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Thread: Republic of Ireland V Moldova - Friday 6th October 2017 - World Cup 2018 Qualifier

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    Republic of Ireland V Moldova - Friday 6th October 2017 - World Cup 2018 Qualifier

    I've been thinking over the days since the Serbia defeat about this Ireland team and where it goes from here. There are 3 main themes to what I've come up with so far.

    The first is that O'Neill has been let down by his players. The knives are out for him, but i won't fault him for that, yet. I will fault him if he fails to act on that. Performances have dropped off dramatically since the superb start to the group. I think that start led O'Neill (correctly) to want to show faith in the players who brought him that start, but they haven't been able to maintain the standard they set for themselves. Georgia was a complacent performance by complacent players. Say what you like about O'Neill and his tactical approach, but he didn't send his team out with instructions to play like that. Serbia was better but still not good enough. Key players who should be the mainstays of this squad aren't performing. Robbie Brady is the example of this my mind keeps going to but there are others. He simply hasn’t been good enough. His ability is obvious but if isn't delivering on the pitch he shouldn't be in the team.

    The second theme I've been returning to again and again is that the age profile of our squad is now far to old. Again this is possibly a result of the loyalty of O'Neill to players who have performed for him at the Euros and the early part of this group meaning certain people have been allowed to go on too long, but O'Neill now has to act on that. Whelan's legs have clearly gone from under him. Regardless of what Dunphy says, Hoolahan came off after an hour because he is a 35 year old who hasn't played much this season and he was blowing out his arse. Walters hasn't looked fit since before the Euros. We don't have room for half-fit passengers unfortunately, and the squad needs more of a balance of youth and experience. That is going to mean tough decisions about loyal servants who have been faithfully showing up for squads for years, often without much in the way of game time. It's tough on them, especially as I'd throw a few of the younger lads replacing them into the team, but there is no room for sentimentality in picking international squads unfortunately.

    Moldova is our next chance to address these issues. Performance has to be a metric in picking the side. The guys who were in possession and didn't perform the last days should go onto the bench, no matter who they are. Those who in my opinion did their jobs over the 2 games were Duffy, Clark, Meyler, McClean and (despite the grief I've given him down the years) Stephen Ward, so they are the only ones I would retain.

    The 3rd theme i have is that i think this difficult situation presents us with an opportunity to address one of the great problems we have faced this last decade or so. That is our tendency to finally give guys their chance at 28+, and only realising how good they are once they are already in their 30s. Wes Hoolahan being one of the most obvious examples of this, it's slightly ironic that i suggest him being one of the victims of resolving it, but from the very little I've seen of Liam Kelly he plays a similar role for his club, he certainly appears to be good enough, and he plays with that lack of fear that kids his age tend to. He is playing more regularly that Hoolahan so why shouldn't he get his chance? He's 4 years older that Robbie Keane was when he got his chance and that worked out OK.

    With all that in mind I'm suggesting a team for Moldova a bit like

    ---- Elliot / Westwood ----
    Doherty Duffy Clark Ward
    ---- Meyler Hendrick ----
    - Horgan Kelly McClean -
    ----- Maguire/Hogan -----

    There are a lot of new faces there. The likes of Brady & Long would have a role to play off the bench, and would probably come back for Cardiff if they looked like they had got the message when they came on.

    I've been mulling this one over for a few days now before i did a long post like this. I'm still convinced that our best chance is a high tempo, aggressive, direct style of play, but the need for some sort of change is obvious. Some of the ideas here are a little rough around the edges but I'm throwing this out for debate to see if you guys have any thoughts that can help me put a bit of polish on my thoughts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by backstothewall View Post
    I've been thinking over the days since the Serbia defeat about this Ireland team and where it goes from here. There are 3 main themes to what I've come up with so far.

    The first is that O'Neill has been let down by his players. The knives are out for him, but i won't fault him for that, yet. I will fault him if he fails to act on that. Performances have dropped off dramatically since the superb start to the group. I think that start led O'Neill (correctly) to want to show faith in the players who brought him that start, but they haven't been able to maintain the standard they set for themselves. Georgia was a complacent performance by complacent players. Say what you like about O'Neill and his tactical approach, but he didn't send his team out with instructions to play like that. Serbia was better but still not good enough. Key players who should be the mainstays of this squad aren't performing. Robbie Brady is the example of this my mind keeps going to but there are others. He simply hasn’t been good enough. His ability is obvious but if isn't delivering on the pitch he shouldn't be in the team.

    The second theme I've been returning to again and again is that the age profile of our squad is now far to old. Again this is possibly a result of the loyalty of O'Neill to players who have performed for him at the Euros and the early part of this group meaning certain people have been allowed to go on too long, but O'Neill now has to act on that. Whelan's legs have clearly gone from under him. Regardless of what Dunphy says, Hoolahan came off after an hour because he is a 35 year old who hasn't played much this season and he was blowing out his arse. Walters hasn't looked fit since before the Euros. We don't have room for half-fit passengers unfortunately, and the squad needs more of a balance of youth and experience. That is going to mean tough decisions about loyal servants who have been faithfully showing up for squads for years, often without much in the way of game time. It's tough on them, especially as I'd throw a few of the younger lads replacing them into the team, but there is no room for sentimentality in picking international squads unfortunately.

    Moldova is our next chance to address these issues. Performance has to be a metric in picking the side. The guys who were in possession and didn't perform the last days should go onto the bench, no matter who they are. Those who in my opinion did their jobs over the 2 games were Duffy, Clark, Meyler, McClean and (despite the grief I've given him down the years) Stephen Ward, so they are the only ones I would retain.

    The 3rd theme i have is that i think this difficult situation presents us with an opportunity to address one of the great problems we have faced this last decade or so. That is our tendency to finally give guys their chance at 28+, and only realising how good they are once they are already in their 30s. Wes Hoolahan being one of the most obvious examples of this, it's slightly ironic that i suggest him being one of the victims of resolving it, but from the very little I've seen of Liam Kelly he plays a similar role for his club, he certainly appears to be good enough, and he plays with that lack of fear that kids his age tend to. He is playing more regularly that Hoolahan so why shouldn't he get his chance? He's 4 years older that Robbie Keane was when he got his chance and that worked out OK.

    With all that in mind I'm suggesting a team for Moldova a bit like

    ---- Elliot / Westwood ----
    Doherty Duffy Clark Ward
    ---- Meyler Hendrick ----
    - Horgan Kelly McClean -
    ----- Maguire/Hogan -----

    There are a lot of new faces there. The likes of Brady & Long would have a role to play off the bench, and would probably come back for Cardiff if they looked like they had got the message when they came on.

    I've been mulling this one over for a few days now before i did a long post like this. I'm still convinced that our best chance is a high tempo, aggressive, direct style of play, but the need for some sort of change is obvious. Some of the ideas here are a little rough around the edges but I'm throwing this out for debate to see if you guys have any thoughts that can help me put a bit of polish on my thoughts.
    Brady is suspended so is mcclean. Brady has to play in Cardiff otherwise we have no set piece ability which is one of our few hopes. I'd love to see Brady play left full in Cardiff with McCarthy and Hendrick in a two in midfield with mcgeady and mcclean with Maguire playing off long dropping onto Allen to stop him playing but pushing us higher up the pitch to support long. To me a fit McCarthy let's us push 10yards on combined with Hendricks athleticism . Maguire was originally a 10 maverick type linking the play who liked a goal but turned himself into a 9 who lives for goals at cork. Seems a perfect foil for long to me

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    First Team backstothewall's Avatar
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    I'd forgotten about suspensions. Even if Brady does play in Cardiff I'd be reluctant to have him anywhere near set pieces. He can obviously hit them well in training and friendlies when there is no pressure on him but he's awful when it counts.
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    When is the squad for this game and the Wales game to be announced?

    Quote Originally Posted by backstothewall View Post
    Georgia was a complacent performance by complacent players. Say what you like about O'Neill and his tactical approach, but he didn't send his team out with instructions to play like that.
    Whilst that may well be true, I think AlanOB articulated very well the possible problem with O'Neill here when he wrote the following in his tactical review of the Georgia game:

    "Telling people to do something, and training them to do it via persistent instruction, are two very different kettles of fish. And it’s been grimly apparent, throughout O’Neill’s tenure as the Republic of Ireland’s manager, that the latter is not one of his top priorities.

    Once again here, as in Dublin, Ireland were ragged, and comprehensively outplayed by their less-heralded, but infinitely better-organised, hosts."

    ...

    With all that in mind I'm suggesting a team for Moldova a bit like

    ---- Elliot / Westwood ----
    Doherty Duffy Clark Ward
    ---- Meyler Hendrick ----
    - Horgan Kelly McClean -
    ----- Maguire/Hogan -----
    Would love to see Kelly given an overdue run-out. Even guys like Richie Towell or Paddy McEleney ought to be looked at a bit closer in preparation for when Wes finally goes, which will probably be once this campaign ends. Hard to see O'Neill making the changes you outline above - I'd be inspired if he did - but, who knows? Maybe we'll see a different O'Neill now that he has nothing to lose.

    I've been mulling this one over for a few days now before i did a long post like this. I'm still convinced that our best chance is a high tempo, aggressive, direct style of play, but the need for some sort of change is obvious. Some of the ideas here are a little rough around the edges but I'm throwing this out for debate to see if you guys have any thoughts that can help me put a bit of polish on my thoughts.
    If we could at least mix things up a bit and genuinely show a bit of diversity in our play, I'd be much happier, but a lot of groundwork needs to be done in order to realise that. We were very sterile without Wes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyInvincible View Post
    If we could at least mix things up a bit and genuinely show a bit of diversity in our play, I'd be much happier, but a lot of groundwork needs to be done in order to realise that. We were very sterile without Wes.
    I appreciate that the football may be easier on the eye with Wes, albeit beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what actual chances did we create with Wes on the field ? If sterility means not making chances then we were equally sterile with Wes on and off the field in the Serbian game. In the fact the one clear chance we made was from a long ball which Murphy was on to until pulled down. Our most potent attacking weapon was actually Christie, defensive flaws and all, and Wes was able to bring him in to the game much more. Wes or other play-maker needs a Robbie Keane type striker up front running in to the gaps. At the moment Maguire seems to be the possible (but only possible) successor in this regard.

    My team, if everyone is fit, would be:

    -----------------Westwood-----------
    Christie----Duffy----Clark----Ward
    ----McGeady----Meyler----Hendrick--
    --------------Hoolahan (sub Arter after 65)-----------
    ---------Long-----Maguire---
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    Quote Originally Posted by OwlsFan View Post
    I appreciate that the football may be easier on the eye with Wes, albeit beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what actual chances did we create with Wes on the field ?
    It's not only more attractive, it's objectively proven to be more effective too, time and time again. Whilst we didn't manage to create much against Serbia, the contribution of Wes to our goal-scoring and the creation of clear-cut opportunities to score over the past few years is undeniable. He's played a role in so many important goals. Some stats from RTÉ:


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    that fact on the pts won needs a bit of interrogation before it can be accepted as presented. the fact that we have more points when Wes is playing than when he isn't is probably due to the fact he usually plays at home but not away. what would be interesting would be the stats when he played away against the top seeds in our group against when he didn't etc. The comparisons need to be made on a like for like basis
    Last edited by jbyrne; 11/09/2017 at 5:53 PM.

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    It's an incredibly small sample size. Added to the home advantage issue is that he tends to against the weaker sides.

    Even setting all that aside correlation does not neccessarily imply causation.

    It's probably a great thing to have a creative player in that area if you can afford it though. Some would have you believe this is related to possession but I'd disagree with that. A player like that will find it easier to pick a defence which is still setting itself up when it is faced with a quick ball forward to a target man. A player like Wes picking up the ball from a knockdown or partial clearance and facing a half organised defence has a great chance of doing damage. Things are much more difficult against a side who have put 8 men behind the ball while their opposition go through a patient passing build up.

    The if you can afford it issue is that keeping a player up there to do that means having one less behind the ball to defend. I suspect we could have afforded that against Georgia though. Home or away.
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    There was a similar issue at the end of the Charlton reign with an ageing squad - albeit that he'd been around a decade at that stage and had his favourite players, which you can kind of understand.

    There was a bit of a feeling that there was no-one coming through, but then McCarthy took over and started blooding great young players from everywhere - Shay Given, Keith O'Neill, Ian Harte, Damien Duff, Robbie Keane, David Connolly, Mark Kennedy, Alan Moore and others.

    Some didn't really cut it, and others became the cornerstone of a great new team.

    There's an element of that at present I think - there are players in the Championship in particular not getting a look in, even in the provisional squads. But I don't think there's any chance of a repeat of the McCarthy era of unearthing players.

    How to balance that in a position where we can still - mathematically at least - qualify? Do we throw a couple of new players into the mix against Moldova because it should be three points anyway? If we can't beat them, we don't deserve to qualify. Or do we wait until after the probable spate of retirements in October/November/July (delete as appropriate) before experimenting?

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    I think we do it now. As much to give the senior guys a kick up the hole.

    I sat down to day with a pad and started writing out a squad. If Hogan and Keane are both available I didn't even have Jon Walters in the squad. He's been a legend for us, but when i asked myself what has he done recently to merit inclusion i couldn't come up with much.

    Getting that first cap can also do a lot for a player who is starting to establish himself. It sets him apart from the other (usually English) lads around him. Maybe even gets him a contractural pay bump which might elevate his position in his club squad.

    Maybe not by much, but the margins are very small at that stage of a players development
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    Quote Originally Posted by backstothewall View Post
    I sat down to day with a pad and started writing out a squad. If Hogan and Keane are both available I didn't even have Jon Walters in the squad. He's been a legend for us, but when i asked myself what has he done recently to merit inclusion i couldn't come up with much.
    except score an excellent equaliser against austria and almost followed it up a few mins later with a winner before his leg was clipped. its plain ridiculous to suggest walters should be dropped from the squad for keane and hogan.


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    Hmm. When I said above about you guys knocking the rough edges off these ideas this is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about.

    Though should he be included if he is only half fit?
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    Quote Originally Posted by backstothewall View Post
    I've been thinking over the days since the Serbia defeat about this Ireland team and where it goes from here. There are 3 main themes to what I've come up with so far.

    The first is that O'Neill has been let down by his players. The knives are out for him, but i won't fault him for that, yet. I will fault him if he fails to act on that. Performances have dropped off dramatically since the superb start to the group. I think that start led O'Neill (correctly) to want to show faith in the players who brought him that start, but they haven't been able to maintain the standard they set for themselves. Georgia was a complacent performance by complacent players. Say what you like about O'Neill and his tactical approach, but he didn't send his team out with instructions to play like that. Serbia was better but still not good enough. Key players who should be the mainstays of this squad aren't performing. Robbie Brady is the example of this my mind keeps going to but there are others. He simply hasn’t been good enough. His ability is obvious but if isn't delivering on the pitch he shouldn't be in the team.

    The second theme I've been returning to again and again is that the age profile of our squad is now far to old. Again this is possibly a result of the loyalty of O'Neill to players who have performed for him at the Euros and the early part of this group meaning certain people have been allowed to go on too long, but O'Neill now has to act on that. Whelan's legs have clearly gone from under him. Regardless of what Dunphy says, Hoolahan came off after an hour because he is a 35 year old who hasn't played much this season and he was blowing out his arse. Walters hasn't looked fit since before the Euros. We don't have room for half-fit passengers unfortunately, and the squad needs more of a balance of youth and experience. That is going to mean tough decisions about loyal servants who have been faithfully showing up for squads for years, often without much in the way of game time. It's tough on them, especially as I'd throw a few of the younger lads replacing them into the team, but there is no room for sentimentality in picking international squads unfortunately.

    Moldova is our next chance to address these issues. Performance has to be a metric in picking the side. The guys who were in possession and didn't perform the last days should go onto the bench, no matter who they are. Those who in my opinion did their jobs over the 2 games were Duffy, Clark, Meyler, McClean and (despite the grief I've given him down the years) Stephen Ward, so they are the only ones I would retain.

    The 3rd theme i have is that i think this difficult situation presents us with an opportunity to address one of the great problems we have faced this last decade or so. That is our tendency to finally give guys their chance at 28+, and only realising how good they are once they are already in their 30s. Wes Hoolahan being one of the most obvious examples of this, it's slightly ironic that i suggest him being one of the victims of resolving it, but from the very little I've seen of Liam Kelly he plays a similar role for his club, he certainly appears to be good enough, and he plays with that lack of fear that kids his age tend to. He is playing more regularly that Hoolahan so why shouldn't he get his chance? He's 4 years older that Robbie Keane was when he got his chance and that worked out OK.

    With all that in mind I'm suggesting a team for Moldova a bit like

    ---- Elliot / Westwood ----
    Doherty Duffy Clark Ward
    ---- Meyler Hendrick ----
    - Horgan Kelly McClean -
    ----- Maguire/Hogan -----

    There are a lot of new faces there. The likes of Brady & Long would have a role to play off the bench, and would probably come back for Cardiff if they looked like they had got the message when they came on.

    I've been mulling this one over for a few days now before i did a long post like this. I'm still convinced that our best chance is a high tempo, aggressive, direct style of play, but the need for some sort of change is obvious. Some of the ideas here are a little rough around the edges but I'm throwing this out for debate to see if you guys have any thoughts that can help me put a bit of polish on my thoughts.
    Some nice ideas there, like Kelly in the midfield. He is long overdue a game for Ireland. He is the type of player who can get on the ball and create something. And Moldova would be the perfect opportunity for him to do so. Will be sorely disappointed if O'Neill doesn't deliver on this. Horgan would be ideal to come in as McClean will not be there, but I think Ward is a liability for us at left back. Competent defender and stops attacks from time to time, but all he does is hoof the ball forward (honestly, he is looking to find a team mate in attack but it rarely works out) which invariably comes to nothing. I would like to see Doherty given a chance - nothing against Christie he had done ok, but let's see what Doherty can do. Maguire simply has to play at some point against Moldova. He is in fine form for Preston, winning a few MOTM awards, while Long and Walters are struggling badly. And Meyler deserves to start against Moldova.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbyrne View Post
    except score an excellent equaliser against austria and almost followed it up a few mins later with a winner before his leg was clipped. its plain ridiculous to suggest walters should be dropped from the squad for keane and hogan.
    It's not ridiculous at all. I love John, and as you correctly point out he scored our equaliser against Austria and nearly got another. He could never be faulted for effort and has always shown up to play. But it's how you set out your stall when Walters is in the team. There's no mystery in our attacking game. It's a long ball game and nothing else and it sends a message to the opposition that it's going to be one dimensional all day long. It must also demoralize our midfielders when they see the ball flying over their head for 90 minutes. That's the way it's been in Irish teams for far too long. Not John Walters' fault, but it's long past time for a change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark12345 View Post
    Some nice ideas there, like Kelly in the midfield. He is long overdue a game for Ireland. He is the type of player who can get on the ball and create something. And Moldova would be the perfect opportunity for him to do so. Will be sorely disappointed if O'Neill doesn't deliver on this. Horgan would be ideal to come in as McClean will not be there, but I think Ward is a liability for us at left back. Competent defender and stops attacks from time to time, but all he does is hoof the ball forward (honestly, he is looking to find a team mate in attack but it rarely works out) which invariably comes to nothing. I would like to see Doherty given a chance - nothing against Christie he had done ok, but let's see what Doherty can do. Maguire simply has to play at some point against Moldova. He is in fine form for Preston, winning a few MOTM awards, while Long and Walters are struggling badly. And Meyler deserves to start against Moldova.
    Could Kelly and Hoolahan be used in the same sort of way . Either start Kelly and bring on Hoolahan or vice versa . Unfortunate that Alan Judge had that injury because he is also that type of player : A bit of Creativity .

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    I originally suggested it and I think it's probably ridiculous to drop him from the squad entirely. I'd drop him from the team though.

    If Keane and Hogan are both available they must be due a place in the squad though. If Walters, Long, Keane & Hogan are all available at some stage and Maguire keeps up his progress it's probably bad news for Daryl Murphy
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    Quote Originally Posted by backstothewall View Post
    I originally suggested it and I think it's probably ridiculous to drop him from the squad entirely. I'd drop him from the team though.

    If Keane and Hogan are both available they must be due a place in the squad though. If Walters, Long, Keane & Hogan are all available at some stage and Maguire keeps up his progress it's probably bad news for Daryl Murphy
    Will Keane?

    What has he done to deserve a call-up? 4 goals in 54 senior appearances, the last one being a year ago or so.

    There are a lot of other players ahead of him in the pecking order, and rightly so. Cillian Sheridan, Aiden O' Brien, Adam Rooney, etc.

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    For me he offers some genuine physicality and has time on his side.

    Sheridan offers that physical option tbf but he is 28 now. Even if his performances in Poland are a sign of a genuine improvement since we last saw him in an Ireland shirt, we can probably get 1 qualification cycle out of him. For the reasons I gave above I'd rather go with the younger man.
    Last edited by backstothewall; 12/09/2017 at 12:10 PM.
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    I actually thought Sheridan was OK in his last appearance(s) for Ireland. One (the only one?) was against Argentina FFS!

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    With Brady and McClean suspended for Moldova I'd like to see us go with:

    ......................Randolph.................
    Christie.......Duffy.....Clark..........Ward
    .............Meyler.... McCarthy/ Arter.......
    .....Walters/ Hendrick.................Horgan
    ..................Maguire/ Hogan..........


    Arter needs a game to get that absolute stinker against Georgia out of his system, he's still inexperienced at int level so needs games. Myler long deserves a start at this stage given his performances when he has come in. McCarthy will most likely be injured. Hendrick hasn't been in great form and he's not a deep lying midfielder so I'd have him as an option off the bench. Longs been talked as potential for a decade and is what he is at this stage, not a goalscorer and that's no slight on the workrate and effort he gives every time he plays so I'd give Seani his start at home if he keeps up how he's doing at Preston over the next few weeks and although Horgans been in and out of the team since Grayson left I'd start him on the left with McClean suspended. No real wholesale changes which would do more disruption than good but a few new faces in there/ lads with a handful of caps and experience too. McGeady, Hogan & Hendrick to come off the bench then.

    And now back to Football Manager....

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