Friday, June 16, 2006

After Watching The England Game Once Again....

Disclaimer: I'm not a master tactician or as inspiring as..Svennis, but from reading various articles on tactics over the years, listening to sound commentators (not John Motson) and playing a little FM, I have at least a little bit of knowledge about the tactics and formation in football. So you can agree or disagree with me with the post below. Thankyouuuu.

England's Problems

The English have undoubtedly, the best football league in Europe, or maybe even in the world, but seriously, what's going on with the England side? A side consisting of Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney surely is going to be the ultimate world beater? On paper, they looked brilliant and much, much more balanced than the Brazillians. But why they seemed to struggle in matches even though the opponents were Paraguay and T&T ? Well, I can give you a few factors, like the weather, the attitude of the players and maybe even the fans. But now most importantly, let's look at the way they play and their flaws.

Strikers & Forwards...:

The Italians have Luca Toni, Vincenzo Iaquinta, Alberto Gilardino, Fillippo Inzaghi, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero in the striker's departmet. The Argies have Lionel Messi, Javier Saviola, Hernan Crespo and Carlos Tevez. The English? Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen......Peter Crouch..............Theo Walcott....who? Yes, you could see the problem there, don't you? The lack of quality strikers. The Italians looked the best on paper as they have both Totti and Del Piero that can play as midfielder and striker alike. The Argies have a young strike force, but Messi seemed like the next Maradona and playing week in week out for Barcelona, he must something quite special. Hernan is one of the most potent finisher in the business and Tevez will be one of the best striker in the future.

What about England? Wayne Rooney just recovered from the foot injury and he will take another 3-4 games at least to regain his match fitness. Last night he was pretty active and does quite alot of running, but his lack of fitness is evident. What about Owen? It seemed like his career has gone downhill since that wonder strike in 1998 World Cup. Also just returning from injury, he looked jaded, lacking fitness and was a passenger throughout the game. Peter Crouch might have scored last night to save England, but I'm afraid he is far, far too inexperienced to play in the World Cup. His miss in the first half was an evidence of him lacking in composure and experience.

But credits to him, he worked his socks off throughout the game and never gave up. What about Theo Walcott then? Unknown quantity? Dear lord, even Svennis admitted he never seen him play. So why bring him to Germany when he's not even gonna get a game against T&T? Might as well bring in Dean Ashton, Harewood, Bent or even Defoe? Huge mistake.

Chronic Lack Of Width:

David Beckham used to be one of the most potent winger in the modern game. His crosses were a menace for the defending team and his crosses were the reason why ManYoo was so dominant back then. But over the years, especially after having the captain's armband, he seemed to drift everywhere he wants andnot playing the role he used to excel anymore. He
might have lost a yard of his pace over the years, but he would still make a brilliant winger I think. This is something that puzzles me. Is this problem because of Beckham's tactical naivity, or Sven's tactics? I believe it's Sven's tactics. On paper, it looks like Beckham's gonna play on the right wing, but have a little closer look the next time. He looks like he's playing almost everywhere and spraying 40 yards ball all over the place for Owen to chase.

Again if Sven's the one that made him the free-role man, let's take a look at other competitor's. Argentina's playmaker is Juan Roman Riquelme, and they have a back up in Pablo Aimar, who ain't too shabby. The Italians have the privilege of fielding 2 playmakers even, Totti and Del Piero. How do you define a playmaker actually. He's the one spark of brilliance, the one who dictates the tempo of the game and bringing as many players into the game as possible. But Beckham, as far as I'm concerned, is definitely not a playmaker, and should never play a free role. His constant
drifting here and there empties the right wing to only Gary Neville and if it ends up like yesterday, when Neviller gets injured and got replaced by Carragher, you know your right wing will be paralysed, as we all know Carragher is not known for bombing down the wings. Stick Becks on the right and that's it.

The left wing looks quite bad as well. Joe Cole is not a winger, and a right footer playing left wing is not the best option, isn't it? What Joe Cole mostly does is to take the ball, do a few side steps then cut back in on his right foot. It's getting predictable and you could see that the T&T right-back was constantly ready for his cut-back. His cut-back might be useful for left-back Ashley Cole, who's reknown for his runs from deep. But as an Arsenal defender, we know they love to play ground football and even though they have the chance to cross, they would play it along the ground. Now suddenly, he will have to adapt to the presence of Peter Crouch and cross it a little higher. We could all see he was not used to it at all and had a few stray crosses here and there. All these little problems adds up and you could say the wide players are somewhat paralysed and couldn't provide anything for the strikers. To be honest, England looks MUCH better with Lennon in the side as he proves to be a thorn in the T&T defence. THAT'S width.

No Width? Long Ball Then.....

So, the previous problems leads on to the other. Because the midfielders have no players to spread the ball, they all pass it long for the 2 strikers up front to pick up the scrapes. There were a few instances where Beckham keeps passing it long over the head of Gerrard and Lampard to Joe Cole. Well, you have FOUR midfielders and the long balls made it looked like you have only TWO. By playing long ball, you're effectively taking players out of the game and make them look stupid. But as I've said, they can't do anything about it because England lacked width and therefore even if Gerrard or Lampard were to bring the ball forward, there wont be anyone there to help spread the defence out and especially when you're against a team with at least 6 players behind the ball, the lack of width is never gonna help.

Well, long ball does help sometimes, against stubborn defences or defences who have high defense line. But how much height are there in the England squad. Peter Crouch might be 2.01m tall, but lacks the strength of Luca Toni or Adriano and therefore gets out-muscled often. Owen? He lost lots of pace over the years and looks abit disinterested. Long ball for him is useless nowadays especially when the defence sits so deep. Last night we witness Beckham, Gerrrard and Lampard spraying passes for Joe Cole and Owen to run on to, or Crouch to try a knock down. But effective? No. In actual fact, it gave the T&T defenders an easier task.

Gerrard & Lampard...

The age-old arguement of whether Gerrard > Lamps or the other way round.

It's a difficult decision to make and I'm not going to make my stand yet, but bringing in a defensive midfielder WILL certainly help England. Currently, Gerrard is being asked
to play at a deeper position and his attacking potence were undermined greatly. His runs from deep into the box and all those marauding runs seemed to disappear with him wearing the England shirt isn't it? Sometimes you hope there will be someone there to hit a volley or cannonball when the ball goes loose outside the box. Bringing on a defensive midfielder will not affect the attacking potency of England, but in fact it will increase the potency.

Remember the Champions League Final '05, when Liverpool was trailing 0-3 to Milan? Gerrard was playing with Alonso and had a hard time, as they struggled to contain Kaka. But once we brought on Hamann, things start to change and the rest as said, was history. In the first half, Gerrard was somewhat torned in two, whether to attack Milan? Or help defend against Kaka? A player however good, should never do two tasks at the same time and therefore the presence of Hamann brought assurance to Gerrard and a license to have a go at Milan. It paid off isn't it?

Defensive Midfielder, We Have None....

Easier said than done. Put a defensive midfielder in an problem solved? No. Does England have a quality defensive midfielder? Again the problem is England's best defensive midfielder is...yes, Gerrard. But as I have mentioned previously, release Gerrard and let him run. Italians have Gattuso, Pirlo and De Rossi. Argies have Mascherano, Cambiasso and the French have Makalele and Vieira. England? Michael Carrick....Jermaine Jenas and........Owen 'Cannuck' Hargreaves (ha ha ha). So much 'quality' eh? No. But you can't blame anyone isn't it. It's a sad fact that the England First Xi is rather strong but when it comes the sub lacks depth and might be the biggest downfall for the most talented squad in England's history.


Maybe it's just not Svennis' fault totally, that he can't get the best out of certain players. But its worrying to see that the England squad lacks depth and players in certain position. They do not have a outrigt left winger and most importantly, a holding midfielder. That will surely undermine England's potential and might prove to be the biggest downfall.

But with some good luck and hard work, I believe England is still strong enough to win the WC. Serious! Why not let me cover England's strength tomorrow? Oh yes, I will.


Anonymous said...

nice one,Carrick should start and let Frank come off the bench.that allows Gerrard to get foward and have a very good option comin' off the bench.they will face either Ecuador/Germany if they get past that then they face a tough one.

1B v 2A Match 51
1D v 2C Match 52
Winner Match 51 v Winner Match 52


Drogballs said...

yea the thing is whether Sven's got the balls to drop Lampard or not. Hmm, maybe not haha. Ecuador's not gonna be any pushover as well..I think England might have a hard time playing against paced and athletic.