Thursday, October 05, 2006

A-League team of the week, round six

ROUND six was definitely one for the attackers, with 14 goals in total, the highest return of the season, but it also featured some good defending and midfield play, especially from the Perth Glory. No surprise than to find four of its players in this weeks line-up, and, in truth, they could have had more, with the likes of Stuart Young, Bobby Despotovski, Leo Bertos and Simon Colosimo unlucky to miss out. Melbourne is again well-represented, with three players, as are Sydney FC, who finally managed to hit form away to their old sparring partner Adelaide. With two creators in Fred and Benito Carbone having such influential games, the width in this week’s 3-4-3 formation comes from the midfield;

Clint Bolton, SFC, keeper; after a number of disappointing performances since his great start to the season against the Mariners, Bolton, like his team, was back to his re-assuring best in Adelaide, making a couple of a crucial one-on-one stops, including a memorable one to deny Travis Dodd when the score was still 0-0. Could do little about Nathan Burns’ wonderful equaliser, but after some shaky moments of late, will just be happy to have made a contribution to Sydney's win.

Neil Emblen, NZK, right stopper; in a losing side and in a terrible game, there were few better performers on the field. Whether it was his pushing forward to create an extra number in midfield or his efforts at the set piece, Emblen at least tried to keep the ball on the ground and play some constructive stuff.

David Tarka, PG, central defender; shifted infield by the absence of Ante Kovacevic, Tarka was a colossus in helping Perth keep only its second clean sheet of the season and is slowly regaining the form that once had him earmarked as a regular Socceroo. Controlling Mark Bridge, he was as good stepping out of the defensive line as he was at providing cover when Naum Sekoulovski ventured forward.

Naum Sekoulovski, PG, left back; shifted to left back for the first time this season, he did a solid job defensively and made some surging contributions going forward, combining well with Stan Lazaridis to dominate the left flank. Jade North made little impression against these two.

Ruben Zadkovich, SFC, right midfield; superb first half hugging the right hand touchline and giving Aaron Goulding and Greg Owens a torrid time with his busy workrate and neat work on the ball. As the half drew on, he started drifting infield, his mobility too much for Adelaide to deal with, particularly when he timed a nice diagonal run across the Adelaide defence and got himself on the end of a lovely Benito Carbone clip. Did so well he gets the gig on the right ahead of Leo Bertos, who had another impressive outing for the Glory.

Kevin Muscat, MV, central midfield; almost seems an ever-present in the team of the week, this was another valuable contribution from the Victory skipper, dominating the crucial midfield area once again and bagging himself two more penalties, both clinically taken. Confidence ridding high, Muscat is now the leading all-time A-League scorer on 12 goals (six from six this year to go with his six goals last year), remarkable. While 10 have come from the spot, his 100% record is top-notch.

Adrian Webster, PG, central midfield; getting his second consecutive start alongside Simon Colosimo, this was the Kiwi’s best contribution in the A-League to date. Working tirelessly with Colosimo to shut down the space for Nick Carle and Milton Rodriguez, Webster also did some good things on the ball, feeding the likes of Bobby Despotovski, Stan Lazaridis and Leo Bertos early, allowing the Glory to pin back Newcastle.

Stan Lazaridis, PG, left midfield; after missing the trip to Adelaide and a quiet return last week, Lazaridis was back to his driving best, combining beautifully with Sekoulovski and Despotovski to keep the Jets on the back-foot. His link-up play with Colosimo and Despotovski was easy on the eye and it is brilliant to see this Socceroos great having an immediate impact in the A-League.

Fred, MV, attacking central midfield; playing off both Danny Allsopp and Archie Thompson, Fred reproduced the brilliant form he displayed on debut in round one, scoring one and setting up another with his quick feet, strong workrate and composure in and around the box. While the other two Brazilian imports, Claudinho and Alessandro, appear, at this stage, on the periphery of Ernie Merrick’s thoughts, his decision to rush Fred straight back into the starting 11, at the expense of Kristian Sarkies, shows just how highly Merrick rates him, and he didn’t let his manager down. His first goal was wonderfully taken, showing an instant understanding with Archie Thompson, but one sublime second half flick over Stuart McLaren, which he subsequently volleyed against the post, will live in the memory.

Benito Carbone, SFC, attacking central midfield; playing directly off David Zdrilic, the little Italian made an amazing A-League debut, toying and terrorised Adelaide at Hindmarsh. A football brain, he demanded the ball early, and while it wasn’t always delivered at the right time, when he did get it, he proved he still knows how to use it, playing two memorable final balls and clinically putting away Sydney’s fourth. Proving he is as fit as anyone going around, his movement and work ethic were the stuff of a top-notch professional. If first impressions are anything, Sydney and the A-League will benefit immensely from his presence.

Archie Thompson, MV, striker; with creators Fred and Carbone so influential, only room for one out and out front man this week, and while his partner in crime Danny Allsopp has claims, Thompson gets the gig for his third great performance on the trot. Full of movement and an incredible work-ethic, he didn’t get on the score-sheet himself, but played a hand in the first (brilliant run off the ball), third (prepared to take on McLaren) and final (wonderful sharp turn to set Allsopp free) Melbourne goals. The likes of McLaren, Gibson and McCloughan will have nightmares about Thompson’s contribution.


Post a Comment

<< Home