The Devolution of Football – Part 2
In the first part of this article, this writer has expressed his opinion on how the standard level of football has decreased over the years, with this part of the article delving deeper into this particular issue.
Tiki Taka may not necessarily work all the time though, as can be seen with what happened with Bayern Munich this season. Guardiola attempted to instill the same strategy into a different team, however different results emerged. The notion is that tiki taka can still work perfectly, however many people are forgetting that Guardiola had a certain Lionel Messi at his disposition at Barcelona, whilst there is no player at that level at Bayern in attack.
Again, with tiki taka, constant ball possession is a great tactic however lots of focus was taken away from defensive ability and awareness, leaving teams which adapt to this style extremely exposed at the back, leading to poor defending during counter attacks. This issue with this strategy is that players were often instructed not to shoot from outside of the box, leading to numerous chances being spurned for the sake of a pass to a team-mate who’s closer to goal. It could be both a blessing and a hindrance, depending on the type of squad at the manager’s disposal.
Jose Mourinho was the one who eventually cracked the tiki taka conundrum by implementing a ‘parking the bus’ tactic against Barcelona during his Inter days, which involves nine players laying deep in their own half in order to bar any offensive approach from the opposition and counter attack quickly once pouncing on a mistake by the opposition. Whilst this strategy is indeed effective against tiki taka squads, it’s been lambasted as dull and negative football. It is indeed dull and negative, yet it yielded results against teams which were considered as favourites.
The point of all this is that football has indeed regressed. Twenty years ago, a defender which made a goal-line clearance would have been given just as much credit (if not more) than a striker which scored a goal. Nowadays, however, it’s all about the goals. Nothing matters anymore but goals.