Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Gold Coast United 2011-12 Season Preview

Storm clouds obscure the normally searing sunshine of Skilled Park. The established spine of the playing squad has been ripped out and scattered to the wind. One-year contract journeymen and a host of youth team players are the only replacements. And a seemingly uninterested Gold Coast community at odds with the eccentric billionaire owner keeps crowd numbers hovering around 2000 and home games saddled with the atmosphere of a tramp's funeral. Is there any hope left?

Well yes, actually. While there's Bleiburg, there's hope. Renowned as the outspoken 'Tinkerer' (beating derby rivals Roar to the nickname of 'the Invincibles'), there's nothing Bleiburg loves more than fiddling with his formation and his playing squad (after he's done giving the papers a snappy quote of course). While most of the other coaches have worked to establish a recognisable best XI or 15 (given the lack of a need for rotation), Miron loves to mix and match as he sees fit. Consequently, Bleiburg has trained or signed players who are remarkably versatile; Traore has been successful playing as a left-back in a back-four, a left-midfielder, a wing-back in a back-five, and a left-winger in an attacking trio. Michael Thwaite has performed with aplomb in central defense, central midfield and as a right-back.

Joel Porter
This season presents Miron with his greatest challenge. Shane Smeltz, the A-League's own Michael Owen, Jason Culina, the most complete midfielder in the A-League and still a Socceroo stalwart have departed for Perth and Newcastle respectively. Joining them in the departure terminal are Caravella, the beating heart of the Glitter Strip's midfield, Djite, Djulbic, Pantelidis and Van den Brink.

Miron has signed Dutch journeymen Rigters, Beekmans and Jungschlager to form the spine of this new team with talented prospects from the title-winning youth team fleshing the squad out; expect Rigters, Beekmans and Jungschlager's experience in the Dutch top flight to manifest itself in classy, technical performances. As always, the understated Joel Porter and the industrious Michael Thwaite will be crucial to this squad's chances of triumph - if they are able to help bed-in the new signings. However the emerging youngsters will probably provide the spark to this team. James Brown, Tahj Minniecon, Gol-Gol Mebrahtu and Ben Halloran will probably be competing for berths at left and right wing; their aggression and pace will hopefully light up the A-League. Thwaite and Rees look set to form the defensive partnership.

Danger Men: With a radically renovated squad, Michael Thwaite and Joel Porter will be crucial in leading the playing group, settling in the Dutch contingent and mentoring the youngsters. Porter's impact in front of goal was always obscured by Smelt'z supernatural finishing ability - with the latter's depature, Joel's versatility and ability to play-in his teammates will come to the fore. Glen Moss was excellent last season, with a defense that was rarely consistent in terms of personnel; he will be depended upon once again to keep Gold Coast in the running.


Anonymous said...

I'm Guessing robson is the unmarked dot? Good analysis.

Sam said...

I've left the left-midfield/wing berth blank because I don't consider any of Gold Coast's players as nominally wide on the left. Traore may be moved up from leftback, while Brown and co may be inverted

Anonymous said...

Fair point, Traore played up there a lot last season. What do you think of a 4-3-3? Beekmans shielding the defense, with Jungschlager as a box to box midfielder. Robson playing behind the striker; with Brown and Porter on the wings and cutting inside. There isn't much width with that formation though

Pass and Move said...

I don't know all that much of Beekmans and Jungschlager; I'm only assuming their both quality because of how long they've played in the Eredivise. So I don't feel knowledgeable enough about them to conjecture about where they should be deployed.

I was under the impression Robson wasn't in favour under Miron, because of inconsistency.

Brown will probably be stationed wide anyway. Porter belongs in the centre; he's much more creative than he is given credit for, plus he lacks the pace to be effective out wide.

Thanks for the comment. Can i ask how you found out about my blog?

Anonymous said...

Hi PM, I just saw your reply! It's been an interesting beginning to the a-league to say the least..

I found out your blog on the website "theroar.com.au". I've just read some of your analyses of other matches, and I'm highly impressed. Such in depth tactical match analysis is long overdue for the a-league.