• Well that stinks…as goes Jimmy Bullard so goes Jozy Altidore apparently.
Without funny man Bullard in the middle of the line-up, Hull City skipper Phil Brown has shifted his entire front six strategy. Two games post-Bullard knee injury have seen Brown go super conservative in an attempt to protect an extremely weak midfield. Brown has employed a 1-5 up top, relying on Craig Fagan to run down balls over the top and provide pressure and hoping that the likes of Steven Hunt and Geovanni can do yeoman’s work in both offensive and defensive support.
The strategy has returned Altidore, who was seeing starting time with Bullard in the line-up (and 4-4-2 line-up) to the bench or in Saturday’s case confined him to the stands. I might understand Brown’s strategy against Arsenal with one exception….Mr. Cesc Fabregas donned a parka for the game. If there was ever a game to be more offensive on the road at the Emirates, this was it. Further, what I don’t understand is, if you’re down 2-0 on the road, why take off forward players Geovanni and Garcia and introduce two defenders. Huh?
TSG for Hull City Manager!
When will Altidore see the pitch again as a starter? Likely when Bullard returns from the knee injury suffered three games ago against Villa. Jozy was able to link effectively with Bullard migrating the ball up the pitch–in short Hull was more offensive. With Fagan, Hull is essentially conceding offensive flow in favor of stretching the defense and hoping to get lucky on an over-the-top ball or on the trailing authoritative foots of Hunt and Geovanni.
Not all is lost for Big Jeezy though. Wiith a Sunday game coming up hosting Man U and a Bolton game away the Tuesday following, Altidore should factor in one of the two.Further, as we mentioned in our column on Friday, Kamel Ghilas goes out for the African Cup….so Jozy will–hopefully– be consistently in the 18 as at worst the 3rd striking option.
Finally, you have to be a bit concerned by the defensive posturing of Manager Brown…if Brown thinks he can eek out survival of the relegation zone with going defensive and playing for the win only sporadically, JZA might have further trouble getting on the pitch until his game becomes more mature and well-rounded.
Let’s watch for Bullard’s return–it’s ironical that the once heir apparent to the central midfield for England might hold the key the USMNT striker fortunes in South Africa.
• If you didn’t see Clint’s assist Saturday against United it it was vintage Dempsey….find where the ball is going on a cross, head it back across the goal, score. It doesn’t get much simpler and efficient for that. Clints, “nose” where the ball is.
• West Ham, off the 1-1 draw to the Blues, has back-to-back games Sunday and Monday. So you’re likely to see Jonathan Spector, however with Faubert and Ilunga doing nothing short of a stellar job against the Chelsea attack, that backline looks set for West Ham.
• We know, we know. DaMarcus Beasley for president–another goal and assist. I guess that’s what happens when you’re very fresh from resting. Here’s the latest entry in the Beasley scrapbook:
• I don’t often root against Americans, but I sort of did this week. Bus loads of Woverhampton fans made the trek last weekend, only too see the Wanderers’ “B” squad up against Manchester United. Manager Mick McCarthy got–and TSG thinks he deserved–some serious guff for not playing his regulars. I would have liked nothing better than a Wolverhampton to lose at home to Burnley. Not in the cards, and USMNT’s Marcus Hahnemann turns away 5 shots-on. Kudos.
You don’t think a handful of World Cup-bound nattie teams would want Hahney in contention for their goal spot. Maybe let’s start with, oh, England or France? Gotta be embarrassing if you’re Robert Green and you get beaten three times on the same penalty (Lampard this Saturday), no?
• I can’t wait to see this Landon Donovan-Luis Saha pairing. Saha is at the top of his game….
• The Jay DeMerit locomotive is gather speed, another 90 in the middle for the stalwart as fellow interior man Carlos Bocanegra sits for Rennes. That’s now two straight games that Boca doesn’t make the starting 11 for Rennes when available….yikes!
• We’re calling it! Our next weekend update leads with “Maurice Edu in the 18 for Rangers and……”
(UPDATE: According to Mr. DaMarcus For President, Edu’s getting run out in a reserve game today….)