Ghana are 5 points behind Egypt. 5 games without a win and the quick solution people are prescribing is sack Avram Grant. The Israeli certainly has his flaws but there are certainly some issues he should be credited for. 9 wins out of 15 in competitive is no mean feat. His tactics have been questioned especially after the Egypt. Let’s try and answer the most asked questions after the game.
Wait.. we are doing this without emotions… Here we go
Why this team/ How did he shape up?
Avram Grant went for his tried and tasted 4-4-2 (4-4-1-1). What was different however was the team’s defensive shape. In previous games, the team have pressed high up the pitch with the front two leading the press but in Alexandria, he settled for a compact midblock. Midblock is basically defending in midfield with little space between your strikers and defensive line. In this regard, when the Egyptians had the ball in a settled possession, Jordan and Dede were behind the center line, the midfield four close to them and the defensive line not far off. What this did was to close the spaces between the lines to prevent the tricky Egyptians from creating havoc. On the offensive, the defence pushed high and close to their men to prevent Salah in particular from receiving ball at foot.
Why was the passing so slow and labored?
Ghana looked slow and clueless in possession. Some call it passing for passing sake while some call it passing without penetration but to a large extent, the passing pattern could have been a rehearsed pattern. Without a shadow of doubt, the passing play of the Black Stars took a sting out of the game and more importantly, quietened the Egyptians to an extent with their cheers turning into jeers. In that regard, Ghana were able to control the emotions of the game to an extent and were firmly in control until disaster happened. That could partly be the reason for Thomas Partey's inclusion and it should come as no surprise the Atletico Madrid man completed the most passes for Ghana (51).The second half was certainly going to see Egypt rely on the counter after going ahead.
Why did Avram play Atsu on the left?
Christian Atsu struggled to impress on a left wing role but the sole aim to play him there was realized. It is a known fact that Mohammed Salah was the danger man for Egypt and it was equally known the Roma man was going to start on the Egyptian right flank (Ghana’s left). What Avram and Maxwell Konadu knew definitely was that Salah was surely and certainly going to abandon his defensive duties. What this offered Ghana was to leave Atsu one on one (1 v 1) with Ahmed Fathi. A situation which happened time and again. Atsu let us done however providing next to nothing in terms of end product. Not a full score because Salah was deployed as a striker in the second half hence the Egyptians were able to get cover for Atsu with Trezeguet moving to the right. Avram could have acted faster by pushing the Newcastle man to the right pretty earlier.
SCORECARD: AVRAM 8/10
Why did Avram Grant play Jordan and Dede Ayew upfront?
I need not repeat myself because this front pair was called days before the match. The motive and idea was highlighted here.
The Israeli after conceding the goal should have gone for a more accomplished finisher. Samuel Tetteh, Ebenezer Assifuah or Majeed Waris could have offered a different dimension. Ghana had control because the Egyptians had surrendered territorial advantage to Ghana. A clininal person needed.
Why did Avram play Agyeman Badu on the right?
Right from the onset, Avram highlighted the need to control the game and control the fast transitions of his Egyptians whose play can be likened to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid. As a matter of fact, both teams play a compact 4-4-2 with two lines of four. What Avram sought to do was to have Badu provide energy as well as an added midfield presence to battle with the Egyptians. A battle he won but once again, once the first goal was conceded, an alternative should have been sought. For far too long, Ghana attacked only through the left. If the attacks were varied from both sides, the scripts could have been different.
AVERAGE SCORECARD: 6.8/10
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