Monday, August 27, 2007

Sydney vs Central Coast - Post Game

The EPL starting a few weeks ago wet my appetite for football again but the A-League is what I have been waiting for. There is nothing like going to the ground and being a part of it all. I live for this and boy is it great to be back!

Sydney started with the back four that I was dreading. We somehow forgot to buy fullbacks and if we are to play a back 4 then we have to use a defensive midfielder at right fullback or an attacking midfielder or centre back at left fullback. Mcflynn is a ball winning extrordinaire but along with the general hack that is Ian Fyfe, was caught out time and time again. All up, the first half formation looked as follows with Biddle pushing further forward down the flank and Corica and Juninho both taking a much more central role in midfield:


New signing Biddle looked a little out of his depth. He showed there is a lot of potential there, especially on one occasion when he cut inside, making a fool of his defender and then putting a good cross in. Just at other times he failed to find feet with his passes and was dispossessed a few times. He just needs a little more time I think but the future looks bright for the kid.

Corica and Juninho showed that they can work in the middle of the park together, however at times in a messy midfield Juninho seemed to be pushed wide, with Corica filling his role. During the second half after a formation change which allowed them a lot more space let them both move and get on the ball a lot more centrally where they are naturally class.

Central Coast went 1-0 up early after Sydney tried to play it out of the back and lost possession in an unforgivable area. I don’t think the goal was down to the defensive formation but as I mentioned before, we were caught out on the flanks time and time again.

I was happy that Branko saw it was not working and changed things up at half time. There is nothing worse than a manager who refuses to tinker with anything. We went to a back 3 with wingbacks, taking off Biddle for Zadkovich and pushing Mcflynn up into midfield. It was something like as follows:


The second half saw Sydney dominate for basically the whole 45 minutes but the same old same old was evident where we have no one to put the ball into the back of the net. Could Patrick, the unknown, mystery Brazilian be the answer to this problem? God I hope so…. Central Coast sat back and did the job asked of them in defense. Didn’t make for the prettiest game to watch but a strong tactical performance from the Coasties none the less. Well done to them.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Iraq vs Olyroos

were the better team and in the conditions last night a draw was definitely the result we were looking for. By all reports, it wasn't as hot as it could have been but the lads sure looked to handle the conditions a lot more professionally than the senior team did at the Asian Cup, worked their arses off in defense when they didn't have the ball and always tried to keep it when they did. Through the stream I was watching, you could hear Arnold screaming everytime we gained possession for us to "keep it, keep it!!" The team responded well and we played good possession football in a tough environment away from home.

We seemed to line up something like this:


Al Jazeera are reporting here that we played a 4-1-4-1 but I think Burns was playing a lot further forward than this suggests. Williams was also pushing right up down the wings but you could again hear Arnold telling him to work in defense and track back. For a kid thats playing in the icy conditions of Denmark, to play the full 90 mins in these conditions with the workload he carried I take my hat off to him. By the second half it was also very noticeable that Zadkovic was always drifting into the centre but this could also have been tactical as Arnold proceeded to sub Burns for a deeper playing Vidosic and Zadkovic for the central midfielder Kilkenny to fill up the midfield. Arnold told Kilkenny to 'take Zads position in left midfield' and 'to get on the ball a lot more.' He did well in the limited game time he had and I really want to see more of him. Looks like a top talent.

At the back, Leijer and Spiranovic looked good. I'm so happy that Spiranovic was picked for this. He is so composed on the ball and his distribution from the back is top notch. Just hope he doesn't go to West Ham for money *cough*.... Leijer didn't stand out but in defense I will take that as a good thing. A tidy performance except for a tackle he lunged into just outside the box right on half time and gave away a foul. Heart in mouth stuff there!

In Midfield Musialik and especially Ward used the ball well. God I hate seeing Ward's talent rotting in the reserves of QPR. He was close to man of the match in my opinion. Put in for the whole game and some of his throughballs and distribution was pure class. Looked good when he ran at defenders too which I was happy he would do, beating his man and then passing it off into the space he just created. Perfectly executed possession football by a skillful player. As I said before, Zadkovic was almost an extra centre mid as well, providing his usual quality attacking runs but also his stupid shots that have absolutely no hope of even getting close.

The Attackers of Burns, the target man Djite and the wide midfielder Williams looked the goods. As a Sydney fan in the A-League I am terrified of Burns and Djite playing week in week out at Adelaide but as an Australian I'm loving it! Burns is pure class, consitantly wanting to get the ball at his feet and beat his man. Crossing could have been better by all involved but when isn't that the case with Australian football? Same can be said for Dave Williams in attack, who again, as I said before worked his arse off tracking back too. Djite could have easily had a penalty midway through the 2nd half but the Chinese reff turned him down. It was the end of a beautiful attacking move where I think it was Ward who ran left to right across the box, dragging the defenders across while Djite timed his run from right to left, slicing through the defense to be one on one with the keeper. Djite went to go around the keeper and kind of let his legs hit the keeper who slid in. Djite did overdramatise it but lets just say we have all seen penalties given for softer things.

We need to get the job done at home so we can afford slip ups in the tough away ties. Our upcoming fixtures in Sydney time are as follows:

Saturday Sep 8, 7pm, Olyroos vs DPR Korea - Energy Australia Stadium, Newcastle
Wednesday Sep 12, 7pm Olyroos vs Lebanon - Blue Tongue Stadium, Central Coast
Thursday Oct 18, 1am Lebanon vs Olyroos - Beirut Municipal Stadium, Beirut
Saturday Nov 17, 7pm Olyroos vs Iraq - Blue Tongue Stadium, Central Coast
Wednesday Nov 21, 5pm DPR Korea vs Olyroos - Kim Il Sung Stadium, Pyongyang

We definitely have the skill to do well and with Baan coming back to coach the side for the next few matches while Arnold handles the senior teams upcoming friendlies, things are looking good.