Following their brilliant showing in last year’s promotion season from the Vanarama National League, in which they amassed 89 points, Leyton Orient will once again be seeking to re-establish themselves as a constant within the Football League after what has been a turbulent few years at the club.
Throughout all the comings and goings at Brisbane Road (made up of over 60 arrivals and departures), one of their players has stayed loyal despite being capable of playing at a higher level than the National League, O’s captain Jobi McAnuff, a seasoned Football League stalwart who is now still going strong at the age of 37.
It is this experience that will be vital if Orient are to stave off the threat of relegation this season, with the O’s so far plundering eight points from a possible 18, with two wins, two draws and two defeats in their first six games.
Interim manager Ross Embleton currently sets his side up in a 3-4-1-2 formation, a team which has thus far not included McAnuff in any of its matchday squads, with their skipper currently missing through injury until around mid-September.
Given that McAnuff has now lost most of his pace that he possessed earlier in his career, it may be best for Embleton to play the 37-year-old in the number 10 role behind the strike partnership of Lee Angol and Conor Wilkinson, as this will allow the midfielder to utilise his creative qualities to greater effect.
It would be more beneficial for the team as a whole if he was deployed in this position rather than his usual left wing role, as the wide position in a 3-4-1-2 formation requires the player to perform a high level of defensive work when out of possession.
Furthermore, if the player performing this role is not defensively disciplined enough, the left side of the back three could become overrun if the oppositions full/wing back performs an overlap of their winger, which would in theory present a two-on-one situation, putting Orient’s left centre half at a disadvantage.
From the number 10 position, Embleton may give McAnuff a free role that allows him to drift into wide areas and provide support too Orient’s wingers, which would allow the the 37-year-old to utilise his strong crossing abilities.
With McAnuff currently out of the side, it will be interesting to see how Embleton aims to utilise the player in a formation that has already caused several issues for the squad defensively this season.