The proverb “Attack is the best form of defence” gets thrown around a lot when talking about football, as seemingly the better your attack and the more you attack, the less you have to defend. I’m saying that’s not true. Well, to some extent anyway.
I would agree that the more time you spend attacking, is less time spent defending but at the same time, the more attacks you have that fail in the build up, the more you actually have to defend. When you control the ball, have options around you to keep the ball (see my other thread) and have people in areas of the pitch to defend the space should you lose the ball, then you will be more successful. Teams want to do everything at breakneck speed. That is the modern game I suppose. If you can do the basics well and be in the right areas of the pitch, once those things become muscle memory, then you can look to speed it up. Thats where I think a lot of teams go wrong.
“You dont win games by not scoring” I hear you say. Well, you don’t win them by conceding either. Look at Chelsea and Spurs this season. As it stands, 27 games, 20 goals conceded each. There’s no surprise they’re up there leading the way. Unless you’re ridiculously dangerous up top and can go gungho with world beaters like City and we were in 13/14, both scoring over 100 goals each then you have to be sure at the back to progress. Even with our insane strikeforce, we still couldn't get over the line.
Too many teams get labels for sitting back and “parking the bus”. I for one don’t like to see that label or even that style for that matter. You don’t need to play backs to the wall to be defensively sound and cohesive. You just need to be on your toes, moving with the play and aware of who’s around you and what they’re doing. The ball isn’t dangerous. You need to be aware of where it is at all times obviously but the ball doesn’t put itself in the net. That’s the job of the players, or the beachball if you’re us but hey, we’ll leave that alone for now.
Any defender who spends half the game staring at the ball then wondering how that guy got on the end of it behind him should be sacked. They leave themselves square on with a limited peripheral view and it irritates the hell outta me! The amount of times you see it is unreal. Someone arrives late in the box and runs on to the end of a cutback or a cross that drifts over the head of people who are already marking. What are the players near the one who makes the run doing?
Get goal side.
Go to the ball, not wait for it to come to you aka “Attack the ball” .
ALWAYS track the runner because the one time you don’t, he’ll score and you look lazy and stupid.
Don’t be stood still on your heels. Be on your toes ready to adjust position.
Why then do we see professionals for teams in The Premier League make these fundamental mistakes week in week out? Is it lack of concentration? Poor coaching? Are they ignorant and think nothing will come of it? I’d love to know because at this point, I’m about fed up with seeing us concede stupidly soft goals because we just don’t defend right.