Saturday, May 24, 2008

U23 1-0 Catalunya: Good intentions, bad execution

I was really looking forward to watch this offensive juggernaut that Checho BATISTA had in store for all of us when his U23 stars faced Catalunya at the Camp Nou of Barcelona.

After watching this match, I have to admit I'm a little bit worried if this is the way MESSI and AGÜERO are planning to play offensively. No cohesion, no team-work, no one-two combinations. It was like watching them trying to do all individually. HIGUAIN was anonymous. LAVEZZI was the best of those four with great mobility and scoring the only goal but still, they left a lot to be desired.

I applaud Checho's idea of picking his best offensive weapons and use them all together. The problem is that I think they are going to need to work a lot in playing with each other. But I don't think they will play like this in Beijing. The reason being JRR. RIQUELME will completely change the way they play. Of course one from MESSI, AGÜERO, HIGUAIN and LAVEZZI will have to sit on the bench when Roman joins the team. But RIQUELME is the key to give our attacking game another dimension and to exploit our weapons in the best way possible.

I liked the job the full backs did. ANSALDI looks very solid on and off the ball and he is a great option on the left. We all know what ZABALETA can bring to the team. Together, they helped GAGO and BANEGA in midfield, compensating the lack of marking from the likes of HIGUAIN and MESSI.

FAZIO and INSUA were OK. Just OK. It looks like if DEMICHELIS is not released by Bayern Munich, Checho will use his Over23 wild card in another central defender. Maybe COLOCCINI, maybe HEINZE or even BURDISSO. Whoever it is, he'll play alongside FAZIO and INSUA will compete with ANSALDI for a job at left-back.

USTARI had an easy afternoon and was only challenged by a shot from just outside the box that he magnificienly tipped over the bar. He showed great confidence and that was really important for his team-mates.

Finally, a few words on the holding midfielders' combo of GAGO and BANEGA. They were very good today. They complemented well with each other and started a lot of plays with clever passes to the wings. BANEGA was better in recovering balls while GAGO played more of a mixed role and his distribution was superb. He gets my man-of-the-match award for his immense composure, his quality and his work-rate.

The result is irrelevant in my opinion. It was a 1-0 win against a team with a few decent players and nothing else.

I liked the way Argentina played the ball on the ground and kept possession for most of the match, but I didn't like the way we played up front, the lack of through passes and the desperate way in which sometimes we made the transition to defensive positions.

A lot of work to be done by Checho. He's got the personnel and he's got some time. I'm confident the addition of a senior central defender, MASCHERANO and (most importantly) RIQUELME, will give this team the dimension it is capable of reaching.

Did you watch the match? Who was your man of the match? What are your thoughts after this test?


Pablito said...

I agree with most of your points but I think you're wrong about Fazio. He looked rock solid in defense, his passing was excellent and he helped the offense by coming forward a couple of times (seems to be a great dribbler too). Insua is a leftback, I think Pareja should have started.

Our offense was disappointing, 4 forwards and hardly any goalscoring oppertunities. Lavezzi, too me anyway, looks like our fastest player without the ball. Would team up great with someone like Roman.

Anonymous said...

I would not be too worried from this. It is not that big of a deal, the game will not even count in the record books. It looks like Basile will be calling up Veron for the next WC Qualifer.


Anonymous said...

Hey, does anyone know about Nicolas Mazzola? From what I have read he could be quite the talent. If I am not mistaken he is with Independiente.


John said...

Dammed!!! Just what have I missed? There was nothing on local TV about this game.

But you're right, Roman needs to be there to support of young gunslingers upfront. He's got the calm and experience.

I'm not surprise about the GAGO/BANEGA combo as they go way back from their Boca days.

I would pick ANSALDI on the left anytime over INSUA. Simply because of first team appearance.

As for the other over age player, please not COLOCCINI. Bringing in Nicolas BURDISSO doesn't sound like a bad idea at all.

He does have tedency to score goals these days.

By the way Jack, has Coco lost his mind on calling VERON?

progott said...

lol, burdisso? You say "no" to coloccini, but "yes" to burdisso?

IMO coloccini is better than burdisso, who is alays inters weak spot and gets tons of cards.

johnny said...

How about Cata Diaz for the back ? Always one of my favorites, but it appears he has fallen out of favor with Coco.

allan ng said...

I did not see the game. But if Gago and Banega played well, then when Mascherano comes in, who goes?

If I really have to choose one from Burdisso, Coloccini and Heinze, then it has to be Heinze. At least he tackles hard.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Progott, I do understand where you're coming from.

But my specific reason for BURDISSO is because he can be valuable in attacks, especially through set pieces. He does score regularly for Inter through corner and free kicks.

In case some of you might be wondering why not HEINZE? I just got the feeling that Real Madrid might just follow Bayern's footstep in not releasing him.

If the circumstances are right, I would always reverse a place for HEINZE over BURDISSO or COLOCCINI.