Date: 25th September 2016 at 8:39pm
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I have written in previous articles about the importance of attacking, our strike partnership, where the chances will come from and how they will be created; but what I haven’t wrote about in detail, is the importance of the back line.

At the end of the day in football it doesn’t matter how many you score, if you keep conceding you will not get anything from the game. Despite the offensive worries last season, I was personally more concerned by the defensive demons which haunted the ever changing back line at Crewe Alexandra. Despite Davis’ best efforts to find ‘the correct’ defence; no back three, back four or even back five seemed to be capable of keeping out the opposition. However, this season has been a different story whilst defending. Turton, Davis, Guthrie, Bakayogo – the consistent back four (from right to left) that the Crewe supporters have started to expect to see week in week out. With no new experienced defenders arriving at Gresty Road, over the summer transfer window, some sections of supporters approached the season negatively with the infamous ‘what’s changed’ argument. Obviously there has been no fresh faces in the back line from last season, but the same players have confidence and belief in themselves – and that makes them look like the fresh faces we didn’t see arrive. We have appeared a solid outfit defensively, forgetting the woes of last season, playing like a back four that can keep any attack at bay.

Last season, I was one of many Crewe Alexandra supporters who, had a defender with some experience on my transfer wish-list. I felt we needed a ‘voice’ at the back, who would bring the ability and leadership that Alan Tate did when he was here at Gresty Road. Tate when he was here managed to organise the back line efficiently, improving the football knowledge and ability of those he played with. However the defence appear to be communicating better this season so far, thus much improved defensive performances also, adding a sense of organisation to the defence.

At the start of this article I wrote, ‘it doesn’t matter how many you score, if you keep conceding you will not get anything from the game’, obviously the statement isn’t that harder concept to understand – most people know that if you concede more than you score you won’t win from a young age. But my message does have a deeper meaning than, the literal sense, that is shown on the surface. It means if your options up front are hindered, as ours are losing Kiwomya, then a good quality back four can suffice and see your team through. It can be interpreted, in the words of the late great Bobby Moore, ‘if you never concede a goal, you’re going to win more games than you lose’ – so even if your offensive options have become limited (as ours have), if you can and do keep a clean sheet, then , if you can and do keep a clean sheet, then you are guaranteed at least a point. Over recent games; Turton, Davis, Guthrie and Bakayogo, have looked confident to keep a clean sheet as well as looking able to. All Crewe Alexandra fans know Ben Garratt’s goalkeeping ability but it didn’t shine through last season, mainly due to the shaky defence and easy opportunities for the opposition. However this season, with a solid and consistent defence, the 22 year old goalkeeper should have some proverbial ‘days off’, which he has undoubtedly earned with his valiant performances over the last few campaigns.