The Art of Defending

Posted on October 30, 2011 by

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It appears that schoolboy defending isn’t just confined to the English Premier League as the Czechs are are putting together a showcase of head scratching defensive mishaps. The previous seven days in England has seen Manchester City spank their beloved neighbours 6-1 and yesterday it was Arsenal who posted a ridiculous “jumpers for goalposts” score line of 5-3 at Stamford Bridge – with comical defending at the forefront [insert John Terry gag here].

Now it was the turn of Hradlec Králové and Sparta Prague to show the English a master class in how not to defend. Friday night saw Hradec Králové travel to Viktoria Plzeň, not the easiest of games, especially for a side who have forgotten to score, let alone defend.

The visitors held out reasonably well for an hour, conceding just one goal but on 60 minutes the fun really began. Under no real pressure two Hradec defenders both went for the ball and ended up missing both and striking each other, leaving Marek Bakos clear on goal to make it 2-0 to Plzeň. Five minutes later Milan Petržela scored a contender for goal of the season, as he waltzed through the Hradec defense with consummate ease to roll the ball home for 3-0.

A defensive collapse is not complete without an own goal and a delicate chip to further embarrass the keeper and that’s what we got. The unfortunate named Milan Fukal tried to clear the ball off the line but ended up poking home Plzeňs fourth goal and Marek Bakos grabbed his second of the game with a cheeky finish to make it 5-0.  You can view the highlights here unless of course you are a Hradec Králové fan.

To be fair, Hradec Králové won’t be the last team to have their pants pulled down by Viktoria Plzeň who are beginning to hit their stride in the league. With fans suggesting they are playing better football now than last season’s championship winning side, but that doesn’t excuse some of the Hradec defending.

On to the League leaders and universally hated Sparta Prague were looking to extend their lead at the top of the table. But back to back 3-0 home defeats against Slovan Liberec and now Mlada Boleslav have left everyone questioning the Spartans defensive capabilities. It’s not just the defeats which will hurt the ego of Martin Hasek and his team, but the manner of which they were torn apart by slick counter attacking will be a major concern.

Sparta had a full strength side out yesterday who should have been buoyed by the return of Leonard Kweuke, but instead they lacked any kind of spark and their defence was guilty of ball watching for the games entirety. A nice one touch passing move from Boleslav saw Kulic make it one nil to the visitors, there wasn’t a single Sparta player picking him up.

One player who wouldn’t stand for this defending would be exiled Spartan dinosaur Tomas Repka, he might be a destructive influence inside the dressing room but I wouldn’t want to play alongside him if we conceded a goal. His hard tackling and ability to scare opposing forwards shitless would have stemmed some of the attacking threat from Boleslav.

But this current Sparta defence was pulled apart like a ragdoll as they gave Boleslav the freedom of Letna. The ever impressive Jan Chramrosta added a second goal and Tulic wrapped things up 3-0 as the Sparta defenders were left to contemplate getting slapped 3-0 for the second consecutive home game.

I am sure that there will be another chapter on the “How not to defend” book this afternoon, as the confidence shredded Slavia Prague travel to Slovacko.

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