A Manager selects his team for a home match with the sole intention of winning the match in front of their own crowd of boisterous followers. He plays an attacking line up, possibly 2 very direct wingers and more often than not, a couple of central strikers. He would also tell his side to push up the field and condense the space awarded to the opposition and pressurise their defenders into mistakes. The emphasis is on securing 3 points to send the fans home happy. Which is the general idea of football.
All this is totally different when the same manager takes his side on the road for an away game, there is a tendency to believe a draw is good enough for the travelling hoards to take back along the motorways and as fans we are happy with this.
A containing approach where the boss will install 2 holding midfielders, possibly harder working wide players and more often than not a sole striker feeding off the scraps of possesion his team provide. As soon as a team go behind in the game it is harder for the manager to alter the team and style from the one he started with.
I have no sympathy for teams who get a real hiding at places after they have set up so negatively. Neither should the Away support. Now forgive me for over simplifying the point but, the grass is the same colour, the goals in the same place, and by and large the pitches are the same size. Why is it that most teams set up so differently? If you feel you can beat a team why should it matter where you do it. If they played on a neutral ground how would they approach the situation then?
Manchester City have a magnificent record of 12 wins at home this season, yet have won only 6 from 12 away from the Etihad Stadium. This maybe suggests that most teams don't fancy their chances when playing there. Do they always try and dominate away from home?
When Fulham surrended in the Manchester snow last week, they had Clint Dempsey up top by himself , they gave Man City space and time on the ball , created very little themselves and got soundly beaten 3-0. Any Fulham fans that bothered to go up north must have been bitterly disappointed as well as bitterly cold with the 'performance' of their side. Fulham have a good recent record against Man City so I was surprised to see Jol set his team up that way. I am certain that Martin Jol had a different plan in the 2-2 draw at the Cottage earlier in the season.
There are some conflicting reasons at times as to why a team cannot go all guns blazing if they have injuries , suspensions to key players etc, but as the hotly discussed two-footed challenge debate is about 'the intent of a player', so In my view is about the 'intent' of a team when playing a match. This is a simplistic argument I know and as a fan I would just like to see more sides giving it a go, being brave with their selections and taking teams on a bit more. Norwich City are brave away from Carrow road and have picked up 13 points, the gap between them in 9th is 16 points to bottom placed Wigan. A major part of their current success is without doubt their away form.
4 points for an away win and nothing for a nil nil draw. It was an idea of I think Sepp Blatters a long time ago as an idea to encourage attacking football. Unlike many of his ideas this one isn't that far fetched and out of the realms of possibilty. Too many teams are negative before a ball is kicked.