Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dave's player ratings - ECU 2-0 ARG

By Dave P.

A very lack luster performance by us tonight that gave us the loss.

Compared to the game against Colombia, although we did not play well then either, there was not as much passion put forth by the players.

They did not seem as if they wanted to win. Everyone except for MESSI and surprisingly HEINZE seemed content with just hanging back behind our half and playing defense. It seemed like we were playing with eight defenders on our own half, and then MESSI and TEVEZ were the only two players ever to go into the attacking third. This may have been MARADONA’s tactic to deal with the altitude and avoid another Bolivia incident, however that is still not an excuse to attack with two players and not attempt to hold possession of the ball.

We were very unlucky as well, for TEVEZ, an usual above average finisher not to convert his
PK, and for MESSI and GAGO to miss their chances. In the end small lapses of concentration by our defensive mindset let us down and allowed for Ecuador to punish us.

Mariano ANDUJAR, (7): Second game as the #1 keeper and he played very well. In the first half he had pretty much nothing to do. A few touches here and there. He showed good reflexes on a free kick that bounced on the wet surface right in front of him. In the second half was more
involved in the game because of Ecuador’s increase of intensity and our lack of endurance in the altitude which caused some defensive errors. Still ANDUJAR made some confident stops on the ball especially in aerial crosses. He was confident in every ball he went up for. The two goals that he did allow were pretty much unstoppable. The wonder strike in the 72nd minute was hit with tremendous pace and was upper right and he still got a tip on it. The second goal took some lucky
bounces off our confused defense and landed perfectly for PALACIOS to shoot into the roof of the net from around 12 yards. Overall a good game unlucky to have goals scored on him tonight. I would continue starting him.

Gabriel HEINZE, (7): Seemed to play a lot better while wearing the captain's arm band in tonight’s match. From the get go our team had a defensive mind set and HEINZE made confident plays all game. I did not see one hesitant, or out-of-control move/tackle made by him tonight, which is extremely rare. Instead he was running all the way down into the attacking end and played some of our most dangerous balls of the evening. Still he would get back in time to make some key challenges and keep the Ecuadorians from having open looks at net. Unlucky that MESSI or GAGO could not score on the great balls he threw into the box. Great game by HEINZE proved to be one of our best players on the night.

Nicolás OTAMENDI, (6): In the beginning of the game the youngster did not seem to understand much of what was going on. He was caught out of position every once in a while and within the first couple minutes a mistake he made caused an great chance for Ecuador to go ahead. As the match progressed he adapted to the pace of the match extremely well. I was
impressed with some of his timely tackles and especially some one-on-one, all-or-nothing tackles which were key on keeping us in the game.

Martín DEMICHELIS, (5): You would have thought that DEMICHELIS was the youngest defender tonight because of his sloppy play. I was expecting a typical solid performance from 'Micho' but early on he made a few casual passes out of the back as well as being caught out of position. Other then that he had no impact on the game. The first wonderstrike that was scored can not really be blamed on him, but he did turned out of the balls path at the last second. If he had stayed there it may have deflected off his face. Also, the second goal, as the ball bounced into the box he was out of position and forced to scramble around to attempt to stop the attack. Not a good confident display by DEMICHELIS tonight.

Javier ZANETTI, (4): Oy, another sub par performance by an experienced defender. Very quiet game in the beginning of the match. He was caught out of position like DEMICHELIS, and showed his age in not being able to keep up with the quick Ecuadorians. When he was on the ball his runs were slow, predictable, and clumsy. ZANETTI’s age along with the altitude were truly affecting his play tremendously. He made the blind pass to Maxi’s back side which resulted in the first goal being scored. I am usually all for ZANETTI being a part of the team but a performance like this is making me strongly reconsider that.

Jonas GUTIERREZ, (5.5): The usual high energy high work-rate Jonas was not as evident tonight. He played well but strayed from attacking the entire match. He was helping out the back for pretty much all game. You could tell after playing in both matches that the altitude really took a toll on his lungs. He was beat very easily down the wing and contributed nothing to the attack. Really nothing more to say about Jonas, he tried but did not contribute much of the lack of passion to win from the rest of the team was also evident with his performance.

Sebastián BATTAGLIA, (4.5): Attempted to fill in for MASCHERANO in the DM role and
did a decent enough job, but never truly got involved with the game. I think I could count on my hands how many time he touched the ball. He made a few tackles but his passes were off the mark and did not help the possession that we so badly needed in order to break down the
Ecuadorians. Pretty much played in line with the back four and became a fifth defender. At some points of the game I didn’t even know if he was on the field he would just float around did not even make any key tackles. I feel that he is not NT quality.

Fernando GAGO, (5): Much like BATTAGLIA, he was sort of irrelevant in tonight’s match
because he played defense pretty much the entire game. He rarely went forward and when he did he missed a great opportunity to score, great reaction by the goal keeper however. GAGO seemed to be a little lost without Mascherano out there with him. He was clumsy on the ball and
could not link up with MESSI or TEVEZ all game until he was subbed out for VERON. Again it seemed like there was no passion in GAGO today, usually he has a fierce warrior attitude like MASCHERANO. Seemed like the altitude sucked it out of him.

Maxi RODRIGUEZ, (3.5): Again the lowest ratings are in the midfield because this is where we lost the game. Maxi contributed nothing in this game, he rarely touched the ball and rarely made any defensive plays. He would always be around the ball but would never make anything happen. He seemed lost out there on the pitch. Also, on the TEVEZ’s PK if Maxi would have scored that open netter, which TEVEZ some how got the ball into his path, the game would have been completely different. Very poor attempt to finish that ball, there were no defenders around him.
Other than missing the open net, and not being aware that ZANETTI passed the ball to him, which caused us to concede, Maxi was useless in tonight’s game. Poor performance.

Carlos TEVEZ, (6): Played well with MESSI and created/received some good passes which looked threatening in the first half. His ball, which got HEINZE in, was a delicate one-touch pass and he had a few one-twos with MESSI. However other then that, and because of the lack of midfield, TEVEZ was all by himself in the attacking third. Every time he was on the ball there
would be two defenders on him and when he would look up there would only be MESSI; with three other defenders on him. Other than that there would be no other Argentine players within 20 yards. He would create strong runs at the defenders but in the end no one was there to
help him. His PK shot was extremely poor, the ball was hit weakly and dribbled along the grass, very predictable.

Lionel MESSI, (7): As usual MESSI was THE attacking presence on our team tonight. Much like TEVEZ he was all alone up top with the ball, he made great runs all night at the defenders and would always beat at least 2 or 3. He played well with TEVEZ but an attacking midfielder was missing in support to help MESSI when he was caught up. Some great touches on the ball, but very bad attempt to finish HEINZE's cross in the first half. You would expect the best player in the world to finish that even if it is on his right foot. MESSI played well but it’s hard for him to have a superb game when he is the only one that had passion to attack and score.


Gonzalo BERGESSIO, (N/A): I would rate him but with no midfield he was pretty much useless up top with an altitude-winded MESSI. Showed some pace but could do nothing against five defenders.

Juan Sebastian VERON, (N/A): In for GAGO in the 75th. Tried to force balls into the attack but in the end did nothing to the game.

Diego MILITO, (N/A).

After looking back at the game, a very poor and disappointing loss for us. No passion was shown by anybody to advance the ball or even hold on to it and pass it around. Many things will be discussed and many things may be brought up as to what needs to change before our next
big match.

But I don’t know how much of it will happen because we do not know if MARADONA will want to make tremendous changes to the squad and throw together some new faces for such a big game against Brazil.

Maybe that is what needs to be done to shake things up. Another sad altitude loss for us, but we are still in a qualification spot at the moment and in the end that’s all that matters. As long as we get to South Africa.


Sebastian said...

Agree with most of your ratings. Especially ANDUJAR, HEINZE, DEMICHELIS and TEVEZ.

But I wouldn't give MESSI a 7. Had MESSI played to a grade of 7 according to his normal standards, we would be talking about Argentina winning by two or three goals.

Of course, a MESSI 7 is everyone else's 17, if you know what I mean. That's why, and considering he missed a very good opportunity to score and couldn't quite have the impact we were expecting, I'd give him a 5.

On the other hand, I'd give OTAMENDI a higher note than 6. A 7,5 or even an 8 wouldn't be too over the top. This is, of course, considering his age, the fact that he was making his full debut and the conditions under which he had to play (thin air: the ball flies faster; wet pitch: the ball rolls faster).

I think he was a commanding presence and I think it will be very tough for anybody to keep him on the bench in the future. Hopefully he's here to stay.

Another player I'd rate higher is GAGO. He was immense during some stages in the first half. He was unlucky not to score and I'm sure if he watches the tape, he would regret not to have the cool head to pass that ball to MESSI, who was unmarked and without the GK in front of him. But I don't blame GAGO for shooting there. He was simply unlucky.

Agree with you in that Maxi was our worst player out there.

And at some point in our chat room, I think I gave HEINZE a new nickname, because he went for a crucial tackle with all his energy and I said to him: "Wild Thing I think I love you".

Yes, I wanna know for sure, but HEINZE had a great display and I think he is my Man of the Match.

Anonymous said...

I give Messi and Tevez both a 5. We all could be singing another tune if they had put their chances away. This would of made Ecuador more on the fence and attack more and gave us more chances to score. I agree with Seba player of the match should be OTAMENDI, he had a nice game. Imagine him with GARAY. I also give him a 8. Zanetti had a poor showing, I think his age caught up to him so I give him a 4.5. Gaby Heinze maybe had his best showing since I can recall 7 for him. Jonas had a poor showing as well, could of done a lot more. If he becomes more used to the team I think he will be a starter. He def is not a replacement for Sorin I will tell you that much! Gago Gago Gago, only if you had scored that. If that was Redondo that would of been a goal, I give you a 5. BATTAGLIA, was he even playing? 4.5 FOR HIM from my part as well. Maxi, I think Maxi needs his rest and I think maybe a Cambiasso can be called back?I will not give Maxi a rating, because I know he was hurting. Had no problem with the GK, not even the greatest GK in the world could of saved those shots, he can thank his defense for that! And last but not least DEMICHELIS, I think their was a reason why Pekerman left him out of the squad!

Onto the next round in SEPTEMBER! If Diego calls the same team again then I say, that's it brother I have had enough. If he dares and I mean DARES to leave out players such as Cambiasso and Higuain and Garay then I will put away my 86 Maradona Le Coq Sportif jersey away forever! I can not sit back and him playing the same way. We need some new faces on the team!

Seba, I know you are a major fan of Milito... And I am still being patient and will give him a few more games, but when do you think Higuain should be called up? Or should he even be called up at all?


Anonymous said...

We may not even qualify bacause we chose an idol instead of a manager, Maradona has no clue what he is doing! He was a great player but what the hell does he know about managing a team? Where is Hougain? Maradona is choosing his friends instead of the best team available....i give up on him!

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Argentina play with a lot more pressure at home then away. The pressure will massive when Brasil come to town. What will be the outcome.. Anything short of 6 points in the next round will still put us on edge, we will take 4 just to keep away Uruguay who s about 4 points away from us. And the scary thing is I think Uruguay will take all 6 in the next round. They play at Peru who is all done, and ply at home vs Colombia. While we have the hardest in the next round. Also this may come down to Argentina-Uruguay in Montevideo. That is the last round and last game of the tourney for both. Prior to Uruguay playing us they travel to Ecuador. I mean we have to hope for some ties so we do not fall in the 5th spot and may have to play the home-away game vs the 4th place team in CONCACAF which right now is Mexico. This is worse case scenario. Let's hope it does not come down to this.


Forza_albicelestes said...

I ll Have 2 agree with Seba on the ratings......

Gago 6.5-7
Otamendi 7
Messi 6
Tevez 6.5(If only he hadnt missed the PK)
Heinze 7(Best Match in a long time)
Maxi 0(Did absolutely nothing)
Zanetti/Micho 4.5
Jonas 5.5

Andujar 6.5(Looked Confident)

We must have Cambiasso.....
Also Zarate,Samuel,Higuain,Lucho....

And why doesnt Licha get a match....In my books he is much better Milito(No offense seba)

johnny said...

I agree with Seba that Otamendi and Gago had pretty good performances, as well as Heinze ! Andujar played well.

I reiterate my two main concerns:

1. The midfield is in complete disarray. To say there is a lack of chemistry between our midfield and strikers would be an understatement. If this ain't somehow fixed, we might qualify for the WC, might, but beyond that, forget it.

2. I am behind Maradona but teetering at this point. Please imitate Dunga and focus on selecting not just the most talented, but also the most fit, and most in form players. Please don't allow any historical prejudices, gossip, personal grievances, or whatever, to influence the selection process. Higuain, D'Alessandro(sp?)and maybe some others deserve to be on the team. If Maradona was winning match after match, then we could say, hey, it's his team, if he doesn't want Higuain, so be it. But, we are not winning consistently, and most of the time, putting up poor performances.
With all the bitching and moaning about Coco Basile, the only difference now is that Riquelme is not on the team. Same very mediocre performances however, and for the most part, the same cast and crew.

Anonymous said...

Diego is a miserable joke as a coach and Argentina is paying the prize for selecting him. What justifies him being appointed? Nothing. NOTHING.

Not calling up Higuain is a disgrace. Unless there is something seriously wrong with the guys character (I don't think it is, have never heard bad things about him) he should definitely be in the squad. Bergessio? Better than Higuain? What a pathetic joke...

Anonymous said...

Bergessio, Higuain or a mummy, they're all the same in this playing scheme, if there's one.
I was completely opposed to Maradona's appointment, but I agree with many here that firing him now would be a suicide. It should be enough if Bilardo takes some control over the tactical and technical aspects (if he haven't done it yet).

Anonymous said...

Argentina will not qualify!

Anonymous said...

Argentina will qualify

Sebastian said...

Due to some technical problems from the website we use to upload our podcast, we ask you to wait a little longer for the next edition of Mundo Albiceleste's podcast.

The show has been recorded and as soon as these technical issues are dealt with, we'll put up a post to give you the usual options for you to listen to the pod.

Thanks MarioB for letting me know that the podcast wasn't working (which it was when I tested it before publishing the original post).

Thanks again for your patience. The pod will be coming up soon.

Allan said...

Seba and John,

Thanks for you guys hardwork on Mundo Albiceleste.

Maybe now it is a good time to give us some information about players transfers? I am sure yesterday's Cristiano Ronaldo deal will set off a lot of transfer dealings in the coming weeks. For example, will Man Utd now keep Tevez?

Will Saviola join Liverpool from Real Madrid, with Xabi Alonso going the other way?

Will Aguero go to Chelsea? Will Franco Di Santo stay?

Will Mascherano move to Barcelona?

Any transfers from Argentina to Europe that we ought to know?

Anonymous said...


All the newpapers in worldwide publish that Argentina wont be qualifying for 2010 wordcup ..

It really hurts >..after to many talented player we dont qualify means its really shame....

Sebastian said...

Allan, we have discussed some of the transfer rumours you've mentioned in the latest edition of our podcast (it's up now).

Of course we'll keep you posted on any news involving Argentine players in the transfer market.

Anonymous said...

The whole argentinian football is in state fo crisis (local league, youth selection, and the senior NT).
Things will have to change quickly or else, we will become another Uruguay.


Anonymous said...

Good Bye Argentina!!!! LOL! No World Cup for you!!! The only football Argentina will be playing next summer is on Sony Playstation!!!! LOL

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ, some people need to take a xanax because you guys are going nuts. So Argentina lost, what can we do? Move on and focus on the next game. Argentina will become Uruguay? HA HA HA! Give me a break, Uruguay has not been the same after their 1950 WC win. They will be fine and will qualify. Ecuador and Uruguay will have to play each other and will have some tough games, so Argentina appears to be safe! Four games left ladies and gents. Lets take it one game at a time.

Anonymous said...

Argentina always produced great players, Argentina will always produce great players. a second uruguay: never! uruguay is a very small country, they don't have the potential bigger countries have. you have the biggest passion for football in the world, maybe even bigger than brazil and much more than any european country. and argentina will be at the wc 2010.

maybe pekerman should return as argentina's youth coach or at least work with young players in some way. many today players are discovered and formed by him. because argentina needs a new generation of great players, and i don't believe that the kids today have less talent than 10 years ago. argentina's population is getting bigger every year, so the potential is also getting bigger.

and please can somebody tell me what EXACTLY Carlos Bilardo's job is? does he sit on the bench next to maradona when the team plays? i love his way of football, not beatiful but pure result oriented:)

Vitalij from Germany