January 15, 2013

Horse 1427 - Sydney FC and The Finals Series (there is still hope)

Even I'm aware that 9 rounds until the end of the season is a long way to go but that is precisely the reason why Sydney's season is far from over.
As the table stands, Sydney is second last but on 17 points. In contrast, Newcastle is sitting in 5th but only 3 points ahead. This means to suggest that the entire of the league from 5th to last, swings on just two fixtures.

In terms of goals scored, all of the clubs from 5th to 10th are sitting within 3 goals of each other.
Everyone from 4th downwards has managed to score about 20 goals this season; including Sydney. This means to suggest that scoring isn't necessarily an issue. Even at the very top of the table, we're still only looking at less than 30 thus far which is the equivalent of half a goal a game.

Sydney's chronic problem this season is betrayed with one single figure - goals against. At 33 which is five more than Newcastle who are four places ahead, that's where the real story lies.

On the face of it, Sydney play a 4-4-2 like most clubs in the A-League. It seems to work most of the times; for most clubs. Sydney though has a distinct problem with playing this formation. A great many goals have come because, playing a flat back four, they've parted in the middle and have let lone strikers through on the keeper. Otherwise they've been driven defensively deep into their own corners and midfielders haven't fallen back enough to cover the attacking push.
On the occasions where Sydney has had a striker short, they've played 5-4-1 and whilst they don't score as many goals, they don't concede as many either.
The solution to the problem then, is to probably play a 4-5-1 with the central midfielder playing defensive to plug the hole in the centre. They could play a diamond set of backs but that tactic tends to leave wings exposed, which is already a cause of Sydney's leakiness.

Whatever tactical decision is finally settled on, at this stage; with only 3 points to 5th spot, the season is far from over.
The way the finals system is set up, 3rd v 6th and 4th v 5th with 1st and 2nd playing the semi-finals against the winners and the final the week later, a side only really needs to shoot for 6th in the table and then play three blinders of matches after that.
Since coming sixth is a relatively easy task from this point, it's still way too early to discount any finals' hope for anyone as yet, and if there's one thing that's true with any club, if there's still hope, sides play better.

No comments: