World Soccer Draft 2011: The Squads, Part IV

Welcome to the second part of our World Soccer Draft – the squads! Today, we look at the starting XIs of the seventh and eighth drafters, Josh Brzinski and Stefan Meli. Each writer will provide his formation and a summary of why he believes his team is the best of the bunch.

Josh Brzinski

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Manager: Arsene Wenger

Picks (in order): Andres Iniesta (#7), Alexander Pato (#10),  Rafael van der Vaart (#23), Sergio Ramos (#26), Giorgio Chiellini (#39), Maarten Stekelenberg (#42), Gael Clichy (#55), Danielle de Rossi (#58), Mario Gomez (#71), Kaka (#74), Nigel de Jong (#87), Lassana Diarra (#90), Marcel Schmelzer (#103)

Subs: Diarra, Clichy, Pato

Obviously we can see this formation under Wenger (see Arsenal), and as far as the defensive end of the field, it’s not hard to see a 6-man defensive line with this roster, but the question is whether or not this team will be able to move and spread the ball on the (counter) attack.  Additionally, having Pato play into this system might be difficult without someone to play with up top.  Alternatively, we could see a 4-2-2-2, with Pato playing up front with Gomez, and two of Kaka/Iniesta/VdV playing more to the wings with the two holding mids sitting more to the middle of the field on the attack.

1) How did it go, overall? In other words, are you happy with your team, did you mess up any picks?

Overall I was pretty pleased with the draft.  It was a good time (thanks Wes!), and I think we had some interesting picks as far as who went when.  I actually got off work late and showed up with essentially no idea of what I wanted to do, so the first couple of rounds were pretty ugly for me and I pretty much just blindly picked from a list of about 200 players I have.  The size of the draft was small enough, however, that those picks didn’t kill me, and it wasn’t until my Kaka pick where I really messed up.  I simply forgot I had another pick, and as a result, I have a wealth of attacking talent!

2) Were there any draft picks you prioritized that you didn’t end up getting?

I’m a huge fan of Germany, and more specifcally of Mesut Özil and Philip Lahm.  I thought I might have a chance at Lahm as long as we didn’t start snatching up the left backs too quickly, but I was fairly certain Mesut was going to be taken (he was taken in the round I would have taken him, had I been on top of my game – whoops)

3) Be honest. What’s the biggest weakness of your squad?

Attacking.  I’ve got some really talented players in midfield, but looking at both Iniesta and Van der Vaart, you’ve got two left attacking midfielders, both fully capable of playing on the right side, but it’s not natural regardless.  Kaka will do well in a 4-2-3-1 system obviously, so I ended up being happy with that pick as a result.  At Striker, we’ve got two super-talented players in Gomez and Pato, but again, I’m not sure how well they would play together – though I would love to see Pato playing with someone like Gomez (or just away from Milan, to be honest).

4) What are the highlights of your squad?

I love my Germans!  Mario Gomez is a great scorer with his mind always set towards the goal, and you know he’s going to get you his 20 goals a season in the Bundesliga.  Schmelzer is one of rock solid back line of Borussia Dortmund, which helped them nab the German title this last season.  I always love watching new, younger talents coming up, and I really think Schmelzer’s one of those.

5)  In 25 words, summarize why your World XI is the best around.

Even getting the ball to Stekelenburg is going to be nigh impossible (not to mention past him) with the effectively-6-man defensive line, so when you add the speed of the midfield to a counter-attack, you’re going to see the ball flying from one of the field right to the feet (or head) of Gomez, who has shown us that he’s probably going to have a shot at the back of the net.

Stefan Meli

Formation: 4-4-2

Manager: Guus Hiddink

Picks (in order): Wayne Rooney (#8), Robin van Persie (#9), Luka Modric (#24), David Silva (#25), John Terry (#40), Patrice Evra (#41), Nani (#56), Jerome Boateng (#57), Neven Subotic (#72), Kun Aguero (#73), Christian Abbiati (#88), Fernando Torres (#89), Antonio Cassano (#104), Adil Rami (#105)

Subs: Rami, Cassano, Torres

1) How did it go, overall? In other words, are you happy with your team, did you mess up any picks?

I think that overall, this squad is quite complete. The defensive department is a solid one combining the experience of Evra and Terry with the flair and vigour of the younger Subotic and Boateng. The central defensive pair is probably the highlight of the defence, having Terry’s tackling and pressing ability combined with Subotic’s physicality and ability to start actions from central incursions from the defensive line. Moreover, Subotic also has the ability of providing support in corners and free kicks due to his height; he has scored 12 goals in his last three seasons at Borussia Dortmund. Not bad for a central defender.

The midfield and attacking sector are undeniably extremely strong. Up front you’ve got Van Persie who is an exceptional dribbler coupled with Rooney who is one of the most physical centre forwards in today’s football; a truly dangerous pair. These are supported centrally by Modric and Silva. Modric is, by nature, an attacking midfielder but he has also proved to be valid in defensive situations. Silva, like Modric is capable of providing dangerous passes but has the added value in his dribbling and finishing skills. Although Modric and Silva are both very valid players, in hindsight it might have been wiser to choose a more defensive-minded midfielder instead of Modric, leaving Silva to provide support for the attacking pair. Someone like Gareth Barry, Esteban Cambiasso or even maybe Xavier Mascherano would have provided more defensive support.

The wings, in my opinion are effective. Nani has proved his worth and his capability of making long runs and providing deep-lying support is well known. With regards to Kun Aguero, I see him more in the position of a second striker, and might have preferred a true left winger like Eden Hazard, but yeah I guess he can be a valid left midfielder. His dribbling ability will provide those quick changes of direction resulting in dangerous incursions into the box. What worries me about Aguero is whether or not he would provide defensive support when needed.

Abbiati isn’t my first choice for a keeper. Apart from the obvious greats such as Casillas and Buffon, there is substantial talent in the less known keepers such as Marchetti, Viviano, Stekelenburg, Akinfeev etc. Granted, Abbiati has got the experience but is he consistent enough? I don’t know.

2) Were there any draft picks you prioritized that you didn’t end up getting? There were.

Zanetti is always a top choice for me. Now lets forget that I’m a born and bred Interista for a second. No one can deny the fact that he oozes quality and passion from every pore in his body. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone play with the same vigour and, as the Italians would say, grinta! He is capable of long epic runs, he’s got good technique and dribbling ability, impeccable tackling and great leadership. Most of all, he NEVER stops, and when you consider that he maintains these high levels of quality in his game at the ripe age of 37 you realise that he is probably something more than a mere human. No wonder he was nicknamed “The Tractor”. How on earth that villain Maradona left him out of the World Cup squad I’ll never know.

3) Be honest. What’s the biggest weakness of your squad?

Probably that the midfield sector is way too offensive in nature.

4) What are the highlights of your squad?

The central attacking pair is definitively an effective one. When you consider them as one unit with Silva behind them and Aguero and Nani aiding on the sides you realise that the attacking force of this squad is its main highlight.

5)  In 25 words, summarize why your World XI is the best around.

What sets this squad apart is the coach. Guus Hiddink is the King Midas of modern football; anything he touches turns to gold.

Thanks guys, well done! Alright folks, that wraps up the final two World XIs! Tune in next week as we break down the draft and vote on our favorite starting line-up. See you then! As always, follow us on Twitter @O87Minutes for updates on this week’s draft.

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3 Responses to World Soccer Draft 2011: The Squads, Part IV

  1. Pingback: World Soccer Draft Order | The Other 87

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