Monday, April 14, 2014

Say what you will about his play.

But if one goes so far as to assail the character of Jozy Altidore, they are merely spouting nonsense in my book. And certainly in the book of Nathan Brown.

Meanwhile, Gus Poyet finally seems to have managed realization that Altidore is also not his real headache. He may be in luck; I might just explain the problem for him real soon.




- Greg Seltzer

18 comments:

justinwkoehn said...

I still look back on Gus taking off both Jozy and Adam at half vs Arsenal. They were already down 3-0, and he replaces his forward and his top scorer? It's been all down hill since then for Jozy. He came on at half when Fletcher got hurt vs CP (when they ended up with a draw, and the last point Sunderland has seen). Then 2 away starts at Norwich and Liverpool (losing 2-1 vs leaders away isn't too bad) and we haven't seen anything of Jozy since. I'm just so confused. What's the odds on Jozy seeing the pitch vs City Wednesday?

Greg Seltzer said...

As we already discussed, he missed Saturday with a minor injury. I hope to know tomorrow the answer to your closing question.

justinwkoehn said...

Sorry, I assumed that minor meant that he should be back and available for selection, but I guess there's only 4 days in between these matches. I should have prefaced the question with "Assuming he's available for selection..."

SleeStaxx said...

Jozy's confidence is shot to bits and his form has been woeful. You can say that about the most of the team, for that matter.

I don't see him supplanting Wickham or Borini at this point depending on formation... He's had many, many chance to impress and hasn't (save for a couple of decent games).

The inept sunderland midfield certainly hasn't helped him, but he has the form of a player that simply is out of his depth in the premier league - at least this season with this team. He needs to move on and it's a sucky way to limp into the WC, to be sure...

Greg Seltzer said...

@ SleeStaxx:

We do not agree about ow poor he has been. Let me put it this way: Altidore is not playing as well as he did during his USMNT goal slump a couple years ago, but then again the team around him is playing about 20 times worse. His job has been totally thankless and many good, unselfish things he has done get overlooked. He has had well more than a couple decent games, even in this nightmare situation that now has Poyet pulling his hair out. However you rate his season, Sunderland play far better when he is on the field.

Greg Seltzer said...

Of course, that is a low hurdle...

BTM said...

Wickham has one goal in 36 premier league appearances. Just saying.

SleeStaxx said...

@Greg... love your blog but I really don't think you are objective where Altidore is concerned. The team around him is equally poor, there is no question. But his play has degraded as the season has gone on - for likely a variety of reasons. He doesn't make the runs he was making earlier in the year as his midfielders would rather have a go from 35 yards yards out than attempt to get him the ball in attacking interplay. More than enough blame behind him, but his effort to make those runs has dropped. His first touch has been suspect for a large part of the year as well and his ability to take a ball down from the air with a defender on him is simply not up to snuff for the prem. Of course, when John O'shea especially likes to hoof it to you with not 1 but 2 defenders on your back and no midfielder in support within 20 yards, thankless and destined to fail are words that come to mind. Al that said, Jozy's effort and focus has waned in the second half of the season. The only way he was going to scrap together any goals was to scratch and claw and fight for every ball like it was the last he'd see... and on the rare occasion he gets a decent ball to work with in or around the box, he's hesitated or mishandled the ball a lot andm opted for a back pass rather than take on his man. His confidence is gone... and he won't get it back playing on that team. I've watched Jozy since he was 17 on Red Bulls and one flaw he has is lack of effort when the game is not coming reasonably easy to him. At sunderland, everything is an absolute slog... and his game has starved and regressed... he needs to get out of there and get a reset...

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - You think I am objective except for when it comes to one single player? Hmm.

2 - If the team around him is *equally* poor, then why do they score over twice as often when he is on the field than when he is not? And why are they 0-4-1 (0 win percentage, .100 points percentage) being outscored 11-3 in games he does not play a single minute as opposed to 6-15-6 (.222 win %, .889 points %) with him playing?

3 - If he never gets a pass when he makes a run and it is thankless to expect him to pull down stray long balls against two defenders, then what possibility does he even have to look good? And how is that stuff down to his fault? He cannot and it is not.

4 - Quick question: Do you think AJ lacks effort or is lazy because of the way he moves around the field? Because he moves around the field almost exactly like Altidore and no one ever makes a peep of it. None of us know what the coaching instructions are; by this point, though, it seems fairly safe to suggest he is told to occupy the two center backs to open space for wingers that are far more interested in shooting than team attack play. Again, this is something you cannot pin on him.

Again, let me be clear: Altidore has been sub-par and often looks exasperated. But ya know, that is what happens when you are the striker of a mess like this. Just ask Wickham, Borini, Fletcher, Welbeck, Gyan, Bent and all the other strikers they have had over the last few seasons. Since Bent scored 25 in 2010, this team has gone to the toilet for everyone who plays that position. And now Poyet is pulling his hair out the last three games and Altidore is nowhere to be found for blaming while they lose three straight by an 8-2 combined count.

Equally poor? Not even close.

justinwkoehn said...

So if you support Jozy, do you hope he gets the nod today? I mean, they are playing away are City. How much would any Sunderland striker help their case in this match?! Yeah yeah, they beat City 1-0 at home, but their away form was terrible at the time. On the other hand, I'm hoping City lose in all their remaining matches so both the gunners and everton can get the bottom two CL spots.

On a side note, I'll be at the MLS expansion announcement in Atlanta today, sporting my Kaiserslautern scarf (black/red like Falcons, and DFBPokal semis vs Bayern today)! I think it'll be streamed on MLSSoccer.com at 5pm EDT. #MLSWeAreNext

dikranovich said...

What all this clearly points to, is the Dutch league has no defending. So much emphasis on offense, and really no quality defending.

Jozy maybe should have gone back to Hull.

Jozy might be given another chance this season, and all he really has to do is show some strong effort. If he can do that, we can all be winners.

It's almost like the Dutch league can send out some false positives. I guess any league can.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ justinwkoehn:

First of all, I think some of you are confusing an objective notice that Sunderland are clearly and statistically better with him on the field for me showing an individual player support. Do I root for him to do well? Sure, but I'm not going to say he should play when he shouldn't.

How much would any Sunderland striker help their case in this match? Well, he would conceivably help the team more in the center forward role than any of the other ones they have available today. Now, he has not played in a few games, so perhaps a sub role could be best for this one. But hey, you don't know until the play 'em.

On your side not, I am not terribly optimistic an MLS team will work there. Hopefully, I am wrong.

justinwkoehn said...

@Greg

I agree with your statistical analysis of Jozy. I also think you are a party pooper re: Atlanta. We are partying it up with Alexi Lalas tonight for god sakes (which fortunately I am missing due to an MBA class).

Greg Seltzer said...

I lived in Atlanta, it is a very fickle fan-town loaded with all sorts of competition for entertainment dollars. Frankly, it really is not a great sports town. It is much more a great football and outdoors town. Besides, many of the real sports fans there come from somewhere else and bring those allegiances with them.

justinwkoehn said...

I agree somewhat. NASL side Silverbacks have established a pretty solid following though, albeit it's only 1/4 the average attendance an MLS team would need. Each ATL team has separate ownership groups though, which I am hoping doesn't cause a divide in the soccer community. I think they should merge, and become Atlanta United, with the NASL side remaining there as a reserve squad for the MLS side.

SleeStaxx said...

@greg... yes, I think your are being subjective on Altidore and your microcasm slice of stats proves it.

How many of the games he started vs. not also included Ki in the lineup?

What are the scoring rates of the team in the Jozy/Ki lineup vs. say Jozy/cattermole or Jozy/Colback configuration? Did Johnson start on wing with or without Borini? You start looking at player combinations, formations, tactics, etc. and that stat becomes quite a rabbithole of very limited benchmark value.

Or in other words, cherrypick any of the nifty, meaningless stats you want. It doesn't make an argument one way or the other.

Yes, I think Johnson is lazy at times as well. I also think he's very dangerous at times and a real handful running at defenders into the box. I can't say that about Jozy. Hell, with the stink of relegation on them now, 3/4 of that team looks like they can't be arsed a good part of the time. Ki, Colback, Johnson, Altidore (when he was playing). Given the loanee situation and players out of contract at season's end, it's unfortunate, but a good number of these guys are already checked out.

So if your argument is: shite team, players playing half-assed/shite and jozy was just showing similar effort and approach as the majority of his lacksadaisical teammates, I'd agree with you.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ SleeStaxx:

"yes, I think your are being subjective on Altidore and your microcasm slice of stats proves it."


I'm sorry... you think I am being subjective by judging based on the fully objective and most overt comparison stats? That makes no sense.



"How many of the games he started vs. not also included Ki in the lineup?"


Not sure what you think this will say, but this is an example of breaking into microcosm. But since you asked, Ki started three of those five EPL games in which Altidore did not play. He was not yet on the team for the first game of these five vs. Palace and also sat out the Spurs loss. Ki has also missed two games Altidore played, both losses.


"What are the scoring rates of the team in the Jozy/Ki lineup vs. say Jozy/cattermole or Jozy/Colback configuration? Did Johnson start on wing with or without Borini? You start looking at player combinations, formations, tactics, etc. and that stat becomes quite a rabbithole of very limited benchmark value."


First off, no they do not necessarily become that. Secondly, we are not talking about a slight difference in performance here. We are talking about Sunderland scoring 2.25 times as often with him on the field and gaining points from results at a hair under nine times the pace. NINE.



"Or in other words, cherrypick any of the nifty, meaningless stats you want. It doesn't make an argument one way or the other."


Yeah, it does. And in what way have I cherry-picked? I took all of everything in EPL play. That is the opposite of cherry-picking.



"Yes, I think Johnson is lazy at times as well."


Not that AJ, I'm referring to Aron Johannsson, who plays the same role on the same two teams Altidore was on until last summer.


"Hell, with the stink of relegation on them now, 3/4 of that team looks like they can't be arsed a good part of the time. Ki, Colback, Johnson, Altidore (when he was playing). Given the loanee situation and players out of contract at season's end, it's unfortunate, but a good number of these guys are already checked out."


You are now making my point for me.



"So if your argument is: shite team, players playing half-assed/shite and jozy was just showing similar effort and approach as the majority of his lacksadaisical teammates, I'd agree with you."


I am not dinging his teammates for being lackadaisical, I am dinging them for being selfish. This is not something you can say about Altidore. He has not been selfish enough, which is another kind of problem. As for lackadaisical, I do not agree. You are forgetting manager instructions, and in this case, his instructions have been to do exactly as he has done. Altidore is not one to run around like he's on fire, that is not his style. Then again, it is not Johannsson's style, either, but nobody ever makes comments about him being lazy.

SleeStaxx said...

I don't think were far apart on this... furthermore, I don't know what to make of Sunderland TBH.

I was thinking they'd be hardpressed to pickup another point this season and then go out and almost take down city yesterday with a combo of Giacherinni/Wickham causing major problems... who'd have figured that? Not me, that is for sure.

Also, for a big lad, Wickham has quite a gear (more than I thought he did)... as on display in one of his goals from yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_l892fOT0vo