Thursday, July 31, 2008

Aston, we have a problem (Really?)

So, this is still going on.

In late spring(!), when the Gareth Barry stuff started, I thought Rafa was making a huge mistake, especially when it was revealed Alonso would be going to Juve as part of the deal. Then, as is my wont, I talked myself into thinking it was a good move (he gets along with Stevie, they like playing with each other, Alonso was hurt last year and hasn't quite been as good as we all thought after that night in Turin) because I want to see Liverpool put it all together somehow. For the most part, I believe in Rafa completely, though where he plays Keane could end up testing my patience.

But after awhile, it just became too much. Alonso still can bring it, as he showed in spurts during Euro 2008, and I can't dismiss him anymore. He's a creative passer and plays with more control in trying to feed Torres or any other attacker than Stevie does. When things are going against Liverpool, he can sit on the ball a bit and just calm everyone down, change the tempo more to his liking and help weather the rough patches. Xabi is just a damn good player.

It comes down to, you can't convince me Gareth Barry is in any significant way a better player than Alonso. If Alonso is on the team, as it appears he will be this season, how do you maximize both his presence and Barry's? I'm not seeing it, because Mascherano has to be out there, if healthy, in every league match and in Europe. He has to be there. That makes it a numbers game, then.

4-1-3-2? Barry, Alonso, Gerrard across the middle; Torres and Keane up front? Barry on the left wing? That's a stretch. 4-4-2? Babel, Barry, Alonso, Gerrard, from left to right, in that order? How does Mascherano not fit into the team and it's a waste of Stevie. 4-2-3-1? Alonso and Masch in the back; Barry, Stevie, Keane, from left to right and Torres up front? Doesn't make a lot of sense. Poor use of Barry and kind of wastes Keane, I'd say.

Just what is Rafa going for with this Barry pursuit now that Alonso is (probably) staying? I can't figure it out. Why sit a talent like Alonso in the majority of matches for the sake of having Gareth Barry? It's been more than two months now of pursuing this guy, the price is way too high, and there's no logical place for him.

But it continues, endlessly. This latest resurfacing is dampening my season-anticipation buzz.

1 comment:

Colin said...

Hey, you know ... I'd be more than happy to take Xabi off your hands and ship him down to Ashburton Grove. How does a midfield of Nasri, Cesc, Xabi and Theo sound? Quite nice, I'd reckon.