Sunday, 16 August 2009

Ireland deeper

Henry Winter was at the game yesterday and has an article (not a match report as such) in today's Sunday Telegraph about our performance and formation. He makes two interesting points. First, that Bellamy, rather than Adebayor, was at the point of our fluid 4-2-3-1 formation - with the Togolese drifting behind in the hole. Just as interesting, though, is his description of Ireland's more withdrawn role alongside Barry in central midfield:

To the delight of 7,000 City fans, Hughes could certainly not be accused of lacking adventure away from home. He started without an orthodox holding midfielder, leaving Nigel de Jong on the bench and pairing Stephen Ireland and Gareth Barry.

Ireland is a hard worker but more suited to pushing on, linking with attackers, a trait thrillingly shown in striking City's second goal.

If Ireland, in particular, is to be used in this deeper role, clearly more time will be required on the training ground. Little tinkering is needed with the front four, a kaleidoscope of movement at times.

The evidence certainly backs this up. Check out this Guardian chalkboard of Ireland's passing yesterday. Very successful, yes, but with nothing into the penalty area or even into the channels within twenty or so yards of the byline. Contrast this with his performance in a similar game from last season: the 2-1 win at Goodison Park, where Ireland, playing in the hole, was much more incisive in his passing. Whether Ireland's role develops in this way remains to be seen.

 by Guardian Chalkboards


tommytheblue said...

it's not getting the best out of ireland. I commented yesterday that he was playing more like claudio reyna and it didnt suit him. It's more a role you could see Johnson doing.

But again if he can change his game and adapt fair play to the coaching staf and him.

jfell said...

Where's the formation box? The options Hughes now has is unbelievable: Petrov, Tevez and de Jong on the bench!?! Somebody pinch me.

Bluephill said...

I don't think we'll see Ireland in this role week-in week-out. In my opinion this was a case of Hughes adapting the team to suit the way we needed to play to win the game. We needed to be solid in the centre of the park so the gaffer asked Barry and Ireland to sit a little deeper, however, had we gone behind, Hughes had the option to push Ireland further forward giving us more attacking power without making substitutions.

JPB said...

The formation box is still a few days away. I lost those cardboard squares I made when moving my things home from uni, and haven't got round to re-making them. But I've earmarked Tuesday for buying another big sheet of card, cutting it into equal sized squares, and writing TEVEZ 32 etc on them. From which point, the formation box will return.

Danny Pugsley said...

To me, it seemed that we lined up with a more rigid 4-4-2 formation, rather than the fluid one Winter described.

Whilst this clearly worked, it did leave Robinho in 'no mans land' for long periods of the game where he was largely wasted, until a switch with Bellamy early in the second half saw him come into the game far more.