Tuesday, October 31, 2006

 

He Who Hesitates

Of all Sydney FC’s woes this season, perhaps none is more puzzling than the hugely disappointing form of Alex Brosque.

Before the season proper, the acquisition from the Roar was in fine fettle. He scored two excellent goals in the pre-season victory over Perth in Wollongong, and was instrumental in other warm-up games.

Comes the A-League, and he has been little more than a passenger for most of the time.

He should perhaps not have been kept on the pitch for the entire game against Newcastle in September, when he had just returned from injury and was far from full effectiveness. I suggested as much at the time, and there is a grim analogy in the fortunes of David Zdrilic last season, rushed back into action before he’d recovered from a pre-season injury, and short of confidence for most of the season thereafter.

And it is confidence, surely, that is at the root of Brosque’s current troubles.

There are those who feel that Terry Butcher has misused him, employing him typically on the left side of midfield rather than in the centre. An interesting debating point (I tend to disagree), but wherever he plays, he seems to encounter the same problems.

At Gosford a couple of weeks ago, I watched as he was released for about half a dozen potential runs at his full-back, only to jog around in circles with the ball, before sending a trivial pass back.

No winger, then? Well, Terry Butcher tried him in the middle on Sunday, and for a while it appeared to be working; he showed excellent control at times, and played a couple of good through-balls.

Yet he faded sadly from view as the game wore on, and there was a moment of rich significance in the 78th minute.

David Zdrilic, bullocking his way down the left, managed to bundle the ball across to Brosque, who was waiting in the centre. A player in form would no doubt have tried a first-time shot, or taken a quick touch before a crack at goal. Instead, Brosque prodded the ball this way and that, desperately searching for the perfect opening, before slicing a poor shot wide of goal.

If there is one word to describe Brosque’s play at present, it is hesitant. And engendering some confidence and urgency in his play should be one of Terry Butcher’s top priorities at the moment; after all, when in form, Brosque is a player capable of turning a game.

Comments:
I always wonder what Litti wanted to do with him...

I was wondering if you were going to say anything about it Mikey, but how great was it to have two strikers on the field for once!
 
Since when has Brosque been any good anyway?

Overrated at Marconi, he was just above average last year. The most ridiculous thing was he won the Fox player of the year, which says alot about there pundits last year. Would the Roar have missed the finals if he'd scored some of the chances he missed in the first two rounds? I doubt it.
 
Funny to think that he was (I think) the highest taker of shots last season...

That said, while he certainly wasn't hesitant then, I do think he was also low on confidence for Queensland much of the time, particularly in about the middle third of the season. He scored one and set up a few early in the season, but as the lack of a target man and natural goal scorer became more and more of a problem, the increasing pressure of goalscoring seemed to get to him and his long-range shooting (a major strength of his, IMO) lost its sharpness. He seemed to lose more and more confidence with every missed/saved shot and opposition clean sheet.

Then one finally went in against the Mariners in round 14, and he had a great end to the season, scoring seven and creating a few more.
 
...I was wondering if you were going to say anything about it Mikey, but how great was it to have two strikers on the field for once!...

Far from the first time it's happened this year, though. Butcher prefers a sort of 4-2-3-1, and when he's had all the players there (which has only happened in pre-season, sad to say), it's actually worked fairly well.

...The most ridiculous thing was he won the Fox player of the year, which says alot about there pundits last year....

They weren't the only ones, though. I'm pretty sure that Back of the Net had him as their player of the year too. He wouldn't have been mine (Beauchamp or Qu for my money), but he certainly did well, although as Hir0 says, he ran a bit hot and cold.

...as the lack of a target man and natural goal scorer became more and more of a problem, the increasing pressure of goalscoring seemed to get to him...

Yeah, this was noticeable. A natural finisher he most definitely ain't.
 
Brosque is just one of all of Sydney's squad not playing to their potential. I wonder why ?
 
Confidence issues, partly caused by the comeback from injury and partly caused by the fact he's been playing with a team of numpties up front for the most part.
Even with two ahead of him (the poor pairing of Zdrilic/Petrovski) he didn't know what to do a lot of the time and struggled. That said - for a "struggle" he put a chance for Zdrilic on a platter in the first half and had a few nice chances early in the second.

I have faith in Brosquinho.
 
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