Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Some more Pim observations

IN reducing the squad to 21 players, Pim Verbeek has done a few things; kept his players on their toes; kept the opposition and media guessing (remember the naive days when Farina announced his starting 11 a day or two out from every game, thus giving his opponent valuable time to devise a game-plan?); and giving himself the option of further assessing how the travelling contingent pull up in the morning.

NIKOLAI Topor-Stanley and James Troisi appear to be the beneficiaries of a lack of left-sided options. David Carney and Mark Bresciano seem the likeliest options on that side, but congratulations to both Olyroos,who really impressed in the Beijing qualifiers.

MICHAEL Thwaites is the only Euro-based Roo to miss out, so far, which really is a glowing endorsement for Jade North, who appears ahead of him at this stage. North has had an outstanding A-league season, arguably the defender of v3.

VERBEEK really does have a handy headache up front. At the Asian Cup with South Korea he played a 4-3-3, with a sole striker through the middle, too often isolated from his wide men and the midfield, which I delved into in this piece. Here he is spoilt for choice, with Kennedy, Aloisi, Thompson and McDonald all in the starting mix. However, with Cahill in the mix as 'second striker', someone who can join the front-line coming from behind, as he does so often for Everton, this may be his option. Carney is said to have been practicising his crossing a couple of days ago, and an aerial combo of Kennedy-Cahill might be too much for the Qatari's. Aloisi is also handy attacking aerial ball, while McDonald has been in hot form sniffing around the box, picking up scraps and attacking the near post.

IF Bresciano starts, it's really time to step-up in front of his home crowd. After a disappointing World Cup and Asian Cup, it will be interesting to see what Verbeek can get out of 'the Bresc'.

IF the Kennedy-Cahill combo gets a start up front, through the middle, they are likely to be screened by two holders, so the 4-3-3 will be more like a 4-2-3-1. Culina should be one of the screeners, with the other likely to be either Wilkshire or Valeri. If Verbeek is really daring, he could have one holder, with attacking central thrust from two strikers, with Cahill adding a third goal-getting threat from deep.

WHO gets the gig on the right side of front three? Perhaps the great feet of Thompson have made an impression? Verbeek spoke of the goal-scoring potential of his starting 11, so don't be surprised to see him accomodate Thompson out wide. McDonald would certainly be a surprise anywhere but through the middle, but Thompson, you sense, is more adaptable.

INTERESTINGLY, he also spoke of how his team would be practicising the set-pieces at the final closed door training session this afternoon. This is certainly one area where the likes of Kennedy, Cahill and Aloisi could prosper, as the Olyroos proved in their campaign. Carney and Bresciano's delivery will be crucial.

THE defence looks like it will have a familiar world cup feel (right to left; Emerton, Moore, Neill, Carney), all but for Chipperfield. Let's hope any defensive deficiency from Carney isn't exposed.


Blogger pippinu said...

" If Verbeek is really daring, he could have one holder, with attacking central thrust from two strikers, with Cahill adding a third goal-getting threat from deep. "

I note that 442 is speculating this morning that the above is likely: Culina being the one holder, Luke and Bresh playing either side of Timmy, and Scotty partnering Josh. As you say, if Pim is bold enough, that's a terrific attacking option.

Downside: If Emo is overlapping, I'm comfortable with Luke providing cover down the right - I would not be as confident with Bresh providing the same cover down the left - this is where Jase is going to have to be switched on.

Wed Feb 06, 09:13:00 am AEDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Topor-Stanley still in the squad??? I would not even consider him in the top 21 players in the a-league let alone the socceroos. I don't care if he is left-footed. Technique = next to none, Balance = see technique!

He must be good at something that I am unaware of.

Wed Feb 06, 01:52:00 pm AEDT  
Blogger Mike Salter said...

Nice wrap Tony.

I've just given my suggestions (before reading your piece); I'm not sure about Culina in a holding role, he looked static and unimaginative there during the AC. And much as Tim Cahill is probably worth a start, he really is a talisman for us when coming on as a sub...

Wed Feb 06, 03:59:00 pm AEDT  

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