Stoke City: How can Tony Pulis get the best out of Charlie Adam?
Persuading Charlie Adam to join Stoke City was only half the battle for manager Tony Pulis. Now he has to work out how to play the Scotsman. Martin Spinks reports...
SO how do you get the corks popping with Champagne Charlie in Stoke’s starting 11?
That’s the conundrum facing Tony Pulis because Charlie Adam’s deadline-day arrival at the Britannia Stadium creates almost as many problems as it solves.
For the more adventurous out there, here is the midfield playmaker that City supporters have long been craving.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
For the more pragmatic, the problem is accommodating a player not blessed with the defensive mentality normally seen in a Tony Pulis midfield.
One thing’s for sure, he hasn’t arrived from Liverpool to sit on the substitutes’ bench as any kind of impact player.
So what are the options available as the Stoke City manager embarks on a major departure in his tactical thinking?
1) Play him in a three-man central midfield in a 3-5-2 formation.
THAT would work for Adam if he was to have the livelier legs of your Dean Whiteheads around him to do all the fetching and carrying work.
However, deploying three centre-halves and a wing-back system has never been a well-thumbed chapter in the Stoke City manager’s training manual.
It surely requires too much of a reshuffle elsewhere – particularly in that reasonably solid back four – for this option to be a real goer on a week-in, week-out basis.
2) Play him in a three-man central midfield in a 4-5-1 formation.
NOW this system has more going for it under the current manager, especially when the Potters are playing away from home.
It retains the solid back four that Pulis has always sworn by, while also packing the middle of the park to counteract the many teams employing the same formation.
Stoke almost play with a 4-5-1 set-up now with Jonathan Walters dropping deep, but with Adam in there you would have two other genuine central midfielders to protect him in a proper 4-5-1 system.
The onus then, attacking-wise, would be to provide Adam with enough space and possession to feed the wide men.
3) Just go for it and play Adam in a conventional 4-4-2 system.
A POSSIBLE option at the Britannia Stadium, but would Pulis be so brave when Stoke are on their travels.
Either way, it would ask much of a player not having a reputation for being the most disciplined and mobile defensively.
Would Pulis risk being over-run through the middle, particularly away?
Chances 4/5 (home) 2/5 (away)
4) Play Adam in a floating role behind the main striker in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
THIS would remove much of Adam’s defensive responsibilities, while the free role would bring out the best of his creative abilities.
But Pulis would never drop Jon Walters to hand over his place to Adam, you might justifiably cry.
Walters could still be accommodated, however, by shifting him out wide.
There’d be long faces all round as this would mean only one genuine winger in the side and possibly two on the bench.
Now that’s an unlikely scenario at the Britannia Stadium, perhaps, but a definite possibility away from home. Indeed, it might even get its debut at Wigan Athletic today.
Chances 4/5 (away) 2/5 (home)