Peterborough United have yet to find a formation that works this season and other things we learned from last night’s Carabao Cup exit at Oxford United (August 13).
1) Posh played 4-4-2 against Fleetwood, 4-2-3-1 against Oxford in a League One match and a midfield diamond last night at the Kassam Stadium.
So three games, three formations and three defeats, although there was encouragement to be found in last night’s display, albeit against a much-changed Oxford line-up.
The problem with the diamond is Marcus Maddison’s role. The maverick, yet indispensible, forward has proven over the years to be far more effective in wide roles than in a position behind the front two. It also negates Siriki Dembele’s strengths unless he plays right up top, not the daftest idea while Mo Eisa finds his form.
2) Posh boss Darren Ferguson was surely right to play Eisa last night as the club record signing clearly needs a confidence-boosting goal. He was slightly better, but muffed his two half-chances to score from the edge of the box and was then denied late on by a fine save. I’m not sure Ferguson is the type of manager who feels pressured to play someone just because he’s an expensive purchase so Eisa might be on borrowed time.
3) Posh certainly have some talented younger players. Debutant Serhat Tasdemir wasn’t always involved at the tip of the diamond, but when he was he looked the part with strength, skill and good vision. Posh must hope his calf muscle injury isn’t too serious.
And Harrison Burrows only played 20 minutes - most of them with Posh down to 10 men - on his senior competitive debut, but he really caught the eye, driving forward at every opportunity and always wanting the ball. He almost scored after Posh played a quick free kick into his path. I suspect this will be the first of many appearances.
4) Josh Knight has the energy and the speed to be the perfect midfield foil for George Boyd. If he can just brush up his passing he will be a considerable asset to Posh as they seek to move up the League One table. I’m not sure the midfield diamond suits him though.
5) Twelve changes between two teams shows even League One clubs see the Carabao Cup as a unwanted distraction, but the poor Posh start to the League One season made it a more important game to them than Oxford. Losing, especially undeservedly to a late goal, will hurt.