Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tactical Analysis - Vidmar didn't go far enough

A-League round 11, CCM 3 v AU 0

IT was a no-brainer really. Not that I'm a betting man, or had any idea what the respective sides were paying, but if you were to ever have a bet on an A-League game, last night's was it.

As I'd noted in my most recent post and a reader noted via a comment this morning, Adelaide have had one hell of a taxing run of late, something like 13 games in just over two months, an average of a game every five days.

It might not be a lot by European or international standards, but for an Australian team used playing just over 20 games a season, about four a month, having to cope with 13 in 60 or so days is massive.

In time - and as the A-League grows, squads grow, other competitions are added and our players adapt to the professional rigours of the "play-recover-travel-play-recover-travel" cycle - it will become second nature, but for now it's time to take stock.

Certainly, given the resource available and the extra challenge of travel times to Asia and back, Adelaide have done an outstanding job of managing their schedule, and Aurelio Vidmar's work in shuffling the deck has been exemplary by Australian coaching standards.

But when the team was announced last night, I have to admit to be shocked Vidmar only made four changes.

The team I'd seen limp through the past two Wednesday nights was clearly in need of a major overhaul. It was time for some good old fashioned Claudio Ranieri style tinkering.

In particular, Ognenovski and Dodd, linked with J-League clubs of late, looked throughout the ACL finals like they could have done with a rest of late, while the Brazilians, Diego, Cassio and Cristiano, haven't been as effective in the past couple of weeks.

Dodd's pre-match sentiments to Brenton Speed were those of man who wanted to be anywhere but at a football match, and he couldn't have been the only one.

As such, last night was a perfect opportunity to freshen things up beyond the return of Costanzo and Galekovic and the introduction of Barbiero and Pantelis. Seeing Salley and Alemao warm the bench, and the likes of Younis and Mullen not even there was an opportunity missed.

These are blokes that have all impressed in their recent work.

Salley was a pivotal member of the side at the start of the season, one the league's best, and was very unlucky (due to red-tape) not to be a part of the ACL campaign. How Vidmar could have done with his fresh legs and muscle against Jedinak and Hutchinson, who dominated the midfield.

Alemao, originally a right back, has made quite an impression as an attacking midfielder of late, and his cameo off the bench set the tone for a much improved second half, while Younis and Mullen have also contributed in recent times.

Make no mistake, Adelaide have one of the deepest squads in the league, and last night was the perfect opportunity to not only test that depth, but keep "the first 11" on their toes.

Granted, the regulars have done the job to date, but football rarely guarantees anything, and when you need a rest, you need a rest.

Vidmar has done plenty right in the past five or six months, but last night wasn't one of his best.

Time now to freshen up, give those that need it a couple of days off, and find out who's fresh and ready for FC next Saturday. A manager's job never ends.


Anonymous Insider said...

T, the bloke who wrote that article on Salley in the Adelaide press today must have read this.

Is that you setting the agenda again?

Fri. Nov. 21, 07:03:00 pm AEDT  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

...Is that you setting the agenda again?...

Too kind Insider, was just telling it how I saw it, and for me the fresh Salley had to start last week, and he wasn't the only one.

Can't be too critical though of Vidmar, he has done most things right and continues to grow. Every know and again he's entitled to a blue.

Fri. Nov. 21, 10:13:00 pm AEDT  

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