Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Return of the Prodigal Son

Etoile FC will, for the first time, travel to Bishan Stadium, for the S-League clash against Home United on Thursday evening. This game would be significant in that Frederic Mendy, who played an important part in the the French team's ascend to League glory last season, would be donning the red 'Coca-Cola' jersey of Home United. Having been spotted in all of Etoile's game this season at the spectator's stand, Mendy would be putting emotions aside as he prepares to face the Stars.

Home United were on a 25 match unbeaten run prior to the SAFFC game, but some daft shooting, coupled with  the lack of creativity in the form of Qiu Li meant that the unbeaten run had to go. They succumbed to a 2-0 loss in that game and would be hoping to seek amends in this game against the reigning League Champions.

This game would feature a few key battles but perhaps, the most intriguing one would be between Mendy and Trilles. The Etoile's new number 1 would be good to realize that his defensive wall of Franklin Anzite and Anthony Aymard would have to contain with a more agile comparison to Alex Duric, whom they failed to close down in the last 20 minutes, culminating in a 2-1 reverse against the Stags. Mendy knows how the Stars play and would want to score in this game to show the team how far he had progressed since leaving Queenstown Stadium for a better prospect.

Antonin Trilles, meanwhile, had proven to be a key player this season as his saves would be enough to win the club points throughout the season. However, the lack of composure in the final minutes usually meant that the team tends to concede goals when in a leading position.

For Etoile to win this game, there are a few areas that the team would do good not to commit:

(a) Coach tactics have to be concurrent to the game. In the last game, Arena decide to take out both Toto off the field even though he did not really have any more recognisable striker on the field (Souchon was taken off prior to this substitution). LeFranc was the 3rd player to be pulled out with 20 minutes to go. What happened? The team found themselves 2-1 down and with no subs able to be made, cannot find the vital goals as the whole team comprised of midfielders and defenders.

(b) Passing of the team have to be improved. All good teams win games because they can pass the ball well to one another. Look at the greats like Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal or even to Barcelona, their game are made up of fundamentals including passing. Etoile's passing is currently sub-standard and that is causing them loads of trouble when they face quick opponents like Home United - who would be able to launch counter-attacks on any lost ball found in the middle of the park. Players like Shi Jiayi, Mendy and Firdaus Idros would run the team to the line if they get the ball mid-way.

The writer hopes that the Etoile side that will take on the field tonight would possess the same spirit to the team that beat Woodlands Wellington at the death. It is one thing to lose, another matter when poor performance is coupled with that loss.

Allez Etoile, Allez Etoile Ultra.

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