Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Now Here Comes the Hard Part

That's 2 straight clean sheets now! Boy am I happy as hell about it.
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Last night, we looked good at the back: no bold rampaging runs from the right back position coz we had Torres out there with Ramos in the middle: it was fine by me, because it kept us solid and minimized our vulnerability at the back. Heinze adjusted himself positionally forward, mostly only for the purpose of allowing us to align ourselves for attack, not so much as to really join in the attack. His comedy clearance almost cost us the clean sheet though (perhaps even the match). In the middle, I thought Ramos and Pepe were great. They anticipated attacks and cut them up before they could materialize, they also cleared almost all aerial threats, and tracked back to win balls against the surging BATE attackers.
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I thought that Gago did well too! He anticipated things well, keeping great position the entire match: shielding his defenders but also keeping the game fluid with his slick passing for the entire game. Guti and Sneijder were good too: not spectacular but solid in moving the ball around, probing, and took generally good care of the ball when we had it. I'm curious however as to why Sneijder tended to be more conservative with his free kicks & corners: he opted many more times for a timid pass to a nearby teammate instead of a pot shot at goal or a swinging delivery. Heck, he even let Guti take a few ones!
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On attack, Raul did what Raul does... Especially in Europe. Drenthe was good too: full of energy, speed and was generally in control when in attack mode. Someone should teach him how to shoot though. Saviola however was useless. I now think that Schuster should give Bueno a start or at the very least, some REAL playing time. I think that he should now be given a go-ahead over El Conejo.
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One thing that Schuster ought to look at however is how to attack without just using the left flank with Drenthe on it. The young Dutchman won't always play that way and teams with better quality will figure us out easily with such a predictable attacking strategy. Perhaps things will change with a healthy Robben or even with Higuain back (he is capable of drifting wide).
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For now though, I'm delighted with the win, and the qualification to the elimination rounds. Now it's on to the hard part: getting to the quarters... Hmm... If only we REALLY knew how to do that.

2 comments:

  1. Heinze injured. Could there be a better sign of things? Lol

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  2. Heinze has played like shit lately... his absence won't be a big loss for us... not with his current form

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