Sydney vs Central Coast - Post Game
Now I am against the sacking of Branko as I think the problems Sydney are experiencing were mostly out of his control, namely the unavailability of players and an extremely under strength and unbalanced squad of players to work with. However, what a difference a week makes! Was I watching the same team on Sunday that I have been watching all season? Well to be fair I actually wasn't, with 4 key personnel and positional changes from last week, the most notable being the signing of Michael Bridges.
Sydney lineup up as follows and to me is probably the strongest lineup and formation that we can possibly offer and it showed on the park.
Zad, Milligan, Corica and Bridges come in and the most note worthy omission being Rudan. Once again it has been proven that Sydney cannot play with a centre back pairing of Rudan and Poppa in any formation. They are just too similar in their physical attributes (The word "Plank" comes to mind...) and style of play. Without Rudan today thanks to a suspension, Poppa actually had quite a solid game and his throughball for Brosque's second was absolutely divine! I also want to give props to Fyfe who cops a lot of shit but really should be included in Sydney's first choice back three every week. His agility, although nothing special was evident tonight and we can thank the guy for keeping Aloisi off the score sheet.
The only issue that I had with Branko was that Sydney still hadn't settled on a formation. With our squad, the 3-5-2 wingback system is in my opinion the strongest that we can offer and I pray to god that Kossie sees this too. Middleby, Zad and "Nick the Greek" (Don't make me pronounce the kids last name please!) all played well and offer us something out wide. I just get the vibe that Zad doesn't like playing there and seems to get fed up with it in the middle of games, throwing his hands on his hips and playing below 100%. Its just his versitility that is keeping him in the starting lineup as he can play on both wings as well as the centre of the park. NtG also handled himself admirably up against the much more solid and experienced Gumprecht when he was given the chance and has to be putting pressure on his teammates for another start.
I am now coming around to the idea of Juninho and Corica working together in the same midfield. Both looked sharp on the ball, either running at defenders or with swift one twos providing a link between defense and attack. I always knew that the midfield was there for something and finally we played the type of football that is good to watch. I couldn't beleive it to be honest and was just in shock and almost in awe of how we were knocking the ball around and actually moving!
Brosque and Bridges can also take a lot of the credit for the 'sexy socca' on show. The way Bridges anticipated the ball and was moving non stop in behind the Mariners defense from the first whistle just reeked of class. I am so pleased with how this signing is turning out. Everyone wants to compare him to Aloisi so I suppose I will join the bandwagon... Bridges > Aloisi. I loved the Cove chanting "What a waste of money, what a waste of money" when Aloisi skewed another shot wide down the Cove end of the field. He heard it straight away and gave us a clap which I thought was good too.
I can't see Kossie making many changes for next week but I think he has to think about the holding midfield position and Talay vs McFlynn. I think its been shown that both at once are not needed in this system but personally I would go with McFlynn. Talay's passing range is better (although only marginally these days) but I think McFlynn is more competent in this area than many give him credit for and with Juninho and Corica around him could be excused if he was a little below par. It is his defensive work in breaking up play where his big plus is and it could be argued that he would have been on hand to shut down Hutchinson before he was allowed to shoot for his two absolutely sublime goals. Worth a thought?
All up, a hectically negative week has ended on a big positive and I am very content with where things are headed right now. Yes its only one game but the signs are there that we can go on with it throughout the rest of the season now. I'm also really excited for my first away trip of the season. I have a uni exam on Saturday morning in Wollongong and am pumped to head up to Newcastle straight after I am done. Wooooo!