Sunday, March 2, 2014

The first clue...

Feel free to correct me if I am taking this the wrong way, but it almost sounds as if Sunderland boss Gus Poyet decided today's Capital One Cup final was the perfect time to send Jozy Altidore a message by dropping the striker.

"I want us to move on in the right way and I will demand it. But it is easy for me to say: ‘put this behind you and move on' and another thing for it to actually happen. We will see how each one of them is individually. How will Jozy Altidore react to not being in the squad, for example? I don't know. I will find out. It's tough for him, it's tough for everyone - defeat. I hate losing, hate it, but we have to show the right response."

If my interpretation of these comments is accurate following their 3-1 loss to Manchester City (in which replacement starter Fabio Borini saw exactly 18 non-defensive touches after gifted a 10th minute chance that he finished expertly to give the underdogs the opener), then I have great quibble with Mr. Poyet.

Not only am I still trying to figure out how anyone could fault the terminally ignored Sunderland striker for last week's humbling at Arsenal, but he (and apparently no one else from this perpetually bumbling squad) gets benched right now? Just in the nick of time for a cup final he greatly helped them get to?

Because if he has no knock to speak of and has not run afoul of team rules or some such thing, there is only way to describe this move:














- Greg Seltzer

55 comments:

dikranovich said...

senior po boyet, is making it clear, it is his way, or the highway. no exceptions!!! and clearly, sunderland could have used jozy today.

the main thing I read from the managers comments is that he still wants jozy altidore to be a part of this squad.

SleeStaxx said...

To be fair, it is a bit harsh but the way altidore has been playing, a dropping was bound to happen sooner or later. His confidence is shot to bits (as are hos teammates' confidence in him it looks like) and last match v. Gunners he did a lot of moping and throwing his hands in the air like a prat. Poyet has little tolerance for that sort of bad attitude.

Also, borini's goal today... was class. Yes, kompany made a late step on the run, but borini's over the shoulder ball takedown and finish. Altidore doesn't have that in his wheelhouse... can't fault piyet for going with borini... he simply offers more than jozy at the moment.

Jolazo said...

And Fletcher, who has done fuck all this year, and who hasn't played in like a month, makes the bench over Jozy. It's bullshit.

dikranovich said...

But to be fair jolazo, if you know fletcher is coming off the bench for a max of 45 mins, then it might make more sense.

If Jozy can fight racism, this battle should be a cakewalk.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ SleeStaxx: If we were going to be fair, it is extremely harsh to single out a guy who has been playing well when not totally ignored by his persistently laughable teammates. As for acting out on the field, if Poyet was against that, there is again a list of players who would come first on the benching train.

As for Borini's goal, I agree it was a great finish... but oh dear sweet heavens, Kompany and Demichelis made an embarrassing hash out of what should have been an easy two-man defensive maneuver to clean up a hit-and-hope long ball. It was shockingly bad defending (if you can call it that).

And this is how most of Sunderland's run of play chances get created. The opposing team makes a grievous error in what looks like a fairly harmless situation.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Jolazo:

I think Fletcher proved giving him a role for this game was misguided in the 89th minute. Emmmmmbarrassing.

SleeStaxx said...

Greg, it's not just that he's been ineffective. It's his demeanor on the pitch. Who else on the team sulks and complains like that in the squad while on the pitch? Yes, the midfield has been woeful at times but jozy has been behaving like whiner. Some of his recent whiney behavior reminds me of bobby zamora... and I hate that guy.

Greg Seltzer said...

Sorry, I am not on this body language caravan like some. Who else does this stuff? Erm, Bardsley does it constantly. Larsson does it after *he* messes up.

Frankly, if I was Altidore, I would have thrown an outright tantrum at them long ago. And if a coach wants to punish just one player in this incredibly insulting way, and he decides that on this team it should be Altidore, well then I have great quibble.

SleeStaxx said...

Well, I am not going to cite every example, but this is a good one... http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oXDHRpsuwio . No return pass to him... quick raise of the hands pffft... then walking around as the defenders pass around him... if you don't think poyet should be concerned about that lack of effort, then i'm not sure what to tell you. One thing is for sure, borini doesn't do that... he always chases.

Greg Seltzer said...

I see what you are saying, but I think this kind of thing is overdone. I have no issue whatsoever with him expressing frustration at that pass. The ball then moves 20 feet away from him and stays 20 feet away from him while he remains in defensive shape.

I know the English think merely running around is effort enough, but I do not share this opinion. If he does that with the ball 5-10 feet away from, sure. In that moment, the only thing him running around will do is make it look like he is running around.

But hey, I am not Poyet. Maybe you are onto something, but if he thinks this is the first time one of his players did something similar and it was worth suddenly yanking him for the cup final he helped them reach, I have quibble.

In fact, today, Ki passed a medium-pace lofted switch over to Bardsley, who refused to move his feet and then stood glaring at Ki for like 10 seconds as if it was all his fault after the ball sailed inches over his head. Will we see him benched for the next game? Bet you dollars to donuts not.

SleeStaxx said...

I know the play you mean.

The ball was overweighted and sailed out of bounds.

The difference is the ball was dead.

Poyet's loan striker formation is no doubt a thankless hjob most of the time.

That said, high pressure defensively in that spot is what he wants and what he expects.

I get that you think Altidore doesn't need to do that there as it would likely have little effect on the outcome. But high pressure is done for one thing - to force the occasional mistake.

Walking about like that with the ball in close proximity as a back moves easily into forward space uncontested past you shows two things: 1. lack of effort 2. ensures zero opportunity to force a mistake.

Life is hard playing striker in this sunderland squad - there is no doubt... but Jozy is doing himself no favors. And for the record, I'm American.

Greg Seltzer said...

"I know the play you mean. The ball was overweighted and sailed out of bounds. The difference is the ball was dead."

Yes, the ball was over-weighted ever so slightly and Bardsley stood there watching it as it went just over his head. I think he was bothered to take one step back at the very last second. The ball was dead initially, but the play started and he still busy was giving Ki the stink eye. It is certainly not the first time he has done this on the season.



"That said, high pressure defensively in that spot is what he wants and what he expects."

From what I have detected, he wants high pressure in the attack half, not just over midfield. Once the other team has solid possession near midfield, they drop into shape there. You do not typically see them chasing hard 10-15 yards across midfield unless they are right in the play.



"Walking about like that with the ball in close proximity as a back moves easily into forward space uncontested past you shows two things: 1. lack of effort 2. ensures zero opportunity to force a mistake."


Yeah, but the ball was not in close proximity, was it? And there was all but no chance him running toward one or another of those players would have done anything but open an entry hole straight up the gut from the space he vacated.




"And for the record, I'm American."


Okay. I did not consider your heritage, to be honest. I am American also, but that does not stop me from viewing the game like a Dutchman. As you can probably tell.

SleeStaxx said...

"Bardsley...Yes, the ball was over-weighted ever so slightly and Bardsley stood there watching it as it went just over his head. I think he was bothered to take one step back at the very last second. The ball was dead initially, but the play started and he still busy was giving Ki the stink eye. It is certainly not the first time he has done this on the season."

He backpedalled to try and get to it... and he was indeed irked with the pass and stinkeyed Ki... I saw him make an effort for it tho...



"From what I have detected, he wants high pressure in the attack half, not just over midfield. Once the other team has solid possession near midfield, they drop into shape there. You do not typically see them chasing hard 10-15 yards across midfield unless they are right in the play."

The play in question started in the attack half and the back moved it across the midline because he was given the space uncontested.

"Yeah, but the ball was not in close proximity, was it? And there was all but no chance him running toward one or another of those players would have done anything but open an entry hole straight up the gut from the space he vacated."

I saw he was somewhere between 5-10 yards from the ball after possession was conceded. And as I said, had he chased he'd force a different or quicker pass that likely would have any impact on the outcome. But there is a chance it could have. The only way to ensure no impact is to concede it and stand there, which is what he did.


"Your American... Okay. I did not consider your heritage, to be honest. I am American also, but that does not stop me from viewing the game like a Dutchman. As you can probably tell."

You opened the post with "coreect me if I'm wrong..." I think you are wrong, so giving you my perspective is all. We can agree to disagree. I have no problem with that. You also stated in prior post response "...I know the English think merely running around is effort enough..." just clarifying I am not English is all (thought that was the insinuation - if not, my bad), and I do think he wasn't doing high pressure In think Poyet wants in that situation, hence the reason I brought it up.

dikranovich said...

I think you guys are having a great conversation, and it is a good Segway into why we as a nation need to abandon the idea of the 4-3-3 being our staple formation, and not that the 3-5-2 should be our prime go to formation either. It should not, but nor should the 4-3-3.

futfan said...

@SleeStaxx
@Seltzer

Slee, I hear what you are saying about his body language and whinging and I was on Altidore big-time earlier in the season for that very thing (as mr. Seltzer can attest to if he remembers). Yes, that's right, Jozy was acting out and showing his teammates up much earlier in the year. He had a bad attitude and it was hurting him (and it was embarrassing).

Here's the thing though - Jozy had every right to be absolute pissed-off in that Arsenal match. I am almost positive that his major display of frustration came after A) Borini refused to make an obvious pass to him when he was in great position in the box and B) after he controlled the ball well, passed it to Ki, only to have Ki screw up the return. So, his team is playing like absolute dog-shit in the first place - almost purposefully the way they laid back so deep in their own end and didn't close down on the ball at all (it was disgusting) and couldn't (wouldn't? I would bet money they were instructed to 'pack it in and play defensively') maintain any possession at all - and then he has teammates that either won't or can't get him the ball. I swear Borini is out there for himself. He is trying to showcase himself. He has already said he won't be coming back to Sunderland next year and wants back with Liverpool or a bigger club. So, he dribbles into 4 defenders and loses the ball rather than make the obvious, easy pass to Altidore in a position to do something with it in the box.

All of that is to say that I back Altidore on this one and completely understand and agree with his frustration in the Arsenal match. And I think any reasonable person would if they have been paying attention the whole year. If Poyet yanked him vs Arsenal and then subsequently left him completely out of the squad for the cup final becaue of Jozy's displays of frustration then Poyet is a massive hypocrite IMO and, I think, defensive about his own decisions (Arsenal).

I am actually quite irritated that Altidore didn't make the squad for the cup final. It is a complete and undeserved slap in the face IMO.

Alex said...

I don't really get what the fuss is about...he dropped Jozy to send a message. Klinsi has done it multiple times in the past. If it works or if it doesn't is up to the player considering Poyet has shown he will play Jozy despite not scoring.

"I am American also, but that does not stop me from viewing the game like a Dutchman"
Has a hint of snobbery/backhanded insult to it...

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
futfan said...

@Alex

The 'fuss,' to my mind anyway, is that it is petty and a load of bullshit given the timing. It was a completely inappropriate time to "send a message." If Poyet wanted to send a message then he should have done so earlier in the season when Altidore was making whining displays on the pitch and not efforting quite as hard. Now though? Leave him completely outof hte team for a up final? It's bullshit. Altidore came out of that initial phase and had been, up until Arsenal, just putting his head down and playing hard through what amounts to a completely thankless task that is being a lone striker for Sunderland. And this is what he receives in return for his efforts?

If I were Altidore, my time at Sunderland would be over whether they still wanted me or not.

justinwkoehn said...

Jozy could take this message one of two ways: a.) he takes it as motivation to ensure he's never dropped again or b.) watching fletcher botch a potential equalizer at the 89th minute proved Poyet wrong, and no further action is needed. There's also the reality that maybe the team doesn't want to play with Jozy. We talk about lack of service all the time, and no matter how much Poyet may believe in him, it doesn't matter if the team doesn't. Poyet may have figured that out.

Alex said...

I could care less if Sunderland win a trophy, if Jozy is that much more fired up and working that much harder then I'm all for it. How he reacts is up to him.

Alex said...

We act like we know what happens the other 5 or 6 days of the week at training.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Alex:

1 - It is funny you mention the Klinsi benching, because that was also some straight BS. Altidore was the least of the problem switch the US attack in that time frame, he got punished for it and then came back scoring when the rest of the team got their shit together.

2 - A hint of snobbery/backhanded insult? You must be joking. Not only was that not in any way the intention of that remark, but you all should know by now that I do not speak in hints. I do not imply things. I do not tiptoe around some hidden meaning. I just say it.

FYI, my actual point was that American soccer observers certainly do not all view the game the same way. I did not even consider nationality when reading his post.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ futfan:

You will not be getting any arguments from me today. That team is a den of unwarranted selfishness. And, yes, there are several of them either out of contract or heading back home from loans at the end of the season. The give-a-shit-about-the-team/Sunderland AFC factor is pathetic in this group.

John said...

It is not BS what Klinsmann and Poyet did for benching Jozy. Other managers would have given up on him a long time ago. I lol'd at the U.S. fans who are saying that Sunderland are a joke of a club and that Poyet is an idiot for benching Jozy. Chill out people! Hopefully Altidore takes it as motivation and steps his game up.

I'm also American but I did not see this benching as a surprise and it was bound to happen sooner or later like SleeStaxx said.

Greg Seltzer said...

It was BS that Klinsmann singled out Altidore, we went over this in great detail here and at MLSS. One cannot blame a #9 when he is not being utilized and the team is taking four shots in a game. Without without Altidore, the USMNT only scored more than one goal once in the first Klinsi 17 or so games of his tenure. It is easily more the fault of Altidore at Sunderland than it was with the USMNT = and the amount of blame being laid at his door with Sunderland is dramatically overplayed.

I have no problem with Poyet dropping Altidore. To do it now, for a cup game, after an Arsenal performance where he was arguably their most effective player of the first half and teammates all over the field were embarrassing themselves with *real* lacks of effort in serious locations of the field with the play right in their face? Whack. He did a lot of work to help them reach that game, Scocco had done nothing and no one else dressed offers the team what Altidore does. Poyet definitely shot his chances to win a cup in the foot, and aside from the gifted Borini shot he artfully buried his team created next to nothing.

The interesting thing is, when Altidore got benched by Klinsi, the rest of the team went WHOA and got their act together. Yesterday, the rest of Sunderland just went on like it was business (if you can call it that) as usual. How many times is Poyet going to fault the striker when BOTH wingbacks and SIX midfield/wing players all take more shots per game than Altidore (and a large portion of those are simple wastes of attack possession)?

John said...

No, it was not especially because Altidore disrespected JK on Twitter and then deleted the tweet. He should of talked to him in person like a man instead of saying something dumb on social media. He looks like he has matured since then so good for him.

Also I don't buy the "Without Altidore, the USMNT only scored more than one goal once in the first 17 or so games of Klinsi's tenure" stat not because it isn't true, but because Dempsey has been the hot streak man since JK took over.

Jozy needs to work his way through back to Sunderland's starting lineup and score a goal, if he does that his confidence will improve and it will likely equal more goals.

dikranovich said...

greg, I think you are missing the point here. it is not about blaming jozy for sunderland giving up three goals against arsenal. that's not with this is about, so please stop saying this, because that would be talking apples, when we are talking oranges.

the USA need jozy at his best, and even more so when the chips are down. and with jozy, when the chips are down, he can exhibit body language that quite frankly, is very negative. it is a detriment to himself, and the teams he plays on, and I don't know if this has registered with him yet.

Greg Seltzer said...

Umm the tweet had nothing to do with anything. That was just people reading something into nothing, Klinsi spoke at length about his reasons.

As for the first 17 games, that should have read with or without Altidore. I did say they scored one or fewer goals in 16 of the first 17 games of the Klinsi era, and a quick check showed it was actually 15 of 18 (with one of the games of multiple goals coming against Antigua). Close enough.

Meanwhile, at Sunderland, they have scored all of 12 run of play goals the entire EPL season to date. That is 12 in 28 games. This is an abysmal team record. And the strikers, as with the USMNT back in 2012, are not the problem. That does not mean they have been great, but unless your name is Messi or C-Ron, strikers rely on service from the team. Back in the USMNT struggle, Altidore was barely seeing touches. In this Sunderland situation, it is even worse.

And if it is so all-fired vitally important to get Altidore a goal and raise his whatever, Sunderland has had three penalties in league play since Boxing Day, plus a cup shootout. Altidore has yet to be allowed a PK (something he has never missed as a pro) or a single danger free kick - a fair share of which he himself drew.

SleeStaxx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SleeStaxx said...

@Greg

I don't disagree with much of what you are saying with Sunderland playing selfish or driven by a "loanee" showcase mentality.

That said, the other side of the coin is Altidore's confidence is shot too bits. He's simply abysmal at the moment and has been for the entire second half of the season on chances in front of goal or avoiding chances in front of goal.

I've cringed watching flub the few recent chances he's had and that penalty he won vs. senderos was high comedy as the only thing worse than those stepovers was Senderos biting on them. Jozy has even admitted his issues in front of goal... overthinking, freezing up, passiing when he should be going for the throat.

More to the point, you can say the midfield is selfish... but I would also contend his teammates have lost some confidence in him as well... and why wouldn't they after what we've all seen and what he's said about it?

It's certainly not a good situation for him at the moment, but it's also a bit rich to callout a team for selfish that is in a real relegation scrap for not bringing along their out of form striker. They simply don't have the luxury to do that and someone has to go for goals...

Greg Seltzer said...

Hey, do you know how to restore the confidence of a striker? Get him the damn ball.

Everyone already knows this.

SleeStaxx said...

so get him the ball and hope he figures it out quick??

Hey, team might be relegated by that time or if that happens, but as long as he's in good form to close the season and before the world cup?? I'm sure he's got a rel-out clause in his contract, so I'm sure he'd be moving on if that were the case.

I mean, it's no secret Sunderland is going to have to do whatever is best to stay up... Trying to bring along our confidence-shot american striker might not be in the cards... and that might be the right thing for Sunderland, as much as many of us don't like it.

Also, you mentioned PK's and Jozy not being allowed to take them. Right call. You don't let the guy with no confidence that frezzes up in front of goals take PK's... and that's not even debateable.

Greg Seltzer said...

-- so get him the ball and hope he figures it out quick?? Hey, team might be relegated by that time or if that happens, but as long as he's in good form to close the season and before the world cup?? I'm sure he's got a rel-out clause in his contract, so I'm sure he'd be moving on if that were the case.
--


Some of you guys act like feeding the striker is some sort of personal favor to Altidore. Feeding the striker is like kinda the main bullet point of half of all soccer tactics. So what did the USMNT do to get him scoring? They got him the damn ball. Voila.




--I mean, it's no secret Sunderland is going to have to do whatever is best to stay up... Trying to bring along our confidence-shot american striker might not be in the cards... and that might be the right thing for Sunderland, as much as many of us don't like it.--


By the numbers Sunderland scores nearly three times as often with Altidore on the field. Again, it is not some personal favor. He is the best lead striker they have and he has been a factor in their successes, even without goals. Their best performing XI has him in it, period. It has been this way all season long.



--Also, you mentioned PK's and Jozy not being allowed to take them. Right call. You don't let the guy with no confidence that frezzes up in front of goals take PK's... and that's not even debateable.--


We vastly disagree on this. Why do so many people think you should starve a striker lacking confidence? What in the world is that going to solve? Hey, sorry Jozy, we know you have never missed a PK and hit some sick free kicks, but we are so worried you will miss that you should just stand there and watch while we choose seven other players to take spot kicks.

His confidence was just dandy when he arrived to Sunderland. And not to say that he is without fault himself, but they have done everything possible to kill it.

Greg Seltzer said...

Seriously, no one affiliated in any way with Sunderland should bitch that Altidore not scoring is so detrimental when they run from every opportunity to get him a goal.

As of right now, Jozy Altidore has not fired a single shot attempt of any kind in 163 minutes of EPL play on the field. So far in 2014, Sunderland - who are soooo desperate to get Altidore a goal - have seen exactly two shots created for Altidore by a teammate in 459 minutes of play. He literally is going three full games to wait for ***one*** chance created by a teammate. And he has been passed over for three spot kicks and countless terrible free kicks.

Sunderland should shut up about how they want to get him scoring. They clearly do not.

dikranovich said...

Greg, your comments sound like the Russians explaining away an invasion of Ukraine.

If Jozy is not getting open and playing into the proper spaces, that's on him. He is getting less touches because he is not showing for the ball as well as he should be, and if he can't grasp that, at least his manager is showing some patience.

The truth is, poyet is borrowing the same tactic used by the US coach, which saw Jozy not called up for a qualifier, then he came back and went on a little tear. Poyet is probably hoping the same thing will happen here. His recent comment would certainly suggest that.

Greg Seltzer said...

Grow the hell up. You talk to me or anyone else like that again and it will be the last time. I will manually delete every comment you make. I have good friends worried sick about family in Ukraine right now. Cut the shit.

There will be no response to the rest of your clueless comment and I do not want one to this.

SleeStaxx said...

"By the numbers Sunderland scores nearly three times as often with Altidore on the field. Again, it is not some personal favor. He is the best lead striker they have and he has been a factor in their successes, even without goals. Their best performing XI has him in it, period. It has been this way all season long."

... and yet they still sit in the bottom 3. they may well be in the bottom 3 when the season end regardless of what they do. If they are better with with a no-scoring/low-confidence Altidore in the side, then it simply isn't good enough.


"PK's... We vastly disagree on this. Why do so many people think you should starve a striker lacking confidence? What in the world is that going to solve? Hey, sorry Jozy, we know you have never missed a PK and hit some sick free kicks, but we are so worried you will miss that you should just stand there and watch while we choose seven other players to take spot kicks."

Why not starve him when Borini can hit a screamer with ice in his veins? You give the shot to the guy most likely to score. That guy is Fabio Borini, not Altidore... and it's so basically simple, I see no argument..."

"His confidence was just dandy when he arrived to Sunderland. And not to say that he is without fault himself, but they have done everything possible to kill it."

No one is contending it has been an easy road there... it hasn't been. I've watched Jozy since he was 17 going to Red Bull games. The fact is, he's a wildly inconsistent player that has huge disparities in top form vs. poor form. It's nothing new. Part of that is due to his game is bit too one-dimensional and teammates can't or won't always play to his strengths. But a big part of it is metal... As we are seeing right now. It's also conceivable his game simply isn't cut out for the premier league, where speed and stout, physical defense. I still think the jury is out on that as his sunderland situation is a far cry from a positive environment to prove his meddle effectively... but good players find a way.

One thing is for sure, you cite his poor chance created #'s by his teamates aas well as his poor shots fired #'s... He told the world "...he is freezing up in front of goal..." Again, putting it on his teammates to pick him up by his bootstraps is simply not reality. They will continue to fire shots from the midfield if they have no confidence in him to so. As for Poyet, he's moving Borini up top specifically because he has the confidence to take shots when he should.

Greg Seltzer said...

-- and yet they still sit in the bottom 3. they may well be in the bottom 3 when the season end regardless of what they do. If they are better with with a no-scoring/low-confidence Altidore in the side, then it simply isn't good enough.--


You just moved the goalposts around so much I got dizzy. Where am I?




--Why not starve him when Borini can hit a screamer with ice in his veins? You give the shot to the guy most likely to score. That guy is Fabio Borini, not Altidore... and it's so basically simple, I see no argument--


Altidore hits a screamer. He has never missed. And he is the one everyone is soooo distraught about not scoring and they have to get him scoring and it is important for the team to get it scoring!!! Ahem.



--No one is contending it has been an easy road there... it hasn't been. I've watched Jozy since he was 17 going to Red Bull games. The fact is, he's a wildly inconsistent player that has huge disparities in top form vs. poor form. It's nothing new. Part of that is due to his game is bit too one-dimensional and teammates can't or won't always play to his strengths. But a big part of it is metal... As we are seeing right now. It's also conceivable his game simply isn't cut out for the premier league, where speed and stout, physical defense. I still think the jury is out on that as his sunderland situation is a far cry from a positive environment to prove his meddle effectively... but good players find a way.--


Seriously, not to be rude, but nothing you say here is accurate. For starters, you have COMPLETELY removed any and all traces of team attack variables from judging his form. We JUST went through this with the USMNT last year. And I said many of the same things I am saying now, and he finally got the damn ball and he scored in six straight starts. Nothing I am saying is even remotely controversial in the terms of soccer tactics/team management. It is all Soccer 101.



--One thing is for sure, you cite his poor chance created #'s by his teamates aas well as his poor shots fired #'s... He told the world "...he is freezing up in front of goal..." Again, putting it on his teammates to pick him up by his bootstraps is simply not reality. They will continue to fire shots from the midfield if they have no confidence in him to so. As for Poyet, he's moving Borini up top specifically because he has the confidence to take shots when he should.--


If I was manager, every player who did this would sit. This dynamic started from day one there, it is not any result of his teammates judging whether the striker is worthy of a set-up pass after his struggles. And even if it was, this is the exact opposite of what good teams do. This is the exact opposite of what Poyet is telling them to do. This is the exact opposite of what they need to do to achieve maximum results. And once again, somebody rushes to the complete and total Windex clean defense of the largest part of the problem.

I feel like I am going insane now. We **just** went through this same **exact** thing with Altidore on the USMNT **last year**.

Is he on top of his game? No way. Could he have 2-3 more goals? Of course, he should. Is he frustrated? You betcha. He was also pretty damn frustrated when he beat PSV in the Dutch Cup final. He was very frustrated when he went nuts for USMNT last year.

This is not rocket science. When he is the damn striker the coach puts on the field, give him the damn ball. End of discussion.

Greg Seltzer said...

That is to say, end of discussion from the coach to the teammates. Not to you.

futfan said...

@dikranovich

"The truth is, poyet is borrowing the same tactic used by the US coach, which saw Jozy not called up for a qualifier, then he came back and went on a little tear. Poyet is probably hoping the same thing will happen here. His recent comment would certainly suggest that."

The 'truth'? You have no posssible earthly way of knowing why Poyet left Altidore out. I can come up with a plausible reason that has nothing to do with Poyet aping Klinnsman. Because the first thing that came to my mind when I read those quotes from Poyet is that Altidore had something to say to him after the Arsenal match. And it probably wasn't pleasant. It would seem out of character for Altidore but it isn't out of the realm of possibility.

IMO Poyet sounds like a manager who is defensively trying to justify his own weakness. Why mention and reiterate in the same sentance that he hates losing/defeat and the "but we have to show the right response."? Where did that come from? Who isn't handling losing/defeat in the correct way and how are they communicating their 'incorrect' handling of 'defeat'?

I think there is potentially way more to this than meets the eye and I seriously doubt it is a simple case of a manager trying to motivate a player by leaving him out. Poyet has shown faith in Altidore over and over, even despite some of Altidore's poorer performances. And now, all of the sudden he leaves him out of the team entirely? That doesn't make any sense to me.

If it is a simple case of leaving him out in an attempt to motive him then that is bullshit, especially given the timing.

SleeStaxx said...
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SleeStaxx said...

"You just moved the goalposts around so much I got dizzy. Where am I?"

I'm on a different field. I'm looking at different goalposts.

Your Fundamental Question: How can Sunderland play better utilizing Jozy Altidore and build his confidence and playing form? Your Your assumptions:

1. Altidore is the best striker they have at their disposal regardless of form.

2. The midfield they have is puposefully limiting Jozy's effectiveness and confidence and that they have the innate talent in midfield to enable much better integration of the lone striker position with proper coaching and tactics.

3. Poyet is failing related to # 2

I have to say, I don't think any of those assumptions are true... or at least can be proven true...

And I don't understand why the argument is so focused on Altidore. Sunderland's goal is to avoid relegation, not give Jozy playing time and confidence. In a perfect scenario, they wouldn't be in the relegation scrap, Altidore would have confidence, goals and ample playing time and wouldn't be a shambles at club that brought in 17 players in the last 7 mos. and had 3 different coaches in the last year.

And I don't think they have the optimal midfield to play how Poyet wants to play at the moment... and a good part of that falls to square pegs and round holes and trying to get things out of players that are well-suited to the system.

I think they make due admirably at times and I still have no clear understanding as to why they bought 14 new players over the summer nor what it bloody hell Di Canio was trying to accomplish with them, but Gus has picked up the pieces as best he can.

Lest we forget, this club was a dumpster fire in November... and some embers are still smoldering. And Altidore and his agent picked them knowing it would likely be a slog... maybe not to the extent it has become, but a slog was on the radar. It's not that shocking really.

justinwkoehn said...

I don't think Sunderland trying to avoid relegation and getting Jozy playing time and confidence are mutually exclusive issues. To win games, you have to score goals, and to get your striker in form results in scoring goals, winning games, and avoiding relegation.

Greg Seltzer said...

Aaaaand that kind of talk will get you called a crazy homer. Seems pretty obvious, though, huh?.

SleeStaxx said...

nah... sunderland is in the enviable position of trying to get ANY of their strikers performing reasonably well.

It appears to be an exceedingly difficult task.

The debate is whether Jozy should continue to be trotted out as THAT striker...

I wish he was/is... but can't argue with Borini as flavor of the week.

Also, as to Poyet dropping Jozy from the cup squad... it was harsh.

There must be a subtext here, as Poyet has continually shown confidence in the lad in selecting him as the primary striker in most of the recent matches (even with his struggling form).

Some things must have been said between the two after the arsenal match or in training following IMO - and likely some things Poyet did not like. We'll probably never know exactly what, nor should we (as airing dirty laundry is not the most professional thing...) That said, I find it hard to believe that Poyet dropping Jozy was simply based on form alone, particularly since Poyet mentioned him by name in his comments Greg provided... I don't think that was done by coincidence and that Poyet knew people were/are wondering.

Greg Seltzer said...

We are not looking at this from the same angle. If I could edit your sentence it would read:

Sunderland strikers are in the thankless position of trying to get ANY of their teammates to perform reasonably well.

Yeah, I am saying it is that bad. I am certainly not saying Altidore has been that good.

SleeStaxx said...

It's been bad at points... Arsenal match was a superior let-down for sure... but they didn't get to the Cup final by accident.

Where they have been lacking has been in proper link play in the midfield and effective creativity and passing in the final third.

The link play has certainly been better with Ki in the side and indications it may get better with Bridcutt knowing Poyet's defensive and holding roles better than his competition for that role... but the creativity has been spotty, yet you can't discount when Adam Johnson shows up and plays like Bale for game or two and simply imposes himself with sheer will and skill... His inconsistency is a little maddening as well, howev...

But I agree, Ki, Johnson, Borini, Altidore, Giacherini (if/when he can get playing time) and a combo of Bridcutt/Cattermole should be better than the sum of the parts currently. Some of that is ue to selfishness. In some ways they remind me of Tottenham at times when Defoe would rather take on three defenders than pass to an open Lennon or vice a versa. I think Larsson & Colback can be big liabilities at times and may be part of the broken links... Colback can be very good defensively but often does not see the field properly going forward and is prone to pass backwards with space available and list into predictable and ineffective positions. Larsson... He was decent in the Cup match but only seems to show up in the big games and can't be arsed half the time. (and don't get me going on his supposed "setpiece striking ability". He did OK yesterday, but they are lucky to get a good game out of him hitting setballs once in every 10 matches.)

I thought Johnson had taken over that duty, also. which was an improvement.

futfan said...

@Greg

I am curious if you have heard anything more about the situation. I do not know the extent of your 'insiderness' or what contacts you have but I really curious to hear a more detailed reason for him being left out and what the fallout, if any, there is from it.

I am just an armchair athlete at this point in my life but I know how I would react to the situation.

My armchair for a decent investigative journalist who can get the gritty details!

TrueCrew said...

Look, you are a Jozy fanboy. His sub got a goal today, something Jozy has only done once in what, 23 games?

Yes, Jozy has played well in a limited roll. But the idea that Borini is more likely to either create something out of nothing or finish a chance than Altidore is pretty accurate. Ditto the fact that Fletcher is better in the air.

If Borini isn't deployed wide, Jozy could easily be the #3 striker.

Good news, Poyet seems to want Jozy in the squad. He wants him to fight. He thinks Jozy is capable of more than he is producing, and this is his way of motivating him to do it.

Let's see if it works. Seemed to when JK left him out, IIRC.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ futfan: I have nothing but guesses at this point. To me, the Poyet remarks make it sound like a simple coaching decision.

@ TrueCrew: Look, you can come in here trying to insult me and downgrading my offered take all you want, and it is still exactly zero evidence to support your view.

And for crying out loud, the Klinsi benching of Altidore was complete nonsense. I said it then that he was not the problem with the US attack, and will keep saying it. Same goes for Sunderland; anyone who actually thinks Altidore is even close to their biggest problem in either attack or the team is either full of it or has no idea how the game works. It sure seems like realizing Altidore has had all of two chances created for him by teammates in TWO WHOLE MONTHS should have some sort of effect on your view. Instead, Jozy bashers gloss right over this extremely enlightening fact to pretend everything is all his fault and he is woefully incapable of doing things he has done dozens of times in recent history for both club and country. Frankly, I am ready bang my head on a wall discussing this. Too many people ask me a question and then refuse to hear the answer. My discussion of soccer is not Jozy-centric or American-centric. It is consistent as to how I think the game should be played, regardless of subject. I am a reporter, I sit in Ajax matches not making a celebratory peep or even smiling when they rally to win the title on closing day. I am so used to behaving in an impartial manner that I actually forget it is okay to cheer and show emotion on the rare occasion I get to sit in the regular stands.

I have not been praising Altidore, far from it. You have not seen me give him any great credit this season. Let us just get that straight. No, I am a supposed fanboy because I do not bash the player. Only this is pretty much the same comments I made when he was not scoring for the USMNT. And when they did what I said all along they needed to do (because that is how I see the game), he went nuts scoring. Add in some damaged confidence (and yes a couple good missed chances/keeper denials), some confusion over how the hell to get anyone else on Sunderland to play like they are on a team and extraordinarily more selfish teammates, and we basically have the same situation Altidore was in with the US last year.

This. Is. Not. Rocket. Science. Give the damn striker the damn ball. Every team has that on page one of their tactics, in big bold letters. Unless you and the rest of the blame-the-guy-not-seeing-the-ball first crowd think Sunderland has a better chance to succeed with Bardsley, Larsson and the rest of that shockingly disconnected and selfish group of summer free agents and loan items taking every poor shot they can find from 28 yards. Did you know Altidore is 10th on the current roster in shots per game? Yeah, the #1 striker on the team thus far, who has played in nearly every game, stands TENTH in shots per game.

Number of shots fired by Altidore and Fletcher this season: 53

Number of shots fired by Sunderland wingbacks, wingers and midfielders: 241.

I have never seen anything like it, complete with everyone and their mother shrieking that Altidore and Fletcher are the big problem. On a team with an EPL-low 12 goals from the run of play in 26 games and the fourth worst defense in the league. I have no idea what else to tell anybody, except to repeat what I already said. This is how I view the game. It would not matter if it was Putin ignored up top playing for the Legion of Doom XI against a team of ice-cream wielding baby unicorns. I would opine the same thing.

SleeStaxx said...

@Greg - One thing is for sure, if you are correct about this sunderland team, then Borini is destined to be the next failure up top in their formation.

Greg Seltzer said...

We shall see. By the way, I did some checking on some of the the Sunderland stats last season for a comparison.

Three guys who will be summer free agents (Larsson, Colback & Bardsley) have gone from combining for 1.5 shot attempts per game last season to a combined 2.8 shots per game this season. Bardsley (who has gone from .4 shots per game to nearly 1.2) and Larsson are easily the worst offenders of the three. And Larsson, who in his heydey averaged about two accurate crosses per game is now landing one a game - and this is for a guy taking tons of restarts.

Conversely, Fletcher took nearly twice as many shots per game past season than he is getting this season (2.1 down to 1.1). he has consistently averaged right around 2 shots per game his whole career.

I am not imagining things here, folks. The extreme selfishness of this current squad is all in the data.

SleeStaxx said...

Understood, but you are comparing Bardsley in two systems. Martin Oneil vs. Gus Poyet... and Poyet has shown repeatedly he wants possession-based ball where his backs overlap more and join the attack. Bardsley has done just that.

Their new signing, Alonso, is doing the same. Their young Czech, Culustka, tried to do the same when he has played(albeit wasn't all that great at it.) Stats are part of it, but the difference in tactics has a good part to do with those stats.

Larsson... no argument there... aside form the occasional decent game, he is woeful as a setball striker, often poor in link play and selfish, and a liability on defense.

SleeStaxx said...

Also, Fletcher... hard to really judge him this year as he really hasn't been fit all year and has been struggling for fitness and focus. A lot of Sunulund fans want him moved and think he's lost it... I just think 1. he was never that great to begin with but just solid/serviceable, and 2. He has yet to really get fitness or sharpness back form whatever niggling injuries he continues to carry... and likely won't until the offseason at this point.

His receipt of the ball in the box in the cup game was a classic example. tried to trap the ball, and kocked back up into his legs an pinballed it over the endline. woefully not sharp and unfit... which is why Altidore not making the bench is all the more odd...

Greg Seltzer said...

Wingbacks getting into attack is one thing. Them taking more shots than the strikers, including a whole bunch of wild ill-advised shots from anywhere, is quite another.