1. Bounce back with a confidence-boosting win
IN THE AFTERMATH of Friday night’s horror show at Lansdowe Road, the mood among fans is the lowest it has been for some time. Many have lost all faith in Giovanni Trapattoni and his management team and, if reports are to be believed, some players are doing the same.
Kevin Foley and Darron Gibson, frustrated with being left out of the squad, have both chosen to stay away from the camp in recent months and now it seems Stephen Kelly has had a falling out with the Italian’s assistant Marco Tardelli.
The Fulham defender only said last week in an interview that he will continue to knuckle down and show up consistently for international duty despite being overlooked but watching Toronto FC’s Darren O’Dea start ahead of him in the defeat to Germany will have hurt.
Trap mentioned the word “recovery” several times in his post-match conference and he faces a tough job to turn things around – starting tomorrow.
Anything less than a win would be a disastrous result against a Faroe Islands team ranked 158th in the world.
However, his team will be extremely low on confidence whereas the home side, although limited in their ability, are sure to be buoyed by their performance against Sweden. The Faroes actually led for eight minutes before Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s double got Sweden out of jail.
There is also an argument that dropping points wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen as an another embarrassment might force the FAI’s hand to take action and stump up the cash to pay off Trapattoni.
2. Revert to 4-4-2
Both of Trap’s attempted formations failed against the Germans. The decision to begin with three-man midfield was made to try and stop Mesut Ozil and co from dominating the centre of the park. Keith Andrews, Keith Fahey and James McCarthy worked hard to close down their opponents but simply couldn’t cope with the movement and were overrun.
Wingers Aiden McGeady and Simon Cox were both extremely poor on the night and rarely helped out Jon Walters in attack meaning the Stoke striker was often isolated.
4-5-1 should be seriously looked at as an option in the future but, due to the players available and the team they are facing , 4-4-2 would be Ireland’s best bet. Shane Long was left out of the starting line-up on Friday and when he was introduced, hardly got a kick of the ball.
Robbie Keane may have shaken off an Achilles injury to be passed fit to play but the movement and pace of a Long-Walters partnership would no doubt cause the Faroes all sorts of problems.
3. Keep a clean sheet
His defenders will have to take the lion’s share of the blame but, whether he likes it or not, Ireland’s new goalkeeper Keiren Westwood conceded more goals in 90 minutes than Shay Given ever did during his 125 caps for Ireland.
The Sunderland goalkeeper has said that what was supposed to be one of the proudest moments of his career turned into a “nightmare” and keeping a clean sheet tomorrow evening is vital to restored belief throughout the defence. Both John O’Shea and Darren O’Dea were at fault against Germany while Seamus Coleman should have done better for the first two goals.
Granted, it was a back-five which never played together before as a unit but unless Trap opts to bring in Stephen Kelly and/or Ciaran Clark, they are again likely to play in the absence of Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger so must do better against a far inferior opponent.
What are your thoughts on tomorrow’s game?