Home > Liga I - Season 2011/2012 > Title contenders: CFR Cluj

Title contenders: CFR Cluj

Just one point behind Dinamo, CFR has failed to impress me in the first half of the season, not to mention their first game of the year, won 1-0 versus FCM Targu Mures. Still, what will happen if this teams finally clicks? The manager Jorge Costa has changed from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 to make better use of the available players, but there are question marks regarding their back four, especially on the flanks, as well as their attack. The schedule could favor them though, as they’ll play away only against FC Vaslui and Dinamo, but the consecutive matches between rounds 23 and 25 (vs Otelul, Vaslui and Rapid) should find them in top shape…

Transfer activity

Two Brazilians have been released and Costa will have problems replacing at least one of them. If Pantelis Kapetanos, once a reliable goalscorer for Steaua, has already netted a winner vs Targu Mures, playing instead of Weldon (7 goals in the 1st half of the season), a certain Nicolas Godmeche has been signed to replace Renan Garcia, who now plays for Sampdoria.

CFR decided to cash in on both – and both decisions stand, as Weldon was 32 and Renan could generate as well an excellent profit in the summer -, but failed to replace them properly. Besides Godmeche, in Cluj arrived Liviu Ganea from Dinamo (one goal scored this year, but signed almost for free, good deal for the future) and Stojan Vranjes (5 goals scored for Pandurii, but difficult character). All three will need time to adjust and Godmeche already proved that when used in the first official game of the year…

Strenghts and weaknesses

CFR’s big question mark should be placed upon the team’s captain and (undisputed for years) dressing room leader, Cadu. That could sound strange, it’s usually good to have such a player, but I got the feeling that if the centre-back is not pleased very happy, motivated and in good shape it will affect the team’s performances and results, and not just once the skipper’s influence lead to a change on the bench. Several players with an important status that were standing beside Cadu have left the team in the meantime and Jorge Costa seems to have got the 30 years old on his side, but there’s the sensation that the former FC Porto defender hasn’t managed to make the team submit completely to his ideas and philosophy.

CFR has a very good goalkeeper in Beto (2nd choice for Portugal in the last friendly), experience across the back four and enough options in midfield. Unfortunately for them, they often look slow and predictable when going forward, failing to work as a unit and stay compact. I’m not convinced Rafael Bastos deserves so much playing time – always looks selfish – and Costa definitely needs to be right about the attacking midfielder Rui Pedro, whom he believes will play a big part in the next few months, after featuring only as a sub on three occasions last year. These two are part of the four attacking men that really need to deliver, if CFR wants another title, and I have to say they definitely look inferior to Dinamo in terms of firepower

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