Friday, 14 October 2011

Perth 1-0 Adelaide: Match Analysis

This was an energetic and aggressive encounter. While the play itself was not particularly cerebral, there was a tactically intriguing feature. Perth, deployed in an orthodox 4-4-2, dominated possession against Adelaide, deployed in a nominal 4-3-3. Adelaide, of all the losing clubs in Round 1, most deserved to; they were unimaginative and insipid.

Coolen deployed the Reds in a 4-3-3 that in the first half morphed into a 4-4-2, but not in the usual way. McKain was paired with Susak in central defence, Cassio was at leftback. Watson was a like-for-like substitute for Mullen at rightback. Dilevski, Levchenko and Caravella were meant to be the midfield trio. Van Dijk was generally the lone striker, Slory a winger cutting-in, with Djite an inside forward. The latter two swapped flanks throughout the match.

Now the positioning of Djite and Caravella was quite strange early on the 1st half, and it bamboozled PM's attempts to identify their formation. Normally the way a 4-3-3 becomes a 4-4-2 is if the wingers drop back to wide midfield and one of the central midfielders pushes up as a withdrawn striker. But Coolen's 4-3-3 seemed to initially want to match Perth man-for-man. Djite was positioned alongside Van Dijk in what looked like a conventional striker partnership, with Caravella high and wide on the left. But Caravella's movement mirrorred that of Matt McKay's for the Socceroos, without McKay's effectiveness; Caravella started quite wide and looked to drift central. Towards the end of the 1st half, Adelaide's shape was altered; Djite started from a wider position on the left, with Caravella in close proximity to Levchenko in central midfield.

Dilevski did not pay sufficient attention to Mehmet.

Crap in midfield:
Even after the switch in shape Adelaide could not hold onto the ball, despite their numerical advantage. Perth were energetic in pressing Adelaide over the half-way line. Mehmet in particular was very aggressive in winning the ball back.

Adelaide were quite frankly terrible with their passing and they suffered from a lack of build up play. Their style of play was too direct. They were too eager to get the ball up into the attacking third, but more often than not, long punts bore no fruit. This is encapsulated in the fact that one of Adelaide's better scoring chances was a long-ball from Galekovic to Van Dijk. This was particularly disappointing from Coolen; while his team during the first season was direct in play, they didn't rely on aimless long punts. Adelaide improved in the second half, partly due to more build-up play, partly due to Perth tiring.

Ferguson set out the Glory in a conventional (British) 4-4-2. Van den Brink and Mitchell were paired in central defence. Howarth was converted from left-wing to leftback, with Neville at rightback. Burns and Miller were partnered in central midfield; the former as the tackler, the latter as the creator. Dodd played quite narrow at right wing, with Andrezinho wide on the left. Smeltz and Mehmet formed a conventional striker partnership. 

Usually, a 4-3-3 can expect to dominate possession against a 4-4-2. But Perth pressed energetically, with Mehmet in particularly aggressive in winning the ball. The first half was quite helter-skelter.

Andrezinho was impressive on the left flank, with his speed enabling him to beat Watson/Mullen and delivery crosses into the box; he was quite a livewire, able to vary his play by going outside or cutting inside.

Miller was quite anonymous intially, but he benefitted from the slower pace of the 2nd half, and his dictating play led to Perth's goal. Perth might be better off playing with three in midfield, and slowing down the pace of the game. Miller is a good passer; they should look to make use of him perhaps as a regista in a midfield trio.

Converting Howarth, a winger, into a fullback/lateral works better with the advanced winger cutting-in to enable the overlap. In this case he was provided close support for Andrezinho, but was generally unable to contribute to the attack with the winger staying wide.

Mehmet's goal:
Cassio left Neville free. Miller laid a delectable through ball for Neville's run over the half-way line. Amphlett speeded away from Dilevski his marker, at right wing. Neville passed the ball into Amphlett's channel, who drilled a cross to the near-post. Mehmet out-muscled McKain, latched onto the cross and finished.

Adelaide should have performed better on the ball. Perth were more active off it. Caravella and Levchenko seemed lost at sea, coughing up the ball in dangerous areas and Cassio needed to push into midfield more. Clubs who make the trek to Perth and Wellington generally turn in poor performances, so perhaps this can be attributed to the travel.

Player Rankings:
Adelaide / Perth
10) Levchenko / Mitchell
9) Watson / Van den Brink
8) Susak / Burns
7) Caravella / Dodd
6) Dilevski, Galekovic / Howarth, Galekovic
5) McKain / Smeltz
4) Cassio / Neville
3) Djite / Miller, Amphlett
2) Van Dijk / Andrezinho
1) Slory / Mehmet

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