Friday, April 27, 2007


Donkey No Longer - update

Branko Culina has made some interesting comments in the wake of Sydney FC's victory over Persik Kediri on Wednesday night, partly with reference to his club's quest to secure the signature of Phillip Cocu.

There are many who feel that David Zdrilic, who is playing his way back into form, would benefit from having a genuine strike partner beside him. Alex Brosque joined Zdrilic up front on Wednesday - the second time the two have started together in attack - but the combination didn't quite click initially.

Yet Culina has defended his decision not to make a marquee striker his immediate priority:

"In 1996, I went to Europe looking for a striker because we were struggling to score goals, and came back with a midfielder [Kresimir Marusic]. The next season, David couldn't stop scoring because the mix was right.

"I know everybody thinks our next marquee player should be a striker, but why do you think I like [Dutch midfielder] Phillip Cocu? Because I can see the same thing happening again."

He certainly has a point, although Zdrilic circa 2007 is probably not the same goal-scoring force as Zdrilic circa 1996.

Zdrilic's play is somewhat similar now to that of his contemporary Mark Viduka. He holds the ball up well, lays it off without ado, and always poses an aerial threat (just ask Ben Kennedy).

It was a pity, in a way, that Sydney's first two games with Alex Brosque as the lone striker were wins; Terry Butcher subsequently, and mistakenly, stuck with Brosque in a target-man role for which he had no real aptitude, and the team's form fell away. In the meantime, Zdrilic was restricted to bit parts once again.

He has, in fact, never had a really decent run in the first team since the 2005/06 pre-season, in which he was superb. Under Culina, all the signs are that he will be the first name on the team-sheet.

Wednesday night was perhaps the best we have seen Zdrilic play since that nascent pre-A-League period, when he and Saso Petrovski made such a smooth, potent striking combination. Whether he is partnered up front next season by Alex Brosque, a new marquee player or no-one at all, I feel that Sydney FC fans can expect a great deal more from him than they have seen thus far.

When he was at Aberdeen I remember the criticisms of him being of the same sort. That he looks like he should be dangerous but never actually was - all the other things he did weren't enough to compensate for what they were looking for in a striker.

But they were Aberdeen scum so what would they know?
One of the biggest problems over the last 24 odd months has been the perpetual use of one lone striker by several coaches.

You need a special to do that, and we're probably never going to be in the position to do that.

Zdrilic has several qualities that would endear him to a support striker. He has presence, an aerial ability, a fairly good pass, thou his touch can be lacking and a willingness to work really farken hard for the team.

The biggest tragedy of the team in it's existence is Zdrilic injurying himself in the ver1 pre-season, being brought back to soon and never developing that relationship he had with petro.

Yorke complicated that matter.

Zdrilic + Petro could have been something very good. Up there with Zdrilic + Milicic in 97.

And I don't think people realise how badly losing Petro could effect us.
Lets not get carried away, he wasn't exactly playing against the best aerial defence around...

...who knows maybe he'll surprise me and pull off a Danny Allsopp
Another example:

Danny Allsop season 1: could not score to safe his life.

Danny Allsop season 2: most prolific strker in the league.

The difference: Fred.
Good piece Mikey.

I've always believed Zdrilic would benefit from a suitable formation and a proper run of full games, which he has not had at SFC.

I must admit that my doubts about the likelihood of him ever performing well, even with a decent run of games, have crept to the forefront of my mind as time has gone on.

Let's hope Culina can get the best out of Zdrilic.

Who knows? A rejuvenated Zdrilic could be, to coin an old football cliche, like a new signing. Another Allsopp perhaps?

Everybody experiences times of monetary pain. In many cases, we hurry to end this wretchedness and move beyond the circumstance at the earliest opportunity.
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