Thursday, 12 February 2009

Ze Pixie Headed Little Irish are Winning

Howdy folks,

Scanning up and down the tables of the European qualifying groups for the 2010 World Cup it’s hard to ignore the fact that Ireland are currently looking in a healthier position at this stage of proceedings than they have done for some time. Okay, there’s no Andy Reid, alright Stephen Ireland is still absent and the moments of play that we can describe as ‘enterprising’ tend to come along once every 70 minutes.

But… Ireland are getting results and despite some of the negativity which seems to be prevailing around the side from a lot of the press, I think Trapattoni is being unfairly labelled as overly defensive.

Two workmanlike central midfielders are certainly vital to his tried and tested gameplan but this is a side which plays with two wingers and two men up front, something which very few sides have the cajones to do these days. More often than not, sides are employing a one winger system with three central midfield grafters across the line, the winger and furthest central-mid player switching sides every now and then. It’s a system played up and down the Premier League anyway, with some sides (Liverpool, Man City, Everton) benefiting from one or more of these central midfielders having a creative streak.

This is of course where the Irish side falls down in that Whelan and Andrews are incredibly average players, and while Stephen Reid is a little better he’s hardly Pele. Hence the need for two imaginative wingers; indeed should McGeady manage to tame that cruel mistress known as ‘the cross’ within the next year or two he could be one of the better players in his position across Europe, or at the very least a far better option in wide areas than England are blessed with.

Overall, Ireland deserved to win last night even though they relied upon a huge dollop of luck with the penalty. But then again fuck it; we’ve had to deal with years of dodgy deflections going against us, stupid defensive mistakes costing us, inept managerial appointments, Brian (insert spitting noise here) Kerr’s siege mentality and all other manner of factors which served to piss on our qualification hopes.

On the Andy Reid matter, well Mark summed it up well before, while hopefully Stephen Ireland will sign up to give us added guile in the middle and we may even see Darron Gibson grow into a decent player should he get a loan spell next season just in time for the crucial autumn qualifiers.

It’s a lot of wishful thinking I’ll admit, but in short, if that’s a bandwagon passing by I’m jumping on. Roll on two weeks holiday in 2010 in front of the TV drunk as a poet on pay day.

Later, JJ


Mark said...

I agree with everything you said JJ.
I'm all for putting the boot in to players and managers but I think Ireland are doing alright. 10 pts outta 12 is great, and if we can win the next one, that's a great chance to finish runners up in group.

And did you see the bench last night, bunch of second rate players there, so it's not like we're bursting with options. A fit Stephen Reid and Finnan would make a big difference to the team.

A glorious play off defeat beckons chaps, hold on to your hats

Mal said...

I can take a glorious play off defeat as long as one of our players gets into a scrap, ala Cascerino in Turkey.

Anonymous said...

Trap seems to be lucky more than anything and thats a nice thing to have on our side.

soupnazi said...

Yeah happy to get on board this feel good band wagon but for most of the game the atmosphere in Croke Park seemed disinterested at best.What happened the vaunted singing section? Also refreshing to see Souness make efforts to halt Dunphy on one of his rants and prevent the "great players like John and Graeme here..." love in before it started. The Andy Reid should be....blah.. was challenged by Souness asking where he'd play him and if he'd alter the system to suit him. No play him on the left and drop McGeady sounded like a crap idea even before last nights good performance. Okay end product still iffy but nice roulette in 2nd hlf covers a multitude. Anyway team getting good results and panel improving, all is rosy...except if you're from Newcastle and this Bryan Robson thing happens..duhn duhn duhn!!!!

Jumpthefence said...

Yeah, I'll go along with the taking the win last night lads. We lacked a little something at times but probably deserved the win for the energy and tempo of the second half display.
On the midfield,though it's certainly brave playing the two wingers and two forwards, you'd really need a really strong central unit for it to work properly. Id wonder if we'll get overrun against someone like Italy, who'll have a stronger three-man midfield most likely.
But for now Im delighted we're in a great position.

soupnazi said...

Football seems to be getting good again after being fairly dull for most of Dec and Jan so decided to listen to the Guardian podcast and watch football matters. Both seemed actually decent of course the absence of Poll on the couch and presence of Gab Marcotti who actually says stuff instead of trotting out inanity helped(He does look a bit too much like Pat Dolan for my liking though). Ian Holloway was pretty decent as always but maybe the improvement in both is down to the absence of James Richardson. I've nothing against him and, Stan Collymore ..well. But both shows were actually more about football than silly puns and phrases. Anyway bring on the Champions league c'mon Mourinho!

JJ said...

Good point soup nazi, we're in the best part of the season now. The league run in is great but best of all are the champions league nights now that it's gone to the knockhout stages.

Tuesdays and wednesdays suddenly make sense again... pretty much a a clean run of good football until May from here, obviously there's the odd bit of shit hanging from a stick but nothing compared to football over the last few months.

Good point on dolan/marcotti by the way, if the latter's family are having an intervention regarding his binge eating in the next few months they should certainly have setanta on in the background.

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