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Why hasn't Otto called-up Stoltidis?


aek21

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can we get otto to do anything conventionally?

Question is, do we have the players to actually play a conventional formation? I mean, if you think about it, the squad is ridiculously limited. All of our forwards are basically center forwards through and through. Not really a wide player/winger among the bunch. So that basically eliminates a true 4-3-3. No left-sided midfielders/wingers (with Stelio on the way out, we'll have no true right wingers either). So that eliminates a classic 4-4-2 (with a right and left winger). The only formation that Greece seem to have the players for would be a 5-3-2. Unfortunately, our 5-3-2 is offensively-challenged to the extreme.

I know that realistically, you don't have to have a perfect-fit for the formation to work (we seem to do well with the 4-3-3) but I still find it kind of amusing that we seem to be missing so many key elements and yet still get the results. Borei o Germanos na min einai kai toso trelos!

No, he certainly doesn't do anything "conventially;" but I think that is the very reason why we are getting results. Like I have said before, Otto is an experienced and succesfull coach. There is no way he is making these decisions without reason. Personally, however, I think Otto is way ahead of the game.

Everything you guys are talking about, bottom line, is about symmetrical formations. A rigid application of method and tactics. But, more and more, I'm starting to understand Otto. I think Otto cares more about team chemistry and organization, and, built on top of that base, a scheme woven out of these players' individual talents and capabilities. That is why we have cfs as wide forwards (except Samars who I think is a wide forward) and no symmetry in our formations (i.e. left and right players). Most important to Otto is this chemistry and consistency.

Our style of play, bottom line, and I know you all hate this, is surviving the match and plunking in a goal here or there, mostly through set pieces. That is how we will play in Euro 2008, and that is what makes us a very gritty team (as the French coach described us). Otto's tactics are mercenary, and they are intended for results only, which are adapted for each match, and do not rely on "good football". I think this explains the illusion that many perceive that we are consistently playing our "A" game against weak and strong teams alike.

I see what you're saying but at the end of the day, all the "team chemistry" and "team spirit" in the world isn't going to make up for a lack of a left-footed player IMO.

And if Otto is calling up guys like Kapsis (and playing him as a LB) or Anatolakis in order to maintain this "continuity" or "chemistry" at the expense of a Spyropoulo for instance, tote eina pragmatika trelos aftos o Germanos.

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Vyntra is not a starter. And Georgeas being called up is a joke. Neither should be on the side. When we allow our level of expectation to sink this low, we're in trouble.

The only reason Otto called Lybe is because Vryzas was just horrendous/declining, and in Otto's 4-4-2 system (when he plays it), a secondary withdrawn striker that come back to the ball and hold it up and/or distribute is absolutely vital. The only other striker in all of Greece with those qualities is Lybe. It really was a no brainer. I'm not sure public sentiment had much to do with it.

until i see a greek right midfielder running up and down the right touchline, crossing, defending...and a greek left midfielder running up and down the left touchline, crossing and defending...i'll never say otto plays a classic (as i know it) 4-4-2.

4 in the back, ok...after that, as i've mentioned before, la gazzetta dello sport (THE most respected european football daily) called greece's formation "mixed", during the euro.

i think otto usually plays:

a 5-3-2 with a sweeper not a libero and with a twist at forward (not using 2 classic center forwards) - recently in norway, we saw gekas as center forward and salpiggidis as a right forward.

and a more classic 4-3-3 (hahaha, though not with true wide forwards, but, center forwards playing wide).

can we get otto to do anything conventionally?

as far as previous potential target men...what about lambriakos? certainly lymbe is more technically skilled, but lymbe is a stick figure and gets pushed around too often. lambriakos is hercules compared to lymbe.

hate to make fun of lymbe, but he is the ultimate 'i got sand kicked in my face on the beach and the tough guy took my girlfriend'. too many frappedes in filiatra for lymbe and not enough weight training.

I'm talking circa EURO 2004.

4-4-2 in the sense that we played with 4 in the back and 2 up front (although Vryzas was withdrawn as a a target man that could hold the ball up while the onrushing mids made supporting runs).

So there's really only 4 left, and they are/were all midfielders (Zago, Basinas, Karagounis, Stelios).

No true dekari, and only one true flank player (Stelio), so no matter which way Otto played them it was unconventional, but nonetheless, there were four.

Hence 4-4-2.

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Look at AEK this past Sunday.

They actually played with 4 in the back, one true dm in a central position (Zikos), another dm off to the right in a withdrawn position (Kafes) yet not quite on the touchline, Ribo in a playmaking dekari role, and only Lagos as true wide midfielder to the left, with Lybe in front of Ribo and Manduca in front of Lybe pressuring the ball and acting as a lone striker.

Why?

Well, first Oly plays with only one true wide midfielder/wing-Galletti. So Ferrer played Lagos opposite him with Arrabuarena behind as support.

Secondly, Oly's "left" midfielder, Tzole, no longer plays on the touchline and usually drifts to the middle in a CAM role. So Ferrer played Kafes opposite him to shadow. Smart move, as Kafes isn't really a wide player either. Lemonis countered by drawing Lua Lua back into a left mid role, but Ramos pushed up and marked him, albeit not all that effectively.

So you have a four man midfield with only one touchline player (Lagos). My point is, you're working under the logical assumption that all formations must be balanced, and they're not, whether it be by design to best utilize a squads strengths or to counter an opponents strength.

btw, Ferrer also was wise to stack Manduca in front of Lybe who was in front of Ribo.

Why?

Because Manduca forced Oly's cb's back on their heels (I guess Ferrer learned his lesson in the PAO match using Lybe all alone up top), and the combination of Ribo and Lybe floating in and around the "hole" kept OSFP's two defensive mids (Ledesma and particularly Stoltidis) from pushing forward. Notice how quiet Stoltidis was Sunday? Wasn't a coincidence.

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can we get otto to do anything conventionally?

Question is, do we have the players to actually play a conventional formation? I mean, if you think about it, the squad is ridiculously limited. All of our forwards are basically center forwards through and through. Not really a wide player/winger among the bunch. So that basically eliminates a true 4-3-3. No left-sided midfielders/wingers (with Stelio on the way out, we'll have no true right wingers either). So that eliminates a classic 4-4-2 (with a right and left winger). The only formation that Greece seem to have the players for would be a 5-3-2. Unfortunately, our 5-3-2 is offensively-challenged to the extreme.

I know that realistically, you don't have to have a perfect-fit for the formation to work (we seem to do well with the 4-3-3) but I still find it kind of amusing that we seem to be missing so many key elements and yet still get the results. Borei o Germanos na min einai kai toso trelos!

No, he certainly doesn't do anything "conventially;" but I think that is the very reason why we are getting results. Like I have said before, Otto is an experienced and succesfull coach. There is no way he is making these decisions without reason. Personally, however, I think Otto is way ahead of the game.

Everything you guys are talking about, bottom line, is about symmetrical formations. A rigid application of method and tactics. But, more and more, I'm starting to understand Otto. I think Otto cares more about team chemistry and organization, and, built on top of that base, a scheme woven out of these players' individual talents and capabilities. That is why we have cfs as wide forwards (except Samars who I think is a wide forward) and no symmetry in our formations (i.e. left and right players). Most important to Otto is this chemistry and consistency.

Our style of play, bottom line, and I know you all hate this, is surviving the match and plunking in a goal here or there, mostly through set pieces. That is how we will play in Euro 2008, and that is what makes us a very gritty team (as the French coach described us). Otto's tactics are mercenary, and they are intended for results only, which are adapted for each match, and do not rely on "good football". I think this explains the illusion that many perceive that we are consistently playing our "A" game against weak and strong teams alike.

I see what you're saying but at the end of the day, all the "team chemistry" and "team spirit" in the world isn't going to make up for a lack of a left-footed player IMO.

And if Otto is calling up guys like Kapsis (and playing him as a LB) or Anatolakis in order to maintain this "continuity" or "chemistry" at the expense of a Spyropoulo for instance, tote eina pragmatika trelos aftos o Germanos.

Yes, but what I am saying, in Otto's world it does. So, yes, einai poli trellos o germanos :LOL: They criticized him incessantly while he was in Germany for the very same reasons.

Part of having a left foot is to give symmetry to the formation. But as I said I think Otto is choosing players on how players work together relative to their abilities, rather than relying on some rigid tactical dogma (not on "team spirit"; I never said that btw). For instance, having an aggressive right footed player on the left paired with a much slower defensive player on the right, but who can effectively complement each other's play. Perhaps Otto hasn't found that chemistry with any Right-Left pairs. In may be unconventional, and, yes, even crazy, but maybe Otto just sees some merit in what he is doing.

It seems Otto is more concerned with shutting down opponent's plays, and being able to steal wins, rather than producing tactical triumphs.

That is why I think he uses the 4-3-3 all the time; allows us to play this way, as it is tactically simple and effective. So Otto may have the liberty to be unconventional. Most times, our 4-3-3 is very defensive, like so:

Seitaridis---------------------Torosidis

-----------Dellas----Kyrgiakos---------

------Katsouranis-------------Karagounis

------------------Basinas------------------

-------------------Gekas-------------------

Amanatidis--------------------Charisteas

Here we have no need for a winger, and Torosidis and Seitaridis, as well as Amanatidis and Charisteas support the midfield in their half of the fields; they play a purely defensive role...here Otto needs player who will be able to stifle their opponent's attack consistently, and so he chooses his reliable bulwark players.

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Tora oloi thymithikan ton Stoltidi(kai do sto forum apo oti vlepo).Paliotera gia mena itan gia ethniki,itan paiktaras.Alla otan eheis Mpasina,Katsourani,ti na ton kaneis ton Stoltidi?

Ehei kai kana dyo hronia pou mia sernetai mia paizei..Edo den pire ton Ziko giati efyge stin proponisi me ton georgato,an thymamai kala.Mporei na kano lathos.

Edo den antikatestise o germanos ton Haristea(ehontas Lymperopoulo,Pap,Salpi)Tha antikatastisei Mpasina i Katso?Ti leme tora?Kai ti lene stin Ellada?

Telika to 90% ton dimosiografon einai Gavroi,teleiose.Ekei na vgaloun tin holi tous.Me to zori Stoltidi.

Ego eho polla na tou siro tou Otto alla telika me evale gyalia o anthropos.(ehei kai astro vevaia).I omada ehei deixei oti paei kala.

o Giannakis giati diladi eno eihame provlima se psilo de pire pote ton Jake?Ton Stojakovic pou ithele na paixei stin ethniki giati de ton kalouse kaneis?Ti na kanoume proponites einai skeftontai tin omada pou theloun aytoi kai ohi emeis.Oso kai lathos na einai polles fores.

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Edo den antikatestise o germanos ton Haristea(ehontas Lymperopoulo,Pap,Salpi)Tha antikatastisei Mpasina i Katso?Ti leme tora?Kai ti lene stin Ellada?

Telika to 90% ton dimosiografon einai Gavroi,teleiose.Ekei na vgaloun tin holi tous.Me to zori Stoltidi.

Ego eho polla na tou siro tou Otto alla telika me evale gyalia o anthropos.(ehei kai astro vevaia).I omada ehei deixei oti paei kala.

tsalgik -
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Look at AEK this past Sunday.

They actually played with 4 in the back, one true dm in a central position (Zikos), another dm off to the right in a withdrawn position (Kafes) yet not quite on the touchline, Ribo in a playmaking dekari role, and only Lagos as true wide midfielder to the left, with Lybe in front of Ribo and Manduca in front of Lybe pressuring the ball and acting as a lone striker.

Why?

Well, first Oly plays with only one true wide midfielder/wing-Galletti. So Ferrer played Lagos opposite him with Arrabuarena behind as support.

Secondly, Oly's "left" midfielder, Tzole, no longer plays on the touchline and usually drifts to the middle in a CAM role. So Ferrer played Kafes opposite him to shadow. Smart move, as Kafes isn't really a wide player either. Lemonis countered by drawing Lua Lua back into a left mid role, but Ramos pushed up and marked him, albeit not all that effectively.

So you have a four man midfield with only one touchline player (Lagos). My point is, you're working under the logical assumption that all formations must be balanced, and they're not, whether it be by design to best utilize a squads strengths or to counter an opponents strength.

btw, Ferrer also was wise to stack Manduca in front of Lybe who was in front of Ribo.

Why?

Because Manduca forced Oly's cb's back on their heels (I guess Ferrer learned his lesson in the PAO match using Lybe all alone up top), and the combination of Ribo and Lybe floating in and around the "hole" kept OSFP's two defensive mids (Ledesma and particularly Stoltidis) from pushing forward. Notice how quiet Stoltidis was Sunday? Wasn't a coincidence.

kolokotronis- i do agree with most of your tactical observations (olympiakos x aek), but i still can't designate a midfield without a wide midfielder on each side as a '4' or '5' in the midfield.

i'm heavily influenced by italian football academics...and i just can't call the greece euro 2004 side as a 4-4-2.

example - ancelloti's milan, exclusively played and still mainly plays a 4-3-1-2. why isn't that a 4-4-2? there are indeed 4 midfielders (pirlo-gattuso-seedorf-kaka)...yet, none of those midfielders plays wide, so it must be categorized as a 4-3-1-2. this is the way i think.

i agree with your premise that the formation won't stay rigid. from the 1st second of a match - of course it should deviate (a bit, too much deviation means you're playing the wrong formation) tactically. it's up to the players to be tactically aware enough not to break their shape, otherwise things get very sloppy. as far as balance, the scheme shouldn't the main issue, to me, balance is having a capable left foot on the left and a capable right foot on the right. if a side only has fullbacks as wide players, they must attack for balance. your opponent can quickly pick up if your wide forward or wide midfielder can't cross or can't dribble because they are playing on their wrong foot & side and take appropriate measures.

you referenced the tactical moves of ferrer in the olympiakos x aek match. i do agree with most. it does seem as though ferrer loves playing chess, despite ferrer starting a chess match with a 1 rook handicap. i say this, because of ribo in the 11. writing ribo in the 11 and then building a side around him to make up for his deficiencies is a handicap. if this was 1999, absolutely, but this is 2008 and ribo is a different player.

as far as the goal..it was classy. torosidis makes an overlapping run on the right, makes a great cross...and bang.

1) torosidis can't make that cross with his left foot playing as the left greek fullback. this is why i prefer torosidi to be the greek right fullback and move seitaridi to centerback.

2) seitaridis is a poor crosser of the ball and is very inconsistent in his attacking fullback play. we saw kapsis make a very successful switch to centerback from fullback when he lost a bit of pace (not that he was ever a speed merchant). i say to speed up the process with the national side and move seitaridi to partner kyrgiako as the greek centerback duo.

3) you point is well taken with tzole. the kapsis move is similar reasoning, the same for maldini and kalahdze who have found themselves more in a centerback role (jankolovski current milan left fullback and oddo current milan right fullback) due to their collective loss of pace.

4) who was dellas marking on the goal?

I'll only address your point about Milan. IMO, the reason Milan's formation is designated as such really has very little to do with whether or not Seedorf and Gattusso are traditional wide midfielders. Rather, the formation is designated a 4-3-1-2 because:

1) Kaka is pushed forward and plays in the hole.

2) Pirlo is more a deep lying playmaker than a classic def/holding mid. If he were a classic def mid (like a Makelele), the formation would probably then be designated a 4-1-2-1-2, with the four mids in a "rhombus" and Pirlo furthest withdrawn.

In any event, IMO, formations with four in the back are all variations of one another, for the most part.

What I look for is how many midfielders and attackers there are. Doesnt matter to me if 4 midfielders play in a rhombus, with one in the hole, or with one in a withdrawn dm role, its still 4 midfielders.

btw, Milan gets away with no width in their midfield because both Jankulovski and Oddo are superb wingbacks adept at getting up and down the touchline and Gattusso is an absolute master in a holding role identifying and filling vacated spaces.

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Can I just ask someone, when did Otto purportedly play a 4-4-2 at Euro 2004 anyway?  I remember seeing "officially" 4-4-1-1, 4-3-3, and and 4-5-1, but never 4-4-2.

How is a 4-4-1-1 any different than a 4-4-2? Especially when that first 1 is a withdrawn striker (Vryzas)?

A 4-4-2 played without a classic dekari requires one of the forwards to drop into the midfield and receive service from the deep lying midfielders (flank or central), holding the ball up until said mid's are forward enough to provide support.

That's what we did, for the most part, in the EURO. And Vryzas was the perfect guy to fit the withdrawn striker role (Lybe is also).

Now if you want to call it a 4-4-1-1, or a 4-5-1. go ahead. be my guest.

btw, there really is no "official" lineup formation. Most formations are simply slight variations of another.

For example, pull the wings a few paces back in a 4-3-3 and ....... PRESTO ......... you have a 4-5-1.

Push your CM a few meters upfield in a 4-4-2 and you get a 4-3-1-2. Drop one of your CM's a few meters back and a 4-4-2- becomes a 4-1-3-2.

And so on and so forth.....................

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Can I just ask someone, when did Otto purportedly play a 4-4-2 at Euro 2004 anyway? I remember seeing "officially" 4-4-1-1, 4-3-3, and and 4-5-1, but never 4-4-2.

A 4-4-2 played without a classic dekari requires one of the forwards to drop into the midfield and receive service from the deep lying midfielders (flank or central), holding the ball up until said mid's are forward enough to provide support.

That's what we did, for the most part, in the EURO. And Vryzas was the perfect guy to fit the withdrawn striker role (Lybe is also).

Now if you want to call it a 4-4-1-1, or a 4-5-1. go ahead. be my guest.

btw, there really is no "official" lineup formation. Most formations are simply slight variations of another.

For example, pull the wings a few paces back in a 4-3-3 and ....... PRESTO ......... you have a 4-5-1.

Push your CM a few meters upfield in a 4-4-2 and you get a 4-3-1-2. Drop one of your CM's a few meters back and a 4-4-2- becomes a 4-1-3-2.

And so on and so forth.....................

How is a 4-4-1-1 any different than a 4-4-2? Especially when that first 1 is a withdrawn striker (Vryzas)?
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aek66,

I have a question for you-why do you consistently start your NT formation labelling with a 4 (4-3-3, 4-4-2, 4-5-1), for 4 in the back, when our NT usually plays with a libero and not a flat back four?

In other words, if Milan's midfield is considered a 3-1 because they all don't play in a straight line, then why is Greece's back four not considered a 1-3 since they don't play in a straight line either?

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There are no rules of scheme description. Rather, football coaches unnecessarily complicate things. They think they're performing heart surgery or finding the cure for cancer.

To me it doesn't make one bit of difference whether four midfielders are playing in a straight line horizontally across the pitch (very rare), or if they're playing in a diamond, or three across with one slightly forward in the hole, or three across with one withdrawn as a DM. Its still only FOUR midfielders, no matter how you slice it.

Of course most players are staggered in any respective line (defense, midfield, forward). It would be nonsensical to do otherwise, as one simple through pass would beat multiple players. That doesn't mean we have to go crazy with our formation schemes. Otherwise, AEK probably played a 1-3-3-1-1-1 in the derby vs. OSFP. See how ridiculous that is?

The libero actually developed and arose out of the catennaccio system employed in Italy in the 60's. It's an Italian word. Beckenbauer simply revolutionzied the position by coming forward past the CB, the first to ever do so. I don't think ANYBODY plays with a Beckenbauer style libero these days, especially Greece with the slow afoot Dellas. Not sure if Kats has the skill, composure, or tactical awareness to play libero/sweeper. Remember, he struggled at CB during the Russia EURO match.

As far as wingbacks are concerned, a 5-3-2 is really a 3-5-2 in disguise. If you play overlapping fullbacks on the flanks, its called a 5-3-2. If you play natural midfielders out wide, its a 3-5-2. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

btw, I'm really shocked that more coaches dont play a 3-5-2 versus two man attacking schemes. Two man marking CB's with a sweeper for cover/support, and two wide men/wingbacks to cover the wide midfielders. Gives you numerical superiority in the midfield, and if your wide men push forward, it creates a defensive mismatch for your opponents back four as they only have THREE defenders to mark FOUR attackers (that's assuming they play with a sweeper). Even if they don't play with a sweeper but with four across in the back, it creates one on one matchups all across the backline without any cover/support for the defending team.

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Good catch.

I threw it out there to see if you would identify the main weakness of a 3-5-2, namely defensive cover on the flanks. And you did.

Here's my solution-your defensive mids provide defensive cover on the flanks. Of course it takes a player with keen tactical sense to do it, but nonetheless, that's the solution.

Here's why I say a 3-5-2 is effective, and preferred, against a 2 man attack.

In a classic 4 man back line, you have 2 CB's and two FB's. In essence, you're playing with only two central defensive players. And more often than not, your opponent is lining up with two strikers/central offensive players. So that leaves you with either your two CB's without defensive cover in the middle of the pitch, or your one fb sliding over and marking a striker in and around the box.

Why not use TWO CB's with a sweeper behind them providing support for a more favorable defensive matchup?

If you do so, you can then either move your fb's upfield for a more offensive 3-5-2 or keep them back in a more defensive 5-3-2. Heck, you can even move one fb upfield and keep one back, depending on the strengths and characteristics of your opposing wings, which I know would drive you crazy given the asymmetrical configuration I've just proposed.

My defensive concern is more with the matchup in the middle of the pitch than with anything that happens on the flanks.

Additionally, you can spring your fb's forward, but that means you've left space for me to exploit on the other end as well. And if I have two strikers occupying your two CB's, who is going to provide cover for you if my wing makes a run forward in back of your overlapping fb?

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You have Katsouranis in two different spots.

Not sure if Kats can handle sweeper.

I still think Dellas is the best option there, with Antzas close behind.

Not a big fan of Tavlaridis.

I see you just changed it to Karagounis, who I am not a fan of at all.

Gekas and Amanatidis up front I like.

It will be interesting to see what Otto does when players like Ninis, Christodoulopoulos, Makos, etc... make the jump up to regular Mens NT duty.

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i need to dig up a few of my old posts...concerning greece fullback attacking play.

regardless of a 5-3-2 or the current 4-3-3, the fullbacks need to attack...and i always mentioned that a central midfielder closest to the side of that attacxking fullback should slide over a bit and cover the vacated flank when a seitaridis or torosidis makes a run up the touchline. that mirrors what you just said about your tactical adjustments.

i agree 100% with your tactical hypothesis - it's a no-brainer, and also very obvious to football academics.

i suppose it's similar to hockey, in a way. a defenseman on the point, pinches in. the closest forward is supposed to go to the point recently vacated by that pinching-in defenseman.

i like the 4-3-3, i think it's forced greece to play more open - spaces in the attacking 1/3 actually have to be defended by our opponents now, and hence, we've seen more goals, more open play. otto toyed with it in the 1-0 norway home victory, in the disasterous 1-4 to turkey, then abandoned it until the recent good run of form starting with the home bosnia 3-2 win. it wasn't used in the dull, insipid 1-2 away hungary win until the second half. the down-side is that the wide forwards in the greek 4-3-3 are not true wide-forwards with the desired skill-set of a wide forward.

given that, i think greece's best option is utilizing a 5-3-2, but my 5-3-2 is basically a fantasy side, since otto doesn't call certain players and doesn't utilize others in a position where they can greater contribute to the greece side. i won't name a 'keeper...just flip a coin. i would also have katsouranis as libero, and torosidis and karagounis will play both ways, box to box, or, they can join me on the bench.

-------------------------------------katsouranis---------------------------------------------

----------------------------tavlaridis-----------kyrgiakos-----------------------------------

seitaridis------------------------------------------------------------------------spyropoulos

----------------------torosidis-----------basinas---------karagounis-----------------------

---------------------------------gekas------------amanatidis-------------------------------

i feel given the current greek talent pool, that is our best 10 outfield players and scheme.

YOWZA! You really think Katsourani has the ability to play as a libero? I think he's a great player and all but I just don't think he'd be up to par in that position. How has Tavlaridis been playing in France? From his stats, I see he has 8 yellow cards in 17 appearances this season. I honestly have not seen him play enough to form an opinion on him but everyone keeps calling for him so I can only assume that he's a good player.

As for the 4-3-3, I'm going to reserve judgment until Otto uses it against tougher opposition. Yes we saw more offensive and more positive play from Greece but we also saw many more schoolboy errors and ridiculous chances being copped to very weak sides (Hungary, Moldova, Malta). Against a Sweden or Spain, I wonder if Otto will have the @rhidia to go with the 4-3-3. Against teams employing 2 forwards, I see him trying to clamp things down with a 5-3-2 looking something like this:

----------------------------------------XXXXXXXXX-----------------------------------------

Seitaridis-------------Kyriakos-------------Dellas-------------Antzas-----------Torosidis

--------------------Katsouranis----------Basinas----------Karagounis---------------------

---------------------------------Gekas---------------Charisteas----------------------------

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I laugh about Antzas.

So many purported followers of Greek soccer (or OSFP, rather) are now proclaiming him world class, one of the best in Europe, etc., etc., as if this guy just magically appeared on the scene yesterday. He's only a few months younger than Dellas.

I've been following the guy since his first summer at Peireas. Quality player no doubt, but its not like he's elevated his game to WC status all of a sudden at the age of 31. He's always been this good, which is nowhere near WC status. Has a lot of tools, but quite clumsy in the tackle quite often. But I guess its to be excpected when a Greek team has the slightest bit of success, like the "experts" who were proclaiming Nikopolidis World Class after the EURO. But hey, it could be worse-we could be hearing Pantos mentioned in the same breath as Cafu.

In any event, I prefer Papastathopoulos over him, or any other Greek CB, anyway. And it has nothing to do with me being an AEK supporter. That kid is something special. IMO, better than Manolas was at the same age.

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i need to dig up a few of my old posts...concerning greece fullback attacking play.

regardless of a 5-3-2 or the current 4-3-3, the fullbacks need to attack...and i always mentioned that a central midfielder closest to the side of that attacxking fullback should slide over a bit and cover the vacated flank when a seitaridis or torosidis makes a run up the touchline. that mirrors what you just said about your tactical adjustments.

i agree 100% with your tactical hypothesis - it's a no-brainer, and also very obvious to football academics.

i suppose it's similar to hockey, in a way. a defenseman on the point, pinches in. the closest forward is supposed to go to the point recently vacated by that pinching-in defenseman.

i like the 4-3-3, i think it's forced greece to play more open - spaces in the attacking 1/3 actually have to be defended by our opponents now, and hence, we've seen more goals, more open play. otto toyed with it in the 1-0 norway home victory, in the disasterous 1-4 to turkey, then abandoned it until the recent good run of form starting with the home bosnia 3-2 win. it wasn't used in the dull, insipid 1-2 away hungary win until the second half. the down-side is that the wide forwards in the greek 4-3-3 are not true wide-forwards with the desired skill-set of a wide forward.

given that, i think greece's best option is utilizing a 5-3-2, but my 5-3-2 is basically a fantasy side, since otto doesn't call certain players and doesn't utilize others in a position where they can greater contribute to the greece side. i won't name a 'keeper...just flip a coin. i would also have katsouranis as libero, and torosidis and karagounis will play both ways, box to box, or, they can join me on the bench.

-------------------------------------katsouranis---------------------------------------------

----------------------------tavlaridis-----------kyrgiakos-----------------------------------

seitaridis------------------------------------------------------------------------spyropoulos

----------------------torosidis-----------basinas---------karagounis-----------------------

---------------------------------gekas------------amanatidis-------------------------------

i feel given the current greek talent pool, that is our best 10 outfield players and scheme.

YOWZA! You really think Katsourani has the ability to play as a libero? I think he's a great player and all but I just don't think he'd be up to par in that position. How has Tavlaridis been playing in France? From his stats, I see he has 8 yellow cards in 17 appearances this season. I honestly have not seen him play enough to form an opinion on him but everyone keeps calling for him so I can only assume that he's a good player.

As for the 4-3-3, I'm going to reserve judgment until Otto uses it against tougher opposition. Yes we saw more offensive and more positive play from Greece but we also saw many more schoolboy errors and ridiculous chances being copped to very weak sides (Hungary, Moldova, Malta). Against a Sweden or Spain, I wonder if Otto will have the @rhidia to go with the 4-3-3. Against teams employing 2 forwards, I see him trying to clamp things down with a 5-3-2 looking something like this:

----------------------------------------XXXXXXXXX-----------------------------------------

Seitaridis-------------Kyriakos-------------Dellas-------------Antzas-----------Torosidis

--------------------Katsouranis----------Basinas----------Karagounis---------------------

---------------------------------Gekas---------------Charisteas----------------------------

Torosidis at LB is a NO NO.

He was dreadful against Norway.

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Just a few points.

Poursanidis had excellent touch. Simply too soft to play in front of the CB's.

Kiassos was fantastic at OFI. one of thebest fb prospects I had seen in a long time. Reminded me of Apsotolakis. Still don't know what went wrong.

IMO, neither Kostandinidis was anything special.

Mavrogennidis was not a bad player at all. A much more highly rated prospect when he went to OSFP than Anatolakis.

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That may be Kolokotroni but Otto seems to have him cemented in that position.

It actually isn't a bad idea, considering the following:

Seitaridis is about as sure a starter as we have on the Ethniki. He's probably the only "sure thing".

That being said, Giourka is a wide fb and more adept at marking in space than in the middle of the pitch. Therefore, when we play 2 man offensive fronts (2 central strikers), the other fullback actually has to slide over towards the middle and cover one of the two strikers, something Toro is adept at (at least much more so than any of our other fb's) since he has played as CB and has the physical attributes to do so.

So even though Toro is listed as a LFB, my guess is he's instructed to play more like a CB. The problem with this is when the ball is played over the top and/or past our LM, the space usually occupied by the LFB is vacant. This is where we got into big trouble against Norway.

Nor does it help that Toro is severely restricted in making overlap runs from LB as he's on his "off" wing.

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