CSKA lost again over the weekend. This time – in Grozny. It was a sensitive, very painful defeat, as the team lost outright to an opponent who looked weak in the spring and had seven games without a win behind him.
There are several reasons for the constant failures of CSKA in the last month. Among them are the lack of coaching ideas in attack, and structural problems in defense – Alexei Berezutsky did not manage to build and debug a balanced system. But if we are talking purely about spring factors, then, in my opinion, CSKA is now becoming a hostage to the winter selection. She suddenly began to pull the team back, although according to all the laws of logic, everything should be the other way around.
Without exception, all beginners sank sharply in the level. Yazydzhi drooped, stopped scoring – and there is little to stand out. Carrascal, who, for all his flamboyance, initially lacked specifics, in addition began to be regularly marked by a large number of losses and strange decisions. Medina remained approximately the same where he was (and he was not very high against the general background).
Gbamen, on the other hand, has turned into a real pest. During his transfer, the risks were initially off scale. The debut matches of the Ivorian in CSKA for someone could dispel them, but nevertheless the distance confirmed: this acquisition was absolutely impossible to make. Today Gbamen is the most unreliable player in the team, who in many ways served as a catalyst for all troubles and defeats.
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What were the doubts about the transfer of Gbamen?
We remember very well that Gbamen was a very status foreigner. In 2019, Everton bought him for as much as € 25 million from Hoffenheim – the player’s talent was so highly valued in England. Gbamen stood out for his power, body, technical equipment, ability to keep the ball under pressure, good playmaking. He is really a very textured and beautiful opornik that attracts attention. It would seem that if they give for free rent, why not take it?
There was just enough doubt. Some lay on the surface, and some appeared after a deeper study.
- First of all, everyone was embarrassed by the insignificant playing time over the past two seasons due to severe injuries. Even if the damage is behind and everything is super with health, the game tone does not return so quickly.
- Gbamen was hardly suitable for playing in a single defensive midfielder. He weakly controls the space behind his back and around him, throws himself too often and exposes the position. He needs a diligent, tactically competent and quick decision partner who would close the holes if the Ivorian is nominated.
- In the few matches that Gbamen played in England, his reliability was very embarrassing. He sat down in motion. I lost concentration, turned off and did not reach the second pace. He missed opponents in the middle, because he stared at the ball. He overexposed the ball during the attack, hoping for his work with the body and technique, but allowed losses and brought fast attacks. And all of the above was repeated with frightening frequency, flowed into a system and depreciated all the beautiful qualities of a football player.
As a result, everything came out in CSKA, except for injuries.
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What do we see now
The match in Grozny is a clear illustration of how a central midfielder SHOULD NOT play. Gbamen played poorly, made mistakes in forward passes, gave only six passes in the final third (although Akhmat allowed him to play and possess the ball). And most importantly, he once again turned the support zone into a passage yard.
Take, for example, all three conceded goals.
Utkin’s first goal. There is a series of riding martial arts, Gbamen is no longer participating in them. But all his attention is purely on the ball. He misses the moment when Utkin unsticks from him and goes to the penalty area.
Bottom line – Utkin receives the ball without pressure and opens the scoring with a classy blow. You will say that it’s okay, it’s just a blow from afar, but in response you can notice that Utkin, with his performance, should not be allowed to beat from such points. And this is also the responsibility of defensive midfielders.
Conate’s canceled goal is an even more egregious story. In the first phase, Akhmat ran into a fast attack after being intercepted. Gbamen began work on the return.
Konate slowed down, gave Gbamen the opportunity to catch up with the episode. The CSKA defender seemed to be able to join the fight from the back, but did not dare to do so. Perhaps because he was afraid to foul and earn a yellow card. Or maybe because he simply does not like to engage in “uncomfortable” dynamic martial arts.
Konate fell off to the left, slowed down. Gbamen started moving towards him again.
But again – without a proactive attempt at selection. Therefore, Konate waited for his partner to run on the left and rolled the ball into the zone.
Further – a typical game of Gbamen when attacking an opponent on the flank. The attention is purely on the ball, he forgets about opponents in the center and at the second pace. Konate took advantage of this and filled the buffer space.
The result is logical. And CSKA was lucky that the referees fixed offside.
Akhmat’s second scored goal in stoppage time. The episode with horseback fighting is closer to the center of the field. Gbamen seems to be supposed to work on the rebound and help collect bounced balls, but he freezes.
Utkin is the first on the ball and makes a touch behind the back. One-on-one – 2:0.
And we only analyze goals – rare phenomena in football. The saddest thing for CSKA is that Gbamen’s similar sloppiness can be seen in other episodes. He loses the ball in the middle, destroys the scheme, for some reason he hits from 40 meters. Even partners do not always understand his decisions – and it becomes more and more difficult to play next to him.
And let’s just remember the rest of the matches:
1) with Ural (2:2) CSKA lost points largely due to the poor work of Gbamen in the support zone;
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2) with Khimki – direct participation in the first and fourth conceded goals, that is, again, a direct impact on the result;
3) with “Ufa” – insufficiently aggressive work in the selection with a missed ball, indirect participation in the episode;
4) with “Spartak” in the Cup – removal in the first half. The first yellow card – for disputes with the referee, the second – for an elbow strike;
5) finally a match with Akhmat.
That is, in the last five games out of six, Gbamen directly influenced the negative result. And this is not a farce. Let the rest of the partners also make mistakes, but it was Gbamen’s game and his mistakes that largely became the catalyst for the crisis.
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There are three conclusions here.
The first one is local. The Berezutskys need to show courage and remove the “status” legionnaire from the starting lineup for the next matches. Let Mukhin and Zainutdinov play, even if they make mistakes, but you can no longer trust a football player who constantly lets you down. Gbamen has turned into a pest, it must be admitted.
The second conclusion is also private. CSKA certainly understood in the winter that since the club did not have a buyout option, Gbamen might have problems with motivation. They have arisen. CSKA decided to save money, took a status player almost for free, and in the end, including because of him, he flunked the most important spring segment.
The third conclusion is more global, it concerns the reassessment of the transfer approach. Taking in one window three players at once, bright and beautiful, but in a career decline, is a risk. It so happened that Gbamen, Yazici and Carrascal came to CSKA after difficulties in their former clubs. It is better, however, that the ratio of “problematic” and “reliable” be more reasonable.
CSKA was never able to reach a new level in the spring. And winter breeding work seems to have significantly depreciated.