Armed to the teeth

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published 14.11.2015 00:01

The consensus among football columnists and journalists is that Bayern Munich coach Josep Guardiola has changed the way he has interpreted his game drastically since he went to Germany. The mixture of his own game and Jupp Heynckes's legacy in Munich led him to a hybrid and extremely operative game. In other words, the game that he designed in Barcelona found what it needed in Bavaria, a fast and piercing counter-attacking game that enables Munich to adapt in almost every game regardless of their opponent's strategies and tactics.

However, the point that makes Guardiola's game immune to the evil charm of mere counter-attacking is that he and his team seem to understand that counter-attacking can only be a part of a greater game, not the game itself. Guardiola is always aware of this fact and never lets his team rely on Arjen Robben's quick feet or Xabi Alonso's playmaking skills, but that does not mean that he is not using them. The difference between the majority of football coaches and Josep Guardiola is while the former sees the utilization of individual skills as a game itself, the latter builds the organization between his elements on the field and calls the harmony between them the game.

Here, I would like to refute another consensus among football columnists and put Guardiola's game on the right track. The mistake that most columnists make is solely focusing on the speed of Bayern Munich's counter attacking game and ignoring the organization that lies beneath it. But the point is ball possession and domination are two key elements of Guardiola's game. Thus such an imbalanced strategy, like a traditional counter-attacking game, cannot be the center of it. Given organization is the prerequisite of speed, one will clearly see that speed is not the source of Bayern Munich's success, but the result of their strategies and tactics. My fellow colleagues should try to imagine an army winning all the battles with its speed, while every element of the army is acting independently.

On the other hand, the biggest threat for Guardiola's game is his players' understanding of this sophisticated plan. I know. It is not easy for a player to put his own passions, concerns et cetera aside and fulfill the requirements of his coach. Sometimes you just want to hit the dang ball. But balance is the key word here. I believe every player can have his autonomy as long as he fulfills the general requirements. We all agree that simultaneous moves and incredible goals make this game great, but what makes it even more fantastic is the joy when you play with when 11 players are in harmony.

Finally, the European continent already acknowledged Guardiola's success and tries to adapt its game to the new standards of football. Almost no argument is widely expressed against the rational grounds of neo-total football and the importance of coaches and superior minds is accepted. Turkish football, on the other hand, still argues bounty scandals and is ruled by highly controversial figures that strengthen their positions with the awful quality of the games. Ironically, the deeper the problem gets, the more we hold on to these people and pay them more. Either Turkish football will reset its paradigm, or it will face heavily armed opponents while they use sticks and stones.

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