Against France on Wednesday England looked lost, confused, disorganized and more the vast majority of the game they were outclassed. France certainly impressed with Nasri, Benzema amongst others, taking the opportunities provided to them due to the suspension of players involved in the circus that was France at the World Cup. So what happened with England? Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Kieran Gibbs were making their first international starts and the experience of Ferdinand, Gerrard, Barry and Milner was supposed to provide stability to the team. However, it became all to clear after the first minute that England fell into the trap that too many teams do when they have a big, strong center forward like Carroll. The ball was hit high into the air for Carroll to win knockdowns and flick-ons far too many times. Carroll did well but lacked the support from Gerrard, Milner and Walcott, all of which play in teams that prefer to get to ball down and pass it around.
It can be argued that Fabio was missing some of his first choice players in Rooney, Terry and Hart but more important than this was the fact that England lacked the creativity of France. France used Nasri in the same position as England used Gerrard, just off the main center forward and there is certainly no comparing the playing styles of Gerrard and Nasri. The sublime one-two for the Benzema goal was evident that to play 4-5-1 you need a player that can truly unlock defenses with a single touch or pass.
If England are to continue playing this way Capello must change his personnel or maybe he should consider going against the trend and reverting back to 4-4-2, sure you can get outnumbered in the center of midfield but I very much doubt that any international team would like to play against Walcott and Adam Johnson out wide with Gerrard coming from midfield to support Carroll and Rooney. Capello is trying to fight with fire and it is simply just not working for England. The only positive that can be drawn from Wednesday games is that some of the younger players began to get experience at international level, lets hope Capello shows his stubbornness as much with this as he has with his tactical choices.
Meanwhile back in the Premier League the shocks continue with Sunderland outplaying a weakened Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge and Manchester United rescuing a late point against Villa. Bolton continue to look solid and Johan Elmander looks like a quality center forward scoring more goals this season than he has the past two years with Bolton. It is starting to look worrying for Wolves and West Ham and Blackpool’s honeymoon might just becoming to an end. This weekend sees another full slate of Premier League games with a big London derby between Spurs and Arsenal and a big game at the bottom of the table between Wolves and Blackpool. With a lot of players coming back from international duty possibly carrying injuries or suffering from a little jetlag after long flights midweek look for some more big results and big upsets this weekend in the EPL.
About the Author
Written by Mark Adamson
Growing up in the North-East of England soccer is our religion, it was, is and always will be the main topic of conversation, I can’t think of much else that gets people so passionate. As a Sunderland fan you get used to the ups and downs the joy of playing in the Premier League as opposed to the horror of Championship away games. Now in the US I get to watch more soccer than I ever did at home, we get analysis in ways you would never expect, the only thing missing is some of that little insight that only comes from eating, drinking and breathing the game your entire life, so here it is…….