Wednesday, September 06, 2006
The B Formation
One hopes, not without much conviction, that Australia will start a game with two strikers, for once. The addition of Brett Holman at half-time in the Bahrain game in March had a distinctly positive effect on Graham Arnold’s side; Aloisi and Holman would surely be a workable front pairing.
If it is not to be, then Arnold should at least include one genuine winger in the front three. Ahmad Elrich has not garnered much game time since his return to the English Premiership, but he is perhaps worth a start if Arnold is determined to stick to the Hiddink 3-4-3 (which was more often, in effect, 3-6-1). Mile Sterjovski would be another good option out wide.
Josip Skoko and Luke Wilkshire made an effective midfield partnership against Bahrain, and both will probably start the game on Wednesday. Jason Culina’s late withdrawal may result in Scott Chipperfield being used on the left side of midfield, rather than in a back three. In Germany, Chipperfield proved that he could operate effectively almost anywhere.
There are plenty of options in central defence. Patrick Kisnorbo has continued to impress in the English Championship, Ljubo Milicevic was considered a sure-fire international until his omission from the World Cup squad, and Jon McKain has, intermittently, shown some good form in the green and gold. Michael Beauchamp has not had much recent match practice, but Arnold will surely remember his impressive showing against Bahrain.
Beauchamp and Kisnorbo for me, or, in the likely event that Arnold prefers a central three, Milicevic in between the two.
Nick Ward is worth some game time as a substitute, surely. He has made a bright start at QPR, and should make an effective late replacement for Josip Skoko, whose quality is undiminished but whose stamina is not what it once was.
It will be very interesting to see how the team performs if they're not in 4-4-2. Not long to go now!
A better question for mine is why we need to cling religiously to that formation at all. Tonight's game was a classic example of it not working, TBH.
Mind you, the fact that no Oz player seemed to be able to get a shot on target didn't help.