Would agree with the op, in fact attack wise our plan used to be to have the wide players hug the touchlines and the mid partner of bannan (or whoever chosen, hopefully Luongo) to gain adequate space to do so. This is in order for the counter diagonal wing attacks to happen, who then cut inside more often than not and influence the game. For that to be less than predictable it needs a target man or link player with a goal/aerial threat.
So it was effectively a 50/50 choice for opposition which meant this was sucessful before. The downside was when we are at home the onus is on us to control so this I think was why we were so prolific away upto and including the Brighton FA cup game. Fletcher was perfect foil because of his strength, intelligence, aerial threat, ball retention and all round link up play.
Tonight though, it was difficult to see the patterns or attacking intent in the 1st half, I did feel the intent was to be more patient but it was the wrong call, he needed strength and ball retentionn as a means to stop the high frequency of turnovers in our attacking phase. Nuhiu was maybe the best option for this as with Harris and Murphy outside to support. He got it horribly wrong 1st half.
The main issue going forwards?
The downside is our main cb (Lees) and both goalkeepers cant pass accurately through a low to moderate amount of pressing with reliability at all. I think this is why Bannan has to sit so deep and be protected by his partner, in order to execute the attack with any real purpose.
For me, Borner or Hutchinson is much more reliable with this as is Iorfa so should start, in order to get Bannan a higher starting postion in order to dictate play 5 yards futher forward or so. It is because of Lees (as good as his defensive work is) the team in a defensive phase has to adjust its set up a lot in order to reduce the risk of losing possesion or exposing the final 3rd too frequently.