Too close for comfort
Ange surprised a lot more than myself with his selections on Saturday it’s fair to say.
On the one hand, we emerged with the points, many players saw game time which is essential for match fitness, and there were lessons galore to be learned.
The young Argentinian proved an able deputy when Master Taylor needs a break, feeding our penalty box specialist can result in a goal even at the very death, and we have a wide player who can come into midfield and look comfortable.
Oh, and Joe Hart can still save games with great saves.
On the other hand, we got the points by the skin of our teeth which won’t always happen, we aren’t finishing teams off by being sloppy especially in the final third, the team can get a bit spooked when put under pressure, and the managers calls were strange to say the least.
Moving from no defensive midfielders to three was strange given it’s not very Ange-like to attempt to shut up shop, the one with arguably the worst ball skills was pushed forward to help the play and flopped, and the players they replaced were playing well, one was MOTM.
It didn’t work, we conceded and nearly dropped two points and there’s huge lessons there.
This team isn’t geared towards that approach and looked poor attempting it.
However moving Hacksabanovic infield reassures me the Greek Australian hasnt departed his attacking football philosophy.
I actually expect the same midfield starters again midweek given it’s a game we must win to progress (don’t blame him for going out on his shield if that happens), and Hacksabanovic showed good drive going forward. It’s almost a Cup Final and Ange did state he would aim to win finals full stop. As such an attacking side shall be named and we clearly attacked best with Reo and Saed on the park. They shall be the beating heart of Midfield Mark 3 now I believe, making a mockery of my previous article.
Eventually though, I see him battling it out with Matt for that position, Calmac and Reo behind.
Midfield Mark 4.
It’s very pleasing Ange saw the potential in moving a player and it paid off, this might tempt him to keep going on that front. It’s pleasing he realized our usual left back was underperforming, and he noticed the usual right back could do with a rest.
Sometimes we can all see team problems, it’s nice to know we’re reading off the same page in that regard.
I’m happy he didn’t stick to his guns and attempt to play his preferred eleven into form, but dipped into the squad. Great, that’s what it’s there for.
I wasn’t amused by his subs though, and I hope that’s the last time he attempts that experiment, brand new trio/system and Maeda when a ball carrier was needed to take the heat off the midfield.
Attack is clearly our best form of defense. Keep it going at all times, use subs to boost the attack and not with the aim of smothering the game.
Speaking of attack, Harry Kewell has his work cut out for him. Our title rivals are scoring more, yet with games coming thick and fast time on the training field is at a minimum.
Right now is when he learns his coin, honing our attackers is his task, and improvement is clearly needed.
That’s his responsibility and we all can’t help but judge based on results.
He’s in the big time now, at a giant club, and must justify his hiring today, not tomorrow, not on paper but on the pitch.
Well folks that’s game number one without the Captain under the belt, after another five we can make a judgement on our new look side.
I just hope it’s not another five heart attacks.
Over to you Bhoys.