This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
You can’t fault a manager for keeping his players healthy.
However, you can fault him when perhaps he takes his methods a little bit too far.
It seems pretty obvious that Sabri Lamouchi is simply trying to rotate the wide players in his squad to keep them fresh for the rest of the season; with the likes of Sammy Ameobi, Joe Lolley and Albert Adomah all sharing responsibilities amongst themselves in recent weeks.
However, it looks as if Joao Carvalho has found his way into that rotation as well, although the question remains whether or not he should.
Last weekend he found himself out on the left-wing, and if you take a look at his WhoScored.com rating of 6.6 for the game, it’s fair to say that he certainly left a lot to be desired, and that’s predominantly because he’s not used to that position.
Throughout the encounter, he completed two dribbles but failed to register a single shot or key pass.
Joao Carvalho was used predominantly as an attacking midfielder last season and was able to produce some excellent displays in that role, grabbing four goals and eight assists in the process, so it just seems relatively simple to keep him there.
In fact there is a lot of potential for him to be even better this season compared to the previous campaign.
With Samba Sow putting in great defensive performances week after week protecting the back four, averaging 4.2 tackles a game and 2.1 interceptions a game to boot, Carvalho should be given a lot more freedom to go out and be as creative as he was last year.
That’ll only happen if he’s played in his natural role.
Be that in a 4-2-3-1 acting in the #10 position behind the centre-forward, or as part of a midfield duo in a 4-3-3, the fact of the matter is that he is much more effective through the middle and is more or less wasted out wide.
Lamouchi must stray from making a similar error in the future.