Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monumental Birthday Wish

Tomorrow Newell's Old Boys visit El Monumental to play River Plate in the 13th round of the 2010 Clausura. Coincidentally, tomorrow is also my Birthday, and considering the current state of Los Millonarios I really don't think asking for a win out of Los Leprosos is asking too much, really.

Sensini has not breathed a word to the media sense Saturday's 2-0 loss to Tigre. Considering that Newell's were whistled off the field by their own fans as they left the field must have come as quite the shock to the man.

Team captain Lucas Bernardi, however, took some time today to speak out on the problems the team have been having. He responded to the the end of the Tigre match by stating that, while some people may think that the whistles were directed at one person (read: Roberto Sensini,) it's the entire team that are responsible for the results on the field.

Beyond that, he said that if they are to improve as a team the have to be self critical. As much as I've been a critic of Sensini, I have to admit that Bernardi has a point, and based on this outpouring alone I feel confident he will someday make a fine manager (OK, coach is what we'd call it in the USA, in England they are called managers, excuse me for using them interchangeably.)

Question is, has Sensini expressed this to the team? After a player has a poor showing, has he ever taken them aside for a chat behind closed doors? I'm sure he has, but more to the point, has he succeed at getting the best out of his players?

I'm sure he did during the 2009 Apertura, when the team finished a mere point out of first place. But that was then, and in the world of sport what you did yesterday doesn't count. So I have to ask, what is so different between now and then?

Well, let's look at the players who were brought in:

Agustín Alayes from Estudiantes de La Plata
Marcelo Estigarribia from Le Mans (France)

Alayes has been, for the most part, a fine addition to the team's back line. Estigarribia hasn't exactly impressed me on the field, but he hasn't stood out as a poor player, either. So, unless one of these men are an instigator, they aren't the problem.

What about those that left:

Pablo Aguilar to Tiro Federal (Rosario - Argentina - Primera "B" Nacional)
Germán Caffa to Nacional (Uruguay - Primera División)
Juan Manuel Cobelli to Iquique (Chile - Primera B)
Alejandro Da Silva to Santiago Wanderers (Chile - Primera División)
Augusto Mainguyague to Instituto (Córdoba - Argentina - Primera B Nacional)

Of all the players who left the club the only one who cracked the starting 11 on any regular basis was Aguilar. He left the team on a free transfer to settle a dispute over back wages. Caffa was the next most important player to leave, but so far (knock on wood) the team has not needed to play a back up goalkeeper during the Clausura.

Da Silva scored 9 goals in 45 matches during his time with Newell's. That goals to games ratio isn't all that impressive for a man who had scored 23 goals in 62 matches for his previous team (Cerro Porteño of Paraguay.)

Cobelli and Mainguyague never cracked the subs bench, if I'm not mistaken, let alone started a match.

OK, so, again, unless one of these guys was influential in the dressing room, and their presence is missed that much...

No, there are better reasons I can think of for the way the team is currently playing, and they start with how well they did during the Apertura. After finishing second place, the expectations going into the Clausura for the fans, the players, and the team were elevated. Perhaps the players are pressing to regain that form, trying too hard.

Of all the players it's been Mauro Formica who's form has been furthest off from that of the Apertura (yes, I know that Boghossian hasn't been scoring like he had, but that, as I've stated before, is due to the poor service he's been getting.) Fairly early in the Clausura it became known that Moscow Dynamo had scouts watching one of Newell's matches, reportedly to take a look at Mauro. I've seen the way he kisses his Newell's badge after scoring goals, he is a Lepra through and through, and at his age (he turned 22 two days ago... Feliz Cumple, Gato) I think he's still a bit too young to be spirited off by some European team with out it having some effects on his development. Could the news of a future move to another club disturbed him enough to throw him off his game?

Thing is, it's the manager's job to notice any of these things, and correct them. But I'm trying to steer the blame away from Sensini, really I am, so let's move on.

But move on to where? The only thing else I can come up with at the moment is that the results of the Apertura were a fluke, that the team did not earn the 39 points, but merely got lucky. OK... there is some truth to that, as some of the matches that were won while the team did not play as well as in others. But they certainly did not have the run of bad matches like they have had during this current stretch of matches.

If anyone else has any thoughts on the matter that either extend on what I've mentioned, or something I've missed, you know what to do.

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