Hello Darkness My Old Friend
Time to panic? To feel Buyer's Remorse? Not yet @VelezinEnglish says. But also thinks there must be changes to buck the downward trend.
It's been an awful week with no positives at all. Actually the first half against Tigre was quite good, but was wiped out by a shambolic second half, which could become a reflection on Heinze's tenure if things keep going this way. No individual within the club has emerged with any credit from this septem horribilis (Yep, I'm taking some creative license here). Really, nothing, no one.
Yesterday's game was ugly. Vélez had some flashes of individual brilliance and had a couple of clear chances there was little football and a lot of unpleasantness. Argentinos has a couple of unlikable guys like pantomime villain Sandoval or shithouse Hauche, but Vélez looked nervous way before these guys started to do their thing. At some points of the second half, it was more likely to see somebody shouting somebody else than two straight passes. You almost felt pity for the ref (Then you remember they always deserve the worst). As the game went on, it became worse: Laso played most of the game on the verge of seeing a red card; Vargas seemed to take offense at the slightest of the contacts every turn; Hoyos shouted, gesticulated wildly and hurled insults at his defense at every set piece; Giménez and Fernández got involved in altercations with opposition players.
It's not that everything was great a month ago and now all sucks; but issues are piling up now, at the same time, at a critical stage. This team has faced some high stake games against teams who were playing high stakes game of their own and faltered in almost any aspect. The only wins came against two teams playing for little and ended up seeing their coaches fired soon after. Heinzeball sessions are a distant memory now: Individual performances are at a really low level and collective performances have suffered as a result of this. Heinze has to take some blame too: He's protecting the players at every turn, whose performances don't seem to be repaying the favor, complacency likely set in; he's chosen to take a long term view but has refused to talk his long term continuity; his talk of ideas seems hollow now, the commitment to possession football seems cautious rather a means to play atacking football; his tweaking to a back three has left midfield without balance, pressing in that zone seems disjointed and half baked and it highlighted the lack of a midfield enforcer (A kind of player this squad doesn't have) while issues at both ends remain unsolved and his in-game management continues to be suspect: he didn't have to adjust tactically in La Paternal but he didn't use two substitutions (The only one was forced by Robertone's ugly head clash).
It is fair to ask where does this team go from here. After putting relagation fears to rest for good, the team got 9 points out of 21, which isn't a great return and taking both results and performances into account, it is safe to say 2019 hasn't been bright for Vélez. The Copa Libertadores now seems out of reach. It feels like an opportunity lost now but in truth getting there would have exceeded any expectations and had to be considered a massive success. Copa Sudamericana was a more logical target and the team sits there right now. Vélez has to avoid the trend towards a late season collapse. Dropping out of the top ten, added to the Turdera disaster, would raise huge uncertainty in relation to the future of the club. To get the security in the long term, everybody should think short term for once. No matter the way, it's time to step up now.