Battle of the Tiki-Taka

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Perth Glory will travel to Coopers Stadium for their season opener against Adelaide United on Sunday, a game which will no doubt be an intriguing spectacle.

With both Josep Gombau and Alistair Edwards playing similar possession-based attacking football, it will be a game that will interest the ‘total football’ lovers.

But who will come out on top? Only time will tell. With Glory already facing a disruptive start to their season, having to switch their originally planned home game with United to away at Coopers Stadium with the NIB Stadium pitch not yet ready, it will be a tough test for the new youthful looking Glory.

With two away games as a start for the team in the west (second game away to Newcastle), to get results from one or even both games could really set the tone for their year. As the A-League is only a 27 game season, every game and every point is vital.

Josep Gombau (if you haven’t already heard) has vast experience within one of the biggest clubs in world football – Barcelona. Albeit as a youth coach, to be involved in such a football revolution which is happening with the Spanish giants is quite an impressive addition to any football resume.

But will he be able to get Adelaide playing the famous ‘tiki taka’ football Barcelona is renowned for? Either way, it will be very interesting to see how he and Adelaide go this season.

As Edwards has the technical and tactical nouse of the highest quality, the battles in those two areas between the coaches this year will be the best to date. 90% of the teams play the 4-3-3 system, yes, that is all well and good – but what happens when teams know how to shut you down, read your play and stop you from playing? You must have a plan B, C, D and so on.

This will set the good coaches apart from the great ones.

The evidence from Perth’s preseason suggests they have the ability to adjust. They do not play a rigid 4-3-3 formation, the movement and tactical awareness from every single player is something that Edwards has drilled into them ever since he took over at the end of last season and continuing onto his first full preseason – and it has showed.

Veteran midfield maestro Steven McGarry believes the new philosophy Alistair Edwards and Gareth Naven have implemented, combined with the new fresh faces of the best young talent in the country holds them in good stead for this season.

“As you know pre season is 6 months long and it’s something I’m not used to” said McGarry.

“We had brilliant trips to South Africa and Malaysia and it’s good to get the new boys on board and involved and it gave us a chance to get to know each other better”

“On the pitch I think we’re looking really good. Everyone is fighting for positions and it will be interesting as we have a lot of guys that haven’t played regular senior football, the likes of Jamie (Maclaren) and Ryan (Edwards) had a lot of games for their reserve teams (Blackburn and Reading) so will be interesting to see how they go – but they’ve been really good in pre season”

“There is a clear direction of how Alistair and Gareth (Naven) want us to play. Everything in training is geared towards the game on the weekend.”

“We’ve played some lovely possession football, but we’re not just keeping possession for the sake of it, we want to do things with the possession and go forward and attack.”

Asked about his thoughts about Adelaide, McGarry is a little apprehensive as they haven’t seen a lot of them in the pre season.

“It’s always a tough game over in Adelaide. It’s a little unknown how they’re going to prepare, Alistair and Gareth have provided us with clips of how they set up and it gives us an idea of how they might play”

“We don’t really want to worry about them too much, we’ve got to concentrate on our strengths we’ve been working on this week”

“We’ve struggled the past few seasons on the road, so we want to start picking up away points. We’re definately going over there with a positive frame of mind to take the points off them!”

With Perth’s new look team filled with youth and senior internationals respectively, acceptionally gifted international imports and the experience to boot, there is good reason for the supporters in purple to be excited for this season.

Competition for places is fierce. Every player knows their role and can step in and do their job just as good as the player next to them, and that’s the headache every coach loves to have.

This season promises to be the biggest yet. With a seat on the plane to Brazil next year up for grabs, the likes of Danny Vukovic, Scott Jamieson, Michael Thwaite, Josh Risdon, Ryan Edwards, Cameron Edwards, Jamie Maclaren and even young gun Danny De Silva will be looking to have solid seasons and force their way into the Socceroos fold.

Kick off is 5pm local (Adelaide) time Sunday 13th October

Ella Mastrantonio

Ella is Football Central's Perth Glory correspondent.  Ella has a direct connection with the club as she is a part of the current W-League squad which in turn allows her a unique perspective of the club as a whole.  Her passion for writing is the reason for taking on this role. Ella is an accomplished footballer in her own right. Started playing at five years of age in her brother's team, played mixed/all boys until U/12's for Phoenix Park J.S.C and Fremantle Spirit. Then Alistair Edwards discovered her which opened the door to representative selections. Following her selection for the U/17's Australian team and progressing to the U/20's Australian squad at 15, Ella made her senior Matilda's debut at 16.

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