lunedì 28 ottobre 2013

Sunderland back in business

Gus Poyet made it in his first home game as new Sunderland's manager. Poyet is a man on mission. The goal is avoid relegation. It took time. To do it, Poyet spoke of his desire to unite the club after the turmoil following Paolo Di Canio's regime. Poyet had a lot of decisions to make. So, he started a tale of redemption for the former club's pariah Lee Cattermole and shacked the line up, adding Andrea Dossena and Carlos Cueller and dropping Emanuele Giaccherini. He lined up a stricht 4-4-2 featuring just one true winger in Adam Johnson while two forwards was paired up top in Steven Fletcher and Jozy Altidore. He build a strong central midfield in Jack Colback and Cattermole. He forced Alan Pardew, who started the game in his classic 4-3-3 formation, to shift to a more conventional 4-4-2 by the end of the half. Above all, he made the right move with the introduction of Fabio Borini. Poyet favourited a slow approach, with gradual changes. Restore team's shape and give it an identity will require time. It started for Poyet going back to basics with a very simple football approach, asking the players to run their preferred style of football. Have back a fully fit Fletcher helped Sunderland: the Scotland striker reminded yesterday why he's so important to the club. It wasn't the best performance of the season as many things have to be improved. "We need to pass the ball better," Poyet said. But it was a good start. The true evaluation to fix team's tactics will begin in the coming weeks. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. The goal is the maintainment. Whether that will be the case remains to be seen.

giovedì 24 ottobre 2013

Ian Holloway leaves Crystal Palace by mutual consent

A year is gone since Dougie Freedman left Crystal Palace, and the club is looking for a new manager, once again. Ian Holloway has left Crystal Palace by mutual consent less than five months after leading Palace back into the Premier League and less than a year since taking charge. “I’m absolutely exhausted, to be honest,”he said. Holloway acknowledged he had lost the respect of the dressing room following a terrible start after the club's return to the Premier League. His fate was sealed after Monday's 4-1 defeat to Fulham at Selhurst Park. The goal of keep the club in the Premier League with one of the smallest budget in terms of transfers and wages for a Premier League side, were tough for both manager and club. The co-chairman Steve Parish did not want to fire him, but Holloway confirmed he wanted to leave the club and refused to remain in charge. Holloway's tactics have not been met with his players' attitudes. The same Holloway criticised the habits of many of his summer signings. Palace made as many as 16 signings over the summer and it softened the spirit of the squad, according to the former manager. "We tried to change too quickly," said Holloway. Between the new arrivals, five came on the final day and two – Stephen Dobbie and full-back Florian Marange – did not make the 25-man Premier League roster. At Crystal Palace, Holloway had a win percentage of 30%. Team also lost to Bristol City in the second round of the Capital One Cup. A 3-1 victory at home to Sunderland remained the only positive result from this season for Holloway. Palace seemed not really ready for EPL. On the pitch the team were weakened by the departure of Wilfried Zaha and the loss of Glenn Murray, their 32-goal top scorer, out with a cruciate knee ligament injury. The new group was unable to play the needed kind of football to avoid relegation during the first eight games of this season. Off field, Palace lacked to build the needed environment for a Premier League club. The failed to build an adequate scouting infrastructure. Palace started this season as a Championship club playing against the big boys.

sabato 19 ottobre 2013

Maradona's dreaming job

Former Napoli star Diego Maradona dreams to return to club as manager. "I would like to manage Napoli when Benítez leaves," he told. ‘Maradona’s crazy!’ is the general thought when you came to talk about former Pibe de Oro. And crazy was his manager career, started dating back to 2008, when he took over Argentina’s manager job. And the turmoil continued during his brief stint with UAE Pro League’s side of Al Wasl, when his contract was terminated in July 2013, just 14 months into his two-year deal, as team failed to offer enough signs of progress under his regime. Everywhere he went, his stewardship were tempestuous at least. Arguments about his tactics knowledge can go on for years. He started 2010 World Cup campaign changing Argentina’s shape slightly, having the main goal to set team’s tactics in the way to let Lionel Messi shine. The tournament ended in a mess with Diego Maradona’s side literally trashed by Germany 4-0. Argentina struggled for fluidity and showed defensive weakness. There was little element of tactics to talking about. He fielded his team mainly into a 4-4-2 diamond formation playing with a surprisingly high line. He instructed his full-backs to don’t allow past the halfway line in a moment when they became the most important players in the modern teams. “Why do they need to cross the halfway line?”, he once said, “that’s what my wingers are for.” He asked Messi to play as attacking midfielder, a position in which Barcelona’s star isn’t suited, behind the attacking pair of Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain. He left Argentina’s three central midfielders with too much work to do with the result they were outnumbered in the key clash against Germany. He tried to build a defensive-oriented team based 7 players defending while the offensive trio was given a free role with the result to have a team relatively able to keep possession well but no to shut games down. The fantastic football his team promised behind   Tévez, Messi, Angel di Maria and Higuain never apparead. Maradona paid for his controversial tactics and found himself out of job with the Argentine Football Association that opted not to renew his contract. After his experience with Argentina was over, Maradona found a job as Al Wasl manager. But Maradona’s reign with Wasl was characterized by a number of controversies off field, while his side struggled on field with the result that chairman Marwan bin Bayat, the man who hired him, resigned following disappointing showings. So he was sacked after just 14 months in charge. As manager, Maradona has to grow a lot. But perhaps – and it might be a big perhaps – he could still be able to do that Sir Alex Ferguson has always done at Manchester United or what Jurgen Klinsmann has done with Germany, i.e. enhance team spirit following excessive but efficient rants, not coaching and leave the tactical side of the game into the hand of a more expert tactician. Could it works with Napoli or in a league such as Serie A, which required thinking tacticians on the bench? Maybe or maybe not. Surely Napoli’s fans are enjoying watching Benitez’s side and still want to continue to do it. Leave the ‘Maradona dream’ or ‘nightmare’ alone.

lunedì 14 ottobre 2013

Steel City is rusty

Ex-Rangers star David Weir’s tenure as Sheffield United manager is over after the club sacked him following a disappointing start to the League One campaign. The Blades have won only one of their 10 league games, on the opening weekend of the season, and are currently third from bottom in the table. The Saudi Arabian Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad, the club’s co-owner after he purchased 50 per cent of the club’s shares from the owner and chairman Kevin McCabe, gave Weir his full backing. But it wasn’t enough to save Weir after the concerns following the dismal start. He struggled, losing nine of United’s 13 matches since he replace former manager Danny Wilson. This has been a poor start to the season for both Sheffield clubs as both Wednesday and United occupy the 22nd place in the Championship. Chris Waddle and Jan Aage Fjortoft’s glory days are far from the present. After Weir’s dismissal, United is gone through six managers since 2007 relegation from the Premier League under Neil Warnock. The rookie manager wasn’t given time. But he also paid a lack of experience at this level. Still Weir’s appointment at Bramall Lane brought on a lot of interest as the Blades has gone unbeaten in pre-season. Former Derby County’s manager, Nigel Clough, and Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade are bookmakers’ favourites to succeed Weir. At Wednesday, Dave Jones is in a worse position being winless at the moment. The Owls and Blades have just one win between them from their opening games combined. The club was a top tier club in the past but has not been there since 2000 and was saved when owner Milan Mandaric bought it clearing all debts so is improbable to see him spending a lot after the financial turmoil club has seen latest seasons. Wednesday enjoyed a bright start to the season, but their positive opening period was soon forgotten. Injuries had their part as Jones rarely fielded the same back four in consecutive matches. But it's still far from the expected. Sheffield Wednesday's inconsistency is frustrating the club's coaching staff and fans. 

sabato 12 ottobre 2013

Holger Osieck sacked

Australia coach Holger Osieck has been sacked after the Socceroos slumped to an embarrassing 6-0 friendly defeat in France. It followed another 6-0 defeat against Brazil. Two 6-0 defeats was unacceptable and enough for FFA to fire Osieck. That ended Osieck’s regime in charge of the Socceroos. His overall record is 23 wins, 10 draws and 11 defeats. Osieck’s position was under review months before sealing World Cup qualification. He has come under criticism during his tenure as Socceroos manager, with his tactics and Australia's early results in the qualifying stages providing scrutiny. Did he deserve the fire? Is true that the Socceroos have only won twice against Jordan and Iraq in 10 games. The 6-0 defeats to Brazil and France must to be added to the the poor showings against China and Romania. The run of poor performances in this 2013 is what cost the German his job. On the other hand, Osieck has achieve somethings for Australian football. Frank Lowy appointed him following the 2010 World Cup poor performance. Osieck  objectives was a strong showing at the 2011 Asian Cup and qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and he reached both. In the Asian Cup, Socceroos reach the final just to lose against Japan, a better team at this time. Then, the Socceroos did qualify to the 2014 World Cup, although Osieck qualified the team through a 1-0 loss to Oman in the first round of qualification and second place in a final group stage featuring Japan, Jordan, Oman and Iraq. But it was not inappropriate to say latest performances was unacceptable. Osieck had troubles with a roster where youngsters such as Tomi Juric, Adam Taggart or Joshua Brilliante are yet far from the playing level of 2006 generation. The goal to go deep into the knockout stage of a World Cup is unrealistic right now. The A-League is progressing well but the level is still low. Young players are going to develop their talent overseas. But they do it going to new markets as UAE that can provide better money. So Australia's presence in high level leagues as EPL hit a new low while Australian players opt to reach popular fields of J-League or K-League instead of heading west in Europe to play in the best leagues. Socceroos assistant Aurelio Vidmar will act as interim coach for next friendly game against Canada while FFA is looking for a new coach. The new manager will have just eight months at his disposal to prepare the squad for Brazil

mercoledì 2 ottobre 2013

DC United made it

Is that the biggest season's upset? One of the Major League Soccer's worst team, DC United, with a record of 3-21-6, claimed the 100th US Open Cup with a shocking 1-0 win at Real Salt Lake. Lewis Neal's goal was enough to claim the trophy and a place in next season's Concacaf Champions League. Lucas Neal is the player sidelined most of the season due to groin injuries... DC arrived in Utah following a road map featuring no wins away and with only six goals scored and 29 allowed. DC produced a solid defensive performance as RSL rarely troubled goalkeeper Bill Hamid. RSL just controlled possessionbut wasn't able to penetrate United's defense. DC found a way to overcome competition’s troubles as when they survived penalty shootouts both against the Richmond Kickers as well in the semifinal against Chicago Fire. Credit to Ben Olsen who ran a clear and concise game plan based on the counter. Despite the bad season they had, DC executed it effectively, allowing RSL no space to play their classic passing game. “It’s been a strange season, but to have the smiles on those guys faces right now, it’s unbelievable,” said Olsen, “we’ve forgotten about the negativity of the year. We managed to find focus in this Open Cup, and come away with something in a season of turmoil, with a trophy. I credit those guys, the organization, and I credit our fans, ownership, everybody. We didn’t let the wheels fall off.”