In Ange,We Trust!
Looking back to Saturday gives me a warm glow,even if I wasn’t over the door once I got back from work in the morning. Our first half performance especially was simply a joy to behold. As of course was the pleasure evident from the players with each of the goals.
The highlight was clearly the hat-trick from G-Mak,his second in succession at our famous ground. That is the first time such a feat his been achieved since Henrik in our Seville season,and while we all know what is said about comparisons,Giorgios is showing us all that he has no fear of wearing our treasured number seven jersey. Not only does it not shrink to fit inferior players,but he is filling it handsomely and doing it-and himself-justice.
Of course,it wasn’t a one-man show. Far from it. Gio’s talent for goals has to be matched by the talent of others to provide the ammunition for him. That’s the thing about our team-that it IS a team! No longer are we a bunch of individuals,this is a group of players who know how to play for the collective,and they celebrate each goal as though they themselves have scored it.
Another “striking” feature about Saturday’s goals was that all of them came from us winning our aerial encounters. The first was a towering header by G-Mak,far post from a Jota cross and reminiscent of Chris Sutton and John Hartson in their prime. The second came about when Maeda made space for himself in the box to get on another far post cross,this time from JJ. The keeper saved that effort,and also the follow up from G-Mak,but could do nothing about the third header when the latter put it in the only available spot for him.
The third was a whiplash quick reaction from Maeda to whip home after his partner had won the first header,while the fourth,a spot kick,came about from concerted pressure from us in their box as they attempted to head clear from another cross.
We are really not in the business of allowing ourselves anymore to be bullied in either box,and that is a really good feeling. No more shutting our eyes at our end,or preparing to be frustrated at theirs when we pump the ball aimlessly into the danger area. We are a work in progress,but that progress to date has been swift.
Watching G-Mak’s second goal again reminded me of another striker from our glorious past. And one goal in particular. I can’t remember which game,just that it was one of the times we put six past Hibs in a final,with Dixie Deans scoring a hat trick each time. Jinky tried to hit it from the edge of the area but it was heading for the corner flag until Dixie flung himself at it,turning Jinky’s effort into a lovely assist as the ball bulleted home. A great reaction header,no time to watch the ball coming and figure out where to put it-though G-Mak clearly thought about his on Saturday!
So what do we have in this man? Is it a clone of BBJ,KoK,The Evil Genius,or Dixie? Well,of the four,I’d be inclined to go for the latter. Dixie was very much a pipe and slippers type who only came alive inside the penalty box,and while our current number seven has more to offer than that,and is more than willing to play his part from wider or deeper positions,we now know where he is best suited.
All of which throws Ange somewhat of a dilemma. Because we already have a star striker in Kyogo. And with his return to fitness looking likely after this international break,AP has to consider how best to use him,G-Mak and Maeda. Both of our Japanese Bhoys look well capable of being Impact subs,and the possibility of rotating them is a mouth-watering prospect. Which defenders would like to face either of them coming on fresh after an hour and trying to take them on when the other has already given them twisted blood? Or the battering ram of a hungry G-Mak,eager to remind the boss what he is capable of? But MAHE made another observation on Monday which AP will have to consider-that Gio doesn’t look like the kind of player well suited to being a bit part player.
His form demands that he starts every week. His performances suggest that he will reward the manager for providing him the platform. His style hints that he needs regular game time. But Kyogo was a first pick every time for us before his injuries hamstrung his season,and Maeda is just a bundle of unstoppable energy,and no little skill.
But this is the equivalent of a first-world problem,and one that AP will be glad to have. It sure makes a change from the problems he faced when he first joined,when we could barely buy a goal. Our form since Christmas has been revelatory,putting a huge smile on the faces of the fans and the players. Whichever decision Ange makes will be made for the betterment of the side,and without much thought for simply keeping the players happy. That part is down to his own man-management skills,and I’m confident he is well-enough equipped there to succeed.
GARRY,much missed,used to say-“In Ange,we trust!” And indeed we do.
Above article by BMCUWP
Sent from my iPad