Monday, 16 April 2012

Saints, Dortmund and Young

Things I Have Learnt This Week

This is extremely belated as I’ve been working on my dissertation for uni recently so football has been on the backburner, but here are a few things I saw/learnt this week.

Southampton vs Reading
In the top of the table clash in the Championship on Friday Southampton managed 12 shots on target out of 19 and 59% possession yet lost 3-1 to a Reading side with only 4 shots on target and 6 in total. While many will point quite rightly to the substitute Adam Le Fondre who had an instant impact similar to that in the game against Leeds recently, I don’t really think he was the difference here. Quite a lot of the Southampton chances were from early crosses and diagonal balls aimed at Rickie Lambert and I think this contributed to their lack of goals as the quality of these chances was quite low. Adam Lallana, a 5 ft 7 midfielder attempted several headers from these passes but struggled as it isn’t exactly his strength and the same could be said of Lambert’s strike partner Billy Sharp who was bullied out of contention. The main culprit for these passes was Richard Chaplow who didn’t have a good game and rarely attempted to get past Ian Harte at left back despite the former Leeds man being 7 years his senior and not being known for his pace even in his younger days.

Borussia Dortmund

They Love a Polish Player – they contributed 3 players to the most recent Polish squad, more than any other side. Also in that trio (Błaszczykowski, Lewandowski and Piszczek) they have the Polish captain and 111 caps for Poland. I presume this is just coincidence as Dortmund is quite far from the Polish border but it’s odd nonetheless.

They Interview the Director of Sport Post Game – I don’t remember seeing this in Britain and it took me by surprise. Since this is a man who has a large role within the club and in Britain is often seen as a controversial figure I wonder if adopting a similar approach may help. Perhaps if someone like Damien Comolli at Liverpool were to be more of a public figure like this then they may get a better time from fans and the press.

They Have a Council of Elders – I have no idea what this is and I would love to know but on the Borussia Dortmund website they have a group of people listed as the “Council of Elders”.

Ashley Young

He has received a lot of criticism recently for his theatrics in winning penalties against QPR and Aston Villa. Generally I am on the side of the attackers when criticised for making a meal of a challenge as you can hardly expect them to do otherwise when there is some contact made, anything else would be less reflective of their team's interests and I am generally in favour of things that create more goals and limit the ability of teams to just shut up shop on the end of their box. In the Ashley Young case I think his two recent dives have taken it a stage too far as he wasn't making a meal of contact, he was entirely feigning it. It's his choice and it's not difficult to see why he has chosen this but he ought to beware of the longer lasting effects as in the future he may struggle to win penalties for genuine fouls, something which happened to Suarez at times while still at Ajax.
Generally speaking Ashley Young is a clever player who knows how to win penalties by putting himself in a position to be fouled, hence winning the most penalties and free kicks last season, in order to keep this ability he should probably think about it before he next attempts to win a penalty.

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