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Clint

Starting XI v Switzerland (home).

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Think I'd go for Big Roy in goals. Playing week in week out, is rock solid from what I've seen and due to the position I don't think it's a big deal if it's only the Irish League he's playing in. Unfortunately McGovern's lack of matches mean the Manager has to have a think about a switch.

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Just as long as he doesnt over think it a la Poland in Nice.

 

Stick to what works for us.

 

Regardless of results I want to walk away from it thinking we did it our way & everyone gave their all.

This.

 

I fear another Poland Nice or the passive first half recently against the Germans.

 

 

McGovern

McLaughlin McAuley J.Evans Brunt

Magennis Davis Norwood Saville Dallas

Washington

 

I'd throw Saville in - he's settled well. Keeps C.Evans fresher for the 2nd leg.

McNair not ready for a start - we'll see him as a sub no doubt.

Ward would start normally but struggling for match fitness.

Washington & Lafferty to start one game each. I feel Laffs is better suited to the away leg.

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Just as long as he doesnt over think it a la Poland in Nice.

 

Stick to what works for us.

 

Regardless of results I want to walk away from it thinking we did it our way & everyone gave their all.

 

Agreed. After winning the group, we played as if we were huge underdogs and invited the Poles to take us apart.

Certainly we need to keep our defence tight but let's try to win this first leg.

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I don't think we are good enough to play for a draw. Hopefully we will be adventurous enough in the first leg.

I think the tactics we used at home to the Czechs are ideally suited for the Swiss at home: Above all keep it tight at the back, then hope to hit them from a breakaway or a set-piece, ideally both.

 

Whether you call that "playing for a draw" or not, I don't know, but it has proven to work in the recent past against similar opposition.

 

Agreed. After winning the group, we played as if we were huge underdogs and invited the Poles to take us apart.

From listening to Michael's subsequent comments, he seemed to think it was less of a case of tactics or formations against the Poles, as individuals "freezing" on a big occasion which was completely new to them.

 

This was especially true of the youngsters, which was why he dropped eg McLaughlin, Ferguson and McNair and brought in Hughes, C.Evans and Jamie Ward against Ukraine, amongst other changes.

 

I think he and the players have learned a lot since then.

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This.

 

I fear another Poland Nice or the passive first half recently against the Germans.

 

 

McGovern

McLaughlin McAuley J.Evans Brunt

Magennis Davis Norwood Saville Dallas

Washington

 

I'd throw Saville in - he's settled well. Keeps C.Evans fresher for the 2nd leg.

McNair not ready for a start - we'll see him as a sub no doubt.

Ward would start normally but struggling for match fitness.

Washington & Lafferty to start one game each. I feel Laffs is better suited to the away leg.

Was a toss-up for me between McNair or Saville starting, but opted for some back four protection. Alternatively, start with Saville and give Norwood more of a holding position, which keeps both McNair and Corry Evans fresh for the latter part of the first match and most of the game in Basel. Ditto rotating Washington and Lafferty over the two legs - I like your thinking there.

 

As regards Ward v Magennis, I think Jamie can make more of an impact at the start of the first leg and end of the second leg - if we are chasing a goal over there. Give him a half in Belfast when we have the wind in our sails, then Big Josh to replace him early in the second half and to start in Basel. Close call though.

 

I think it's a dangerous game simply trying to stop them scoring for possibly 210 minutes with such a lightweight squad, potentially made worse by second leg suspensions and a back four gradually getting knackered at the business end of the second match.

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I read somewhere ( but can't remember) that this Ref. is fond of yellow cards, which could be an issue.

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McGovern

McLaughlin McAuley J.Evans Brunt

Magennis Davis Norwood Saville Dallas

Washington

 

I'd throw Saville in - he's settled well. Keeps C.Evans fresher for the 2nd leg.

Id be surprised if it isnt this team with Evans in for Saville

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I'll be surprised if he doesn't go with this team:

 

McGovern

McLaughlin, McAuley, J.Evans, Brunt

Magennis Davis Norwood, C.Evans, Dallas

Washington

 

I agree with those who are saying that Saville has a strong claim but I suspect O'Neill will stick with Corry because of his experience and intimate understanding of the way O'Neill wants that role to be played. Saville to come on later in the game.

 

Washington vs Lafferty is possibly the other interesting choice. Lafferty's height could be useful on the end of set pieces (including Magennis's long throws) but reckon he'll want Washington to run his legs off over 70 mins and then throw Lafferty on

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I really don't see what Cory offers us to be honest. In the cameos thus far I feel Saville has shown enough to stake a claim given Corey's lack of impact and game time at club level. If all were fit I'd go for McNair. That said I feel we're always a better side with Jamie Ward in it and I'd be tempted to stick him in from the start and get him to run his heart out for 60 mins. We've been very passive of late; let's take this game to them, we have little to fear.

 

McGovern

McLaughlin Evans McAuley Brunt

Norwood

Davis. Saville

Ward. Dallas

Washington

 

With Kyle, Cory, McNair, Magennis (who will undoubtedly start as Michael loves him) and McGinn offer us options from the bench

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I'll be surprised if he doesn't go with this team:

 

McGovern

McLaughlin, McAuley, J.Evans, Brunt

Magennis Davis Norwood, C.Evans, Dallas

Washington

I'll be surprised too.

 

There's eight, maybe nine, of those are nailed on to start, not too many tough decisions to make over the rest.

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I think the tactics we used at home to the Czechs are ideally suited for the Swiss at home: Above all keep it tight at the back, then hope to hit them from a breakaway or a set-piece, ideally both.

 

Whether you call that "playing for a draw" or not, I don't know, but it has proven to work in the recent past against similar opposition.

 

 

From listening to Michael's subsequent comments, he seemed to think it was less of a case of tactics or formations against the Poles, as individuals "freezing" on a big occasion which was completely new to them.

 

This was especially true of the youngsters, which was why he dropped eg McLaughlin, Ferguson and McNair and brought in Hughes, C.Evans and Jamie Ward against Ukraine, amongst other changes.

 

I think he and the players have learned a lot since then.

I was thinking more about Norway away than The Czech game.

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I was thinking more about Norway away than The Czech game.

Thats the game I was thinking of, but I do think M.O. has learnt from that escapade.

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This game could well be decided by the number of suspensions both teams end up with for the second game. Out of our lot if we have both Davis and J.Evans available for the second game then I think that's important. I'm not saying any of the other players on yellow cards don't matter but I feel we can cope better and replace them easier if they get suspended.

The Swiss probably have a slightly better squad than us so maybe not just as important to them, but would feel happier if Xherdan Shaqiri wasn't playing, he can cause us too much trouble.

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I was thinking more about Norway away than The Czech game.

The Norway game (out there) was about as relevant as eg the Croatia friendly. (That's "Not At All Relevant", in case you're wondering).

 

Now the Norway game at home - that showed everybody what a professional outfit we are these days under Michael! :thumbsup:

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