Monday, 19 March 2018

Learnings - Pascoe Vale 2 South Melbourne 2

Because I squandered 7,000 words on that other post, and since nobody likes a waffler, let's keep this post reasonably short and sweet.

What have we learned so far in 2018 about what this team is?
  • We have no Plan B. It's the same subs trying to fix the same problem, which is mostly players running out of gas. We have no meaningful depth, which makes implementing a tactical adjustment very difficult.
  • We look great at the start, fresh and lively and dangerous. We actually look really good, and one can't actually say otherwise. Then it gets a bit iffy. We maybe concede a goal and drop our heads, lose our way quickly. Then as the game wears on, all of that disappears. Before we run out of gas, if we lose the ball anywhere, we're quick to win it back. When we lose the ball after the hour mark, the ball zips up to the other end in a flash. Our defensive transition becomes woeful.
  • Our crossing is garbage. That's been the case for a long time anyway, but this season it has been much worse than usual. We also don't have a set piece taker. Again, this has been a problem for a number of years, but this year even our usual tolerable option (Marcus Schroen) isn't available. Now in terms of corners, that's near enough to a lottery anyway. But whether you hate or merely tolerate him, the Peoples' Champ is not a free kick taker.
  • Last year it was the right hand side which was a mess, this year it's the left. And when Brennan runs out of steam and gets subbed off, both wings go missing, as Oliver Minatel hasn't yet done anything of note.
  • The striker insurance plan is in as much trouble as last year, and every year since we've relied on Leigh Minopoulos to be the one and only back up to Milos Lujic. If it's true that Giordano Marafioti has suffered a season ending knee injury, we're in even worse shape.
  • Some people got a little bit too excited about Christos Intzidis a little bit too quickly. Despite only having played against two of the smaller and weaker forward lines in the league, people - and not just our own fans - saw his good side and were talking him up big time. But the Intzidis and Konstantinidis partnership was always going to come up against sterner tests. Why couldn't people just be a little more patient?
There is that one possible saving grace that last year we had fewer points and also put up some garbage performances. Just awful really. Remember the 4-0 loss to Port? How about that abomination that was the loss to Avondale? We had five points from the first five rounds, two very ordinary performances wins against lower league FFA Cup opposition. We've already got five points on the board, and the team has looked more capable of winning games than at this point last year.

On the other hand, last year other teams were also tripping themselves up, and we're already streets behind teams that are winning all their games and winning them well. So, for those hoping for an unlikely first place finish, I'd let go of that wish for now. It's the way we've been dropping points so far that's the concern, coupled with the lack of depth, the sense of doom after Taylor's sacking which was temporarily alleviated by the win against the Chinese and the decent looking performances of the first couple of games.

But at least last year you had the idea that the team was playing so badly that at some point they could only play better. Does this team have that capacity?

Next match
Away to Northcote on Saturday. Please note that the kickoff time for this game has been changed from its original 3:00PM timeslot to a 6:30PM start. Also, a good deal of John Cain Memorial Park is under redevelopment, so the western end of the ground seems to be inaccessible to spectators.

FFA Cup news
The fourth round draw was held last Tuesday. This is the stage of the tournament where ourselves and the other Victorian NPL teams enter the competition. We have been drawn away against Hume City. It looks like the fixture has been set for Friday March 30th (the Good Friday public holiday), with kickoff at 5:00PM.

A-League expansion "news"
Um, so apparently this is back 'on' now. Looking at adding two teams in 2019/20, about ten bidding groups and maybe more coming out of the woodwork once the bidding process is made official or whatever. This is the bit I'm most excited about:
"Specific criteria for application will be released"
Though sadly this will only be released to the parties bidding for licences. But, come on, specific criteria at last! A carefully worded framework which has to ensure that the current A-League licence holders pass the mark, while also being set up in such a way to ensure that South doesn't qualify.

Assuming of course that we are even any chance of meeting A-League criteria of any sort.

And to any member of a bidding team out there who wants to sneakily pass on the FFA's expansion bid checklist this blogger's way, that'd be terrific. Utmost discretion will be practiced.

Our former journalist friend Matt Windley (late of the Herald Sun) has joined the South-East Melbourne A-League bid team. Need to find another journo to suck up to.

Around the grounds
Thank goodness the state leagues begin this week.

Final thought
If I hear the word "hektik" one more time this season...


  1. Spot on with your analysis Paul. The team is playing a high tempo style of football where it starts to run out of legs after 60 minutes. To continue with this style of play, the coach requires equally good players to come off the bench to provide fresh legs and drive the momentum. Unfortunately, we have a very weak bench with little to add when Plan A doesn't work.

    I think the team will finish somewhere between 4th-8th on the ladder. The position on the ladder will largely depend on teams above us tripping over and dropping points unexpectedly.

    Difficult away trip to Hume for the FFA Cup match. If South lose against Northcote this week, and then back it up with an early exit from the FFA Cup, then serious questions will asked of the Board whether the Sasa Kolman experiment is starting to fail. Would we have been better off sticking with CT?

  2. Minatel is yet to show anything. Another import that has promised so much, and yet again failed to deliver.

  3. The problem on Friday Night was not Intzidis, it was Konstandinidis. His touch was awful! Noticed it about 6 times. The first goal was partly his fault. He just let it go past him!

    Foschini in the first half was phenomenal. The forum is making silly remarks about putting him back in midfield.

  4. Why did you only give the two options of hating or tolerating Epa? Besides his attitude at times, he is my favourite player to watch, and by far the most exciting. One might go far as to say... I really like Epa.

    1. I think hes matured the past couple of seasons. Exciting player to watch. If the A-League wasn't a pensioners league he'd fit quite well in that environment.

  5. Go easy on Epa, hes just a kid with a little bit of talent frustrated with not getting, what he perceives, as his chance at the big time. Exciting and creative player, with a decent eye for the best movement going forward, his only faults (I think) are lack of a decent shot and cant take a dead ball - oh and the whole head down have sook when things don't go to plan even though he is a lot better at controlling his emotions these days. Foschini at right back has been incredible these last 3-4 games. Its Norton over on the left which seems a weakness I agree. Having Iqi and Brennan back has certainly made our play through the middle third of the pitch a lot faster and prettier but we do seem to be a 45-60 min team at the moment. It looks like Plan B seems to be the old lump it over the top to an almost always offside Milos and hope for the best.... I would love to be proved wrong but I have serious reservations about this season unless we, by some miracle, get through the whole thing injury and red card free...


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