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FEED THE ZAK AND HE WILL SCORE?


The man of the moment - whether it is being linked with a move to Real Madrid, or being chastised for a goal-less spree that even Bobby Zamora would be ashamed of, Amr Zaki has been the hot topic since this season started.

Hitting the scene with a pre-season flurry and a fantastic volley against West Ham, the striker began the season on a high, becoming an instant fans` favourite with an endless work rate and some fuelled performances.

Rumours followed in their numbers, some with less truth than an Ashley Cole wedding vow, all dismissed by Bruce as he tried desperately to dampen the speculation and keep the player`s feet firmly fixed to the ground, and firmly in Wigan.

The manager warned of a potential downturn in form, concerned over how the player`s form may cool with the winter months. His concerns proved to be more than justified, as the Egyptian`s goal record receded to the odd penalty kick. With a partner who is known well for his lack of goals, and a midfield contributing little to the scoresheet, the pressure and over reliance appeared to be getting to Zaki.

Was his early season form simply 'flash in the pan` as many fans have claimed, or is the player whose overhead acrobatics and bulldog-like style left fans agog in his opening months, simply having an extended dip in form, with a crisis in confidence he is just not accustomed to, having spent his entire career scoring consistently in the Egyptian league?

Without a goal in 10 games, and a shocking 22 games without a strike from open play, fans have started to get on the 26 year old`s back. Those, whose praise had reached almost paternalistic proportions in the opening weeks, have now expressed exasperation at his collapse in form.

It has been claimed in some sections that the downturn is a direct result of striking partner, Emile Heskey, leaving the club in the January transfer window. This is simply not true. The goals dried out well before Heskey left for pastures new.

Then there are those who suggest that the striker has changed his playing style, and this is the reason behind his failures in front of goal. Let`s examine where the criticism has been focused with Zaki.

First, there is his tendency (or fixation as many fans would put it) to drift out to the wings, rather than make runs into the box. This limits the options for the ball carrier, as they are forced to play the ball aimlessly amongst the midfield, without a constructive outlet for which to aim for.

Defenders hate nothing more than strikers running in behind, in between central defenders and challenging the offside trap repeatedly. Zaki has never made these runs, and with his work rate and pace it is not only a surprise, but clearly a missed opportunity.

It is rare he finds himself one on one with the goalkeeper, and with his composed finish at Anfield after dispossessing Daniel Agger, this is certainly a shame. This is not a new shortfall of the striker`s play, and these runs have never been a part of his game.

Another way the Egyptian likes to play is to come deep and collect the ball; however this is often followed by falling to the ground under the slightest of touches. Again, this is not new. What`s new is the rate of success.

Earlier in the season, Man City a good example, the tumbles often won a free kick in a great position, and he was described as an irritating and constant hazard to oppositions. Lately, officials do appear to have clicked on, and what we are now more likely to see is possession being handed over the opposing side, another lacklustre attack frustratingly passing us by.

It doesn`t therefore appear that Zaki`s style has been changed dramatically. He will still chase down the keeper at every chance, put defenders under instant pressure, but a dismal spell has given him a highly dented state of confidence, his desperation to get that elusive goal meaning he makes the wrong decisions. These often result in the inevitable loss of the ball or ends with a rather drab stab at goal.

No more do the media link our Egyptian sensation with a move to Spanish giants, Real Madrid, with a return to Zamalek looking increasingly the likelier outcome. Many fans still feel that Zaki undoubtedly has the talent to extend his achievements in this league, with unquestionable technical ability demonstrated with the quality of his strikes at Upton Park and Anfield, and equally unquestionable commitment to the cause, contrasting sharply with the often lethargic style of his compatriot.

The question that is at the foreground of the fans` thoughts though, is whether Amr Zaki is just a goal away from continuing his fantastic rise to the top, or if torturous droughts like this one will be as long and as frequent as those so common in his homeland.



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The Journalist

Writer: Andy Jackson Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday March 10 2009

Time: 6:40PM

Your Comments

I think Zaki is just a goal away from finding his form again...he is a quality striker but has just dried up, most go through a lean patch, if he keeps plugging away he'll come good again Im sure
worbo
I think Zaki is just a goal away from finding his form again...he is a quality striker but has just dried up, most go through a lean patch, if he keeps plugging away he'll come good again Im sure
worbo
Starvation is not the answer. Feed him.
MCFC_Goatboy
Starvation is not the answer. Feed him.
MCFC_Goatboy
Come on Wigan! Nick that 7th spot!
los_angeles_villan
Come on Wigan! Nick that 7th spot!
los_angeles_villan
thanks for the article, its strange how footballers are unpredictable, may be emad of amrzaky.com can reveal hidden reasons as he is a close friend to Amr???...althu he's been out of form recently, but i think it ll be naiive to think he'll return to Egypt...how many strikers (with big names!) in the EPL run around, nag the defenders and dont score often??..worst case, he'll be just one of them next season!...
egyptianfan
thanks for the article, its strange how footballers are unpredictable, may be emad of amrzaky.com can reveal hidden reasons as he is a close friend to Amr???...althu he's been out of form recently, but i think it ll be naiive to think he'll return to Egypt...how many strikers (with big names!) in the EPL run around, nag the defenders and dont score often??..worst case, he'll be just one of them next season!...
egyptianfan
Distinguish between form and ability. Form could be disected as the efficiency of use of ones ability/talent. Lets say Ronaldo's ability is a 9, Zaki's ability is an 7. When at 100% efficiency or form the max Zaki will reach is 7 and Ronaldo 9. Players form cycles are different, some have longer cycles both in and out of form, some shorter, and thats why players averages arise to be able to judge the players. In terms of ability, we all have seen what he's capable of doing whether in the premiership, or on an international level where he supercedes African defenders playing for the top clubs in Europe. In term of results so far, he is the leagues number 4 scorer, i.e. in 28 games, with injuries and in-form and out of form cycles all taking place for all players, his general result so far as 4th after Anelka, Ronaldo and Robinho, in his first season in the premiership. So yes feed him and he will score, give him the confidence he needs, and back the ZAK and he will be back.
Gurus
Distinguish between form and ability. Form could be disected as the efficiency of use of ones ability/talent. Lets say Ronaldo's ability is a 9, Zaki's ability is an 7. When at 100% efficiency or form the max Zaki will reach is 7 and Ronaldo 9. Players form cycles are different, some have longer cycles both in and out of form, some shorter, and thats why players averages arise to be able to judge the players. In terms of ability, we all have seen what he's capable of doing whether in the premiership, or on an international level where he supercedes African defenders playing for the top clubs in Europe. In term of results so far, he is the leagues number 4 scorer, i.e. in 28 games, with injuries and in-form and out of form cycles all taking place for all players, his general result so far as 4th after Anelka, Ronaldo and Robinho, in his first season in the premiership. So yes feed him and he will score, give him the confidence he needs, and back the ZAK and he will be back.
Gurus
well said Gurus...
egyptianfan
well said Gurus...
egyptianfan
zaki will never return if wigan continue playing like this,we all see that he's desperate to get a clear chance,a striker should be served not to serve on others,even Torres or Rooney will be the same if they get the same kind of midfielders support
major11283
zaki will never return if wigan continue playing like this,we all see that he's desperate to get a clear chance,a striker should be served not to serve on others,even Torres or Rooney will be the same if they get the same kind of midfielders support
major11283
feed the zak???? theres only one saying near to that and that is "FEED THE GOAT AND HE WILL SCORE"
bluemooner_mcfc
feed the zak???? theres only one saying near to that and that is "FEED THE GOAT AND HE WILL SCORE"
bluemooner_mcfc
Since Wigan home win over Tottenham Hotspur, Wigan failed to win any match in the Premier League. Mido didn't score from open play so far. His only goal was against Liverpool and it came through a penalty kick. On the other hand, Zaki started the season as a goal machine but currently, he is unable to score except from penalties. The fans started to criticize both Egyptians. Mido received more criticizm since he joined the club recently and untill now, he couldn't fill the gap that was left by the departure of Emile Heskey. On the other side, Zaki's popularity is starting to fade since he looked quite rusty in the past few months and wasn't able to score any goals from open play since his famous double versus Liverpool. While the fans could be right in their criticizm for Mido and Zaki, the Egyptians also have every right to be disappointed with the service from midfield and full backs which has been very poor as of late. It is a fact that Wigan have one of the worst goals per match ratio in the Premier League. They have two defensive midfielders without any attacking intentions (Lee Cattermole and Brown). On the wings, they have Valencia who has been injured for a month and a half and so Mido and Zaki couldn't get any support from the right wing. On the left wing, the new signing N'Zogbia didn't deliver a single decent cross into the box while this is his main job. The full backs, on the other hand, are decent, but both Fegeorua and Melchiot have their defensie duties and so, they can't go forward all the time to play the same role of the right and left wingers. It should be noted that the central midfielder Wilson Palacios who joined Spurs in January used to contribute in attacks alot and this allowed Zaki to escape the marking and score. With the current formation of Wigan, it will be unlikely to see Zaki getting back to his goal scoring numbers of the first couple of months this season. Zaki has already been discovered by defenders and they put him under pressure and tight marking every match. Without enough support from midfield, he also have to get away from the penalty area and go deep or wide. This allows him to escape marking for a while but it also renders him ineffective since his strength is to play inside the box in order to allow him to get in a good position to score. Regarding Mido, he is a better target man than Zaki as he can use his strength and aerial ability to win the ball in a more effective way than Zaki. However, his frequent injuries and laziness on the pitch made him a victim of fans criticism. He also has to stay more inside the box without wasting his energy in defense or playing down the flanks. To sum things up, in order to focus only on goalscoring, Mido and Zaki need a better support. A thing that he can't get in Wigan, Middlesbrough and in most of the lower half of table teams as these clubs lack quality playmakers and creative midfielders/Wingers. It is depressing to see Wigan losing their chances to play European Football next season since this means that no Egyptians will play in European competitions, the Champions League and UEFA cup. It should be noted that Mohamed Zidan is not in a better situation as his club, Dortmund dropped to the 8th spot in table and if they ended their season in such position, they will not play European football as well. The only hope to see an Egyptian playing in Champions League or UEFA Cup next season will be through Amr Zaki. However, it will only be possible if he ended his loan spell at Wigan and joined a bigger club that has already qualified to Europe this season. The question remains unanswered though: Are Egyptians preventing their clubs from playing in Europe? or the clubs are not good enough to help Egyptians show their real potential? * Discuss the latest about Egyptian soccer in EP forums
zaki1140
Since Wigan home win over Tottenham Hotspur, Wigan failed to win any match in the Premier League. Mido didn't score from open play so far. His only goal was against Liverpool and it came through a penalty kick. On the other hand, Zaki started the season as a goal machine but currently, he is unable to score except from penalties. The fans started to criticize both Egyptians. Mido received more criticizm since he joined the club recently and untill now, he couldn't fill the gap that was left by the departure of Emile Heskey. On the other side, Zaki's popularity is starting to fade since he looked quite rusty in the past few months and wasn't able to score any goals from open play since his famous double versus Liverpool. While the fans could be right in their criticizm for Mido and Zaki, the Egyptians also have every right to be disappointed with the service from midfield and full backs which has been very poor as of late. It is a fact that Wigan have one of the worst goals per match ratio in the Premier League. They have two defensive midfielders without any attacking intentions (Lee Cattermole and Brown). On the wings, they have Valencia who has been injured for a month and a half and so Mido and Zaki couldn't get any support from the right wing. On the left wing, the new signing N'Zogbia didn't deliver a single decent cross into the box while this is his main job. The full backs, on the other hand, are decent, but both Fegeorua and Melchiot have their defensie duties and so, they can't go forward all the time to play the same role of the right and left wingers. It should be noted that the central midfielder Wilson Palacios who joined Spurs in January used to contribute in attacks alot and this allowed Zaki to escape the marking and score. With the current formation of Wigan, it will be unlikely to see Zaki getting back to his goal scoring numbers of the first couple of months this season. Zaki has already been discovered by defenders and they put him under pressure and tight marking every match. Without enough support from midfield, he also have to get away from the penalty area and go deep or wide. This allows him to escape marking for a while but it also renders him ineffective since his strength is to play inside the box in order to allow him to get in a good position to score. Regarding Mido, he is a better target man than Zaki as he can use his strength and aerial ability to win the ball in a more effective way than Zaki. However, his frequent injuries and laziness on the pitch made him a victim of fans criticism. He also has to stay more inside the box without wasting his energy in defense or playing down the flanks. To sum things up, in order to focus only on goalscoring, Mido and Zaki need a better support. A thing that he can't get in Wigan, Middlesbrough and in most of the lower half of table teams as these clubs lack quality playmakers and creative midfielders/Wingers. It is depressing to see Wigan losing their chances to play European Football next season since this means that no Egyptians will play in European competitions, the Champions League and UEFA cup. It should be noted that Mohamed Zidan is not in a better situation as his club, Dortmund dropped to the 8th spot in table and if they ended their season in such position, they will not play European football as well. The only hope to see an Egyptian playing in Champions League or UEFA Cup next season will be through Amr Zaki. However, it will only be possible if he ended his loan spell at Wigan and joined a bigger club that has already qualified to Europe this season. The question remains unanswered though: Are Egyptians preventing their clubs from playing in Europe? or the clubs are not good enough to help Egyptians show their real potential? * Discuss the latest about Egyptian soccer in EP forums
zaki1140
This is the problem, No one is creating play for Zaki anymore. First it was Valencia, his form has gone down as well... Great player he is though. Palacios was a very strong player himself, able to win balls.. feed it out to valencia and then to Zaki... Personally, i dont think the problem is in Zaki, I think we need to get the midfielders working, You see in other teams for example, Theres Cristianio Ronaldo feeding out the ball to the attackers, creating GREAT play, Theres Robinho, always alert, quick player, theres Messi absolutely fantastic, theres Fabregas, samir nasri, Modric, if these teams can have players like these... why cant we ? We have Lee catermole who has proven himself to be one of the best, we have Nzogbia, we have Valencia, fantastic players... the problem is, they're not able to feed that beast the way they used to at the beginning of the season.
farafama
This is the problem, No one is creating play for Zaki anymore. First it was Valencia, his form has gone down as well... Great player he is though. Palacios was a very strong player himself, able to win balls.. feed it out to valencia and then to Zaki... Personally, i dont think the problem is in Zaki, I think we need to get the midfielders working, You see in other teams for example, Theres Cristianio Ronaldo feeding out the ball to the attackers, creating GREAT play, Theres Robinho, always alert, quick player, theres Messi absolutely fantastic, theres Fabregas, samir nasri, Modric, if these teams can have players like these... why cant we ? We have Lee catermole who has proven himself to be one of the best, we have Nzogbia, we have Valencia, fantastic players... the problem is, they're not able to feed that beast the way they used to at the beginning of the season.
farafama
 

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