Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, November 28, 2016

For those with questions about Phil Younghusband, the style of play of the Azkals from the last Suzuki Cup

For those questioning why Phil Younghusband was not playing upfront….
Even Michael Weiss used Phil behind the strikers at times. And Phil has played behind for a year now under Thomas Dooley.

You say out of position?

This frequently happens to many a player in many a team.

Where does Lionel Messi play? The attacking midfield or top striker? He plays the former for Barcelona but the latter for Argentina.

With the Azkals, Aly Borromeo plays centerback. But do you know that Aly has also played striker? He has been deployed in that position even on the national team. When he returned to the Kaya line-up after a long injury, they played him upfront and not at the back. At least not initially. So was he out of position? What do you consider his natural position?

Theo Walcott always claimed he was a striker yet Arsene Wenger never played him in that role. Now you have Walcott backtracking and saying, he’s more of a wideout player.

Phil has been used as a forward and midfielder even when he was at Chelsea. Maybe not as deep as he plays now with the Azkals but if he was placed there to play a role like Andrea Pirlo or Steven Gerrard then why not? After all, he can pass.

Yes, Phil is our leading scorer. But if he is tasked to play that it is with good reason. Has it always not worked? We have gotten results before. Not this tournament. Advancing in a group of death only gives us a 25% chance. 25%! Even if Singapore isn’t what it once was, they are still a top side.

People wonder about the defense. You talk about Juani and Rob having no replacements. Some guys were not available. Maybe they shouldn’t have expected guys like Sato and Woodland to play. Maybe there were hoping they would be released but they weren’t.

People wonder about the selection process and its being limited to four teams. Maybe you’re right. But we do not know the decision-making. You talk of familiarity over form? So the other guys were not in form? More often than not, any decision will go with what you know and what you are familiar with. You know what you are getting over something you are not familiar with. In this case, maybe someone on national team duty.

People question the mania for possession saying that tiki taka has died. Last I checked, Barcelona is still the champion. Possession has always been something teams like to play even before Barcelona made it the norm. Just because the fans admire a certain type of play it doesn’t mean they should adopt a certain style of play.

You play a pressing game based on personnel. You do not just implement a system because you think it’s right. Do you have the people to play that?

There are schools of thought about direct football and possession-based football. Sometimes direct football, means not getting the best possible shot. And that means wasting energy and opportunities. Sometimes, possession means not taking shots when you need to. That is now incumbent upon the player to take the shots. If we didn’t retain possession, you’d question that too.

One problem was dribbling too much in traffic when maybe they should have fired and taken chances on pouncing on rebounds and loose balls.

We were competitive in this Suzuki Cup. We put teams on their back heel for the first time ever. Things just didn’t go our way.

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