Monday, 3 October 2011

Blog Rule

Pass and Move recommend interesting posts by other football bloggers to our Aussie audience.

The Swiss Ramble has posted a fascinating expose on the struggles and triumphs of Valencia, seemingly condemned to struggle year after year for only the bronze medal in La Liga, and to being circled by vultures every transfer window (imagine a club that used to be able to call on the services of David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata - Valencia is the Spanish West Ham).

11tegen11 meanwhile examine the Champions League thrashing of the famous Ajax, titans of Dutch football, by the Galacticos of Real Madrid, as well as the wider implications of Ajax's attacking philosophy on their performance in the Eredivisie. According to 11tegen11, Ajax's use of attacking fullbacks, inside forwards and only a single holder in midfield have allowed them to dominate games against weaker opposition while simultaneously, leaving them more vulnerable against stronger opposition.

Dots&Crosses examine the impact of versatile forwards on modern football, which they refer to as "nine and a halves". The concept of creative forwards isn't new in and of itself, but in years gone by, they would usually be deployed alongside a bustling, physical target man, the theory being the 'small man' would play off the 'big man' who would create space and occupy the opposition central defenders. For a modern resurrection of the small/big pairing, have a look at the 'proposed' partnership of Luis Suarez and Andy Caroll at Liverpool.

I suppose the difference now is that the creative player is increasingly found to be more effective, or at least is being more commonly deployed as a lone striker, dropping deep or pulling wide to vacate space, a la Messi or Van Persie, while the 'big man' is replaced by another player in central midfield. The presence of versatile or 'complete' forwards (embodying numerous aspects of specialist forwards, being able to operate as a target man, creator, or on the flanks) is another signal of the necessity for strikers to contribute to the play of the team, not just hanging on the shoulder of opposition centre backs and finishing (like Michael Owen or Robbie Fowler)

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