Sunday, 21 November 2010

United stumbling this year?

With new signings and strong performances in the past two season United fans expected even more this season. Better performances if not results.

We're getting neither.

Canberra United conceded a very late goal to Melbourne Victory yesterday. Having chosen to sit near, very near, ABC Commentator Peter Wilkins during the game I felt a sense of inevitably as Wilko called the last corner of the game in the 94th minute.

"Could this be the chance for Melbourne to equalise."

It was and the relief and delight on the Victory bench was joyous to see in itself.

Victory deserved their point, and the team that plays attractive football, short-passing and quick movement, creates chance after chance, in my book, such a team deserves three points.

But football is never like that is it?

Victory started well controlled the ball and attacked United, but conceded softly in the fourth minute to a Caitlin Cooper header and with their young keeper Canberra fans just knew we'd rip em apart.

Canberra didn't and more depressingly they lacked, again, any real invention or craft coming from midfield.

Seems to me Sally Shipard, Cian Maciewjeski and Emily Van Egmond offer much the same, physical strength, varying amounts of skill and control but little variety.

Who plays the short-ball, the one touch ball. No Iniesta or Xavi in that mix is there?

Kahlia Hogg could solve a problem or three and will when fit, Grace Gill offers a shorter pass, more often. Interestingly with Cian, Grace Gill, Kahlia Hogg and Jenny Bissett last year, we were more enjoyable to watch, lacking at times just a goal scorer.

With Sally Shipard, Caitlin Munoz and ace goalscorer Michelle Weyman we could only be stronger. And we are on paper and can be on the pitch but not with the current formula. And non of the three from last season are starting.....yet.

For me it's the midfield three that needs to be changed. Emily Van Egmond might add more power upfront left or right, she can shoot, is fast in small bursts and would play a mean cross.

A midfielder? Not sure about that. Her position is too important to the team. Her touches at the moment way too many, too often and her balls too direct too long. She's young but will need to learn quickly if this team is to improve this season. At the moment her role is crucial, but she's not providing what the forwards or other midfielders need. Maybe she can't in that position.

Lyndsay Glohe is not Nicole Sykes. Lyndsay is strong but lacks a little of that zippy pace, that quick short pass that gets the midfield going and makes United that bit quicker, bit more mobile.

Melbourne were just that.

New players, new systems take time to mould but in the short W-League season confidence goes to the winners, and yesterday despite the score the Winners were Melbourne.

We're not dominating teams, not even at home. And more importantly we're not seeing the link play in the front six that gives you hope of a shot, or a goal. Certainly not often enough.

Ashleigh Sykes seems restricted by the presence of Michelle Weyman. Of course we needed a goalscorer but Ashleigh doesn't seem to be running so freely, causing havoc like she did last season.

Then again the ball delivery, and quick breaks have not been evident this season - not yet.

The squad is better, everyone says it, but getting the results may take time, but on yesterdays performance Canberra is not guaranteed a top four showing, or even an improvement on that, even in a seven team league.

On the plus, Caitlin Cooper was much improved, Ellyse Perry tightly marked still imposed herself. Sally Shipard, Lydia Williams and Caitlin Munoz showed their class, but Ellie Brush was probably my standout.

Sadly most of those players are in the back five or six...and that might just be the problem.


Mary said...

Make sure we get Chaps for next year. Sykes and her were dynamite.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the analysis. Canb united look good on papaer but dismal on the park. Defence is weaker this year and strikers better. Midfield is so so. Need Gill and Bissett to start and get rid of both Sykes. They don't add anything.

Eamonn said...

So we don't agree:)

For a start Nicole Sykes hasn't played this year - injured - so how do you know she doesn't "add anything," and Ashleigh has just come back after injury and has done as well as anyone in the front six.

And we won't be getting "rid" of anyone..squad is set so support all, I'm more interested in seeing the current squad produce some good football rather than getting "rid" of players.

It's a short season, they clearly have the players not the right blend just yet.

They'll be right - you watch.