Monday, 2 April 2012

WANTED: A centre midfield.....but 3 reasons to be cheerful

At the weekend The Citizens slumped to another defeat, this time 3-0 at home to Jeju. That makes it 5 games without a victory and just one goal scored. Fans were banned from the main stand and will be this week against Busan after the crowd triube away to Incheon last week. Those who did attend were not expecting to get much from the game but there are reasons things may not be so bad.

There seems to be one over riding failure within the system, which it is possible to address, especially with players returning from injury and new additions to the team.

First let’s highlight the main issue within the Daejeon side. In short, the centre midfield fails to function as a unit. The media keeps reporting that Daejeon play a 3-4-3 as shown below.

This is incorrect, with number 13 actually plays left back, and both wide attackers pulling back to play in midfield when the team does not have possession. This could be identified early on in this picture

It was the repeated failings of the centre 3 that cost Daejeon. On many occasions the 3 players were unorganized or out of position.
The situation above highlights how badly organized they were. A long ball has come from the right side of the Jeju defence and the lone striker has time to chest down the ball, turn, take one touch and pick a pass. It seems that there was no designated holding midfielder to protect the back line and they were easily bypassed, negating the man advantage they had. This time Daejeon were fortunate and it didn’t lead to a goal, but the right winger advanced unmarked and when he received the pass fired just wide. Warning sirens should have started in the Daejeon camp.

The first goal did come as a result of a midfielder failing to protect the back line. As illustrated above, all three midfielders are cut out with one simple pass, meaning as the striker drops off the Daejeon defender is forced to rush out of the back line. Though there is a scramble for the ball and Daejeon had chance to clear, as soon as Jeju pick up the ball they charged at the remaining central defender, 2 against 1 exploiting the fact the defender had been forced to push up into the hole. It was from this that Jeju took the lead.

The same thing was seen in the second half, this time leaving Jeju 4 vs 3 after one simple pass from just inside the Daejeon half. (The defender is in purple, and the midfield trio in yellow)

The poor shape in the centre of the park was shown up again when Jeju had plenty of time and options for a pass whilst the Citizens midfield seemed to be as wide open as possible. The deep midfielder here was caught napping and lost his man whilst the other two were far too spread out, making pressing of the ball impossible.

The poor organization and pressing lead to the second goal. Though the goal came from the penalty spot Jeju played through the midfield with ease and burst in the box to be forced over by Kim and another defender.
The poor positioning gave Jeju the time and space they needed to play the ball about and make unchecked runs in the Daejeon box.

The midfields work when the team had possession was not much better at times. Though the third goal came from a poor back pass from a centre half after panicking when put under pressure, it’s quite important to acknowledge that as he was receiving the ball, no midfielder came short to offer a simple pass. All three made runs up the field, with no one assuming they were responsible for defensive duties or linking the play.

When on the ball, midfielders also often made poor decisions. Here, rather than picking one of two passes (purple) and exploiting the huge space out wide, then joining the attack temselves, and also allowing giant striker Kevin (yellow) to move in towards goal, the midfielder instead decided to shoot. Though it was on target it was a poor decision.

Ok so now lets look at the reasons to be cheerful!

Firstly, the brightest payer on the day was Brazilian debutant, Leo. Though Daejeon again failed to score he showed several positive attributes that suggest he may actually be able to help in the hunt for goals. On several occasions he managed to get beyond Kevin from out wide and pick up flicks. He would force his way into the box and made the goalkeeper work on several occasions. He is the first Daejeon player this season to repeatedly look to feed of Kevin, and looked a threat.
In previous weeks I have commented how Daejeon fail to keep the ball meaning pressure on the defence is rarely relieved. However, on several occasions Leo picked the ball up and managed to beat a man and use his pace to burst from midfield. Retaining possession and the ability to turn defence into attack quickly will be a huge boost to Daejeon hopes of picking up points.

After picking up the ball wide right, Leo beat two defenders and managed to pick out Kevin in the centre who’s shot was blocked well by a defender. This spark of creativity has been missing from Daejeon and shows signs that things may be on the up. It must be noted though that Daejeon only had 2 players in the box and they took up the same position around the penalty spot. Attacking movement still needs coordinating, though that should come with more time.

The other 2 reasons to be cheerful come in the shape of Yuta Baba and Alesandro. The return from injury of Japanese midfielder Yuta Baba is a welcome sight and his experience and ability could help fix some of the issues already pointed out. The signing of Brazilian centre half Alesandro means more options at the back and hopefully a little more experience. It may well lead to number 5, Kim, being pushed forward into a defensive midfield role, which may suit his game more as he’s quite composed on the ball, and his defensive abilities could help strengthen the midfield unit.

The visit of Busan I'Park this Saturday will be another tough test. Though Busan haven't had the greatest start they are a well organised side and with Romanian Zicu in their side, they always pose a threat. Lets hope The Purples work on some of these issues this week.

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