Saturday, 9 July 2011

Why are Argentina suffering so badly?

If their first performance was bad, then Argentina's second was woeful. Colombia only have themselves to blame for failing to take all three points, with numerous guilt edged chances missed. Sergio Batista refused to change his line-up from their opener with Bolivia and their lack of width again was on show with star player Lionel Messi prefering to find space in the middle of the pitch. Their narrow formation with defensive midfielders would be fine if on either flank their full-backs were attacking, and with Javier Zanetti and Pablo Zabaleta prodominately defensive minded, it ensured Colombia could defend narrowly and send Argentina out wide.

At Barcelona, Messi can afford to roam into the centre of the park often because he knows on the other flank there is anout and out winger in Pedro, who ensures that the oppositions defence is stretched. However Eszquiel Lavezzi, who again was poor, isn't a winger and despite a very good season at Napoli is struggling to adapt to international football. If Batista is going to stick with this formation then he needs to ensure that he plays an out and out winger, and with Angel Di Maria on the bench, he has someone who can more then do a job.

At the World Cup many questioned Argentina's centre half duo of Martin Demichelis and Walter Samuel, however the performances of Nicolas Burdisso and Gabriel Milito made the duo looked Franceso Baresi esq, with Burdisso and Milito on three sepearate occasions gifting the Colombians one on one oppourtunities with Romero in the Argentine goal due to their severe lack of concentration at the back.

Batista is likely to come huge scrutiny for his team selections and substitutions. With Ever Banega, Estaban Cambiasso and Javier Mascherano all playing, the centre of Argentina's midfield lacks a real creative player with much sort after Javier Pastore not selected. If the team selection was hard to believe, the fact that Batista opted to leave Pastore on the bench for the entire game, deciding to replace Banega with a like for like replacement in Fernando Gago was completing dumbfounding.

Batista's team selection have baffled fans
At the World Cup under Diego Maradona Argentina were poor defensively, however they created chances at will, which at the Copa America they aren't doing. Many people questioned Maradona's managerial ability, however the team selection then seems much more logical then Batista's. Despite Juan Veron's ageing legs he still was able to find a pass, and with the attacking quartet of Messi, Di Maria, Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain in front of him and Mascherano, the team had a better balance to them.

After Costa Rica's victory against Bolivia, Argentina's progression is in the balance, and if they are going to have a change of fortunes then Batista must change his team.

My team for the Costa Rica game
Romero, Zabaleta, Burdisso, Garay, Zanetti, Mascherano, Cambiasso, Di Maria, Pastore, Messi, Tevez/Higuain.

Messi doesn't appear as happy as he does playing for Barcelona

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