It’s been nearly a year since Ireland have scored a goal from open play. Yes, a YEAR.
The Stephen Kenny era is going to take some patience, and we understand that – but we’d gladly take the odd promising sign too if you don’t mind. With the Slovakia semi and the hope of eternal improvement when he first took over, it seemed that this final group game in the Nations League against Bulgaria would be far from a focal point.
And yet here we are – just shy of Christmas and nothing to shout about.
Survival, which you don’t often consider in international football, is now the priority and anything other than a loss can secure it. Kenny is hardly to type to be conservative – but now he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. Does he stick and hope that we end up with a needed win, or does he bow to internal pressure and try to secure the long-term competitive nature of his Nations League fixtures?
Now, I’m convinced it’ll come good for Kenny once he has everyone available but that looks more of a pipedream than an upcoming bonus right now. Here’s a Same Game Multi for Wednesday’s game.
Again, I need to specify that I firmly believe it will come good, but this is going to be the major setback that makes Kenny tear it down and reassess.
And it’s not going to happen because I don’t trust his process, but rather because his hands are now tied. Between injuries, Covid-related exclusions and suspensions (they’ve more red cards than goals under the former Dundalk boss) they’re now down to bare bones from a squad that was originally named.
That level of inconsistency brings about confusion and Bulgaria, who are far from pretty, at least win in that regard.
Well, Ireland won’t be scoring as we know. And Bulgaria suffer from lack of creativity time and time again. This game is set up for there not to be anything other than a goal in it, because that suits both Ireland and their opponents.
Will Kenny be forced to sit players behind the ball despite boasting a methodology that despises the very idea? Probably, and when that fails in another snorefest, they might well start asking very fair questions.
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He scored against Ireland earlier in the group and he’s led the line quite well for Bulgaria to this point despite their shortcomings absolutely everywhere else.
The youngster is plying his trade in Denmark at the moment, but it’s in the international scene where he’s making waves, as Georgi Dermendzhiev has consistently praised him for his displays.
But by God, they’ll go down firing. The one positive about having players outside the usual bubble (pardon the pun) is they’re both over-zealous and they’re keen to impress. That usually ends up in shots from everywhere, and even if they trickle into the grateful arms of the Bulgarian ‘keeper, the money is ours.
Ireland v Bulgaria Same Game Multi
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