Is the long ball game killing English football?
Barcelona V Arsenal - Some people making comments on television, take my breath away. Drooling over the way Barcelona play but covering up why Arsenal failed to turn up on the day of the big game. As far as I am concerned the tactics of the Arsenal did not reflect the way Arsenal play. Arsenal banking on defending to win against Barcelona? - Now let me see do we know anybody famous that did this kind of tactic before and won against Barcelona? The problems for the Arsenal and the game here though run much deeper than just a matter of getting your tactics right.
The game of football in the Premiership suffers from any number of ailments, for example - How many players in the Premiership play when they are out of form? How many players have come into the Premiership that are not good enough to be in the Premiership? What kind of football does the Premiership represent? The latter question is in fact very interesting because standards of play depend on it, in fact, everything depends on it. Namely - The long ball game had its effect - we know the effect, it is called the second ball game effect and its implications. Teams like Barcelona play to the first ball game and its implications. Sadly for the players at the Arsenal they play in a league that is a hotch botch of a league that has a mixed bag of realities. Most teams in the Premiership play a mixed bag of players. Some Managers believe in Battlers and some in footballers - What happened here as the Premiership developed is a free for all in terms of styles of play and nobody thought about what that meant to the standards of play - Some managers have opted out for the middle ground having to cater for a mixture of different types of players because now any team during the season will meet up with the battlers and get a game reality that belongs to the second ball game brigade and its implications.
Since the years 1979 onwards the game became dominated by the people supporting the second ball game - The long ball game created the selection process that DID AWAY with the footballer and brought in the big and strong player - Giving the ball away became the norm because it created the busy game of football. The price for the busy game of football is now seen in the reality of the Premiership. The Premiership had its financial implications and could not get rid of all the second ball game players and so a compromise effect took place and we now have a hotch botch reality where most teams cater for the battler and the footballer. All of the latter means that standards of play are not as good as they should be - International competitions digs up its own truth. In countries like Spain the first ball game prevails and teams like Barcelona benefit from a higher standard of play, whereas, the Arsenal play in a mixed bag of realities and unfortunately for them suffer the consequences. Something is wrong with the Premiership - All too often here teams are not concerned about how they play and their style of play but about surviving in the Premiership.
Surviving by any means - often relying on the battlers to win games which will never ever amount to world class football.
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Martin Bidzinski is the author of football coaching books The Soccer Coaching Handbook, Smart First Touchesand Soccer Training: Developing the 360