Monday, January 18, 2010


Absent Alex

It's always a pleasure watching a game of football in the company of Tony Tannous, whose football judgements are so unfailingly accurate. Yesterday, just prior to the start of the Sydney v. Gold Coast encounter, I expressed my view that it would be a close-fought game. Tony grimaced and replied, "Sydney without Brosque...". No more needed to be said.

Of course, he was right. Sydney were badly outplayed and Gold Coast thoroughly deserved their victory, achieved despite a real off-night for the normally deadly Shane Smeltz. Michael Thwaite was commanding in midfield, taking advantage of Steve Corica's traditional late-season decline, and Zenon Caravella was full of ideas beside him. Joel Porter's deciding goal was a beauty.

Yet how much more of a game it would have been had Alex Brosque been fit. The visiting side's central defensive pairing was so manifestly short of pace that the sort of smooth, quick movement that characterised the Brosque-Bridge partnership early in the season would undoubtedly have caused problems. Instead, John Aloisi, too static once again, was easily snuffed out in the target-man role.

Tony made the further observation at half-time that even young Chris Payne would be a better option up front than Aloisi, given Sydney's system of play. Sure enough, when the youngster came on (for Bridge, rather than Aloisi), he made two chances for himself in quick succession, although inexperience and a heavy touch conspired to rob him of the better of the two.

That sluggishness in the final third, which Steve Corica commented on as well, was just as evident against a fading Perth last week. The sad truth is that for as long as Aloisi is in the side, Sydney are immeasurably less mobile up front. As a marquee gamble, the signing of the November 16 hero has failed; at present, Alex Brosque is worth inestimably more to Vitezslav Lavicka's side than the million-dollar man.

The run-in to the finals, and the race for the automatic Asian Champions League spot, now looks a delicious prospect, especially with Melbourne looking so fluent and confident against Perth. Sydney are still a good outside bet, with Brosque to return well before the vital last-round game against Melbourne.

we'll finish 3rd dude.
I dunno, I get the feeling it'll be like Season 1, a big win in the final home game (although we finished 2nd then of course). If we can beat the Tards then, we'll finish top IMO.
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Damnit, you Qlders are always on a sulk. Brosque only ever played up there cause he came back too late. He was always coming back to Sydney. Not our fault Qld is Myopic.

Mikey, we're lacking talend after our first 9 players. And we don't have that dirty mongrel streak of the tards. We didn't lose on Sunday cause of Brosque. We lost because the team we played had a chance to take our top spot. We just don't step up for that shit. We haven't done that ever. There was no reason to change that on Sunday.

If we have a chance to take top spot against the tards in the last round then we'll bottle it imo.
Hey John it could be even could be Canberra fans:)

Mike, you're dreaming, Hilly has it all over you on this one:) Think Sydney have flattered to deceive all season, especially in the final third.

Adam Casey? Could have added something occasionally this season at least a little pace from the bench...who else...Payne?

With Danning gone, although he was hardly used after the first couple of runs, goals etc maybe move Shannon Cole wide midfield, left side.

Sydney need to change something, if they are to get a one/two spot, and it's the sharp end that needs something, needs pace.

Mark Bridge is hardly Usain Bolt either is he?

Still Vitaslav will show if he has that extra something in the last few weeks...after all even Butcher got Sydney into the finals!

Vitaslav hasn't showed much innovation in the final third all season. It took him weeks to see Karol Kisel couldn't play centre midfield when an Aussie blind freddy could see it, and only now is he prepared to bring on Payne..and then what Hayden Foxe!!!

Interestingly he rarely seemed to use Danning although WC and injuries maybe his reasons.

What has our overseas coach being able to produce in the final third? An improved Brosque...that's about it in my view.

Come to think of it, against quality opposition on the weekend, his midfield wasn't so tactically wonderful either was it?

Interesting weeks ahead, especially for the neutral in the only capital city in the world without a football team....
Eamonn - TBH Laviscka largely inherited this squad, along with its hefty wage bill. He's hardly had a chance to put an imprint on this team (i think he had room to bring in 3 players).

On top of that... despite Sydney's ills in the final third (compounded by Aloisi, a Corica who fades in the season and a general lack of variety in attackers), Laviscka has Sydney playing by far the most organised and disciplined football in the league. Sydney, from their list alone, really should not have held top spot for as long as they did.

I have a feeling Sydney will be the team to look out for next season.
The final match of the season should be an absolute cracker - with Melbourne winning of course.

However, there is one thing I have to pick you up on and that is the use of 'T' word to describe my team. Thought you would be above that kind of derrogatory and unsavoury term. Really poor form in my opinion.
fucking tards.
If Tard fans stopped acting like Tards, then we would stop calling them Tards. Maybe.
Eammon - stick to Butcher and 442. You wouldn't know quality if it was starring you in the face.

David - full marks
...However, there is one thing I have to pick you up on and that is the use of 'T' word to describe my team. Thought you would be above that kind of derrogatory and unsavoury term....

Apologies for any offence Neil...certainly none meant. It's become such a shorthand among Syd. fans that I tend to use it automatically.
I too watched on in disbelief as the line-up showed Payne absent, particularly after his lung-busting run that almost won the match away against Perth last time out? (As if to emphasize the difference in mobility he makes to Sydney's front-line)

One can't help but think that Lavicka is being pressured into using Aloisi in order to go some way to justifying that still incredible wage packed he collects - it's bad enough he's not scoring but imagine if he had moved so far down the pecking order so as to become the FOURTH choice striker.

Agreed also on the Brosque sentiments: Sydney's lack of width and invention without him is a testament to the form he's been in this season.

And the Gold Coast still retain the league's slowest and one of it's most susceptible back-lines ;)
I don't know why they have not reverted back to the 4-2-3-1 they were playing earlier in the Season with Aloisi as the "target" man.. that appeared to work reasonably effectively (If Aloisi has to be in the team).

The main problem against Gold Coast was the midfield, not the strikers. Musalik is too much of a passenger now, McFlynn has to move from the left wing, Corica needs to be a striker (or supporting them more closely). At least flatten the midfield out bring Cole back up to the wing where he belongs and put one of the young headless chooks on the other wing with McFlynn and Kisel in the middle. There also is still not enough movement off the ball and moving into space.

But, after finally seeing Gold Coast play live (why so long FFA??) - they have a lot of very good talent and probably deserve beat us and be top of the table.
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