Run, or Run The Ball

Baris Gerceker@barisgrckrCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2008

Modern football is what football evolved into and is not a stable state of the game. Since evolution (or revolution too you may say) is not a steady state it never will be.

I was born into 4-4-2 and I almost remember when 3-5-2 became fashionable. Now Mourinho's 4-6-0 is what people try to do. It sometimes works, sometimes does not since every tactical formation has its pros and cons. Wannabe coaches and managers often try an implement a system not suitable for the pool of players they have at hand.

But when you go back in history, back enough to consider WM and 4-2-4's you can see that the evolution is somehow moving backwards. Not time line wise but direction wise. More and more defensive precautions, increasing number of defensive midfielders (often referred to as "anchor"). The presence of a creative but non-defensive midfielder is haunting back at you. This then, causes the search for abundance in bi-characteristic midfielders such as Lampard, Gerrard, Ballack etc.

Tactical formations are actually your interpretations to them. You can easily visualise a "non-striker bearing" 4-6-0 of Mourinho to be "ultra-offensive" 4-3-3. It all depends. A back-bone lacking 3-5-2 may turn out to be 5-3-2. And as I mentioned above, they all have their advantages and disadvantages. These two sides of the story can be handled with important, valuable and sometimes unique players.

Then you may find out that it is not that important to be Mourinho, but it is important to be in a club which may provide you Essien, Mikel, Ballack, Lampard at the same time. Of course I do not mean that being a successful manager is fully dependant on the size of the vault of the club. But it really helps a lot. Right now he is in Inter and I would really like to see him manage another mediocre club again.

The soccer of today is mainly based upon keeping possession and decreasing the one of the opponent. And since almost every team tries to conduct press upon the opponent keeping possession no longer mean dallying on the ball but passing it all around all the time. Barcelona showed exactly how it should be done in their 6-1 victory against their rivals Atletico Madrid last week. Some may find it "excessive and therefore" boring but watching a team moving around like a united piece of organism, as if they were tied to each other with invisible ropes is really satisfying me, personally. Maybe that is because the team I support does exactly the opposite and therefore lacking excitement though.

Spanish does that real well while the Islanders still prefer hit&run. Which is another way to keep possession but it requires a different type of technique. More physical and not so elegant. One might prefer a pin-point 30 yard cross pass which is controlled by a soft first touch dribble once and cross it to your tall striker. Fast, accurate, precise and deadly most of the time.

So it really varies a lot, as long as a country or at least their league has their own characteristics they are all fun to watch. But that is not to that only, for example Dutch league, Eredivisie provides many goals (an over 2.5 heaven league for betting fans), fast pace and action but something is missing there somehow. Defence maybe?