Last night I watched Arsenal
and Manchester United
flounce themselves into to a 0-0 draw. In fact, there have been very few double goose eggs so far this season, but what has been rife is bad passing. It’s not just a select few teams either, it’s a loss of quality across the Premiership
, and other leagues for that matter.
I don’t want to sound reminiscent or anything, but geez, passing used to be better than this. Last night the ball movement was careless. At times it looked like a game of FIFA 2006
on the PlayStation
were missing, boy did it show.
Technique has gone away to some degree in football, its not just passing. Defensive skills have diminished, heading has looked more like a contest of elbows than heads, and let’s not even start with moving without the ball. Football is being played by younger and younger players and that means more immaturity on every level, but in terms of passing, I guess it seems the worst.
Of all the things holy in football possession is the most sacred of all. Players today are too concerned with looking good and making a cute pass than studying the field and adding another layer to the attack. Sustained pressure is being replaced with directness. There is a difference between possession and dilly-dallying.
Sustained pressure does more to score 4 goals in a game than any form of direct play. Good passing holds the ball, smart passing sustains pressure and the result is an opposition which gets worn down and starts to make mistakes. Last night both United
wanted to attack, there were some moments of excellent direct football, with decisive passing and intention, but neither club seemed able to hold the ball long enough to show the other side they were the dominant force on the field. While both teams were evenly matches, they were sloppy, if either one showed some patience and skill they would have won it.
The other thing about last night, which is also pervasive across the Premiership
, is the degradation of the long ball. Sol Campbell
, please watch this film. Pascal Cygan
, there are no words. And as for Lehman
and van der Sar
in goal, passing the ball to each other’s keeper is laughable. The long ball has become an excuse for lack of patience and thought. The long ball used to be used to spread the opposition but today its just a faint hope of hitting the jackpot.
There was a time in football where care was taken with the ball and the team played as a unit. More and more it is diminishing for the sake of self gratification. Wayne Rooney
, for all the hype, tries way too often to make the last pass, same goes for Cesc Fabregas
If you want to go looking for reasons these two teams keep dropping points to Chelsea
, consider that maybe Chelsea
hold the ball better.