Lacatus promises to attack against Napoli. He doesn’t need to and he won’t be able to do it!
Last game of the year for Steaua, who could go through in case of a win or a draw and get the chance to look a lot better in the spring, when top players like Galamaz, Brandan or Bilasco will finally become available. The current campaign has been strange, with results above expectations, given the lack of options Lacatus often had to deal with. It won’t be any different tonight, three important attacking players missing through injury (Tanase) or suspension (Kapetanos, Nicolita), and, no matter how many times the coach will say that trying to preserve the initial 0-0 will be suicidal, I cannot see past a very defensive setup and a counter-attacking side.
I expect to see three defensive midfielders deployed in the central area, trying to break down attacks, with only Angelov experienced enough though to keep hold of the ball, as well as succeed in starting a counter. The Romanian press gives the very offensive Bonfim on the right side of the defense, but with Latovlevici on the opposite side having the same mentality, I think Lacatus might go for the aggressive Martinovic, who is a natural centre-back and lacks the instinct and the quality to push forward and leave the flank exposed. The very promising Gardos can be an option of the anchorman role, but playing him there would mean that Lacatus still doesn’t trust him enough to use him in the last line of defense. If he’ll start in midfield, Bicfalvi should remain on the bench.
To conclude, Steaua’s ability to defend and stay focused for 90-98 minutes will be seriously tested and vital for the team’s chances to progress, as the three forwards can only provide a threat as individuals, having pace and/or skill to take out an opponent and take their shots, but looking at their season so far, reasons to trust them are hard to find. As good as he is, Stancu has scored most of his numerous goals at home, Surdu lacks quality and will rely on pace and luck, while Szekely has decent skill, but has failed to regain his best form and match fitness since his return from a long lay-off. So, with little chances to hurt Napoli on the break, I expect Steaua to take that suicidal approach and defend in numbers, hoping (praying, in Gigi Becali’s case) to survive. It’s not the best plan, but everyone must accept that it was the only one possible…