Date: 3rd November 2008 at 8:24pm
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It may be a tad harsh on the guy given that until a few weeks ago he’d probably been Hearts’ best defender this season, but I’m wondering if the fact that Marius Zaliukas is now suspended will go some way to forcing the management team into playing players in their correct positions, and hence be a good thing for the Hearts first XI.

Before yesterday’s embarrassment against Celtic many of us had been praising the performances of the likes of Hristos Karipidis and Eggert Jonsson, both of whom have been asked to play in positions so far this season that are not generally recognised as being their strongest.

It would be true to say that these guys have generally done a job in their new roles, but for me it’s important that as many players as possible can be given a game in the position that they feel most at home in. Karipidis especially had been improving in the defensive midfield berth, but I always think that he looks more comfortable playing in the centre of defence, and is arguably the best player that Hearts have in that position. I’d personally like to see him moved back there in the absence of Zaliukas, with a view to him holding down that position even when the Lithuanian is available again.

Jonsson? Well, I’ve never really been his biggest fan in any position to be honest, but I do think that he’s had better games in defensive midfield than the right-back berth that he’s been deployed in so far this season. The guy gives it everything he has wherever he plays, but you can tell that the full-back position is still a bit foreign to him, and although it’s possible that he could develop into a competent enough player there, perhaps if Karipidis is forced back into defence now it might be the right time for play Eggert back in midfield. I’d certainly prefer him to play there than the largely ineffectual Palazuelos.

As for Zaliukas, he’s been a bit of an accident waiting to happen for a few weeks now, unfortunately. He was a player that I’d have happily driven to Edinburgh airport for a return flight to Kaunas before the start of this season, but a series of solid displays under Csaba really had me converted, and out of an admittedly weak back four he had, for me at least, been clearly the pick of the Hearts defence. However mistakes have started to creep in and it’s literally been one glaring error per match for a few weeks now, and you really cannot afford to have that at this level. The red card yesterday was probably always going to happen – it was just a matter of when.

Will Csaba shuffle his pack as suggested here? Or does he have another few surprises up his sleeve?


9 Replies to “Zaliukas Suspension To Force Csaba To Re-Organise?”

  • I’d hope that there is a bit of a re-shuffle but also to the system. 4-5-1 (4-1-4-1) isn’t helping to prevent us conceding goals and it’s painfully obvious that it’s not assisting us in scoring any ……. so in my rather simplistic view – IT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED!

  • I agree with both the article and itsnomarooned here… We need two players up front and we need two players who can play up front, if I could take things a little further. Still does anyone have news on Obua and Tullberg yet? Honestly their injuries are really annoying me. I think some players see hearts as the team to join when you don’t want to play. Miko thinks we are jinxed and the early goal finished us according to interviews. Frankly I was listening to the radio and I never expected anything but a goal for Celtic it was one way from the whistle. Saturday was painful to listen to let alone watch I applaud MrH for lasting so long, easily the best performance of the day. I kind of want St Mirren to win this weekend to stop the cracks from being papered over. (Okay I don’t really but some people at the club need a reality check and quick.)

  • I would agree with all of that (except the bit about Hearts being beaten by St. Midden… could never want that no matter the circumstances!). Sadly though, I don’t think Csaba is being given the authority to change the formation – even though a blind man’s dog could see it desperately needs doing. Obua is turning into another expensive mistake, and the less said about Tullberg the better. You can see why they got rid of Beslija and Pinilla now – clearly the management can only cope with two time-wasters on the books at once. For Saturday, I would like to see Karipidis back in defence, with a midfield of Driver, Stewart, Bruno and Miko, with Nade and Makela up front. In fact, I just played that 4-4-2 in the demo of Football Manager 2009, and we beat Rangers 3-1 at Ibrox, so it must be good…!

  • SJ – Funnily enough I have the FM09 demo and beat Rangers 3-1 at Ibrox too… Jamie Mole got a brace with a cheeky solo effort by Nade completing the work and that was with a 4-4-2 also. Incredibly I have now lead Hearts to a 9 game unbeaten run of 5 wins and 4 draws. Anyway enough about fantasy I believe Csaba has full authority to change the formation, ooops sorry lapsed back into fantasy for a monent just then. 🙂 I still reckon someone should buy Vlad Football Manager and let him play with that rather than real life.

  • As for St Mirren winning against us, I don’t want it to happen but I feel it may. Last seasons various debacles annoyed me, as many of you will know, and Vlad didn’t learn anything then so I suppose I am wishing or even being optimistic that one day he will. I’ll come down from the ledge for the time being.

  • Like you Mr H, I’ve never been sure what to make of Zaliukas. Maybe its the manner he was first brought in – playing midfiled in the CIS Cup debacle at Easter Road. Then a year spent arm-wrestling at corners. Anywho, putting Karipidis back beside Berra sounds a good idea. We need more movement and strength in midfield anyway. I simply don’t subscribe to the notion that Vlad still has any influence over tactics and formations – in fact I’d question whether he even cares about our results anymore. Maybe Csaba is under orders to play 2 Lithuanians in every game … but surely the 4-5-1 or whatever is entirely down to Csaba ? To be fair, Hearts aren’t the only SPL team who have gone down this route, and there’s probably a “herd instinct” in football managers who know their squad has limitations – something along the lines of “if he’s playing 5 in midfield, we’ll have to do the same”.

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