The Mourinho revolution and the death of football

By Walter Broeckx

When I saw Mourinho win against Barcelona and Bayern Munich with his very defensive tactics I feared the worst for football.

I feared that we were in for a lot of teams trying to stick to his tactics. Park the bus in front of goal and hope for a counter attack and win the game. A bit the old Belgian tactics I so deeply hate.

As I have noted elsewhere, people who want to see a game on TV (when it is not their team that is playing) want to see attractive football. In Holland there was a drop up to 40 % when a Mourinho team played the final, even with some Dutch players in his team.

Of course Mourinho and Inter will not mind that people turn off their TVs. And maybe Uefa don’t mind at first but they have to be careful because the sponsors could mind if they see that the audience drops because of the ugly football on display.

But as Guo Sheng Lee said in his “Why are you an Arsenal fan?” article,  the “winning is all” philosophy is king in football for the moment. I’m not saying winning is not important, because it is. But is winning at all cost good for football?

Of course for the team that wins the game it is. But how long will people come to the stadium to see a team win in such a way? How long will people sit in front of their TV and doze off? And how long will sponsors keep on paying money and risk that no one is noticing their advertising hoardings because the stadium is empty and the TV is off?

In fact, in the long run the Mourinho philosophy could bring the future of football in danger.

By the end of the first games in each group in the world cup it was clear to see that the big majority of teams are trying to play the Mourinho tactics. The result was that never before in the modern times we have seen so many boring games. Because if the two teams play the same tactics you get the most dreadful football you can imagine. The number of goals scored is very low. Alarmingly low I would say.  It is not that there is no icing on the cake, there’s not even a cake.

I know you can have very entertaining 0-0 draws but this can only happen when both teams are trying to attack and through a series of last second interceptions, shots against the post and amazing saves, the goals just don’t come. I think we all can remember some games when we could go home satisfied because the game was good, there were chances but sometimes the goal just don’t come.

But so far in the world cup we have seen a lot of games where the teams don’t attack each other. They wait for the other team to attack them and if that team don’t attack them they just keep on sitting in the back.

So we see what happens when all the teams would play the Mourinho tactic. In a way I feel very sorry for South Africa. For the first time there is a world cup in their continent. If we leave aside for the moment all the criticism that one can have against Fifa we must say that it is a great thing to have a world cup in Africa as the people in Africa deserved it.

And now the people who love football in Africa come to see the beautiful game and all they get to see is mostly dreadful football. I think the people in South Africa deserve better. But unfortunately the people don’t decide the tactics; the trainers do.

I think we should be careful about using comparative phrases such as  “the best” or “the worst world cup”.  These are always dangerous. As only the first games have been played we still have a long way to go and things could change. So I will not be saying, yet, that this world cup is the most boring world cup ever in history. I will not be saying, yet,  this is the worst world cup ever in history. But what I do can say is that this is the worst first games ever in a world cup in history.

25 goals in the first round in 16 games is an all time low, an average of 1,5 goals per game. And luckily that we had Germany, the only team in my eyes that have made some impression and played 90 minutes at a high level, who scored 4 goals (because otherwise we would have an average of 1.3 goals per game). Imagine this: Germany the saviour of attractive football in the world cup. Well someone has to save football in the world cup I guess.

In a way this world cup is maybe a bit of a blessing for some Arsenal fans. I know most fans enjoy the way we play football in the Wenger era a lot. I do anyway. We play an attacking game, we play nice football with skill and a quick passing game.  In most of our games we see good attractive football and we can be proud of the way we play.

Of course after a while some may take this for granted. But when you see during a week nothing but utterly boring and defensive football you begin to appreciate the way we play even more.

The Arsène Wenger philosophy with its entertaining football, is something that could be lost when the manager leaves us. Imagine what happens if we get a trainer who would adapt the way Switzerland plays. I could have taken another country but this was just the game that came to mind.

Yes, Switzerland won but are we going to sit full of anticipation when they play their next game? Are we going to mark the date and the time in our schedule to be sure that we don’t miss a second of their game? Well I will not that’s for sure. I will be looking when they play so I can be sure that I do something else when they play. And I repeat I could have changed the name Switzerland by almost any other country in the tournament. Don’t take it as a personal attack against Switzerland if you are a Swiss Gooner.

So for the moment we can only hope that we might see a bit more football being played and that the coaches have to stop their defensive tactics a bit. But I’m afraid that from the moment the group stages are over we will see even more of this Mourinho type of games. So I will be watching in the hope that we get to see some nice football but I wouldn’t bet any money on it.

The good thing is that in only one month time we will have most of our boys back in training and ready to start the season and see some attractive football. Please, please bring it on.


Avoid Boredom: read “Making the Arsenal”

Avoid Boredom: read more articles on Untold

Avoid Boredom: read about Arsenal during war time

Avoid Boredom

54 Replies to “The Mourinho revolution and the death of football”

  1. And can you believe it, after writing this down suddenly the teams started playing. I should have done this before the world cup. 😉

    On the world cup itself: Vela out injured is bad news for Arsenal. But it looks that we will have our French players back when the training starts and that is good news. Sorry French Gooners, well but you know what I mean.

  2. WELL DONE switzerland, I wish we could be more tactically aware of both forms of football and defend and counter better like we used to,,,,,, not so long ago.

  3. Walter,

    I too acknowledge the wonderful performance of Germany so far. I really liked watching Chile and Mexico bring their urgent and passionate brand of football as well in the WC. And of course everyone who appreciates attacking football loves to watch Brazil or Spain in full flight.

    That said – the defensive side of the game is very important too. Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Germany can all defend. Ottmar Hitzfeld is a great coach. Switzerland do not have wonderful attacking talent like Spain. But they do, arguably, have a better organised defence..!! Sometimes its about playing to your strengths. Mourinho took an Inter team that was utterly spanked by Man Utd 5-1 in last years CL – to being European Champions this year. In the process he must have conducted the transfer coup of the century in getting 30m for Ibra plus a better player in Eto. He used that money to buy players that were either rejected or deemed superfluous in other clubs and cultivated a winning mentality.

    You can win with Poetry or with a barricade depending on the mix of players at your disposal. But one things absolutely certain IMO, to win at all – you need to have the proper attitude and mentality. Just look at the French team last night. For all their talent, they were a complete disgrace. Beaten by a team with far less talent, but much more attitude.

    So let me ask you this Walter while Im on that vibe – do you think the attitude with some of the players at AFC is right?

  4. Joe, if I think of the way we have been fightin in some games to win and won it in the end, I think the attitude is right.
    I don’t think the defeats against MU and Chelsea had much to do with attitude. Because we started well enough in those games but we didn’t finish our early chances and they did.
    And in those games we made some vital mistakes that are typical when you are young. We wented to hurry things to much and exposed ourselves. We wanted to equalise to fast and should have given ourselves more time. But many of the players ran forward and we paid for that against teams with one of the best counter attacking players.

    So I think it had more to do, in those games, with patience but not so much with attitude. Well that’s my opinion.

  5. Hey Walter goood article once again

    Alot of fans grew up singing one nil to the arsenal so we are well versed on the mourhino style of play. It is not the anti football managers and teams that are the problem it is FIFA for favouring negative football so much could be done to make football more exciting. No kid watches football to watch 0-0 draw or one shot on goal

    I am grateful to WENGER for bringing exciting football to Arsenal, but not to just Arsenal but to the premier league and mnost neutrals who had the choice of a season ticket anywhere would choose arsenal as their destination because you would see could football.

    If you are a connoisseur of football you can only admire arsenal,heres the BUT, the cesc interview the other day about Arsenal not watching videos of opponents raised a few eye brows. IMO WENGER is lost on defending he does it because he has to not because he enjoys it if arsenal win 4-1 he is happy where as some coaches would be annoyed with the goal conceded, in the big games every team except BARCA have changed their tactics to stifle arsenal and I could more less tell you the tactics not that I am a master tactician everyone knows what teams try to do arsenal.

    AW strengths are : Attacking football, getting the best out of players, never giving up,loyalty and commitment to his players

    I think his weakness is TACTICS, before anyone attacks me I am not saying this as fact but my opinion. I thinks his tactics are lousy and it is clear to every arm chair pundit and ex footballer pundit that we never seem to have a plan B

    The english game is not suited to wengers philosphy and he will forever remain unappreciated for what he has done for the league ,I think untill you get rid of the sam allardyces, tony pulis of this world out of football negative football remain.

    just a thought what if you only got half a point for a draw, the option of drawing would not be a good one it would more or less be the same as a loss and then teams would go for it more, TOO many teams have a fear of losing so dont try winning

  6. I can relate to the sentiment in this article – that nobody wants to watch a boring game of football (hell, we might as well all tune into Baseball if we enjoy being bored to death watching sport) but I do disagree with the content and the example of Inter given.
    Football only gets boring when you have 2 teams that are defensive minded – hence why this WC has disappointed hugely so far as teams have been afraid of losing to much. However, I find it quite interesting when you have one good attacking team pitting their wits against a good more defensive team. No one could say that the CL final was boring (their have been far worse) and Inters 2nd leg semi was Barca was a great game, and was edge of seat stuff a lot of the time as Barca attacked relentlessly trying to break them down. But Inter are not an out an out defensive team, they have great players and you don’t win their treble by playing boring negative football all season (those who have watched Inter a lot this year will back that up)
    I would also much rather see well organised, disciplined and tactically strong teams play than the likes of Stoke City who genuinely have to kick teams off the park because they have so little talent and know-how. Whilst coaches like Tony Pulis remain in the top flight of English football, things will never get better over here, but that is probably a discussion for another day.

  7. Good article,Walter.

    As Gooner80 said, One-nil to The Arsenal was worth watching with George Graham. But, as he also mentioned, tactics do not appear to be Arsene’s forte. Yes, we love his style of free-flowing football, but there are times when a plan B is needed. What it should be, I know not, but there at times needs to be one.
    Maybe with three tall attackers we might see one.

  8. France deserved to get kicked out of the WC. You can never get to anywhere with such a stupid coach. Henry on the bench for full 90 min!?? Nasri & Benzima watching on television!?!I’m sorry to see that the largest number of Arsenal players play for France. Sign of things to come for Gunners? I’d hate to think so.

  9. I have been following your articles since they started.
    But this one i can’t agree with.

    What you call the Mourinho football is no doubt tried by many clubs and national teams. The difference is that Mourinho wins with those tactics , while other teams wither away and wilt.
    The genius of Mourinho’s style is that his teams have no FIXED style. His teams adapt to the opposition. The opposition never knows what is Mourinho going to do this time.

    Another point – Mourinho was the only coach with the nuts to attack barcelona 3-1 at home , playing 4-2-1-3.Thats attacking in my opinion. And what do you expect him to do with 10 men at Nou camp, with fires burning in that massive cauldron of a stadium.

    Every sport evolves with time. In Football , the Future belongs to counter-attacking football.

    I’ll label Mourinho defensive only if he defends even with Real Madrid.So far the teams he had – he had to defend.

    I’d love to know what do you think of the Jabulani ball ?? You must like it. It doesn’t behave in the air. So is much more conducive to play on the ground arsenal style.

  10. Walter,

    Whenever I see defensive football…And, it seems hopeless I think of the Hungarians in the 50’s, Brazil all generations, Dutch of the 70’s.

    Particularly pay attention to how Brazil handle opponents who play zero football. They outwork their opponents every parcel of the pitch. They balance skill & technique with strength and endurance. That is how you handle Mourinho.

    There is an old saying I think Mourinho goes by that makes zero football easier for him. “It’s far easier to defend than it is to innovate.” Wenger is an innovator therefore always thinking of ways to win. Contrast that with Mourinho who plots ways to stop the creativity. This is why currently zero football has the upperhand… They have mastered how to defend the latest innovation. Stay tuned

  11. I kinda agree with Harman on this.
    Many managers/teams try the whole ultra defensive formation/tactic to try earn a point or hold out for the win..some succeed, many fail. Maybe if we were a bit more organised in…I dunno.. the West Ham and Wigan matches we could have secured the wins..maybe..
    You can’t take away the genius that is Mourinho. He’s done exceptionally well taking into account the teams that he has managed.
    He is a great tactician, it seems, but above all he is a great manager. His team, mostly, seem as if they’d die for the man. Their happy-ish, with playing out of position for the good of the team. When players are playing out of position, they play with all they’re heart. In contrast, we have Arshavin(love him) who was played as a lone striker, or front 3, and you could tell he wasn’t comfortable with it. During that, unfortunate but Arsenal, period of time when both Van P and Bentdner were injured, maybe it would have been wise to revert back to 4-4-2…maybe…
    I really do enjoy the way we play. When it works, I can’t see many teams in Europe playing the way we do..when it doesn’t work , it gets really frustrating. Perhaps i’m basing too much of my post on last season when Wenger didn’t have many options upfront.

  12. Mourhino…

    I have no love for him..

    He is the ultimate opportunist..

    Not good enough for football… So he used his big mouth to defame the game…

    Not good enough for Managing so he became a translator…

    Not good enough for Spain so he went Portugal…

    Not good enough for EPL when Raneiri brought him Lampard, Terry, Essien you name it… And, Abromovich Bought him So he went to Italy

    Not good enough for Wenger So he wants to be like him..

    Finally, not good enough for Barca which ironically enough he started his crap football and now he is at Real Mistake where he will surely drown all of Spain..

  13. “Sign of things to come for Gunners? I’d hate to think so?”

    Nothing specific in the quote above. Just a meaningless, vague, generalisation.

    Are Chav$ki fans writing the same pathetic wind ups upon their own blogs?
    In the game of football I watched last night, the players who really looked shocking were:

    Captain Evara. ManBust. No need for a comment.
    Abidal: Barcelo-NO.
    Gouvou: Who cares.
    Anelka: A silly Chavette.
    Malouda: Another even more silly Chav. Possibly even more stupid then Terry and Ballack. An idiot for having started a fight with a man-child who was his manager, and therefore gave him the excuse to act even more foolish. Very Smart.

    Our boys?

    Diaby: Started well, faded. The fact that he was one of two or three actually making an effort can’t have helped.
    Sagna: Ditto.

  14. I disagree with this article.

    As a poster mentioned above, Inter had quality attacking in the first leg, but had to defend almost the full 90 minutes because they were down to ten men. If you think Inter has any chance playing attacking football against Barca with 10 ten, then you are deludued.

    Teams first defensively in the first game of the World Cup because they are aware that losing often means you are very close to not qualifying from the group.

    That being said, how could not enjoy the tactics of the teams? Do you like watching the same teams win game after game? I love the fact that a smaller team has a chance to win football at any level if they play the tactics right and are fit. Its what makes the game interesting (a thinking mans game) and unpredictable

  15. Inter are a small team?

    I don’t think Inter started that leg against Barca with ten men, and personally, I don’t feel it made very much difference to their tactics on the night!

    It will be interesting to see how Rafa does with Maureen’s team. There’s a reason why in the past their teams both negated each other.
    It is because they are both boring managers!

  16. (I will Rhys)

    Walter you man of Le Belgique! I am tired of the cameras and the suspicion of the thankless rhetoric that the spies in your manner are justified!

    How is it that someone of your country has the inside knowledge of the lies perpetuated of Wenger?

    Yes my friends it is Walter who needs to play cricket all day long while sipping Tea to understand the frustration we English feel towards Le Belgique. Inglorious Bastards!

  17. i believe that argentina, with their clumsy defenders, only average “nothing special” goalkeeper, incredibly prolific attack and manager that probably gets high before going to matches will give us plenty to watch.

  18. Great article Walter. Mourinho is a repugnant egomaniac who teams play anti football. I don’t see the egomaniac lasting at any top European club. Winning is not enough at any top club – it never has been- you need style and Mourinho sends us back 20 years to the dark days of catenacchio in order to win.
    Winning the league playing anti- football will not capture the imagination of neutral fans- who wants to play as Inter do?
    Wenger is a student of the psychology of team sports- think of a dominant team- like the All Blacks in RU or the Australians in Cricket-or Queensland in Rugby League- do you seriously think that they sacrifice their attacking instincts in order to nullify the opposition a la Mourinho? Do they hell. They go out with the confidence that if they get their game right they will win- and they do.
    The only problem is that Wenger’s approach, in order to be successful requires a level of maturity – a team of Adam’s, Bergkamps and Henry’s, not a bunch of tentative kids. Sadly if the quotes allegedly from Fabregas are true? Perhaps he is more comfortable in being told what to do rather than leading a team.

  19. Sun Tzu says

    “If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles”.

    problem is Arsenal only know themselves according to Cesc. I think you cant hate the player when they play within the rules. Sometimes it is naive to attack a team especially when leading after 80th minute. Football is as much about defending as it is attacking,sometimes you cant rely on outscoring your opponent. Until a manager comes up with a system that destroys any negative tactics, the lesser team is always going to go for anti football, so much money is involved managers cant afford to lose

    I think winning comes first because no remembers the team that played entertaining football but finished 4th

    once you are the winning team then fans demand more as with chelsea, Real madrid etc. Fans wont embrace anti footballat all costs.

    I hate to admit it but MAN U usually get the balance right and to a certain extent Chelsea this year.

    Maureen does what he says on the tin and the proof is EVEN Real madrid who sacked capello for winning la liga ugly are so desperate for a trophy they have employed the most BORING Ba***RD going, To me WALTER sining maureen for real madrid sums up this whole debate getting winning trophies then yes by all means bring on the entertaining football


  20. 80- “no one remembers the 4th place team who plays beautiful” is like reading the ugly duckling and never getting to the part where he is actually a swan.

    The point is there is more to the Arsenal story…

    The point is who won fourth place?

    The point is we need to put this team into the context of wait until the plot becomes interesting…

    Wait until the teams who have sacked the coach because the coach spent too much on players and they still finished behind the “beautiful team’ so we call that boring and expensive..

  21. So the latest meme doing the rounds is that:

    “AFC don’t use video’s in training.”

    Well, let me think about that for a while…

    A coaching staff, composed in the main, of former professional Defenders, don’t use video’s?


    What are those exact comments by Cesc, the interview in which they were made, the context of the words he’s saying, within the rest of his comments?

    It is odd: why do commentators who want to refer to said interview, not provide any links? Not text, but the actal interview.
    How hard can it be?
    I wonder why they don’t provide the source.

  22. “Maureen does what he says on the tin and the proof is EVEN Real madrid who sacked capello for winning la liga ugly are so desperate for a trophy they have employed the most BORING Ba***RD going, To me WALTER sining maureen for real madrid sums up this whole debate getting winning trophies then yes by all means bring on the entertaining football”

    Is not Maureen Real Mad’s third choice for the new Galactico project after AW and that last poor fellow.
    Yes, I do believe that is the hostorical, and factual record.

    I for one, am glad AW told Real Mad to hop off, and to stay with AFC.
    I guess, Maureen just isn’t that ambitious.

  23. fINSBURY

    the cesc interview was on BBC and is not made up he compared the tactics of Arsenal and spain among other things and talking abour senderos, I cant see how it was taken out of context

  24. Finsbury

    Maureen was first choice this year,I think AW would get the sack you know that aswell as AW, Madrid aint won the Champions lge for 9 years so the went for the most likiest choice to bring them it at the cost of their philosophy on football that is my point

  25. Sorry Gooner80, but I saw nothing to concern me.

    But you could provide a link for others to clarify what it is you are trying to say.

    And I don’t understand your second comment, it makes no sense.

    “I think AW would get the sack you know that aswell as AW”

    That is just your, not so humble, opinion. It means nothing.

    AW was THE candidate for Real MAd’s new project. Ask Perez.
    Maureen has just been asked to come in for nasty thirds because AW told them to Get. €500 Bazillions on a squad and the manager is a panic bought afterthought? Yeah…right.
    That doesn’t mean I’m saying Maureen is a bad manager, it’s just the truth.

    I sure am glad AW has more ambition then yourself.

  26. It’s understandable if a small country or club play that way because they have limited resources. But when a club or Country full of superstar players, plays that way through fear of losing rather than trying to win, it’s inexcusable.

  27. Firstly I don’t think Maureen was available last year and that is besides the point what I am saying is that Real Madrid only want to play beautiful football and they have stooped sooo low that they went for the master of anti football. Sometimes substance is more important than style

    I will give you another example Winning comes first if arsenal are playing man U last game of the season and are level on points winning comes first I wouldn’t care if Arsenal only had one shot on goal and parked the bus behind the goal if they won.

    Give me a credible answer where playing beautiful football succeeds winning, You can win and play good football that is the ideal way, that is the purist way but you have to win first. Football is about competition as a male and a sports orientated person I live for the competition, I wouldn’t play football without keeping score. it is about winning being the victor, it is about beating your rivals, it is a battle,

    Winning is capitalism, it is not always fair and sometimes the better team loses butiin the distant future few people will know how well some one played. Winning is the only thing that is objective playing football can only be subjective, it can only be a opinion but winning is fact, winning is all we are left with, Winning is the measure.

    Beauty is merely in the eye of the beholder is a davinci better than a Picasso with its sharp crude edges?, the answer is no. No one can substantiate beauty, but a win and a loss is defining. Something that is not to your Palette Finsbury doesn’t not make it wrong.

    Maybe this where me and you differ FINSBURY I choose wining before beautiful football I was raised on 1-0 to the arsenal and I didn’t care how we won as long as we won, I cant take no pleasure in saying we played better than Chelsea at stamford bridge but lost 2-0. I would prefer us to outplay the team with slick passing moves ending in a goal and we win the match that is perfection but when you are not winning things you can hope only for the result

    Back onto the subject of Maureen he does play some attractive football at times but WHEN it MATTERS he WINS. Personally I cant stand the man I think he is an arrogant prick,

  28. No link to the Cesc interview?

    On VIDEO REPLAYS: from Goonerholics blog

    “…The Coaches office was piled high – literally from floor to ceiling – with videos of players and teams from every corner of the world… rest assured…you’ve never seen so many football videos in your life.”

    Maureen for England?

  29. but how long will people come to see a team not winning. that is the question walter.

  30. A message to the England players, we are so sorry to see that the world cup has interupted your overly expensive holiday’s, so please come home and stop embarrasing our proud nation with this shambles. Capello, your nice big pay check and years upon years of experience has still not taught you that the best teams do not play 4-4-2. Utter disgrace. I nearly spent thousands on going to the Algeria and Slovenia games, I very so grateful i did not and would like to see these over paid primadona’s put their hands in their VERY deep pockets and reimburse the thousands of fans who have had their hard earned money shoved down their throats. England til’ I die? Club before country? You make my decision VERY easy performing like that.

  31. Well if we judge by the periods of non-winning in Arsenal’s history, I suppose we could say about 30 years.

  32. Ok Finsbury

    I am going to clear this Video thing was and for all, the link you provided states that his office was piled full of videos from players all across the world.SURELY this is for scouting players not for tactical reasons, and it certainly doesnt state that it is on opponents. Show me any interview where an Arsenal player or AW has said he studies the opponents watching videos and discussing how to neutralise the team, AW doesnt do this and I have heard AW say on many occasions he focuses on his own team and doesnt change his team to accommodate the team he plays against

    on to the CESC interview it was on the bbc millions watched it I heard the words coming out of CESC lips the bit about video tapes is below taken from the mirror but these are his actual words I saw and heard it

    “Here they give us much more information than they do at Arsenal, definitely. At Arsenal we don’t really look at anything from the other team, we look for ourselves and that’s it. Here, maybe two three days before the game, we start looking at some videos, we know more or less the starting eleven that is going to play… we know nearly everything about them.”

    This is not the press twisting his words. If you listen to wenger this is his philosphy. Wenger does use alot of scientific measurements to test the performance of players that is why AW sells them when he knows they are past their best. AW certainly will like at the videos of his own team and go over the mistakes they made, but I think it is rare he look at the opposition he just thinks if Arsenal bring their best game they will win and in all honesty he is right Arsenal can beat anyone on their day

    Im sorry Finsbury but unless I imagined it and quite a few million others who watched the prematch clips of cesc saying about the videos than I am wrong

  33. Still no link to the Cesc interview?

    How hard can it be to provide a link?

    Here’s one, in praise of Morinhio!

    I guess, there must have been a lack of resource material for a bunch of comedians to provide this ongoing series of sketches, from years ago. My favourite is the scene with the ‘Granny’, although the last scene in the shopping mall is intriguingly prophetic:

  34. p.s. Selected quotes, as text, does not equate to a ‘source’ for an interview, or for the context of those quotes, as requested above.

    That is why I provided you an actual link, to give you the C.O.N.T.E.X.T. of the quotation.

    Oh, the Spainish national team obviously benefited from their amazing video preparation.

  35. How the did that team in ’04 go unbeaten?

    Did they just turn up at matches and hope for the best?

    Yup, that must have been the case.

    And in ’06, when the squad got to the CL final, without letting in a goal (and only let in goals after the ‘keeper was sent off)…I guess, they must have just prayed to the football gods before taking the field against the likes of Juventus, and huniliating them.

    Study the opposition?

    Why would they do that?

    And, obviously, the entire coaching staff at AFC has changed since then as well.

  36. Ps Finsbury it is not text this is the words coming out of Cesc mouth. It is the whole interview. I am not saying arsenal dont loook at videos it IS CESC saying it

  37. It’s quite an interesting question whether watching videos of the opposition is a must or whether a team must adapt its tactic based on the opposition. I think the answer is back to the team, whether it wants to have its own identity or not. I think it’s difficult, if not impossible, to get the “correct” answer as it’s very subjective. Personally I will choose the earlier. And it seems that is also what Arsenal chose. With an identity, we can change coaches or managers, but it can be kept the same.

    After watching Arsenal for years, especially the ones under AW, it’s obvious that players are being given freedom to apply this identity of playing style which is instilled during training. We play zonal marking, no man marking even if there is Ronaldo or Messi. We play flowing attacking football. Does it work? Well, not always apparently. But it did work before as Fins pointed out. What it needs is just players who know how to do it. And who they might be, I’ll let the pro identify and sign them. 😉

  38. June 20th @8.34 pm.

    @ Finsbury

    “I think your silence says it all”.

    Finsbury @ June 18th 7.23 pm.

    “Sorry Gooner80, but I saw nothing to concern me.”

    I don’t feel the need to repeat myself.
    It would help if you could read my comments too.

    But well done! It only took you forty eight hours to post a link to your comment.

    “thanks for making search the BBc”

    So, that means that you were comenting upon an interview, upon this blog, without having watched the interview.

    That makes it alot easier to understand where your ‘opinions’ are coming from.

    Hope you enjoyed the interview!

  39. Finsbury this is getting silly OF COURSE I WATCHED THE INTERVIEW before commenting As I said I watched it on TV not off the web so I had to find a way of getting it off the web as I said millions saw it, it was pretty common knowledge not something amazing.

    I dont have all the time in the world to prove a point. Do you know what I respect your opinion thanks for having a debate with me, I can certainly see where your opinions come from lets just leave it there unless you need to have the last word

  40. Especially for you gooner80:

    What do you think? More shouting?
    Just problems ironing out kinks in a new partnership/formation?
    Maybe upgrade The Verminator with a higher spec sound card? So it can clearly bellow out instructions etc. I think that upgrade is probably being made this summer anyway.

    Hence Song being stranded, twice, against Barca (home). I love the way Gallas and TV5 played this season, and I accept the risks. Watching Holland against Japan and the TBOF (tm: Shotta-Gunna) just reinforces why I’m so glad AFC play like they do. It’s not like there’s much of a choice anyway. Unless, you’re a fan of Rugby Union…

    Video’s? I’m not sure if that’ll help here,
    unless they are of the Arsenal players.

  41. Oh, those are Zonalmarking’s words, not mine.

    Thanks for the articulate arbitration Andry. : )

  42. And so what should be said in regards to world football?

    Brazil avg. in regards to country?

    Brazil in regards to club?

    Answer is the answer..

    Brazil lends itself to World football and club…

    Mourinho a donkey…

    Last final question imagine if Brazil was a club team in the EPL what would the result be?


  43. They would be kicked to pieces I think Hartwick but this is no critics on the English refs but to the general low quality of many refs like the French ref showed today. But more on that later.

  44. Well, they dive more often than ronaldo and worse than drogba…so probs champs…

  45. Thanks Walter and I sincerely appreciate that!

    Cosmo the point is that Brazil has an answer to negative football.

    There is always an answer. The question is why is it always from Brazil… What makes the Brazilians so special? Is it they seek money, fame, or glory?

    Or is it that they put football in the heart and everything comes after that?

    You should read Pele’s autobiography…

    No intent for anything other than the love for the game….

    Ask yourself this question do you love this game? I mean love it? I do! I love it! I dream about it..

    Watch the movie Bagger Vance… Even though it is golf imagine dying on a football pitch! The innocence is there for the Brazilians and that is where the answer is.

  46. @Hartwick
    Apologies, that post was a bit abrupt.
    In my eyes diving is as negative as ‘negative football’.

    Would you agree that ‘negative football’ or ‘anti-football’ is a tactic used by a lot of teams in this World Cup and especially used against us in the EPL.
    I’m not a fan of watching it as an Arsenal fan as it frustrates the hell outta me(when watching Arsenal).
    Would you agree that it is a tactic?
    What is a tactic? ‘A procedure or set of maneuvers engaged in to achieve an end, an aim, or a goal.’ – wiki.
    If,say, Aston Villa’s ‘goal/aim’ was to play on the counter attack against us and, when they got the chance, then hoof the ball up two the big man or the speedy boys then we can’t complain about that. If every team in the EPL applied the same tactics as Wenger does, I have no doubt that our team will end up on top. Our players are technically superior (IMO) to any other team in the EPL.
    That fact that teams have to apply, in some eyes, ‘negative football’ tactics in order to have a chance of stopping us I see it as a compliment to what Wenger has achieved.
    I wouldn’t say Brazil have the answer to ‘negative football’ tactics as some might say. They just attack a lot better than Arsenal, for the moment.
    You can’t say that you didn’t get frustrated with seeing the same – short pass throughout the midfield to one of the wings then hit n hope plays that were frustrating to say the least.
    Btw, I hope your view of me isn’t some anti Wenger, random poster on this blog. As I’ve said in a previous post, when we get it right, we look sublime…when we don’t it becomes an eye sore.
    Btw, I mentioned above that Brazil are better at attacking than us, that was in comparison to last season as a whole.

  47. On Mourinhio:

    How could I forget to mention the mysterious case of the Golden Whistle! ( I may have done so in the past.)

    And this is an intersting article that arose from a google search for ‘The Golden Whistle’ (not to be confused with The Golden Compass; a friend won an award for some CGI work on that film from that great book, but no awards on the mantlepiece for CGI in the case of the Golden Whistle…yet).

    Is the answer diving? heh.

    Hartwick, that was an interesing comment the ther day about teams like Hungary, and the level of coaching they received.

    I think it’s fair to say, the change in our urban lifestyles, the loss of playing areas, are all a factor that make coaches a necessity in some industrialsed societies. I believe it’s why they have so many coaches & schemes in Rotterdam, Amsterdamn etc…it’s a natural way to balance things out. Even the ECB have realised they had to act, I’m saving getting my cricket badges till I’m a little older and less busy (hopefully!), but they’ve churned out approximately ten thousand coaches in recent times.

    I once saw Nasser Hussein’s dad in action as a coach, over at his club, Ilford.
    He runs a good club, and did a good job coaching his son, who along with Duncan Fletcher, went on to help lay the foundations for an improved team and ethic. No excuses about ‘players getting bored’ from that lot.

  48. I think the only way to stop negative football is to score first and score early, they way Arsenal used to play hit them hard and fast.

    The longer in a game a negative team goes without conceding the more confidence it breeds. once their behind they have to go for it or it could get worse that is why Arsenal IMO used to be so so good at counter attacking.

    Or the other way to tackle it is to be extremely good on set pieces, so many teams lack imagination with set pieces

    Personally I am hoping Chamkh is the answer,I just wish the wings would improve their crossing

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