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Saturday, September 03, 2005

England gain needed win.....just.

No, I wasn't too pleased with England today. I didn't like the formation, I didn't find David Beckham too accommodating in the holding role, not that he didn't play well but I felt he would be better positioned on the wing. The line-up allowed a start for Shaun Wright-Phillips and he did quite well, only that again we lacked enough crosses from the wing positions at times when we could have done with them. The formation at least brought a bit more life from the midfield duo of Frank Lampard and more so from Steven Gerrard but our best moment was the one-two between Gerrard and Wayne Rooney and a save from Danny Coyne.

Other chances seemed to go begging, particularly Beckham's ball which he hit across with some spin to bend it in and Joe Cole missed a header from mere yards. Should have been on target. The Wales team played quite well and John Hartson was a handful for Jamie Carragher, who had a reasonably good game covering for John Terry. Great stop by Paul Robinson to deny Hartson his headed effort.

Beckham was much better today and began in the second half sending the ball over on occasion to Wright-Phillips and it was one of those balls the new Chelsea winger controlled to pass across for J Cole to score. Good goal and it was about time. When the substitutions occurred, Jermaine Defoe on for Wright-Phillips, pushing Rooney into the right wing role, the services forward dried up. Rooney drifted over to the left, Beckham came over to the left, it was as if our left flank had no-one taking responsibility. Gerrard was taken off for Owen Hargreaves, who came on to the delight of the home crowd, and J Cole eventually made way for Kieron Richardson, who I think can be a big player on the left after his display in the States.

Wales began to get forward more with the crowd behind them, and on a few occasions got near enough to goal to threaten an equaliser, one of those occasions was dealt with by a Rio Ferdinand needed clearance. Overall, England were good enough for the win but not convincing enough to deserve it, it couldn't be said to be the ideal backlash response after Copenhagen. I would like to see more attacking play than the pass-to-pass-to-pass build up we do, as if no one wants to take the ball and break through onto goal. But it's the result that counts, and England have three points. Most will probably agree that the same for Wednesday will be sufficient.



Blogger SKG said...

although i don't particularly like a 4-5-1 formation, i thought that it worked well for england today. but to be honest any formation would have worked against wales.

england will play 4-4-2 at the world cup and i think most people can name sven's starting eleven now. i do believe that we might have to switch to the 4-5-1 if we come across the likes of brazil.

bottom line - today's performance was encouraging. at least it has banished memories of the denmark game.

9/03/2005 10:10 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

The 4-5-1 is an useful engagement against an attacking midfield but for me the Brazilians should have two strikers to cope with, particularly out of Rooney/Owen/Defoe.

I find Rooney and Defoe will push and barge for the ball, whereas Owen tends to be outmuscled and prefers to catch defenders on their pace.

I didn't find their play encouraging but it is good enough to gain a win on Wednesday. But in preparation for a stronger more attack-minded Poland we'll need to get better. Though it's a month away, home support could cement a victory then too.


9/03/2005 11:41 pm

Blogger Skippy said...

I don't like this formation. England don't have enough quality players in the attacking third to make this formation work.

In my view, I have only seen Chelsea and Man United who play well with this syetem, and it works for them because they both have a big forward in Drogba and RVN with exceptional players behind them.

Where would Owen fit in the 4-5-1.

Sven, should stick to 4-4-2

9/04/2005 2:53 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Precisely. 4-4-2. The England side have had precedence in letting down potentially good finishing strikers in favour of one household name. Owen was, and still is, a household name, particularly now in the North East, but Rooney has managed to creep in now with Owen's suspension and lack of appearances at Real.

We had Kevin Phillips who scored 29 in his first season at Sunderland and 30 in his third. We had Andy Cole scoring plenty for Newcastle and forming a good partnership with Dwight Yorke at Man Utd. Both of these players were largely ignored at international level.

Now we have Defoe, who at best gets to warm up before the whistle blows for full time. I agree with Skippy. If we need a holding player, let Ferdinand drop down on occasion to tidy up. Leave Beckham on the wing, let Gerrard go forward and Lampard take a further back role behind Gerrard.

I would now ask for SWP to go on the left but I feel more comfortable with a left footer. Kieron Richardson could play there but he has limited experience for England to lean on when the going gets tough. Ashley Cole shouldn't have to always be the one breaking down the left to cross, and then having to get back as the other side counter.

If Eriksson can address Richardson on the left, not to use trickery often but to break down the left, as he has the pace and tenacity to do it, then we could already have our missing left-footed left-sided player. This is what friendlies are meant to be used for, to find out about other players and other tactics, as well as serving as a reminder that players play for more than just 90mins+.


9/04/2005 4:35 pm

Blogger T said...

I like 4-5-1/4-3-3. Beckham had his best game for England in a long time playing as the holding midfield player. This position allows him to use his immense passing skills. He is no good any more on the right wing- he gets lost in this position, and tends to come inside too often. Plus he doesn't have a big centre-forward to cross too a'la RVN. Furthermore, he can't beat full backs, whereas the excellent SWP can- and does!

Parker and Beckham should now battle it out for the starting role in this position- please no Hargreaves or Phil Neville.

4-5-1 also allows Lampard and Gerrard to do what they do best- attack without fear of abandoning the defence with no cover.

If I was Sven I'd definitely contemplate leaving both Owen and Defoe on the bench come the start of the World Cup.

Not sure about Kieron Richardson, Redsman. Joe Cole plays the left midfield position for Chelsea more often the Richardson does for Man Utd. Cole is the better player at the moment. If Weest Ham's Etherington brings his Nationwide form to the Premiership I think he deserves some thought.

Final point- Rooney playing within himself is still the best player on the pitch! As long as he remains fit England will have a chance in Germany.

P.S. Shevchenko will feature in his first international tournament
next summer. Its great to have Shev at the World Cup. EFT says well done to Ukraine.

9/04/2005 5:10 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Ditto on Shevchenko, none of the usual suspects deserve their places and those who always seem to miss out, like the Ukraine, should have their day.

Good point on Beckham not beating full-backs anymore why he is resigned to the quarter-Beck role, as they now call it. There is, as a result, no other formation than the 4-1-2-2-1, meaning practically Owen will be fighting to start along with Defoe.

That being so, Owen has made the move for a guaranteed first-team choice at Newcastle in order to be fit and chosen for the World Cup and now seems destined to spend his time on the bench almost identical to his time at Real.

Out of Owen and Rooney to start in the formation, one being an eager, sometimes sharp finisher; the other a battler, a shooter and can hold his own on his own, I'd pick Rooney.


9/04/2005 9:18 pm

Blogger SKG said...

lets face it, sven will do as the players tell him to. he will play 4-4-2 in the world cup.

9/04/2005 10:10 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

Redsman - when it comes to a choice between Owen and Rooney, there is no choice. Rooney is by far and away a more dangerous player than Owen. Rooney is the most complete player that England has produced in decades, and I'm glad that his age means that I will have the pleasure of watching him for years to come.

Re Beckham playing the "holding role" on Saturday - he did no such thing. Beckham, as Redsman pointed out, played the role of "quarterback" or what used to be called the "libero role" - pinging penetrative passes forward from deep. Yes, he was effective at doing this against Wales but that was because the Welsh were set up defensively and would have settled for a draw. He had time on the ball to fully utilise his superb passing.

But Beckham is not a holding player in the mould of Deschamps, Makelele or Gattuso and I wonder how effective he would be as defensive cover for England's backline against Brazil, France Argentina etc.

If England are to use Beckham as a libero, somebody has to be the one who gets the tackles in. TS (in an earlier article) highlighted Scot Parker as being someone who could do this and I agree. 4-2-3-1 anyone?

9/05/2005 12:31 pm

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11/27/2005 8:26 am


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