|The beautiful game is always evolving.|
In the very early days of football it was all about attacking, with teams fielding just one or two defenders and up to seven attackers. In the 50s and 60s things were starting to shift, as Brazil dominated the international stage with four defenders and four attackers, with two minefield players.
If we fast forward to the 70s, Ajax and the Netherlands came up with total football. A philosophy where any player could play anywhere so long as the 4-3-3 team shape was kept. In the 80’s Italy were one of the dominant forces in international football, playing with a sweeper and the idea that if you don’t concede, you can’t lose.
The game was getting more defensive-minded but in the 90s and 2000s 4-4-2 was the popular choice, with a few variations of it and different approach by different teams. There was no obvious style that dominated for those years.
That was until Barcelona and Spain become the teams to watch. Under Pep Guardiola he made the style invented by Johan Cruyff even better. Barcelona were all about working hard and pressing high to win the ball back, and then keeping it with lots of short passes known as tiki-taka.
Attack was a form of defence for Pep, who dominated games with 70% and sometimes 80% possession. Barcelona won 14 trophies with this style of play, while Spain also won two Euros and a World Cup with a similar style.
Recently teams have worked out how to combat possession play, and many will win games without seeing much of the ball. Mourinho said that the team that makes the most mistakes will lose so he was happy for his opponent to have all of the ball.
Today Sheffield United are one of the key Figures developing the game under Chris Wilder’s 3-5-2 formation. Is it a new one we have not seen before with the overlapping centre-halfs. They have taken more risks tactically and it has worked well.
There are more teams in Italy who played a similar system, and Chelsea did too. I am just worried how the teams that are playing this system will react when they get found out.
I prefer a team to stick to their playing style no matter what. Just look at the opponent and prepare the players by making them aware of what and who they’re facing, but never change the system.
The game is getting faster and more powerful each season, so as a player you need to work hard to be in the best shape of your life. That makes you perform the best. If you don’t live for the game you may create a problem for your game when competing with the best over a long time. #mmlove