Love him or hate him, Leroy Sane (the 2017/2018 Manchester City version) knew what worked for him, and used it as often as possible. And it worked as often as it was used (case study: Leroy Sane versus Arsenal.)
For all his assists and the accolades that he got in the 17/18 Premier League season, Sane could have done more. Ask any Man. City fan and they will tell you that Sane, for all the encomiums he earned, is a pretty wasteful player; a player who can dribble past four opposition defenders and still end up shooting the ball right at the goalkeeper making this version of Leroy Sane a two-edged sword.
On one side, he is the youngster who sometimes spends too much time on the ball, wasting glorious chances in the process (who doesn’t?).
On the other hand, he is the light-footed 22-year old German who can take on anyone, anytime and anywhere on the pitch (most especially the right side of the defense he’s playing against); the kind of player that could have helped Germany break down the sturdy Mexican defense they played against in their Group F World Cup opener.
It was going to be a tough game for Joachim Loew. The Mexicans, under the watchful eyes of Osario, have over time, proved to be a difficult-to-beat team. But most football fans expected the Germans to grind out the win against the Mexicans, with their caliber of players and being the reigning world champs.
The Mexicans obviously had other plans which included playing a compact defense line (stifling Timo Warner, Ozil and Muller) and taking advantage of their quick transition from defense to attack (an advantage that helped Lozano score the only goal of the game.
The Germans played the kind of football they’ve been known to play under Joachim Loew: direct football with little next to no trickery on display. This style suffered against the Mexicans who seemed to be prepared to play against such pattern of football. And it was as if the Germans did not have a Plan B.
Surprisingly (or not), the Germans now find themselves closer to the bottom of the group than to the top. Qualification for the knockout stages is still very much alive. But the road to retaining the trophy they won in 2014 just got harder with even more twists and turns.
Amongst the many reasons for this including having players who were not fast enough to match the Mexicans and also committing too many players forward, one other reason is the ABSENCE of a player who can dribble through even the most stubborn defense line in the world.
Before you think I’m insinuating that Germany lost because Sane did not play, I’m not. If the coach decided before the tourney that he didn’t need him, the coach must have had some good reasons.
But then again, the Germany that played against Mexico looked like one that would have benefitted greatly from Leroy Sane’s presence on the pitch. He would have hugged the touchline like he did for the Citizens, attracting two or three players sometimes and freeing up space for Timo Werner to run into.
He would have added speed to the firepower that the German machines carried into this tournament. I could go on and on. But all these are just mere speculations. It’s football and anything can still happen, including Sane being part of the squad and Germany still losing to Mexico – maybe by an even bigger score margin.
Do you think the Germans would have fared better with Leroy Sane playing for them against the Mexicans? Do you think otherwise? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts with me.
Author: For The Goal
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