To love or not to love the game, that's the question
by Arda Alan Işık
ISTANBULJan 16, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Arda Alan Işık
Jan 16, 2016 12:00 am
According to Jose Mourinho, the codes of football have seven crucial points:
"1) The game is won by the team who commits fewer errors. 2) Football favors whoever provokes more errors in the opposition. 3) Away from home, instead of trying to be superior to the opposition, it's better to encourage their mistakes. 4) Whoever has the ball is more likely to make a mistake. 5) Whoever renounces possession reduces the possibility of making a mistake. 6) Whoever has the ball has fear. 7) Whoever does not have it is thereby stronger."
This mentality, as I mentioned in my pieces, is the most elaborated form of traditional counter-attacking football and Mourinho, as its false prophet, actually made people believe that the best way of playing football is not playing football. You see, this where industrial football takes you, your ancestors invent a game to have fun, then you turn it into a fearful exam. This is one of the main reasons why there are a lot of goalless draws and empty stadiums in both Turkish and global football more than in the past. The bigger the financial benefits of the prize gets, the more people start to think they have a lot to lose by simply playing.
However, Mourinho's strategy of course is operative in modern football and in fact it is perhaps the most widely used strategy. But given the nature of this game forces you to organize around the ball, whether you like it or not, escaping from the ball does not offer us a sufficient and sustainable solution. If the goal is putting the ball into the opponent's net, then we need to know how to put the ball there, but in Mourinho's case, it is all up to the opponent and that makes his game inferior to neo-total football.
On the other hand, there are others who truly love football and are not afraid of playing it and Arsene Wenger is one of them. In Wenger's strategy, just like in the neo-total discipline, there is a positive approach: We have the ball and how can we score. Then Wenger formulates his strategy upon the preciousness of the ball, given the beauty of football is mostly in the moments when you have the ball and the effort to take it back is exhausting. Thus, when you have the ball, put enough time into establishing a strategy and be patient about it, theoretically there is no way for quasi-Mourinho's to ruin your efforts with pitiful counters.
But, as I said, it is theoretically superior to counter-attacking, but there are other factors when it comes to reality, such as the loyalty and technical quality of your players. Well, even though a pure form of control, pass and shoot is enough to execute neo-total football, a lot of footballers grow up with fundamental deficiencies. In order to make the game flow, the ball should not stay on someone's feet more than two or three seconds and it has to be sent to other players with the right speed and right direction. Unfortunately, most of the time players cannot grasp the coach's strategy or cannot show the cold blood to execute it, and a sophisticated plan is mostly ruined by reckless moves.That happened to Wenger a lot in his career, most of the time he was way ahead of his team and the mentality of his players. Nevertheless, he never stopped loving the game or became a fear preacher like Mourinho and his hard work is finally being appreciated this season. But he has to be careful about the same problems he had in the past, almost every player has some kind of technical problems and except Mesut Özil there is no one to organize Arsenal's attacks. If Wenger can add a player like Sergio Busquets to the squad, it would boost Arsenal's game a lot.