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What are the Weaknesses of Your Favorite Premier League Team?

the weakest link 600x276 What are the Weaknesses of Your Favorite Premier League Team?

From personal experience, we can all at times be too positive and not critical enough when we’re talking about our favorite Premier League team. We immediately go on the defensive when a supporter of another club criticizes our team in the comments sections, on the radio, TV or podcasts. It’s a natural instinct. After all, it’s “our team,” right? Who are they to criticize “our team” when we know them better than other supporters because we watch them week-in week-out?

But for a change, I thought it’d be interesting for us to be more reflective than usual and to be honest about our own team’s weaknesses. Which players are the weak spots in your team? When and where is your team susceptible to leaking goals? What tactics don’t seem to work for your team? Etcetera.

Go ahead and post your team’s weaknesses in the comments section below.

I’ll go first and will pinpoint the areas of weakness that my team Swansea City has.

Despite having a wonderful season so far, which has been far more productive than even last year’s incredible season, here are the weaknesses in my Swansea City side:

Nathan Dyer: The Southampton product is a pacey winger who can cut defenses open. But this season, his weaknesses have become more apparent based on his inconsistent performances. His weaknesses are that he’s not very good at defending. When he has to run back down the wing to tackle or stop an opponent running toward goal, he often either fails to get the ball or ends up making a foul in a dangerous area of the pitch. The same can be said about Pablo Hernandez, Swansea’s record signing from last summer. Going forward, he’s brilliant. But defensively, he’s a weakness. He almost always loses the ball or fails to rush back to help.

Defending set-pieces: Although they’ve improved in the past few games, Swansea’s biggest weaknesses is defending corners or free kicks. They have a very difficult time defending balls floated into the box, which was the same issue they had last season.

Corner kicks: You know that part of a match where your pulse quickens after your team gets a corner because you think it’s a good opportunity to score a goal? With Swansea, it doesn’t exist. Both last season and this season, I’ve lost count of the number of corner kicks Swansea get but they hardly ever score from them. Out of the 23 matches this season, I can only remember one goal being scored as a result of a corner kick. If you’re playing us and we get a corner, don’t worry. Sit back and relax because we won’t score.

The type of opponents we don’t like: In the past couple of months, Swansea haven’t been able to pass the ball around the pitch as we normally would like to. Part of it is probably due to tiredness, but part of it is that it’s not as slick (i.e. we’ve been making too many mistakes). But if I could identify one weakness in Swansea, it’s when we come up against teams who pressure us as soon as we get the ball. We do it to other teams, but when they do it to Swansea, we’re susceptible to making a mistake and losing the ball. I’m surprised more teams don’t do it against us.

So what about your team? If you’re being honest about them, what are the weaknesses that you can point out?

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

26 Responses to What are the Weaknesses of Your Favorite Premier League Team?

  1. gbewing says:

    Spurs:
    1. I think we could improve on offensive set pieces.
    2. I also think we struggle with converting chances in general, we generally generate lot of shots on goal but each game I can point to 2-4 chances where you think they should have converted. The Man U game was a perfect example. Defoe has been very good but he misses a lot of chances and has limits to how he can score. Against Man U he would jump to head a ball at a clear disadvantage due to his size considering the defenders size,he’s not going to win those balls- a more effective counter to his strengths would serve us well.
    3. Killer instinct- look at goal differentials and Spurs don’t compare as well as teams close to us. Against weaker opponants I think we get comfortable with a lead and don’t finish them off, settling fo a 2-0 or a 3-1 not go for the 5-6 goal.
    game- point 2 converting chances goes towards this as well
    4. Defending at the back- this may be no longer an issue it was earlier-I think we are getting much better, the VP goal was a mistake Saturday but overall I like the Vertongen-Caulker-Dawson rotation but we have made a lot of goofy errors back there.
    Lloris’s aggressive style allows our defenders to play higher- this may have been a bigger problem with Friedel’s discomfort in comming out.
    5 Depth at striker and holding MF- I don’t think we’re desperate for a striker but if AVB wants to go 2 strikers as he has recently he needs 1 more. Dempsey can play that role, Addy is coming back but I think Defoe could burn out from overuse and like I said before we need a compliment to him for those games that don’t fit his strengths. We were fine with Sandro and Parker but with Sandro out Id like some cover for Parker who is an injury risk as well -it’s a key position for us and I’m not loving Livermore or whoever is next in line. In a perfect world cover for Walker would be nice to.

    I like how the team is progressing- we’ve got an excellent chance for Champions league position

    • Nelson says:

      Only one recognized striker on the books right now. Would any top four team ever let themselves get in this position? Why we haven’t gotten someone in the transfer window is beyond me.

  2. AmadeoC says:

    Chelsea
    1. Seem to slow down in the second and struggle to finish games out, at least recently.
    2. Rafa, in my opinion, has to establish a good run of form for his strikers and give one or the other,say the next five games to see how either Ba or Torres perform. He seems to switch the strikers too often such as Ba getting a game and Torres getting the next. Doesn’t establish consistency.

  3. Marc L says:

    Great article – wish I had time to go into proper depth about my beloved Blue Moon.

    Overall weakness – the whole not even remotely approximating the sum of the parts. See also: what happens when you just buy a huge number of expensive players and throw them on willy-nilly.

    Lack of cohesion due to much more frequent rotation (a necessary evil of having all the high-priced talent.) Guys don’t have a chance to develop chemistry with one another. Guys get rusty with inaction. Balotelli, for example, with the best overall skill set of the 4 main strikers, “crazied” his way out of the regular rotation and can’t get back in. Playing every day for a less stacked club would almost certainly get him pointed in the right direction. But you can’t risk it now, with the rags theoretically still in reach.

    Also, you run into situations where guys like Silva and Nasri do not mesh particularly well together and tend to get in each other’s way. Merlin can adjust to this much better than Nasri, who just never seems to get untracked and into a rhythm.

    Lack of a very solid holding midfielder, which would allow Toure (not the car-selling one) to get a bit further up where he is most dangerous. Had big hopes for Javi Garcia in terms of filling this role. Still do to an extent, as he has shown improvement, but worry about whether his athleticism is up to EPL standards.

    Some guys not really fitting well into the overall plan – Kolarov and Maicon would be great playing for Fat Sam’s system but don’t fit extremely well with the things Bob wants to do. Dzeko too, but very quietly he has made remarkable improvement the past 4 weeks in his off-ball activities (and as well with his chemistry with Aguero in particular.) Dzeko actually is fitting much better as an XI starter in Bob’s system during this past run of Balotelli crazy/Aguero nicked up.

    Defense of set pieces earlier in the season. But overlooked, I think, in general is the immense improvement achieved when Bob put Nasty next to VK. (Nastasic has been absolutely phenomenal, by the way.)

    Clubs against which City struggles: those playing a deep and aggressive, pressing posture through the midfield. Despite all the City talent in the midfield, ball movement through this part of the pitch has generally been sluggish. Partly due to an almost dizzying array of lineups, lack of cohesion, chemistry (this again.)

    Dortmund is the template here. One of my German friends told me the word for the Dortmund-style system is “gegenpressing.” The word doesn’t translate well into English but the concept just demoralized City in both UCL matches. Particularly the first. You’d see City bringing it out from the back, wanting to move the ball upfield and Dortmund just waiting there, wide and aggressive, coiled like a spring, waiting to snap back on them.

    Other types of clubs that give City trouble: Stoke. I swear, they have gotten 4 points in 5 years Away at the Britannia (puts head in hands and contemplates upcoming FA Cup tie.)

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Embarrassment of riches there. But it is interesting following a club like this after getting used to the issues with a mid-table squad. In some ways it was less frustrating (and certainly less stressful) to watch them during the Pearce Era. Assuming you were safe of the drop zone, you just sort of accepted your limitations and were happy for the little victories that came along the way. The Derby in ’04 when Robbie Fowler lit up the rags about 3 minutes in on the way to a 4-1 just made that whole year for me.

    • Why? says:

      Watching them during the ‘Pearce era’ was the worse experience I ever had watching City worse than in any of the previous 4 decades. I have supported through all these times, repeated relegation in the 80′s and 90′s, away to Grimsby in the rain etc. but never did I witness such rubbish as what Stuart Pearce’s side produced! They only managed to score 13 goals at home and 16 away some of the most mundane and testing time in Man City’s history. I hope to never see the likes of that drivel again!

    • Krawmn says:

      re: Dortmund pressing

      similar to what Italy did to England last summer and one of the tactics that Mexico will often employ versus the U.S. in big matches. Any club that comes out and expects to retain possession but don’t have youth, speed, and try to slow the game down too much are susceptible to this kind of pressure — especially when the opponent is practiced at this tactic—as Continental clubs and Latin American clubs frequently are.

  4. CraigB says:

    Queens Park Rangers

    I’ll be honest every QPR supporter knows that everything has gone wrong at some point during this season.
    I would say defending set pieces has been our worst problem closely followed by falling apart in the final third.
    It’s been a slow process, but were slowly picking up the pieces.
    Being realistic, I’m not sure if we’ll stay up but I have faith in Harry. We’ve played some beautiful football at times, but it’s rarely made an impact. Our signing of Remy seems to already be paying off.

    Lets see if he can do what it takes

  5. Guy says:

    Stoke City

    This is almost too easy…we can’t score! A lot of that has to do with personnel and not just TP’s tactics. If you are going to use the long ball then you have to have someone take the second ball off the target man and do something productive with it. Need I go on?

    Fullbacks. What fullbacks? Geoff Cameron is doing a nice job, but that’s not really his position.

    Manager. Tony’s lineup choices can
    leave you scratching your head and God forbid that he would actually think about adjusting his tactics. He gets the benefit of the doubt from a lot of fans because of what he has meant to the club, but I hear “tick, tick, tick” in the background.

    I leave it to ICK to provide a sharper analysis. :-)

    • IanCransonsKnees says:

      Not really much to add.

      Pulis hasn’t signed a specialist full back in 5 seasons, I have no idea why.

      Persistently plays players out of position and it eventually leads to them getting stick from the fans because they don’t see the best of them. Adam appears to be his current square peg that he’s trying to stuff into a round hole.

      The biggest mistake he’s made since we hit form in 2011 is signing Crouch and splitting up Jones and Walters. No idea why or whether it was a decision made by the chairman. At the end of 2011 we seemed to have got over the problem in the first point Guy makes, Jones and Walters had an understanding. This has been proven again when he was forced to play them together over the Christmas period this season. he did something similar when we signed Woodgate and he split the Huth + Shawcross partnership which is one that is blindingly obvious to most fans shouldn’t be parted.

      Pulis is stubborn to a fault, I know a lot about his attitude towards fans etc because I know people relatively high up at the club. He’s in it for himself and doesn’t give a damn what other people say, think or do. To a degree it stems from the fact that each time he’s been appointed it has split the fans. He has nowhere near to love from the fans that someone like Lou Macari has, and both play relatively pragmatic football so it’s not a style thing.

      I can’t really criticise him for it because I’ve never had it so good as a Stoke fan, and being honest I probably will not again once he goes. However it’s this stubborn streak that will be his downfall.

      That said I think one of his masterstrokes has been to surround himself with the likes of John Rudge, Peter Reid and Gerry Armstrong during his mangership.

      I wish we’d just go for it in away games sometimes but nothing seems to have changed with regard to his tactics in the past 5 years.

    • Guy says:

      OK, Mr. Thumbs Down, if we err in our analysis please enlighten us….or are you just some mindless twat who likes doing the thumbs down thing? Have at it, rube.

      • IanCransonsKnees says:

        Every post I make gets it Guy. I assume it’s some Arsenal tool or Andrei (who’s been absent for a while).

        It’d be good to see who gave you a thumbs down so you could know if it was just a petty support thing or if somebody actually thought you were talking rubbish or you’d insulted them.

        All I’ve done in this instance is answer the question asked, on the David de Gea story I’ve passed on some info I’ve got from relatively high up at Stoke regarding Shawcross, Begovic, Fergie and Stoke. What I’m saying is being borne out in the press over here at the moment but someone insists on acting the arse. To be honest I’m not going to waste me time with additional info like that if that’s the petty response it receives.

  6. Frill Artist says:

    Man U.

    Johnny Evans. Not consistent and nowhere near top club quality.

    Lack of a CDM. Last good one we had was Keane.

    De Gea. Very good GK but lacks strength. Easily pushed around in the box and isn’t vocal enough to give orders to his teammates.

    • Marc says:

      Carrick has been a decent CDM. Also big game Fletcher. Too bad for him though. Fergie needs to keep Nani and Ferdinand off the pitch.

      • Frill Artist says:

        Decent but no where near good. He’s not worthy of wearing Keane’s number. Why are so many people blind to how bad Carrick is?? He is too slow hasn’t got a quick enough football brain and his passing is square or long so every now and then, he gets a long ball right but when you put him up against quality opposition that’s when you see how bad he really is.

  7. Guy says:

    Gaffer,

    I really liked the idea behind this article. Apparently, not too many readers are up to the challenge. ;-)

    • The Gaffer says:

      It’s quite a different article, and requires the reader to be introspective. So often we criticize other teams and defend our own, so it’s quite a task for some to criticize our own team.

      I’d like to hear from readers who support clubs like Arsenal, Fulham, Everton and others!

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • Frill Artist says:

      He should share the article on his Facebook and Twitter pages.

  8. Fulham Dave says:

    Fulham:

    Midfield. The losses of Danny Murphy and Moussa Dembele have left Fulham’s previously effective linking play completely impotent. Injuries to Bryan Ruiz and, to a lesser degree, Mahamadou Diarra, have magnified the problem. But a bright start to the season can’t cover the underlying flaws in the Fulham midfield.

    Hitting the wall. For whatever reason, a few of Fulham’s previously most reliable players have not delivered. Mark Schwarzer in goal, and the stalwart defensive pairing of Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes — each of them have suffered through their worst seasons in a Fulham kit. Not coincidentally, our previous stranglehold on points at the Cottage has loosened tremendously.

    Martin Jol. At this point in his managerial stint with Fulham, it doesn’t look like things are working out real well. Players leave disenchanted (while others, like JA Riise suffer somewhat quietly until they leave). And the ones that have left have been key. His oft-stated commitment to youth has fizzled – the most common Fulham lineup this season has ages of: 40; 29,31,33,32; 33,30,30,21; 27,31. And that doesn’t count key contributors Diarra (32) and Karagounis (35). Signings Richardson, Rodellega, and Dejagah don’t look like they will help lead the club out of trouble. Jol’s recent ascent to the top of SkyBet’s next-to-be-sacked list is an indication of all of this.

    • Krawmn says:

      Martin Jol is not a bad manager; there are better managers, but your problem at Fulham is the crap midfield… mainly centre midfield. I thought that Fulham and Chelsea would address this deficiency this month or sooner rather than later. Fulham could be in trouble if they go on a bad run because they didn’t get some better centre midfielders. Chris Baird looks a better centre midfielder than anyone I’ve seen playing there at Fulham this season. that should say it all.

  9. gillyrosh says:

    I am *still* looking for a Prem team to call my favorite. Any recommendations :-)

  10. Krawmn says:

    in the Premier League: Chelsea

    primary weakness: haven’t had a strong center midfield in a long time and it has shown to be progressively worse as time goes on. there’s been talk that Chelsea need one world class center midfielder or holding/pivot player in center midfield; I would suggest that Chelsea need to acquire TWO top quality center midfielders or their underachieving and poor play will continue next season.

    2. lack of confident, capable and strong strikers following Droba’s departure and Torres’ overstay.

    3. lack of depth, overall lack of strength combined with skill through midfield and the front.

    4. (debateable) the correct manager.

  11. Dust says:

    I see some obvious observations about spurs have been pointed out … Sock horror, spurs need to be more clinical in front of goal.

    Defoes 1 goal in 90 shots has not been good to sit through, but that run started as AVB played more 442 with Ade as a partner.

    The reality is however that our Goals Scored tally up until 2 or 3 games ago spurs were in the top 3 for goals scored in the league, Farcenal scoring sprees against Newcastle and West ham & Chelsea’s against Villa have helped to diminish our position.

    The stats show it been our defensive unit that has been the big issue, AVB has had to try to fix all season. Unfortunately injuries and lack of quality in key positions have meant we have suffered because of individual errors.

    (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/team/stats/_/id/367/league/eng.1/tottenham-hotspur?cc=5901)

    Lloris starting was the first effective change in that defensive unit , we had no clean sheets until Lloris started, now we have 6!

    The Robn Van Dirty goal at the weekend is a prime example, of the lack of quality and individual errors. (our best defender Super Jan out due to sickness)

    For some reason most people blamed walker for that goal, which IMO is completely wrong, the issue in that instance was poor positioning from Naughton and not closing down cleverly for the cross, and then Dawson (shock horror) who was supposed to box out RVD. We had enough players in number to deal with the threat, it was a moment of madness and individual error..

    So an obvious observation is we need to be more clinical in front of goal, we are missing quality at the back and need to address it at some point.

    For me the biggest issue is creativity in the middle while dempseys goal v Utd was very welcome, he is yet to shine, the same for sig, but the later is a work in progress..

    Because we have a lack of quality in the creative center midfield role we struggle greatly when we have teams pinned to their box. It is this lack of quality that has meant AVB is forced to playing a 442 system, that system unlike the 4231 is less reliant on that central creative midfilder role, instead relying heaving on winger production, from distribution out of the back. unfortunately this system as demostrated last year has prooven ultimately fruitless in games where teams put 10 players in defense and compact the field so we can’t use our paces wingers..

    From what I have seen the addition of Holtby could definitely address that, he IS that muse, that player for Shalke 04 that unlock’s defenses with very clever link up play and great vision. Until his arrival I feel we will struggle to break down teams that set up well defensively against us.

    I want to clarify, I think Dembele has been a great influence In the 442 we have played, with him releasing the wingers in transition, I think he will flourish with the addition of Holtby as an option in addition to the wingers we have.

    So in summary. Defensively we lack quality for a modern rotation system. We need a creative spark In the center of midfield, not a dribbling wonder kid, but a player with vision, creativity and technically superior skills to Dempsey and Siggy (Holtby), A muse for defoe, or any other striker we have or bring in for that matter.

    It’s a work in progress

  12. Nathan says:

    Arsenal: After RVP’s exit in the summer, I feel we’ve had no trouble scoring, as the 5th highest scoring team in europe, but oh my god do we have some serious problems that need to be addressed. One of them may have been addressed with the signing of Nacho Monreal, full back problems.

    For the past few years, Bacary Sagna has been one of the best right backs in Europe, but he has definitely lost some of that form this season. Gooners will recall the attacking force he gave us, while also putting in some sublime tackles at the back. Nowadays he seems to have gone quiet, and rarely makes an impact in a game.

    Secondly, Kieran Gibbs, although young and full of potential, he really lacks at the back. He scored a fantastic goal against Swansea but his defensive ability at the back has let us down numerous times. He was at fault for two of Newcastle’s goals in the 7-3 rout for simply not sticking close enough to his marker. Individual errors at the back and in the middle have cost us more goals than any other factor.

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