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Playoff Final Starting XI

I feel this subject deserves it's own thread! The back five, Gape and Fred are all surely nailed on (though happy to argue that point), so that leaves two midfield slots and two forward slots (presumably). So to keep this simple, who would you play for those four slots?

For me, it comes down to whether we want to risk keeping it tight when there is no tomorrow:

Thompson
Nnamdi
Samuel
Wheeler

....whether we want to go for broke from the word go:

Nnamdi
Freeman
Bayo
Smyth/Kashket

...or a combination?

Nnamdi
Wheeler
Bayo
Smyth

At this point, I am tempted to go with some kind of combo, with Bayo starting, and a positive lineup full of potential goals. However, with the potential for ET and pens, I can see a massive argument for Bayo as a sub.

Maybe keep it tight till 60 mins, and then unleash the Beast and Friends?

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Comments

  • Same as the semis, Thompson in for Blooms if Blooms isn't fit.

  • edited July 2020

    Can't believe I forgot Blooms! My concern with that lineup is usually where the goals will come from (though the answer in the first leg was: everywhere). The second leg gave me nightmares about us hoofing it upfield aimlessly while Oxford come in waves. That being said, 0-0 is an entirely different proposition to defending a three goal lead.

  • If I were Gaz, I'd be showing the players the League Two final in full. That was a clash of styles too and Northampton absolutely dominated - even before the Exeter red card. Hopefully we've got everyone fit and can bring the same energy and intensity of the first leg.

  • If we go with 3 defensive minded midfielders, we have basically got a back 7 defending wave after wave of Oxford attack, and if all we do is hoof it up field and bypass the midfield it isnโ€™t going to take long before Oxford break us down, if you thought Fleetwood gave us a football lesson, after watching Oxford/Portsmouth, then we will be chasing shadow all evening, players like Ofabor and Freeman are as good as a defensive player because they stop the ball going from defence to forwards players because theyโ€™re an outlet to control the ball from midfield and bring wide and forward player in to the game instead of our forwards just chasing hopeful balls, we were being destroyed by Fleetwood by being defensive, but as soon as we drove forward with the ball (Fred) things started to happen, this is a one off once in a life time game to reach the championship, driving forward with the ball is as good as sitting back defending their attack, if I was Gaffa Iโ€™d go Freeman, heโ€™s proven what he can do with the ball at his feet, calm, doesnโ€™t panic, brings other into the game, crosses with both feet, and can drive forward with the ball,

  • You seem to be entirely forgetting the first leg.

  • Interesting theory but I donโ€™t agree with the comment that Fleetwood gave us a โ€˜footballing lessonโ€™. Defending is as much of an art as attacking and we were happy to concede possession because we had a three goal lead. We dropped too deep in the first half because there was concern after they scored first, but Gaz adjusted tactics in the second half and we played much better. The final is a different scenario, of course, but I wouldnโ€™t expect us to change the style of play that has got us this far. Oxford will have more possession, but thatโ€™s been the case in almost every game weโ€™ve played including Fleetwood away and look how that turned out.

  • edited July 2020

    Oxford didn't look their usual sharp selves in either of the semis and you could say they were a touch fortunate to go through - the Pompey OG which ultimately took the tie to extra time was pretty comical. Fleetwood moved the ball around a lot better in the second leg than Oxford did in either - and a fatigued Wycombe still ground out a draw and had more shots on target. The final is not the time to be making any great changes to our approach imo.

  • Is it possible to be taught a "footballing lesson" in a game you've drawn?

    Was hardly Man City was it.

  • Gaz will be looking at who is training well this week and might surprise us with his starting 11...did many people expect Oforboh to start?

  • I kind of think weโ€™ll be seeing the same starting XI as the first leg of the semis. Iโ€™m sure Bayo will get a good run-out in the second half and Thompson should also feature at some stage, but beyond that I couldnโ€™t say.

  • I'd like to see kashket come on as a super sub

  • He is due to do some damage. He could be deadly in extra time and he would probably be an extremely confident penalty taker if that extraordinary one at the Valley end a couple of seasons ago is anything to go by.

    Paul Smyth could also make an impact against a tiring defence. And we mustnโ€™t forget that underrated fansโ€™ favourite and architect if Fredโ€™s second goal last Monday - slick Nick Freeman.

  • "underrated fans' favourite" feels like an oxymoron

  • @eric_plant said:
    "underrated fans' favourite" feels like an oxymoron

    Not if he's a favourite of the underrated fans

  • Up there with the SPOTY "Unsung Hero of the Year" award

    Makes no sense whatsoever

  • I believe that Fred is a potential match winner and that Smyth could also play a significant part at some stage.
    Having said that, I couldnโ€™t be more nervous if Gaz had just called me and said Youโ€™re playing tonightโ€™!

  • no disrespect intended, @glasshalffull, but personally I would be significantly more nervous if Gaz had just called you and said you're playing tonight. Could just be me though.

  • Youโ€™ve obviously seen me play!

  • @glasshalffull said:
    Youโ€™ve obviously seen me play!

    Possibly in an Oxford shirt? :wink:

  • If the Oxford players are as poor as I was that day at Wembley weโ€™re home and dry!

  • I also think if they are all fit Gaz will play the same starting eleven as the first leg and hope for a similar all action start. But what joy to have the likes of Bayo, Smyth, SK, Freeman and Thompson (bizarre shanked clearance aside) to come on if it goes to extra time. Have a great night everyone.

  • @glasshalffull said:
    I believe that Fred is a potential match winner and that Smyth could also play a significant part at some stage.
    Having said that, I couldnโ€™t be more nervous if Gaz had just called me and said Youโ€™re playing tonightโ€™!

    Fred is huge for us tonight. He would be irrespective of the opposition, but given that their right back is arguably their weak link, even more so. To that end, I fear Oxford will target him.

  • Ooooh! Squirming a bit here! Confess I didnโ€™t know what an โ€˜oxymoronโ€™ is. Thought it might be an Oxford fan with an even lower than average IQ. Turns out it means โ€œa seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.โ€

    What I had in mind was the fact that many fans on here (me often included!) have expressed their admiration of Nickโ€™s style of play - I seem to remember for example that he was very impressive at Fratton Park (at least until the unfortunate injury to Curtis Thompson) and was linking up well with Paul Smith and Rolando Aarons). The โ€œunderratedโ€ bit refers to my perception that he had fewer starts than I felt he warranted.

    Yes, definitely oxymoronic on my part!

  • edited July 2020

    @YorkExile said:

    @glasshalffull said:
    I believe that Fred is a potential match winner and that Smyth could also play a significant part at some stage.
    Having said that, I couldnโ€™t be more nervous if Gaz had just called me and said Youโ€™re playing tonightโ€™!

    Fred is huge for us tonight. He would be irrespective of the opposition, but given that their right back is arguably their weak link, even more so. To that end, I fear Oxford will target him.

    I get the sense he's a downgrade on Chris Cadden who they had last time we played them.

  • While I have my idea of the best team for this evening and I will be slightly disappointed if it is not chosen, I have finally after the last two games comes to terms with the reality that Gareth knows best and I should trust his judgement. Its taken nearly eight years and if we lose a couple I reserve the right to change my view. For what it is worth, I would start Bayo.

  • Targeting of exceptionally skilful players is always a worry but rash tackles in the box are welcome as long as they donโ€™t cause injury!

  • I think the choice of strikers will be really interesting tonight.

    In the game at the Kassam, the PNL were playing around and through us even before we were reduced to 10 men. The choice of Bayo over Samuel that day looked like a mistake, because it allowed them to step out from the back with impunity and make the extra man.

    My money would be on Samuel to start in a Fleetwood strategy, with Bayo introduced in the second half.

    The other thing that looms large in my memory from that game is that whilst all the focus was on Bayo's dismissal, Gorrin might well have walked for the wild challenge on Kashket that sparked the melee. He was very lucky and was apparently fortunate not to be dismissed in the semi-final. They have that petulant streak. We need to keep our heads, just as we did against Fleetwood.

  • Unless Dave Carrollโ€™s available surely weโ€™ll go with the same 11 as the semis?

    Canโ€™t wait.

  • @chairboyscentral said:
    Oxford didn't look their usual sharp selves in either of the semis and you could say they were a touch fortunate to go through - the Pompey OG which ultimately took the tie to extra time was pretty comical. Fleetwood moved the ball around a lot better in the second leg than Oxford did in either - and a fatigued Wycombe still ground out a draw and had more shots on target. The final is not the time to be making any great changes to our approach imo.

    Watching th> @our_frank said:

    I think the choice of strikers will be really interesting tonight.

    In the game at the Kassam, the PNL were playing around and through us even before we were reduced to 10 men. The choice of Bayo over Samuel that day looked like a mistake, because it allowed them to step out from the back with impunity and make the extra man.

    My money would be on Samuel to start in a Fleetwood strategy, with Bayo introduced in the second half.

    The other thing that looms large in my memory from that game is that whilst all the focus was on Bayo's dismissal, Gorrin might well have walked for the wild challenge on Kashket that sparked the melee. He was very lucky and was apparently fortunate not to be dismissed in the semi-final. They have that petulant streak. We need to keep our heads, just as we did against Fleetwood.

    It wasn't just the Bayo v Samuel thing.
    It was changing from our usual 4-3-3 to some odd diamond and getting utterly annihilated on the wings.

  • edited July 2020

    You want to save Bayo to bring on - I don't want to say the P-word, but we'll need him if it comes to that.

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