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Sunday Herald Tombola


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The legendary Tombola gains copy this week in the Herald. Article sadly acknowledging our defensive disasters this year. Bold section highlights that we still have not got over Anderson leaving. Diamond Byrne or Diamond Considine for me.

 

THERE ARE spies working for Celtic and Bayern Munich who must feel like lying down in a darkened room to let their headaches clear. Their managers, Gordon Strachan and Ottmar Hitzfeld, will have charged them with compiling dossiers on what to expect from Aberdeen's players and system. That is a cruel assignment to give any man.

 

There is not a spy in the land who could go back to his boss and confidently predict who will be in their back four, nor even if it will be a back four at all. How could they, when even Aberdeen's manager has still to decide what works best? About the only thing that can be said with certainty about Aberdeen's defending is that there aren't many at Pittodrie who expect it to deny Celtic this afternoon nor Bayern Munich in the last 32 of the Uefa Cup on Thursday.

 

Chopping, changing, switching, dropping and recalling from one week to the next: exasperated supporters accuse manager Jimmy Calderwood of picking his defence by taking their squad numbers out of a tombola. Aberdeen have had their fair share of injuries and defenders have not been immune, but they have not suffered casualties on a scale which can explain the endless tinkering with their back four. Calderwood has yet to let his strongest defence develop.......

 

The most incredible statistic relates to how many different central defensive partnerships have been tried: 16. Diamond-Considine, Diamond-Severin, Diamond-Mair, Diamond-Hart, Diamond-McNamara, Diamond-Touzani, Diamond-Byrne, Considine-McNamara, Considine-Severin, Considine-Mair, McNamara-Foster, Severin-Bryne, Touzani-Byrne, Mair-Byrne and - when Calderwood has experimented with a back three - Diamond-Severin-Byrne or Mair-Severin-Byrne. At Parkhead in November they played a back three in the first half and a four in the second. And they lost 3-0.

 

Rest of article  http://www.sundayherald.com/sport/shfootball/display.var.2032979.0.the_mad_house.php

 

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Actually McNamara - Foster ???

 

When did that spew forth from the numbers machine??

 

Certainly don't remember that one but who knows! I'm sure some of those would have been as a result of injuries, however, a fair percentage aren't. The Dundee Utd game has to be the last straw in terms of sorting out the defence. It has to be JC's immediate top priority bar none. Decent teams sort out their defence first then move on to the spine of the team, that's what he needs to do now. In Maybury we have a solid full back, maybe better going forward than defensively, but still solid and better than any other full back we have. Diamond's obviously a cert. He then need to choose and stick with a partner for Diamond and either McNamara and Foster at left back. Once making that selection stick with them and let them form an understanding between themselves and Clangers.

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yet again the Sunday Herald shows it is the only decent paper in the country and has Sports reporters that actually know what they are writing about:

 

Whole Article, to save folk clicking the link:

 

The Mad House

ABERDEEN: With big games ahead the state of the defence is significant, says Michael Grant

Comment | Read Comments (1)

THERE ARE spies working for Celtic and Bayern Munich who must feel like lying down in a darkened room to let their headaches clear. Their managers, Gordon Strachan and Ottmar Hitzfeld, will have charged them with compiling dossiers on what to expect from Aberdeen's players and system. That is a cruel assignment to give any man.

 

There is not a spy in the land who could go back to his boss and confidently predict who will be in their back four, nor even if it will be a back four at all. How could they, when even Aberdeen's manager has still to decide what works best? About the only thing that can be said with certainty about Aberdeen's defending is that there aren't many at Pittodrie who expect it to deny Celtic this afternoon nor Bayern Munich in the last 32 of the Uefa Cup on Thursday.

 

Chopping, changing, switching, dropping and recalling from one week to the next: exasperated supporters accuse manager Jimmy Calderwood of picking his defence by taking their squad numbers out of a tombola. Aberdeen have had their fair share of injuries and defenders have not been immune, but they have not suffered casualties on a scale which can explain the endless tinkering with their back four. Calderwood has yet to let his strongest defence develop.

 

advertisementAt any level of football the finest and most successful defences are built on stability and consistency, with players knowing their positions and building an understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and preferences of the team-mate by their side. When Bayern Munich were last at Pittodrie in 1983 Aberdeen had exactly that: back then Stewart Kennedy, Alex McLeish, Willie Miller and Doug Rougvie were the north-east's Mount Rushmore. Now their defence is there for the taking.

 

They have conceded at least one goal in 25 of their 36 matches so far this season. Individual errors have been countless and it is no coincidence that those come within a context of overall uncertainty. The latest capitulation came when they lost 4-1 in the CIS Cup semi-final against Dundee United five nights ago, the ninth time this season they had conceded three or more goals in a match. They have not played the same back four for more than two consecutive games. No-one can be sure they will still be in the defence the following week, or who will be beside them.

 

The most incredible statistic relates to how many different central defensive partnerships have been tried: 16. Diamond-Considine, Diamond-Severin, Diamond-Mair, Diamond-Hart, Diamond-McNamara, Diamond-Touzani, Diamond-Byrne, Considine-McNamara, Considine-Severin, Considine-Mair, McNamara-Foster, Severin-Bryne, Touzani-Byrne, Mair-Byrne and - when Calderwood has experimented with a back three - Diamond-Severin-Byrne or Mair-Severin-Byrne. At Parkhead in November they played a back three in the first half and a four in the second. And they lost 3-0.

 

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Georgios Samaras are expected to be the partnership trusted to extend a run of more than six years since Celtic failed to score against Aberdeen, while the absence of the injured Franck Ribery is a setback Bayern Munich can tolerate given that their arsenal includes Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski.

 

The magnitude of the Bayern tie may inspire Aberdeen to the sort of exceptional and surprising performance they delivered in their last Uefa Cup match, the 4-0 rout of FC Copenhagen in December, but the fragility of their defence has given them no foundation to challenge in the SPL.

 

The team has missed the organisational ability of captain Russell Anderson since he left for Sunderland in the close season, a point Calderwood finally admitted in the aftermath of the semi-final defeat.

 

When Michael Hart was sold to Preston last month it meant 50 per cent of the defence which took Aberdeen to third last season was gone. Two new defenders came in January: the Dutch centre half David Bus and former Hearts right-back Alan Maybury, who may make his first start today. More changes.

 

Aberdeen went 1-0 up in midweek before United carved them open. "No disrespect to Dundee United, who fully deserved their win," said Calderwood. "But we've done it against bigger teams. Dnipro were better than United Aberdeen kept a Pittodrie clean sheet against them and so were Lokomotiv Moscow who drew 1-1 in the north-east. So we've done it before." Calderwood was unhappy that Richard Foster said United had bullied them. "If Richard has said that, and our players are thinking that, they should do something about it. It's a sad indictment of him if he said that.

 

"In years gone by if we went ahead we would win the game, or certainly not lose it. We used to be dogged and for some reason we have lost that. We have been guilty of a comedy of errors at times this season, especially away from home. It's not so bad at Pittodrie."

 

Ahead of Celtic and Bayern that might be a comment which is hard to defend before the week is out.

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Certainly don't remember that one but who knows! I'm sure some of those would have been as a result of injuries, however, a fair percentage aren't. The Dundee Utd game has to be the last straw in terms of sorting out the defence. It has to be JC's immediate top priority bar none. Decent teams sort out their defence first then move on to the spine of the team, that's what he needs to do now. In Maybury we have a solid full back, maybe better going forward than defensively, but still solid and better than any other full back we have. Diamond's obviously a cert. He then need to choose and stick with a partner for Diamond and either McNamara and Foster at left back. Once making that selection stick with them and let them form an understanding between themselves and Clangers.

 

 

Defence today:

 

Maybury - Diamond - Bus - McNamara

 

Today's obviously going to be a tough test as they'll get domestically, however, depending on what Bus is like let's hope he sticks with it!

 

Defensive partnership #17  ;)

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