Argentina have performed well at this World Cup but they continue to concede soft goals due to the errors of Martin Demichelis. So far these errors have not been costly because Argentina’s attack has been good enough to get them out of trouble. As the games become tighter and the quality of opposition increases, Argentina could soon pay the price for having such an error prone center-back.
Chain Effect leaves Demichelis exposed.
As I explained here Argentina play a lopsided formation that often forces their right-back to cover the entire right side on his own. Veron/ Rodrigues play centrally and offer minimal cover for the right-back. This was seen again in the Mexico game where Salcido had acres of space to run onto and was probably Mexico’s biggest offensive threat. This lopsided formation forces the right-back to play higher up the pitch than the rest of the defense and the right-sided center-back (Demichelis) has to shift across to cover the space. This is not Demichilis’s strong suit and often leaves him exposed in one-on-one situations. Demichelis is already an error prone defender and gets beaten by his man way too easily, as shown in the Champion’s League final, but this chain effect leaves him even more vulnerable as he is often the last line of defense.
A CATALOGUE OF ERRORS
1. Against Nigeria
In the Nigeria game there were several instances where Demichelis was turned way too easily by Yakubu and these errors often led to shooting opportunities. These errors were minor in the wider context of the game but it highlighted Demichelis tendency to get too tight on his man, something that would come up again later
2. Against Korea Republic
In the Korea game a Demichelis’ error led directly to a goal and put Argentina under pressure when they should have been fairly comfortable. Demichelis lost concentration by dallying on the ball and didn’t seem to notice the Korean player closing him down. He was dispossessed and Lee Chung-Yong had an easy tap in goal. This goal galvanized Korea and better finishing from them in the second half could have led to Argentina dropping points. Instead, they won 4-1 and Demichelis error was mostly forgotten.
3. Against Greece
Greece’s only real chance in this game came when Samaras managed to get free of Demichelis but missed an open goal. Once again Demichelis got too close to his man then failed to make an effective tackle. Argentina went on to comfortably win the game so again this error was forgotten.
4. Against Mexico.
For Mexico’s goal, Javier Hernandez received the ball with his back to goal then turned Demichelis way too easily to score. Demichelis again got too tight on his man and this time it led to a goal. This was a continuation of the trend we have seen. Again the error turned out to not be costly as Argentina ran out comfortable winners.
Demichelis has made basic errors in almost all his World Cup games but these errors are being ignored because his team keeps winning due to the brilliance of their attack. Argentina have only conceded two goals in this World Cup, both as a result of Demichelis errors. Against better teams, such an error prone player may cost his side a victory.