Friday, 19 March 2010

A further point on Ireland

A caveat to what I wrote last night:

Part of the problem with Ireland this season was Mark Hughes' use of Carlos Tévez as a second striker, behind Emmanuel Adebayor. The waspish Tévez would drift across the space between the opposition lines - in much the same way as Wayne Rooney does for England. This was the space in which Ireland operates so effectively.

As with Rooney, though, it has become apparent during this season that despite his lack of height Tévez is really rather effective at leading the line. During Adebayor's compassionate leave Tévez enjoyed his best spell at the club, leading the line in a classic 4-3-3/4-5-1 system. In fact, Tévez's strength, tenacity and hold up play arguably make him better suited to this role than Adebayor is. And if Tévez plays this role, then there is space behind him - at the peak of the midfield triangle - for Stephen Ireland.

The coincidence of injuries and absence mean that we have rarely been able to play this way - with Ireland drifting behind Tévez. But it's an option. And suggests that Ireland's form, rather than systems, might now be what is holding him back.

9 comments:

joe corrigans gloves said...

never heard anyone question stevens fitness before.

Bluephill said...

Caveat? How very Sid Lowe!

JPB said...

Indeed. An inspiration to all of us.

JonRoseHill said...

1-We are such a better side without the lazy, self centred Adebayor. Think the stats back this up too in terms of wins with and wins without.
2-I know Sid Lowe. Great bloke and doing a job he loves for which I'm jealous - but he was convinced at Uni that Kanu was better than Scholes. Oh dear!

pjdemers said...

I think Ireland's form has suffered this season not because of Tevez, but because we have no creative players in the middle of the pitch to spot his clever runs.

Ireland excelled last year because we had players like Elano and even Robinho who had the ability to spot his clever runs behind the defense and quickly play the necessary through ball.

Ireland is still an effective player but until we find a creative player in the center of the pitch, he will continue to struggle. while Stevie has an eye for a pass his game centers on clever running and playing 1 and 2 touch passes.

In fact, I think part of the reason Ireland struggled in the early half of the season was because of ineffectiveness of Tevez in the hole. Tevez had the tendency to hold the ball too long while Ireland and Bellamy were making clever runs behind the defense. Even now that Tevez is rightly leading the line, the question is who is going to get Ireland the ball as most of our creative play comes through the wings or when Johnson cuts inside. Just a thought.

JPB said...

@JonRoseHill Is he an Arsenal fan then?

JonRoseHill said...

He supports Liverpool, though being from Musewell Hill you'd have thought it'd be Spuds...

JonRoseHill said...

Sorry, Muswell.

nick said...

pjdemers, good point. I would add that Ireland's ability to play an early ball is stilted by the fact that there is rarely anyone nearby for him to play one to. Stevie plays best in the hole, ideally behind TWO strikers or at least another attack-minded midfielder. Given Bobby Manc is intent on cramming our midfield with defensive players,using one up front, and until we go out to win games from the first whistle, there is no role for Ireland. A great shame.