Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Player Ratings for Catalunya vs. Argentina... Version 2!

Earlier I posted GK's player ratings, now it's time to post Dave's player ratings! Compare both and see who you agree with more!


Have been waiting to see the NT play for awhile, and even though this is not a true FIFA team, Catalunya is full of talent. It does not matter who we play, every time the Albiceleste suit up it is important game. With that being said, and this being an “exhibition match,” I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was not expecting a 4-2 loss. Much like our struggles in every other match Catalunya showed our faults. Our lack of even having a defense that works, combine with no organization in the midfield allowed for Catalunya to hold possession and push forward to break down our terrible defense all game. There were some positives, which were our ability to actually have an attacking presence for once. We created plenty of chances, but we could not finish for anything all night…Anyway here are the ratings.

Pozo 4: Poor performance by Pozo, should have saved at least 2 of the four gols, but it is hard to come up big, when your defense are non existent. Had a great save on a break away from Bojan. Overall was slow to react and showed no confidence in coming off his line all game. Should never be called up to the NT again.

Alvarez 4: First time starting for the NT and showed some quality in the first half. However, as the game went he was caught out of position far to many times and allowed Bojan to run around him. Alvarez would push forward and played some good balls into Higuain but could not track back fast enough and allowed Catalunya to counter on us too easily. Was too slow to apply pressure out wide on their wings. Also, all game his corners and free kick distribution were pathetic. Like Pozo should never be called up to the NT.

Demichelis (8/3): A tale of two halves for Demichelis our captain in the back. In the first half Demi showed why he is probably our most set in stone defender coming up big with strong enforcing tackles all half. He saved Otamendi by sliding out of nowhere to push the ball out of bounds on a break away. Demi was always in good position in the first half. However, in the second half he seemed clueless. He was always slow to react, and was caught flat-footed by Bojan who blew by him and scored on us. Another gol was Demi’s fault as well when a free kick was sent into the box and Demi was caught sleeping allowing Hurtado an open header on Pozo. Also, all game he made poor distributive passes up front which would just be picked off.

Otamendi 3: Much like our other defenders was caught out of position way too often. Showed no confidence in applying pressure to Catalunya’s strikers. Was beat 3 or 4 times in our own box all game and proved that he is still young and has very little ability to perform on the NT. Also, allowed his defender to get on the inside of him far too easily to let Catalunya score first at the end of the first half.

Papa 3: Terrible performance by Papa. He always seemed to be nervous even when he did not have the ball at his foot. He does not have the talent to be on the NT as well. He would push forward with the ball only to lose it. In the first half a sloppy tackle on Bojan who was in, should have been given a red card. We do not need Papa to be playing left back for our NT. Anyone such as Insua and even Heinze could play there far better then Papa.

Gago -1: Wow so much negativity in these defensive player ratings. I have nothing to say for Gago other then he was invisible. It was like we were playing with only 9 outfield players when he was on the field…Awful should not be called up ever again unless he goes to a team in the transfer window, starts every game, and a miracle happens. That’s, one two, three, four, five players that started this game that should not be even called up to the NT.

Bolatti 4.5: He played well in the first half covering for two positions because Gago was not existent. Played well with helping out Otamendi and Demichelis in defense and bossed some of the Catalunya attackers around. However, as the game went on Bolatti failed to solidify his position in the midfield. Would make poor decisions and would be too slow with moving the ball up to Pastore. There was one instance where Bojan caught him because he was too slow to react which gave Bojan a breakaway.

Pastore 6: Played the role of linking the midfield to the attack and did a decent enough job for his first cap on the NT ever. Played good balls out wide to Di Maria and played well with Lavezzi. Pastore was a little slow at first but as the game went on he settled in fine. Set up Di Maria multiple times as well as got the ball forward to Higuain. Also not to mention a wonder strike for our first gol. He popped the ball up to himself, by accident, but was quick to react and power it into the side netting past Valdez. Continue to keep an eye on Pastore and he may find himself into the WC side.

Di Maria 7: His rating would be a lot higher had he scored all four brilliant chances that he had all game. All game Di Maria was running at defenders looking to combine either by drawing the ball back or crossing it across the box. To start the game he had a brilliant cross to Lavezzi, who pushed the header wide. As the first half went on he continued to press forward and had a few one on one’s with Valdez, only to shoot wide or be stopped at the last moment. Di Maria proved how dangerous he can be, and how valuable he is to our NT. There should have been a PK called on Valdez when Di Maria beat his man end line and Valdez to the ball, only to have Valdez chop his legs down. Anyway, great attacking mindset by Di Maria. Much like our other attacking players, we lacked the finishing touch tonight.

Lavezzi 7: Played very well in the attack and single handily sprinted past much of Catalunya’s defenders. Lavezzi is a truehearted player who runs much like Tevez and Jonas (workhorse mentality). All game he worked hard and drew defenders to him to set up Higuain who could not finish at all tonight as well. Lavezzi ran at the entire 4 man defense cut to his right and had a rip that was saved away from Valdez. Also, he missed a header which was sent into the box by Di Maria. And finally at the end of the game he had a little cross-laid into the middle which he hit wide. Many missed chances but good optimistic play. Anybody who questioned Lavezzi’s value to the NT cannot say he doesn’t deserves his spot after a performance like this one.

Higuain 5.5: He played well when he had the ball and was trouble for Catalunya’s defense all night. However, our #9 could not finish to save his life tonight. He had a one on one with Valdez after he cleverly beat Puyol and Pique but hit it over the top. Also, Lavezzi supplied him with a brilliant cross at the 6 yard box which he headed right at Valdez’s chest. As the game went on he became frustrated and it showed. He would force runs and recklessly shoot the ball wide. That being said Higuain did show some very good foot work, he proved his quality having the ability to beat Puyol and Pique all night, he showed his speed by blowing past them on the outside many times. Also, he played well as the game went on in combination with Di Maria. He will continue to grow and I hope that he can play well with Di Maria in the future.


Pareja 3: Finally we got to see a different center back get some playtime as Pareja was subbed in for Otamendi at half time. However, Pareja looked more confused then Otamendi out there in the central defense. All half he was out of position and was too slow to move the ball out of the back. Very sloppy play by Pareja, even gave up a PK for clumsily colliding with Catalunya’s striker. Poor play and should not be called up again as well.

Datolo 6: Did well as a sub, his first touch on the ball was a run at the defense and then combined well with Di Maria to set up Pastore’s gol. Datolo had the same mindset as Di Maria and would always look to pass and move. Definitely a useful spark to have on the bench.

Palermo 0: Came on for Higuain in the 66th min and did nothing all game, I think he touched the ball once…Never call him again.

Banega N/A: Can’t really give him a rating because he entered the game in the 75th min for Gago. But he did show his ability to hold up play on the ball and combine well with other midfielders. He played one clever thru ball to Di Maria who again put his shot wide. Overall would like to see more of Banega.

Salvio: N/A 78th min sub for Papa

So in the end an overall terrible performance by our defense and midfield lets us down again. The only positives that I can take out of this game is that Pastore looks to have a bright future with our NT and should have more play time, Di Maria is a attacking machine and when his finishing is on he will definitely be important, Lavezzi’s work rate is top notch, and the fact that our defense was so utterly dismantled all night by Catalunya will hopefully wake Maradona up and make him think twice about who he calls up for defense. Names such as Zanetti, Samuel, Garay, Insua, and Zabaleta should be given chances to play defense instead of, Alvarez, Otamendi, Papa, and Pareja. So now we will wait and see what changes will be made to our next team that gets called which I don’t believe is until March. Another embarrassing loss under Maradona…we will wait to see what happens.


Rune said...

Nothing surprising in this game. Catalunya run circles around us as long as Xavi was on the field.
I know we have better keepers and better defenders than the ones who played today, only Demi would have played in a real game, but our defence today was just crap, crap, crap. Terrible. And also a shaky performance from Pozo. Not a great goalkeeper.
The truth my friends is that we have NO great goalkeeper with argentine passport around at the moment. We have Carizzo, Andujar and Romero..they are all ok, but none of them are great. The same goes for the defenders. If we rate our players from 1 to 10, we have Demichelis and Samuel who I would give a 7. They are not great defenders, we have NO great defenders at the moment, but they are good and the best we have.
On the other hand: we do have great midfielders in all aspects. Great defensive midfielders, great wingers and great offensive midfielders and enganche’s. We also have wonderful forwards and strikers. So I wouldn’t worry too much about midfield and attack. But with Diego everything is a mess anyway. We should field a team that hides our weaknesses. Within the right system an ok keeper and some ok defenders could be enough, because we have this incredible amount of great players from midfield and forward. But in stead we now have a system that gives our vulnerable defence all kinds of trouble and exposes all our defensive weaknesses. I mean…today we played a team that almost never play together and they had so much more of the possesion than we had. We played like Italy…only on counter attacks.
Our midfielders today were also terrible…..Gago nowhere…..Bolatti….well, he should of course never ever be part of our NT. He should be nowhere near an Argentina jersey! Pastore, great goal really great goal, but he did nothing at all apart from that. He lost the ball and looked very fragile and soft. But ok, he’s only 20.
The ONLY positive thing today was our speedy attackers. Di Maria, Lavezzi and Higuain were very dangerous. They missed lots of chances, but I don’t care much about the result in games like these, I think it’s important to look behind the result. Our frontmen really found eachother in the first half. They played well together and Puyol and Oleguer had all kinds of problems when we hit them on the counter. We kinda only played on the counter, but that suits Di Maria, Lavezzi and Higuain very well because they are extremely quick all of them. It’s not Argentina to play like this, but anyway it’s good to see that we have some players who are dangerous when we go forward even if it’s only on counter attacks.

MaxiLopez said...

Pathetic ratings as usual. When will you understand that ALL our players are pathetic under Maradona? They are not suitable to counter attacking futbol. Except, Higuain, Lavezzi, Di Maria who have your highest rates. Why are we spitting on our players? What about Maradona?

MaxiLopez said...

At least, you can't say its Freddy Krugger (Heinze)'s fault for this other defeat.

johnny said...

Different day, same shit. Meaningless friendly or not, we see the same mess. Given the horrible underperforming from the NT for so long now and the fact that the WC is literally around the corner, you would think that more attention would be given to developing a consistent starting eleven. Particularly on defense. Instead we see many of the usual, completely inept suspects manning the back line and on the edges. Papa-worse than worthless; Otamendi-please not again. Pareja ? Not much better. The midfield ? Still with problems. I thought at times in the past Gago added something, but not now. Bolatti ? Not NT quality in my book. Pastore ? Promising, but still so green-it points to the disrepair in midfield that he would be considered.

The upside-we have seen more dangerousness on offense with the inclusion of Higuain and Di Maria. If Maradona can see his way to work with those two, coupled with Aimar and Messi, then I can see some hope there. Throw Banega into the mix, along with Veron, maybe, then there is some hope on that end of the field.

All in all, I'm still negative about our prospects because of Maradona. He still obviously is in love with too many mediocre players plying their trade in Argentina and dismissive of more talented players in Europe. Maybe he has seen the light with Higuain and Di Maria (more in the future-Saviola ?), but the defense is in tatters. So, GET SOME TALENTED GUYS PLAYING IN EUROPE ON DEFENSE AND LET THEM WORK TOGETHER FROM NOW ON TO DEVELOP SOME CHEMISTRY. No more agonizing bums on defense ! Please !

MaxiLopez said...

The problems don't come from the players. Even Mascherano & Messi are pathetic under Maradona. We are not Germany.

Dave P said...

MaxiLopez we all understand that Maradona is a horrible coach and does not know how to put all the pieces together to make any bit of sense. But lets face it Maradona is going to be the coach for the WC Squad...If they were going to get rid of him they would have had to done it back in September. Now it is too late. With Maradona and whoever is the coach of the NT it is all politics and we can not do anything about it. The only way I can see Maradona not coaching for us during the WC is either by having a medical issue, or all our players rallying together to say that they do not want him to be coach. But Argentine players would never do that to their own countries greatest player.

In the end we are going to have to deal with it, and work with what we have. Only time will tell.

messidona19 said...

I'm getting sick of watching Argentina get beat in every single time they play!! I mean this was the only third of the spanish team while the other wouldn't even make the 3rd spanish team and we still got beat!! The only positive thing i got from this match was Banega who only had about 4 to 5 touches in the match but was able to do pass a beautiful through ball which Gago, Veron and Bollati in his position failed to do every time they had the chance. I now want Banega to play for us. As for Pastore, I had high hopes for him but he lost the ball way too much yesterday. Higuain needs to score for argentina again. I don't want Maradona to lose patience with him and never play him again. Lavezzi was pretty impressive but i never see him as a top scorer. Our defence needs change!!!! Everytime I watch Argentina play a match, We always have to concede and i'm getting sick of always conceding to stupid defensive mistakes!

John said...

Thanks GK for the rating. It was nice to hear your views. If there is anything that you would like to post on Mundo, please do send them over to us.

And Dave!!! The player rater. I completely forgot to give a special mentioned about you on our last pod cast. How could I? Please do accept my apology for that. As always, a nice insight about the game from you.

Well what can I say? As I did mentioned in the last pod that I find this friendly completely irrelevant but rather just for formality sake. In some ways, it’s better that we lost this game or else it is only going to justify Diego’s decision.

As mentioned Roy, the only ones that were beneficiaries of this game were debutants. With that itself, I’m asking “ Why didn’t BANEGA started ahead of GAGO?”

For me, nothing really made sense from this game. Then again, under Diego, everything doesn’t make sense.

GK said...

Sure we didn't play to our potential (we never really do) but like Seba said, it was a ridiculous match. The starting 11 at the finals isn't going to look like it did last night. This match couldn't even be taken as a real friendly, it was geared more towards entertaining the fans. I got to watch the pregame on the TV and before the game there were dancers and music and singers and balloons and plenty of fireworks.... just eye candy for the paying fans, nothing like you would see at a normal FIFA friendly. Now I'm not using this as an excuse for our performance but what if we were the team that won 4-2? Wouldn't that give the national team some confidence back? Maybe some confidence that isn't deserved? I think in the end the loss will do us better than a win would have done us. Sure Maradona is far from the greatest manager around but the point is HE IS our manager and a national team can't perform without their regular manager on the side line. Not to mention a few key starters we did without (Messi, Mascherano, Aimar etc.)

I agree its frustrating to see Argentina continue to lose and rarely win but in this case I believe that a win today would have done us more harm that the loss.

2009 is finally behind us, I still have hope for 2010....

msi2 said...

I thought Pareja was one of the darlings here? :p

Anonymous said...

Although we lost, I think our attack was a lot better. That's the brightest aspect. I hope Maradona sees what I saw:
1. The best right sided midfielder we have is Lavezzi! He's not a right sided mifielder, but if we go for attack, he and Di Maria on the left would make us really scarry on each wing! I remember when Ancelotti put Pirlo as DM several years ago, many people asked his decision, but he ended up as the best DM in the world by 2006. I hope Maradona sees it. We go with Lavezzi as right midfielder when playing attacking football. We go with Gutierrez if we want to be a little defensive.

2. Di Maria is untouchable. It's just a matter of time before him getting sharper, better and work better with Higuain (and Messi). That's good news!

3. Our defense needs at least 3 changes. Our best right back for me is Clemente Rodriguez. Again, I hope Maradona sees it. His stamina is like that of Dani Alves. Demichelis needs a new partner, not Otamendi please. Otamendi can be our right back back up. He did well against Uruguay as a defensive minded right back. Ansaldi or Insua should be our left back.

4. Mascherano also needs a partner in our 4-2-2-2. Veron is the favorite. My wish is Banega.

5. We have 4 speedy players in Di Maria, Messi, Higuain, and Lavezzi. If all of them play, that's bad news for any European tall defenders.