So as England get ready for their second match day of the group against Sweden news filtered through that Roy Hodgson has decided to go with two strikers up top at the expense of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Many gooners may be upset with this news but I don’t see it as a major issue. As we saw in the first game against France the England unit went into the match with a game plan to nullify France’s attack and nick something on the break. Many saw this as negative tactics but at the end of the day the draw achieved was a great result against one of the stronger teams in the tournament.
Now Roy Hodgson has come in for a lot of stick for his squad selections and obvious excitement killing approach. I myself have not been overly optimistic of England’s chances going into the Euros however after examining the France match and hearing the plans for today’s match with Sweden I realise Hodgson’s tactical nous for these types of games.
Many people lamented the appointment of Hodgson over Harry Redknapp. The nation seemed to have their heart set on the now ousted spurs manager. Though when you think about it given England’s loss of many important players England really need to get their tactics spot on to advance in this competition.Roy Hodgson can draw on his experiences of managing around the world to instil into the England team some tactical savvy.
Big European tournaments like this need tactics to be spot on and I’m sorry but Harry Redknapp who has proved over the last season he lacks heavily in that department. If he was the England manager he would have just picked his fastest players and told them to play like how they do for their club team. That would have been a suicide mission against the French. The gaps that Hodgson ensured were filled by the likes of Milner, Gerrard, Parker and Oxlade-Chamberlain would have been exploited and would have left to an open game in which we may have scored a few but also would have conceded and probably lost. We may have experienced an amazing game but that is irrelevant if we lose the game. There’s no point gaining plaudits for entertaining attacking football spectacles if we are on the first plane home.
Much like how Tottenham played the season with their swashbuckling style which worked at the early part of the season, once the season moved to the business end and required a change and more clever approach to games; Harry just kept on trying to play the same style with the same players and ended up burning out his important players. That is probably what opened the FA’s eyes as to what the Tottenham man was lacking and did not want an embarrassment on their hands at Euro 2012.
Anyway I feel Oxlade-Chamberlain not starting today is not based on him not performing against France or Roy Hodgson not believing in the player. I believe the England manager has adjusted his tactics to ensure his game plan for today’s game is spot on. It was a nice surprise when Alex started against France there cannot be a bigger compliment that the manager believes in you if he starts you as an 18 yr old against a big team like the French. Today’s game Hodgson recognizes the need for a second striker against Sweden; he will utilize Ashley young’s experience on the left after assessing the Swedes weaknesses in the game against Ukraine. Oxlade will gain a lot from the experiences for England and developing the non attacking side of his game, this is equally as important as beating 3 men on the wing. Arsene Wenger did a similar thing when bringing Jack Wilshere into the team; he played Jack in a more withdrawn defensive role in the Arsenal midfield and allowed him to develop that side of his game. Jack developed into an a more all round midfielder because of this and his contribution was invaluable to the Arsenal team. Defensive awareness and contribution may be unglamorous especially when you can see what a player can do offensively but it is an important attribute needed in today’s game. It’s when a player learns when to utilize both skills sets that he becomes a valuable cog in the team.
Expect England to be more offensive against the Swedes though still cautious of what is at stake. I actually feel Walcott will more likely be used in this game than Oxlade-Chamberlain as his pace can stretch the Swedish defence if the Swedes are still chasing a result in the second half. Young Theo is almost becoming the forgotten man after all the headlines focused on Alex making his first start against France. However I feel Theo still has a part to play in this competition we will see him involved more in the next two games.
Niklas Bendtner has drawn attention to himself for all the wrong reasons after his two goal performance against Portugal. After heading in the second goal against the Portuguese he shamelessly decided to lift his shirt; revealing his underwear which was conveniently positioned higher than his shorts. The shorts had Paddy Power emblazoned across the fabric and now UEFA and the Danish F.A are pulling him up for plugging the Irish betting company with his stunt.
Bendtner denies the claim and states it wasn’t pre-planned, he also states they are lucky pants which he wore in the previous game (hope he washed them). Very silly move from the Dane and I hope any impending fine is covered by the fee Paddy Power probably paid him to reveal himself in such a way. Many other players probably have planned the same thing. I’m sure Cristiano Ronaldo has a massive Giorgio Armani logo on his man knickers ready to expose to the world, problem is he has been pants and can’t score to save his life at this tournament so far.
Enjoy your day people
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