to be that he does not understand what to do. I suspect that Mourinho was correct in that one would need to remotely control him(aka lack of understanding of the game). We should regardless actively seek to replace him anyway. Having one of the starting fullbacks being defensive is ok, not two. And Shaw would be the one to go.
 

Trex

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I don't really have an issue with our full backs,both city and Liverpool usually play with five players who would regularly contribute offensively, we are doing the same at the moment with our front three and Bruno and Pogba which is enough as u can see we don't have a problem breaking down defensive sides anymore, this place is a bit overly demanding Wan bissaka and Shaw contributions is more than okay by me,we would loose balance if we played with more attacking minded fullbacks, it just like people wanting to see more creativity from Liverpool midfield forget the balance they give to the side allowing the fullbacks to push forward, not everyone in the side would play the eye catching role
 

spontaneus1

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I think the more defensive fullbacks suit us. Posters can get too drawn into the fact Liverpool have trent bombing forward and deceiving crosses but people forget that is also Liverpools main creative angle as their midfield is much more defensively minded than ours and Fabinho is more mobile than Matic.

We need the more conservative full backs to balance the more attacking midfield players we have.
 

simplyared

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Shaw for me has improved in every department this season and is playing his best football right now. I see him as a good attacking fullback. He's far more direct than Wan Bissaka and I don't see him holding up play when he gets forward. Maybe his final ball into the box can be improved, apart from that I'm happy with him. Wan Bissaka doesn't appear to have the same directness in his make-up. He often dwells on the ball when he gets forward and we lose momentum. On the other hand he seldom loses possession. Question is to what expense?
 

MalcolmTucker

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The offensive weakness of our full-backs is overstated. AWB especially is pretty decent 1 on 1 and has been putting in great crosses recently. Shaw has been bombing forward since the break and is a solid passer and has played plenty of accurate cut-backs during our run. Both are young so let them develop, gain further confidence we'll be fine + we have great cover in Williams who is also smart when going forward.
 

youngrell

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I think some people are missing the point of the thread. It is not that we require them to be more attacking than they are, it is to try and get them to be more decisive and contribute more to the attacks they are already involved in. It's not being gung ho, it's being smart.

Just a short overlapping run of 5-10 yards from Shaw every so often gives Rashford or another attacker much more space to cause damage to the opposition, he literally doesn't even need to touch the ball, just create space by occupying the defender or giving him something to think about.

He just needs an injection of urgency and enthusiasm mostly. You see Bruno or Martial take a throw in now and then because he's even too slow to get up and do that sometimes. And even when they do go to take one, he still walks towards them to try and take it rather than running into space to receive the throw.

It sounds like I'm really digging Shaw out but I'm not, I really like him, just feel like he needs a shake sometimes to wake him up.
 
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UnrelatedPsuedo

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Really comes down to the system. If you're going to ask them to bomb up and cross the ball like Trent and Robertson, you're setting them up for failure.

They are decent passers though - especially Shaw. We need to set them up for cut backs to Pogba/Bruno or even outside-in through balls to Rashford/Martial/Greenwood.
Spot on. Liverpool fans aren’t sat around wanting two of their midfield three to turn into Bruno and Pogba.

Shaw and AWB are not there to provide assists and goals in that way.
 

RedStarUnited

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Im in the camp that Shaw needs to be upgraded for us to go to the next level. He is Just too passive both attacking and defensively.

Wan Bisaka gets all the hate for his attacking, but he is actually better and tries more than Shaw.