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Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea: a contrast in style

By Walter Broeckx

Arsenal and Barcelona are two names in European football that are mentioned with great respect most of the time in the world of football. By the world of football I do not mean the press, the pundits and so on but in general by people that love the game and that love nice football.

We, as fans of The Arsenal, know all about how well we can play and how exiting our football can be and is most of the times. We are top scorers in the league, even with one game in hand, every game we attack from the start to the finish and people always can enjoy some amazing combinations, nice dribbling.  All players are technical very gifted; a joy to watch if you love attacking football.

As I am also able to follow the Spanish league and I must say that I like to watch when Barcelona plays. Although the defeat in the CL final still hurts, as a lover of attacking play and beautiful football, one has to admire Barcelona. They also play like Arsenal, always looking for the attack, always trying to play in a positive way and they have some exiting players in their team like Messi, Xavi, Iniesta,…

They also have a similar system and try to develop players trough their own youth system. A lot of their top players like Messi came trough their youth ranks. There are other young players like Bojan and Pedro who are knocking on the door like our youngsters do at the Arsenal.

Yes they buy big names as well and mostly when there is a presidential election on the promises are made as if there is no tomorrow.

And yes I do very much dislike the way they behave towards our captain Cesc and the constant pulling on his sleeves to come back home. But that is another story and I will leave this aside today.

What I really want to talk about is the way we and Barcelona seem to struggle when we play Chelsea.

Chelsea represent almost the total opposite of all that Arsenal and Barcelona are about. Chelsea is a team filled with money grabbing mercenaries that only play for the pounds that Abramovitch is throwing around at Stamford Bridge. A team packed with older players with a high level of experience and they all know how to stop an opponent that can play nice football.

They are perfectly equipped for that kind of game. They have big and fast defenders who are not afraid to kick the shit out of an attacker. Their midfield has the ability to slow the game, to make fouls, to kick the opponents until they will have no more of it. And they have an attack with the likes of Drogba, a forward line in his own, and Anelka who we all know very well.

Playing with our young squad in the last two seasons,  we have had difficulties with Chelsea. Yes we can all point at some things during the games but fact is we lost well on the score sheet the last times we played them.  We struggle against them.

I really think our team is not experienced enough to outplay them yet. Their tactic is to sit and wait and they have the ability to take advantage of the slightest mistake in our backline. Ugly to see but when you get the points like that no Chelsea fan will complain.

When last year’s CL semi final was played between Barcelona and Chelsea the same thing happened. Barcelona with all their flair, technique, skill couldn’t get trough the Chelsea defensive line up and up front Drogba gave the defenders a terrible time. They did that for 180 minutes and it was only thanks to a very lucky goal, and some refereeing decisions, at the end of the second leg that Barcelona saved the football world from yet another boring MU-Chelsea final.

So the best team in the world, Barcelona, struggled to beat Chelsea with their beautiful football. Just as we seem to do.

The biggest difference between Barcelona and Arsenal for the moment is the age. Barcelona has a squad that has an higher average age then Arsenal have. And Chelsea has the biggest average age of those three clubs with years older then we.

So yes I think we will have difficulties with beating Chelsea for this season but once the old legs are getting even older our young legs will only get stronger. Our players that are mostly around 21 or 22 years old have some 8 to 10 years coming where they will be at their strongest and best. Add that with the experience they have gathered already, and one learns more when it goes the hard way then when it is always easy and always winning, I believe from next season on we will be dictating the pace in the PL and the CL.

For this season I really don’t know if the boys can get over the massive injury list we have once again. If Robin Van Persie, Bendtner, Clichy and Rosicky would have stayed fit I am sure we would have won a few more games and would be well ahead.

The best is yet to come.

Walter Broeckx

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Tony

20 comments to Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea: a contrast in style

  • vusa mtetwa

    other ‘slight’ diffeences

    1) barca tend to give their players contracts in line with other very top teams in europe so for example they would not lose a player that is key in the teams collective function coz they cant pay 60k a week.
    2) barca will buy re-inforcements where re-inforcements are needed and do not pile the pressure on a young that might not just be ready yet for a role. they buy experience if experience is the answer. they spend money if money must be spent.
    3) jus an observation, the last time arsenal was particularly successful, there were a good number of players that could give anyone a kicking if giving someone a kicking was needed…adams, viera…football, indeed the premiership is very physical. Keita, Puyong and Yaya that we want for his PHYSICAL presence are examples.
    4)However, I love arsenal, but wish we appreciated that with some teams we got to play, on technical ability they are jus as good, but have a physical presence too. Essien, Drogba, Ballack, Lampard, Terry etc are NO LESS talented or any less skillfull than Arsenal players…but they adapt to win

  • AnonymousGun

    Totally offtopic .. but its exCiting 😉

    exiting means the act of going out 😮

  • skwam

    by the way, can i jus point out that the wreckless conclusion that if you love money you play for chelsea and you play for arsenal if you love football is misguided. football players make decisions on many points, money being one of them of course. starridge wanted a move to chelsea from man city. i want to make a move to chelsea coz i love money or mancity but i dont see that happening coz i never made the school c team.
    decisions are based on the likelihood of making it into a side, potential to win, how big a stage the team plays, family and even the weather.
    we get players from other youth academies because we ‘give youth a chance’. we would hold the moral ground if we did not take players from other teams youth academies but our own but because it is probably cheaper to buy someone thats almost ready, little known and commanding not mich in wages then we can claim the morale high ground is also baseless. HOWEVER, Id call it business intelligence than anything else and support it coz when the sugardaddies find a babe and walk away or when the bankers call for their moneis, we are the one top team that will definitely wont be affected…as far as I know

  • eukristian

    Our problem is that we constantly have injury problems . Other teams cope with that . We don’t and that’s very awful . Resistance to injury comes from physical strength . And everyone knows that we’re not very good at it .

    With the current level of technique and talent we would have won many trophies if we had no injuries , I’m sure of that .

  • Arsesession

    Nice write up Walter supported with excellent observations.

    I also see this year as part of the Arsenal metamorphosis. Youngsters need experience
    supporting their play, but its a sprinkling of youth with a core of experience.

    We can see from watching Chelsea (this year), their team is not the dominating force of
    previous years; attribute this to age, injuries, manager turnover, and added pressure from unrealistic fan and media expectations.

    That said, they will get out the check book and replace the non-performing old warriors
    with newer models. But Chelsea’s problems are there own doing and not for my time.

    With parity growing in the EPL – every club is acquiring better experienced managers; they in turn are building rosters a level above in quality and sourced globally, who can physically can compete in the league; compounded with the referee mentality that excessive contact is part of the entertainment package – there is no wonder that every team has injury issues.

    As fans we should sit back, savor special moments as last Sunday, and have faith our manager will find more pieces to the Arsenal puzzle.

  • Dimce

    Agree with most of your observations.,
    But even if I hate Chelski, I don’t think that it was Barcelona who saved the football world from yet another boring final. Drogba was right when he shouted “disgrace”. Love Bacelona, hate Chelski, love sports and hate corruption in sports. I was so disappointed that I didn’t watch the final,,
    BR

  • walter

    oops… whatte mistaike to maike…I feel like capt. Bertorelli 😉

  • don't believe the hype

    Very interesting points Walter. I think part of our problem against chelsea at Emirates this season is that we made too much of Drogba’s ability against us. We over focused on him which caused panic and mistakes at the back, when we should have been focusing more on our own game. The timing of the game when we had just been hit by the blow of losing RVP and had not had time to adjust our game didn’t help either.

  • Abhishek

    1) barca tend to give their players contracts in line with other very top teams in europe so for example they would not lose a player that is key in the teams collective function coz they cant pay 60k a week.

    Arsenal has got a more disciplined pay package and we have the second highest wages bill in PL. Those who want to leave would leave anyways. Adebayor had his salary doubled yet he left. So we should not moan about those who left for money. Infact he is the only one I guess. What do you say about Terry who despite being paid so highly wanted more and was blackmailing them.

    2) barca will buy re-inforcements where re-inforcements are needed and do not pile the pressure on a young that might not just be ready yet for a role. they buy experience if experience is the answer. they spend money if money must be spent.

    They do not need to build a stadium. And instead of buying experienced players we are creating experienced players. And the years of playing togethar is paying off now. BTW we are potentially second a point behind Chelsea.

    3) jus an observation, the last time arsenal was particularly successful, there were a good number of players that could give anyone a kicking if giving someone a kicking was needed…adams, viera…football, indeed the premiership is very physical. Keita, Puyong and Yaya that we want for his PHYSICAL presence are examples.

    Well I dont know how much of that is there. Nasri stamped when he wanted to. And someone kicking regularly tarnishes his reputation like divers.

    4)However, I love arsenal, but wish we appreciated that with some teams we got to play, on technical ability they are jus as good, but have a physical presence too. Essien, Drogba, Ballack, Lampard, Terry etc are NO LESS talented or any less skillfull than Arsenal players…but they adapt to win

    Yes they are good but to assemble such players you need to spend money worth the emirates stadium. And plus they might be good technically but we are good technically to play good football (oops great football).

    Sorry for the long reply.

  • Hans Byléhn

    I´m so tired of hearing how boring we (Chelsea) play and we only have mercenaries in our team, how we only buy and buy players. Our most consistent players the last 7 years are Terry and Lampard, Terry an own product and Lampard who only left West Ham because of how badly they treated his father (a WH-legend) and thy were there before RA. If your team and Barcelona only developed your own youthteam, how is it possible that you barely have any english players in your team. Is it because A: your team has changed league and are now playing in the french league? or B: you buy almost every talented french footballplayer that comes through the ranks in their homecountry? Don´t you think that the smaller teams say the same about you as they say about all european topteams, that they buy their way to success and steal their best youngsters. What seems to annoy you is that we buy older and more experienced players and therefore have to pay more for them, you buy cheaper and younger players. The concept is the same, buying success instead of educating young local players in your area. I admit it, we buy players and pay topdollars for them because we want to win titles! Don´t you wanna win titles and don´t you buy players to achieve that goal? Don´t be hypocrites, you´re as guilty as we are in stealing players from smaller teams. I´m not from England (Sweden) so my grammar isn´t the best:)

  • Abhishek

    Sorry I meant Ashley cole was the only one.

  • Simon Bailey

    walter, don’t worry too much if idiots pick up on your spelling. they would have a much harder time reading it in belgian (french, dutch or german?)

    i dont think that matching barca in terms of wages is a particularly healthy thing. certainly not something that arsenal should aspire to.

    this month will be very telling for chelsea. we will see how one dimensional they are without dogboy.

  • don't believe the hype

    Arsenal players are well paid, only chelsea and man c can afford mercenary wages, but those who play for the love of the game rather than just the money are the type I would rather have in the team. Those for whom money is everything soon find their level and live to regret it.

  • todd

    I think the comparison is interesting, and it made me think about Man City and how they’re doing. It feels like they are going to end up playing like Chelsea, but I don’t see them having the same level of success. I think they’ll tighten up at the back by tightening up all over the pitch, which will then lead to a more constrained offense, without Drogba to score goals.

  • nabildanial

    @Hans Byléhn…(the chelsea fan)

    I am a fanatical Arsenal fan from Malaysia, although my country never produce the world’s class football players, but people from countries like us admire the style of games played by Arsenal, it is very artistic and beautiful. I’m not saying that Chelsea play poorly, they are still attractive but not as attractive as the way Arsenal play. We are not very concerned to win title as fans in England(and other country do) wanted, but we wanted a GREAT game performance(like Arsenal and Barca used to do).

    Come on Walter Broeckx, give your respond!!!

    (Sorry for my bad English)…..

    Arsenal Go, GO!!!

  • LRV

    Hans Byléhn: This is UNTOLD ARSENAL. We like our Dear Club, do not poach or tap-up. We do not believe in excessive, rather conspicuous, ostentatious spending to lure over-rated players to our football club. We do not believe in buying success at all cost to the point of destroying managers careers in very quick succesion.

    How strange that your ‘dear old chavski’ does not have a blogsite for you to re-iterate your delusional comparisons? How many Untold Arsenal supporters visit your site per day? If you want to air your views about chavski, go to chavski sites; you’ll get more sympathy there.

  • diceman1984

    Hans Byléhn;

    The thing you talked about is actually called SCOUTING…..

    Stealing players is when you secretly hold meetings with the player trying to lure them by seducing their greed with hugh paycheck……it’s what your club has done many times and finally got caught and punished.

    I happened to believe that there are quite a number of young Englishmen at Arsenal youth system. Wilshere and Walcott are just prime example of the future leading stars.

    And for all chelski’s spending the return was abysmal 2 league and 2 fa cup titles. Maybe another 2 billion is needed to be spent in order for them to win more.

    chelski will never ever come close to Arsenal as a club. They may win something with the Russian in charge but history is built on something more than a billion pounds spent.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Another good piece Walter and I tend to agree with most of your observations .Arsenal and Barca do play the most beautiful football and I would pay to watch them . The others I won’t even watch on the telly as their style is so boring.As for Hans Bylehn ,stick to the Chelski websites.After that so lucky win over Fulham where your team was mauled and
    humilated ,especially in the first half, I would have expected you all to crawl under a rock and lick you wounds.John Pentsil showed us how to subdue Dogboy[nice one Simon Bailey] and his injury cost Fulham dearly.And where are you Joe -we all miss you.

  • walter

    Hans, the difference between Arsenal and Chelsea is in the fact that we always play our game. That is an attacking game. If we would go to Barcelona we would not put 10 players behind the ball. No we would go out on the field and when we get the ball we will attack them in our own style. I really think this could be one of the best games football would ever see.
    Even if I can see a lot of games I nearly never watch a Chelsea game even if the outcome of the games does intrest me a lot. This is my opinion on how Chelsea play and you can have other opinions but I really can not like the way Chelsea play.
    On our youth development : this is a work of years. If you would take a look at the Arsenal youth team that won the double last season you could notice that most of them are from the UK.
    The fact that most our current team are foreigners is due to the fact that AW looks at who is the best player for his team. The passport of the players he wants is not important. And yes he wants them young to develop the players in our way of playing.
    BTW I think I never said that we only play with players from our own youth. Maybe in 5 years time this could be the case but not right now. Most of our current team is bought at a young age so we could look upon as our owb youth players.

    Winning a trophy with players bought with money a club does not have is cheating. If the Russian decides to quit one day, Chelsea is dead and burried. Well maybe you can enjoy it while you can. No rich sugar daddy has stayed for ever.

  • Tiki

    The other reason we lack English players is that the youth set up has only reached the levels it is currently at over the last 5 or so years. Wenger pushed through the new academy system, using legends like Bouldy to head up the set up and pass on his experience and wisdom to the lads. Before Wenger our youth academy was at a good level, but very spotty and inconsistent. We’d produce a spate of good players, and then none for several seasons, then the cycle would repeat.