Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The A-League Finals: Sydney vs. Newcastle

There are two ways to play football – either you make the ball do the work or you do the work yourself. You’ll find that less technically gifted teams tend to do the latter.

Whether Sydney is technically able to play good football is unknown, and their first half against Newcastle was based on killing their opposition early. Chasing every single ball, opportunity, player, whatever. Putting lots of pressure on the ball, closing down Newcastle as quickly as possible – essentially not letting Newcastle have any time to play. And the tactic worked. McFlynn successfully shackled Carle out of the first half, and with that the Newcastle midfield was non-existant, forced to attack through Griffiths and Eagleton. I can’t even remember who was on the left for Newcastle… nup… still can’t remember even after looking at the team list!

Covic made an error leading up to Brosque’s goal. He came off his line, but without having made his mind up to commit himself to punching the ball. Instead, he stood between either of the two places he should have been (at the ball or on his line) and effectively took himself out of the play. Goal to Sydney. Also, it was worrying to see two Sydney players spare in the box closest to the goal when the header went it. Where was Newcastle? If Brosque’s goal hadn’t gone in and popped back into play, should it have bounced to the right side of the goal, Sydney would’ve scored anyway.

The Newcastle defence was a shambles, and I hope that they revert to the defence prior to the Melbourne game, when they looked far more stable. The Newcastle defence was barely bothered vs. Melbourne, and so not an accurate measure of the line-up. This means getting rid of Okon… who I’m not a fan of anyway*.

However, the second goal could be put down to a lack of midfield… Milligan begins his run towards the box with about two-thirds of the pitch to go. No-one tracks him. Once he’s in the box, too late. Corica’s ball (which he had plenty of time to deliver) was perfect, and Sydney scored again.

However, things came unstuck for Sydney with the injury to McFlynn. Not that I think McFlynn is a good player (in fact, he’s a psycho in my eyes) – but his role in the team was to prevent Carle from having the ball. When McFlynn was injured and had to come off, Butcher replaced him with Petrovski. 2 goals up and another striker was put on… at this stage, I would have thought that Sydney would tighten the reigns in an effort not to concede any valuable away goals. Furthermore, by putting Petrovski and letting him play up front Carle was now free to have some fun. Put Rodriguez on the park and Newcastle were back to their normal game plan.

Butcher should have kept someone on Carle the whole time. Even if they weren’t as aggressive as McFlynn, someone needed to bother Carle. Van Egmond then added Rodriguez to the mix, taking off Coveny. Newcastle effectively had two more midfielders now than they had in the first half, and Butcher should have done something to put this to a stop. Either Brosque or Petrovski should have been dropped down to the mid-field, and if I had to choose I would’ve gone Petrovski. Brosque is too soft, and lacks the experience that Petrovski has.

Furthermore, Sydney simply were unable to play the kind of ‘football’ they were playing in the first half. As they themselves were doing the work, they ran out of petrol. And when the time came for them to step up to Newcastle, there was little they could do. Newcastle got going again, Rodriguez somehow scores, and the finals are still alive for Newcastle. Throughout all this time, the Newcastle defence was a shambles. Covic still hasn’t settled in by the looks of things, but finals time is not the time to do a Miron and tinker with the team.

Coming soon:
The A-League Finals: Adelaide vs. Melbourne

*Even when he played at that team which I love dearly but am a little ashamed to admit I still go for them considering we’re in a relegation battle at the Championship level – Leeds.


watt said...

Hey mate, thanks for the analysis.

After you cover the Melbourne game I would love to read (if possible) either here or at the forum, how would you lineup on Sunday.

Thanks :)

Kenisha said...

Well said.