Thursday, January 18, 2007


The Crunch, Part 2

So much for Queensland’s issues. Now:

Sydney FC

The limitations of Terry Butcher’s conservative 4-2-3-1 formation have been glaringly apparent in recent weeks.

For a start, Alex Brosque is completely unsuited to a lone striker role. Playing with back to goal is inimical to him, and without the strength to hold the ball up in the face of powerful defenders, he is often forced to drift wide in search of meaningful action.

With David Carney still on the wrong wing and Steve Corica’s age starting to show, Sydney FC have been toothless in the final third. Ufuk Talay, too, has drifted out of form, failing to produce the sort of incisive passes which caused so much damage during Sydney’s impressive mid-season run.

Now, with two regular first-teamers suspended against Queensland, Butcher must find the courage to take some risks.

It’s time for a second striker. Queensland’s defence is eminently fallible, especially with Ognenovski only just returned to the first eleven and McCloughan suspended. With Petrovski still struggling for fitness, the choice should probably fall on David Zdrilic; Brosque would then be given the opportunity to fulfil a supporting role, in which he has looked quite effective at times.

The loss of Mark Milligan for the Suncorp game is a crushing blow, but the suspension to Terry McFlynn may just be a blessing in disguise.

Matt McKay’s absence is likely to draw much of the sting out of Queensland’s midfield. Although most Sydney FC fans have (with good reason, I feel) doubted the ability of Ufuk Talay to play alone in defensive midfield, given his mediocre tackling ability, this is surely the time to try it. A second body up front would also help to relieve Steve Corica of some of his creative responsibilities, allowing him to contribute in a defensive capacity.

A small point to add: there have been some grumbles about the lackadaisical approach to training supposedly adopted by Butcher, and in the last couple of games Sydney have indeed run out of puff in the final half-hour (as, in fact, they have on many occasions this season). Whatever his tactical eccentricities, Littbarski certainly had his men fitter.

If Newcastle prevail against the premiers on Friday, Sydney FC cannot afford to be underdone at Suncorp.

Lack of fitness? Or lack of heart? Whilst it's clear that we are not as fit as last year, I question exactly how much of it is lack of heart. Ufuk Talay's collapse at 60mins last week reeked far more to me of lack of fight than anything else - at least that's how I saw it from the stands at Hindmarsh.

Both teams go in to this one lining up with what will effectively 4-1-3-2 formations, question marks surround the fitness of Sydney's holding player (Talay) and Queensland's more forward midfielder (Murdocca).

Very interested to see if the Brosque/Zdrilla combination does them any good. Brosque has done very well in the past few weeks (on a side note, I should say that Brosque is one of the few players in this league I've found looks totally different on TV than in real life - TV doesn't do his skills and work any justice), and this could well help Zdrilic out as well.

25k+ crowd expected, can't wait to fly up tomorrow.
cannot understand why zdrilic is on the bench and brosque is playing the target man role when brosque would be perfect for corica's role, thus relieving some of the responsibility on corica's shoulders as well

I've seen it on TV, before the match starts when Robbie does his pre-match analysis, but when the match starts...looks like 4-5-1 to me.

With regard to Talay, he's had a ccouple of bad games in an otherwise decent season. And I can't say for sure whether Sydney are as fit as they were last season: I didn't watch them. But one thing is for sure: your thirty-somethings are a year older, were made to look a bit pedestrian by a young Adelaide side.

However, I expect to see you at the finals, Mikey. :-)
I'm also hopeful of having two strikers Mikey. In the first long patch of injuries and suspensions I think the team looked the best when Butcher was forced into putting both Zdrilic and Petrovski on.

I wasn't there at the post-match get-together last weekend when Bolton complained about the lack of heart on the pitch. It's one thing to slack off throughout the year during training, but to slack off during a game? They're professionals. That's just unforgiveable.

I've been thinking about what you said when we bumped into each other just before your furtive korb plotting session (:wink:), and I'm sort of coming around to your point of it being a bit of a blessing if Sydney misses the finals altogether. I would really like to see Newcastle in the finals, they really quite deserve it. Even though a Newcastle loss against Melbourne would have been best for Sydney, I'm thoroughly, thoroughly enjoying Newcastle's complete pumping of Melbourne. They've just scored their fourth! Honestly, if Sydney can't make it, against Qld, to the final on its own back, well that's just that.
ahh yes, also meant to mention, I don't know what sort of controls you have over Blogger, but have you made a change to cache expiry settings? I had to refresh to get your latest post, which I normally haven't had to do.
Last night's result makes things interesting.....My money would be on Qld, who looked good against the Victory last week and will be up for it in front of their biggest ever home crowd.

As a Victory fan, our form has been woeful for a month now and I predict them exiting the finals, whoever they play at the first attempt. Disappointing end to what has been a wonderfulseason....Hope it doesn't happen,but I am convinced it will.
...Last night's result makes things interesting.....My money would be on Qld, who looked good against the Victory last week and will be up for it in front of their biggest ever home crowd....

Not to mention Sydney's new injuries. You'd definitely think Qld can get up.

Well done to the Jets. Although obviously from an SFC point of view I'd have liked Melbourne to get a result, I'm glad to see Newcastle in the finals, they've played some of the best football in the league.

When Carle is on song (as he was last night), he can be devastating and great to watch. Sadly, it still only happens in about one game in three.
Newcastle gave Melbourne a lesson last night. Melbourne individuals also tried to do to much by themselves last night. Theyre limping home badly.

I think tonight's game will be a cracker though now because of the result last night. If i had to put money down i'd put it on Sydney though. Never expect the Roar to do what is expected of them. Especially at home.
...If i had to put money down i'd put it on Sydney though. Never expect the Roar to do what is expected of them. Especially at home....

True, and this season SFC have tended to do better when the backs are against the wall. But with all the backs-to-the-wall spirit in the world, it's going to be tough to overcome the problems: an absent Milligan (and McFlynn), a limping Talay, Hyphen playing his first game in ages, and the general lack of fitness in the squad.

A draw wouldn't surprise me unduly but a SFC win certainly would.
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