Saturday, November 11, 2006

Some interesting headaches for Melbourne and Miron

SOME early thoughts on round 12 as I wait for some EPL action (must check out the form of this 18 year old right back Richards selected by Steve McLaren for the England friendly v Poland);

Template for victory; Perth Glory came with a plan on Thursday night, to sit back on their 18 yard box with two lines of four and nine men behind the ball most of the time. It was all built around containment, nulifying the Victory, trying to pinch a point, and it almost worked a treat. But a confident Melbourne showed enough patience, the key word in a situation like this, to get the job done. They kept coming and coming, kept their heads up, and in the end did enough. There might be some criticism of Perth's tactics, but you can hardly blame a team that had just played four days earlier and was missing the likes of the Despotovski, Colosimo, Lazaridis, Harnwell and Petkovic for adopting such a defensive mind-set. It was highly organised work from the Glory, full of purpose and shape, and almost worked. Last week we'd seen a completely different approach from Lawrie McKinna's Mariners who took the game to Melbourne, yet, even with a two man advantage, they were lucky to grab a share of the points. Managers around the league would have seen both examples of how to play the Victory, so it'll be interesting to see which approach they adopt. SEN and Foxsports pundit Paul Trimboli hit the nail right on the head when he noted that teams will have drawn a template from the way Perth approached this, similar to the smash-and-grab raid by Adelaide a few weeks back. If that's the way teams do play, it will be incumbent on Melbourne to break them down, and that will be a test.

Suddenly some calm decends on Sydney; If Terry Butcher was going to go, it would have happened after the 1-1 draw with Perth a fortnight ago, but since backing him till the end of the season, almost an admission the club simply can't afford to sack him, things have settled significantly at the club. While their play in the first half was fairly average, lacking any real thrust or creativity around the 18 yard box, Petrovski's opener appeared to calm the nerves. Grabbing a second, which has proved so elusive all season, would be the key, and against an outclassed Knights, it came with one of Sydney's best moves of the season. The pressure was off, and Sydney, driven on by a wonderfully supportive Cove, let its hair done, even the returning Carney helping himself to one, as if to remind everyone that the worst may be behind them. Leaving the ground, the mood was certainly very upbeat, perhaps too upbeat given the lack of quality from NZ, but certainly Sydney's legion had every reason to celebrate a win, their first in six matches and first at home in 75 days.

Miron, Miron, Miron, what are you doing? As I have commented previously and most recently on Confessions, Miron Bleiberg is once again responsible for some over-coaching, tinkering far too much with his unit. His blind faith in Stuart McLaren ahead of Chad Gibson continues to astound. Even since the trip to Melbourne, where McLaren came into a defence that had been ticking beautifully, things have looked less in control. Indeed, lately, Bleiberg has struck as some-one who doesn't quite have any method behind the madness. While his problems aren't exclusive to the defence (the loss of Murdocca has altered the balance in midfield, something Bleiberg admitted might happen, Wedau has been a abject failure to date, his strikers have gone off the boil and Zhang might need more time), his continued use of McLaren, as well as the couple of chances he's given to Buess, have indicated a man not quite sure of the answers. Indeed, his stubborn refusal to give Gibson another chance is mind boggling. After the way McLaren was shaken off by Veart for tonight's only goal, surly the club captain will get his chance.


Blogger Hamish said...

I'd still argue that there's a lot going right, though your points are well made.

But you didn't mention Reinaldo. He was shocking last night in every way. He seems to be a one man show appendaged to a team, and it ain't working. If he had have worked with Lynch, the possibility is strong that the Roar would have scored in the first half.

I'll keep a closer eye on McLaren's efforts though from now on. So far I've assumed Miron knows what he's doing on that front.

Sun. Nov. 12, 11:53:00 am AEDT  
Anonymous Snapper said...

Miron has resigned and so should McLaren!

Mon. Nov. 13, 09:52:00 am AEDT  

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