Başakşehir is in a league of its own

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published 12.03.2019 00:20

After any Başakşehir victory, the headlines always turn out to be the same: The right game beats an enthusiastic game. Regardless of their opponents, Başakşehir always plays with their usual strategies and tactics, which makes their game very predictable but also very efficient. So how can't other Turkish teams stop Başakşehir from doing what they do? The answer lies beneath the phenomenon of enthusiasm, which is always confused with chaos by Turkish columnists. The right answer to the question is this: An organized game beats a chaotic game.

Turkish columnists force us to make a choice in a false dichotomy: There is either the "right" game, or the "enthusiastic" game. Playing right means that a team has to play organized, this is slow and effective but dull according to them. Playing enthusiastically, on the other hand, means that you cannot play with definite strategies or tactics, everything must be up to individual talent and chaos, but it is fun to watch. They create this false dichotomy to marginalize the organized game Başakşehir plays and justifies the chaotic game other teams in Turkey play. Either you play organized and boring, or chaotic and exciting.

However, it is very possible that a team can play with a specific strategy and can also create a visually enjoyable experience. Başakşehir basically prioritizes defense in an organized manner, but in the cases of Manchester City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Barcelona, attacking is prioritized, along with good organization. These teams have different defending and attacking principles, but they all share the same common ground, all of their collective action patterns are pre-planned and easily repeatable. This makes their game categorically different from others, which can't play the same game two times in a row. This is why Başakşehir is in another league altogether compared to any other Turkish team in the league, because they play a categorically different game from the rest.

We should all acknowledge the fact that Başakşehir's sophisticated, repeatable and effective game differs from any team in Turkey. They have worked with the same coach and the more or less same squad for years, and prepared themselves for this season. The strength of their game does not come from sensational transfers, but the precision and speed of their collective action. It should not be so hard to see the causality between repetition and development; if you keep doing the same thing - with some minor tweaks here and there - you eventually get better at it.

Başakşehir is revolutionizing Turkish football with their humble and disciplined game, but the Turkish football community has not accepted this. Regardless, Başakşehir has debunked all the myths of individual talent and "enthusiasm" by merely following a logical approach, and that is why they are marching toward the trophy right now.

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