David Hannant: Fitting Todd into new system will be tough but worthwhile
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
After sixteen wretched defeats in a row, we can finally say that we are no longer pointless.
It may not be a giant leap forward, but it's a step forward nonetheless which is something to be thankful for.
Given winning away at Burnley in the league is something we have only achieved once in our history, picking up a point is nothing to be sneered at, regardless of the form the Clarets are in.
The biggest positive to take away from the game was that it was a clean sheet and a solid display defensively - even if it was slightly blunted in the final third.
It was the second consecutive game Daniel Farke has opted for a central defensive trio and wing-backs, clearly looking to address the frailty City showed in the wide areas of the pitch.
But clearly in doing this, we've sacrificed a body from further up the field and haven't really been at our most creative.
And it also makes it difficult to picture how certain players fit into the system going forward - some of our most creative and technically gifted players.
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One of these who has been out of the picture for a little while is Todd Cantwell, one of the three crown jewels we were all desperate to cling onto.
It was bizarre to think earlier in the season that we'd be at a point where working out where to play the Dereham Deco becomes a headscratcher - but it really is one.
Clearly, it is nobody's business what Todd's personal reasons are other than his own - I won't speculate and nobody else should either.
A slight Achilles knock kept him out against Burnley but the boss has already said he's hopeful Todd will be available after the international break to face Brighton.
Which begs the question: if this system is Plan A, where does Todd fit in?
Usually deployed in a wide area with licence to roam, on the face of things, there isn't really anywhere in this system he would slot into - for similar reasons Milot Raschica and Christos Tzolis are starting from the bench.
But unlike these two, I don't see Todd as a winger. He seldom comes off with chalk on his boots, put it that way.
For me, there are two options.
The first, probably preferable one, would be for him to occupy one of the midfield positions filled at the moment by Kenny McLean and Pierre Lees-Melou.
However, then you're looking at a trade-off - as I think it's fair to say these two offer a bit more bite and steel than Todd; while Cantwell is clearly more creative.
I don't question that Todd would put in the work if used there though and he doesn't get enough credit for his commitment sometimes.
But would he offer as much protection as McLean or Lees-Melou? Perhaps not.
Matthias Normann is clearly out of the equation, for me, he's one of the first names on the teamsheet now and if he continues how he is will likely be a big contender to get his hands on the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy.
But as one of his co-pilots in the middle, Todd could certainly do a job.
Another option I could possibly see is giving him one of the two striking berths currently held by Teemu Pukki and Josh Sargent.
However, clearly Todd isn't a natural striker, so this would slightly alter the system.
If Josh Sargent is there for his physical presence though, you'd lose something there in playing Todd ahead of him. Todd is a lot of things, skillful, clever, creative - but he's no target man.
And the main issue we've found with Teemu this season is how isolated he looked when playing alone up top. Having Todd in there could go one of two ways.
Best case scenario and he'd be more of a natural link between the midfield three and Pukki, but worst case scenario it would leave him even more isolated
But equally, if you drop Teemu Pukki for him you've taken out who is still our biggest goal threat - even if it would allow Sargent to play as more of an out and out number nine.
Here is the thing though: a flying, in-form Todd Cantwell is quite possibly the best player we have on the books.
We already have more attacking midfielders than you can shake a stick at, with Kieran Dowell also in the mix, while operating with a system designed for more traditional centre midfielders.
It's a strange situation to be in, but it's not ideal to have a player like Cantwell sat on the bench once he's fit again and raring to go.
I'm generally a firm believer in putting a square peg in a square hole, but as we learned with Emi Buendia, if your round peg is your best peg, the odd exception is made.
It will be a challenge finding a place for Todd in this system - but it's a challenge worth finding a solution for.
He could very well be the creative spark we need to build on the improvement to our defensive steel. He's far too good to be our go-to super sub.
Wat a mess!
So Watford have been doing Watford things again I see.
It's staggering that the last 15 men in charge at the Hornets have managed fewer games combined than Graham Taylor did in his first tenure at the club.
And yet, when the weird but painstakingly predictable sacking of Xisco was announced, I saw a fair few City fans praising the approach and asking why we hadn't been so gladhanded with the axe.
I am proud that we are patient and have trusted our methods and trusted Daniel Farke.
Watford's fortunes the past three seasons have run parallel to our own, but I'd much rather have done it our way.
The only thing I would want to swap with Watford is the outcome of the last few times the clubs have met, when they have unfortunately had our number.
And I'd much rather not have a reputation as being a club that changes its manager as often as most people change their underwear!
Don't drop Ronaldo for us - let us at him!
I was surprised to see Cristiano Ronaldo left on the bench for Manchester United's game against Everton at the weekend.
Yes he's 36, but he's also Cristiano Ronaldo, the one player in the world you would expect to be immune to squad rotation.
I'm sure there was a rhyme and reason to leaving him out - surely it can't only have been to stitch up my fantasy football team (and, evidentally, everyone else's).
But if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is planning on being selective about when he unleashes CR7 - or at least when he rests him - I hope it is not against us.
Sure, on one had he would more than likely tear us to smithereens, come December 11, but who else remembers his last visit to Carrow Road?
One of the most satisfying images from that game, aside from Leon McKenzie flexing away, was the then 20-year-old CR7 looking frustrated and forlorn, hands-on-hips having been defeated.
There are few players I love seeing frustrated more than Cristiano, I have a salacious desire for seeing the mighty fall.