…. the team that is built around the ability to beat anti-football.
It is now 243 years 38 weeks, 4 days, 5 hours, 23 minuutes 3 seconds since one of the big four won a league match, and time is starting to run out for these top clubs.
By having successfully evolved ways of disrupting all real football without engaging the wrath of the refs, the FA and the EPL, the anti-football clubs have endeavoured to aid their own survival. The result, as we can see, is a bunching of lower teams together in the bottom part of the league. Two defeats and you are in the relegation zone. Two wins and you are “challenging for Europe”.
In the short term ultimately someone at the top is going to win a game, but the way it looks at the moment it is either going to be a victory in a game between two of the top four, or it is going to be because of a moment’s luck.
But what of next season, and the one after? Having found their solution, the lesser clubs are certainly not going to give it up. You can’t imagine Aston Villa, having found success with their approach, then stopping it and starting to play free-flowing open football. Likewise you can’t imagine the FA, or EPL, doing anything about all the tricks of anti-football. That is not their style and besides if they were going to do something, they would have done it by now. Rotational fouling has been around for five years, and there has not been a single move against it.
Which means in the end that the solution has to come from the one of the top four clubs that has imagination: Arsenal. The only question is how long will it take to find this solution.
There are moments when I watch a game that I think that the answer is just around the corner – and then along comes another major injury and we are set back again. Three really influential players – Rosicky, Eduardo and Walcott have now been joined by Cesc out of the game. It is creative players like that who will find a way through, and those are the ones we are missing.
But there is a ray of hope. It is clear that in the coming years the players who are going to join the Arsenal first team squad will have been around for a while. They will have been brought up on anti-football as the norm, and they will, as part of their upbringing, seen how to overcome it. I suspect that by the time Jack Wilshere is striding across the turf game after game, anti-football will be beaten, eaten both by its own desire to negate everything that is good in the game, but also by a new round of utter brilliance.
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