Sunday, December 16, 2007


Blunders for the Boss

At last night's press conference following the Sydney v. Perth game, I asked John Kosmina whether he felt "his younger players" had succumbed to nerves to some extent with the new national team boss in the stands. When he gave a tentative negative and challenged me to name names, I brought up the uncharacteristic defensive errors of Mark Milligan in the first half. Yes, Mark had an off-game, he replied (in effect). It happens. The idea that stage fright might have had an effect was deftly brushed aside, and no mention was made of the other obvious candidate, Alex Brosque.

In both the games that Pim Verbeek has attended so far, certain players who have been widely tipped to gain a place in what amounts to an A-League all-stars side for February 6 have faltered.

Although John Aloisi - everyone's choice for the frontman role against Qatar - scored a good goal against Adelaide on Friday night, his finishing was frankly dismal at other times. He did, of course, regularly manage to get into scoring positions, which counts for a great deal, but this was not the predatory Aloisi of the last couple of months. It was somewhat amusing, in fact, to hear Simon Hill and Robbie Slater continually talk up Aloisi as he missed chance after chance.

If Graham Arnold can manage to get a few words in Verbeek's ear, Kristian Sarkies will surely be one of the players the Dutchman will be keeping an eye on. And Sarkies, too, had quite a poor game against the Mariners, offering little penetration throughout.

Then to Sydney, and a player who features in nearly everyone's A-League eleven: Mark Milligan. So, a trivial turnover in the back third, followed by a maladroit attempt at a tackle, and then a badly-judged vertical short pass to a closely-covered Terry McFlynn only a minute later...both indiscretions costing a goal. Two of the worst mistakes that Milligan has made this season.

Alex Brosque, at the other end, must surely be pushing for a place in the squad for Qatar after a prolific, effective A-League season. Last night, the finishing touch that has served him so well of late deserted him; three good chances were squandered, although one could say, as with Aloisi, that at least he was there to make them.

Milligan can at least console himself with the thought that he wasn't the only defender to make a costly error in possession, with the habitually over-elaborate Hayden Foxe gifting Sydney FC a consolation goal in typical fashion.

Billy Celeski couldn't have scored his hat-trick at a better time, though.

Fox see the business side of talking up Aloisi. And he comes across well post match. But most of all, he is on the winning side. You can't beat that. Ask Robinson late of the Victory final last year and now with bottom placed Perth.
It will be very interesting to see who becomes part of the HAL train-on squad, whether Arnold and Baan's influence (or even Aussie Guus)is reflected and how much it will change in the future.

This is perhaps one time I'd like some of the Arnold favourites to still get the nod. Celeski of all players actually playing for the Socceroos (at the minute) is one step too far.
What's this I hear about Bolton not telling Kossie about his injury, and Kossie having a go at him at the PC?

Might be Necevski time methinks.
I took my boys down the club to watch the match and was quite impressed with both Celeski, who I hadn't even heard of, and Rizzo.

Sydney are quite dissapointing.
To be honest Brosque should have had a hatrick. He is over-rated.

Aloisi is good against lowly rated opponents but like he showed against Italy is poor value agaist decent opposition. ( Why didn't Guus try Archie and his pace !!)

the key to winning against qatar is being in camp and preparing.

Choose the squad early
Let's face it, Mikey, the shadow of Lou Sticca is still cast over Sydney. McFlynn and Fyfe are two of the most worthless players week-on-week that you will ever see, but what can you do? Add the now hilarious parody that Dzrillic is, and Brosque who, as I keep saying is lightweight, and there's a third of a team with little to no bite.

With a marquee that's semi-permanently crocked, Milligan who is also flaky and temperamental and an ageing Corica...just how is Walter Bugno now viewed in the Cove
...Let's face it, Mikey, the shadow of Lou Sticca is still cast over Sydney...

FWIW, Mark Rudan just alluded to that (very cagily) in an interview with Paul Williams on 2KY.

Yep, the recruitment in V1 was of the short-term gratification variety, I think everyone acknowledges that now. Brosque has shown this season that he's not pushed off the ball as easily as he once was, but the rest of your assessments aren't too far off.

...just how is Walter Bugno now viewed in the Cove?...

I'll let Grant or Jaza field that one.
In case anyone's interested, that exchange between pesky Football Tragic and Kossie that I referred to early in this post can be found about a minute and a half into this (TFT's comments hardly audible, but the gist should be clear from Kossie's responses... ;-) ).
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