Saturday, 3 September 2011

Saudi Arabia vs Australia: Prediction/Preview

Possible starting line-up: (4-4-2/4-3-3 hybrid)
This XI is harder to predict, as Holger has called up a 23-man squad, as opposed to the usual 18, in order to cope with the heavier schedule. Holger proclaimed that he would select his strongest side against Thailand, perhaps indicating the side facing Saudi Arabia would feature those players who weren't used in last night's match.
Hopefully, Holger will have recognised the deficiencies in his team selection and will make the appropriate corrections.
While Schwarzer is the undisputed number 1 custodian, it is likely Holger will select Federici. In this way, Federici gains more international experience and match familiarity with his defenders, while Schwarzer can gain some rest. He is after all playing in the Premier League and the Europa League, which entails a heavy schedule.
Ognenovski might be preferred to partner Neill in defence. Spiranovic has shown himself in the past to be injury prone, and Holger will be mindful of sparingly deploying what he regards as a crucial player.
Zullo did not feature against Thailand, and as the only nominal left-back in the squad, will hopefully be played. This would allow McKay, or perhaps another left-sided attacker like Brosque or Troisi to play higher up in mid-field. Using Brosque and Troisi might leave the left flank relatively weak defensively, especially as Zullo is another converted left-winger. Zullo however acquitted himself well against Bellamy, and any other attacker would presumably contribute a little more defensively than Holman.
Cahill might be rested to placate Everton, though he has only played one full match this season for the Toffees. Presumably, his place would be taken by Holman.
Kennedy played the full 90 against Thailand, but offered no mobility. PM would favour Kruse, but there is no indication Holger was unhappy with Kennedy's performance. However, Holger left Kennedy out of the squad to face Wales, mindful of the impact of travel on his injuries.
Emerton barely featured on the right flank and will almost certainly be dropped.
Williams might be preferred in right-back, in order to rest Wilkshire and give the young utility international experience. Although on first glance, RB seems a peripheral position for such a talented player, it should be the best position to give scope to William's adept ability to defend and attack, as well as his non-reliance on pace.
An advantage for stationing Brosque and Troisi out-wide on the right (unlikely), will be they will cut inside on their stronger left foot while Holman cuts outside on his stronger right foot.

This will be a difficult match under harsh climactic conditions and after a disappointing performance. A winning result will go along way to alleviating the damage done by the lucky win against Thailand.

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