The amazing start of the RPL has already caused a storm of emotions among Russian football fans. In contrast to the surprise of the fans of the top clubs, disappointment gripped the fans of Dynamo Moscow, whose favorite club sensationally failed at the beginning of the season – 2 losses and a draw with Krylya Sovetov.
However, can Marcel Lichka’s experiments be called a real failure?
For the transition of the Czech mentor to the Moscow club summed up in the best possible way. Only occasionally were the emerging headlines in the media gradually replaced by official confirmation of the transfer of a mentor. Already during the first press conference, Marcel clearly stated his intentions: the Orenburg game philosophy will be transferred to the field of VTB Arena. Consequently, from the beginning it was worth waiting for a global restructuring.
Don’t focus on the preseason: the eccentric coach rethought all the options to adapt his favorite style. All the most careful preparation was cut off by holding an “exhibition tournament” with CSKA, where we observed a balance between a very young generation and proven fighters.
Lichka literally in a hurry wandered from one variation of the lineup to another and selected the optimal combinations of players. At that time, while the competitors were getting stronger, the Muscovites were only spreading rumors for journalists and trying to seize someone who would close problematic positions, of which there are many in the field of the blue and whites.
Photo source: FC Dynamo
First of all, the team’s defense became a problem. Despite Balbuena’s return, the defensive line was underplayed and, let’s be honest, inappropriate. Given the favored fast-paced style of play, players simply don’t have time to make decisions when defending.
The second headache was the lack of a clean defensive midfielder. If we go back to Orenburg last year, the “cleanest” player was Kirill Kaplenko, who created space for Lucas Vera, who distributed passes left and right. Such a group in the center of the field is familiar to modern football, but it is this line that is the main trump card of Marcel Lichka’s football. In the field of the blue and whites, such a duet turned out to be much more difficult to implement. With the entire galaxy of creative soccer players, there was no safety net at the back.
However, Marcel did not demand ultra-fast amplification – Lichka is not one of those who will publicly demonstrate hysteria at the beginning of the work. He does not need this, because even from the moment of his appointment it became clear that there is a connection between the management and the specialist. This is also evident in the transfer news. Even under Slavis Jokanovic, there hasn’t been such a lot of transfer news at Dynamo, which means Buvac and co. trust Marcel completely. And this is not by chance: they sincerely believe in the magic of the Czech, who did not look for backup options and nevertheless decided to try to storm the RPL with his favorite football.
Lichka’s baptism of fire fell on the pragmatic “Krasnodar” Ivic. The starting lineup immediately hinted to us that a real triumph of the attacking style awaits us in the performance of Dynamo. The scarce supply of players forced Marcel to abandon the idea of playing with a defensive midfielder, and the bet was for the attack: he put Tyukavin to the limit, who was often given the opportunity only from the bench, preferring Smolov, who unexpectedly appeared as a tied player. However, the very combination of Fedor + Konstantin looks unusual. Under Slavish, this combination appeared only in rare cases, since an even younger Gladyshev was preferred in a pair with a young striker. Only Pavel Alpatov figured out how to connect the two attackers, and Marcel remembered the specialist’s ideas.
Photo source: RIA Novosti
The idea worked… partially. The players went on the attack, but unlike open football, the level of performance of Cordoba and Chernikov worked – 2-0 already in the first half, and this is in the opening match. However, this was to be expected, because the stats clearly reflected that a gift in the form of a great opponent in the first round is an opportunity to identify vulnerable areas and other ways to improve.
If you skimp on all the details of the meeting, then the problem areas were immediately found out: the lack of a defensive midfielder completely destroys the game of Muscovites, and the defense, whatever one may say, must be carefully adapted to the game with a high line. . Not even the proven Fernández has time to make quick decisions at such a pace of play, which led to an absurd “bring”.
But there were also good moments: the attack started and showed the level that it only showed occasionally in the anniversary season. It became clear that the combination of Smolov and Tyukavin is the most effective option, and all thanks to the new role of Fedor, whose goal brightened up the bitterness of the defeat, and the duet as a whole became the best according to the blue and whites. ratings
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GATTUSO
The first cup meeting with Paris NN was the ideal platform to see the young footballers. In the starting lineup, we saw Grulyov, Kutitsky, Gladyshev – all these faces are already familiar. However, the main surprises were the right-back Stanislav Bessmertny (the understanding of problem areas can be seen immediately) and the new goalkeeper Ilya Kuptsov. Apparently, the usual options in these positions made Marcel doubt that, in general terms, it was a good call, because the team really needs new heroes, and the youth squad player has been asking to be relieved since last season.
Photo source: FC Dynamo
Not without interesting options on the field. The most unusual decision was the appearance of Laxalt as a defensive midfielder – it is very difficult for a Czech specialist without such a player. And he did not fail: he followed the example of Gattuso, who actively used the Uruguayan in this position. With him, the team opened up in a completely different way. The passes began to reach the attack more actively, and those above did not disappoint, especially Gladyshev, who scored a spectacular goal.
It’s worth noting that this particular match was a key test for Marcel. Despite the loss on penalties, it was he who dotted the “y”, showing that systematic development is going well. Grulev turned out to be ready for the RPL, and a group with Yaroslav turned out to be an interesting option. But there is also a negative point: another “bring” of the defense, this time Kutitsky made an unforgivable mistake.
The last match with “Wings of the Soviets” was the final rehearsal before the confident rise of Muscovites. Thanks to the last two meetings, the Czech still managed to find the necessary balance in the team. Here we saw both the “new” Laxalt and the successful connection between Smolov and Tyukavin. Together, it all worked out… for the first half. With total dominance at the beginning, the team changed radically in the second: they conceded two unnecessary goals and left Samara with a draw (3-3).
Photo source: FC Dynamo
The reasons for the diametrically opposite second half are unlikely to fall under any intelligible explanation. Blaming players for starting to burn out is pointless. It is all the more logical to assume that sharp changes in each match leave their mark on the game – players have not fully adapted to eccentric ideas and are simply lost in a galaxy of tactical ideas. However, by now everything is leveled by the amazing weather, atmosphere and some room for creativity on the course. Players have repeatedly noted Lichka’s commitment to ideas and completely trust him.
HOW TO GO NEXT?
With all the negativity at the start, the last three games should stand out as a positive phenomenon. Against the background of Jokanovic’s pragmatics, it’s clear that Dynamo is becoming the most offensive mechanism in the RPL with every game. Of course, there are still certain problems.
Urgent changes in defense are needed, because 4 “imports” in three matches is a clear sign. In the end, it all comes down to transfers. That is understood in the leadership, because it is not in vain that the blue and white bosses try to hit the key areas for the Czech. Chávez’s arrival should finally bring all experiments to perfection and show that the “failed” start was due only to careful probing of the composition and necessary combinations.
Photo source: FC Dynamo
No matter how paradoxical it may sound, but the defeat at the start is the key to the potential success of the Moscow team. The Blue and Whites have become one of the most varied teams in the RPL and are showing consistent development. Skeptics will doubt, but you need to understand that under Jokanovic the club began a series of nine games without defeat, but excessive timidity did not allow Dynamo to reach a new level. Now, defensive football has changed to creative and courageous, which is what the current Dynamo needs the most. Only small cosmetic decorations remain, and we will see the new Orenburg, only even better.