Cut The Crap – Shearer & I Would Destroy Prem Defences
The serious lack of defending ability in the Premier League is greatly concerning.
Back To Basics
It’s not as if defensive units are facing a Bale, Ronaldo, Messi or Suarez every week is it? Hazard, Costa, De Bruyne and co. are all very good players but if Llorente is giving your team a hard time on your own patch as Liverpool found out at the weekend, then maybe it’s time to ditch some of the crap that coaches are teaching players and go back to defensive basics.
Leicester did it last season, Chelsea are doing it this season. It’s not too difficult. Get solid, reliable defenders who actually enjoy defending rather than preening and playing as if they are Beckenbauer (yes, you John Stones) and do the basics well.
Rojo and Jones, Chelsea’s back three, Mustafi and Koscielny at Arsenal, none of them are great individual players. None would get into a back three of Bonucci, Chiellini and Barzagli because they don’t inspire fear as great defenders should. They don’t wear the scars of battle like the Juve trio but they are the best we have in the league at the moment and that should be troubling.
Imagine a scenario where Shearer, Sutton, Ferdinand, Dublin, Wright, Collymore and co. (most well over 6ft with the heft to match) played against some of these guys! It would be carnage.
It says so much about the modern game that fans and pundits actually lay compliments at their door…
…when the rules now over-protect forwards and the influx of foreign coaches who have never had a physical battle in their lives preach their sermon in the Premier League.
Why is this important? Because of the Ronaldo/Messi comparison I made. These guys are going to be playing against the very best defenders we have should our teams get through another round or two in Europe. I’m genuinely fearful that one of our teams is going to be on the end of an absolute hiding if we aren’t careful, leaving the notion that our league is the world’s best in tatters, if it isn’t already.
Lets Get Physical
Defending properly is in our makeup, our football and sporting DNA. What we lack in skill we make up for in discipline, organisation and intimidation so why do so many people want to change it? Do the Spanish change the way they play against English clubs? No. Germans or Italians? No. So we shouldn’t.
I used to love playing against defenders like Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, Pallister, Bruce, Adams and co. because you had to win a battle against them before having the right to show your skills. And when you walked off the pitch it felt ten times better to know you overcame a physical and technical obstacle to get your reward.
John Stones and many of the other defenders don’t have the physical battle anymore so why do we praise them?
Running out of the back four with the ball? Well done, that’s your midfielder’s job, now get back and defend your goal!
Cut The Crap
Koscielny, Mustafi, Toby and Jan at Spurs and one or two others probably could defend in teams back in the day under different rules. But let’s put this into context. If you can’t defend today with no physical threat against you and you still concede goals galore you shouldn’t be regarded as much of a defender in the first place.
So let’s cut the crap and get it right, change the rules to get the physicality back into our game. Not dirty play, just good old-fashioned combat allied with skill and we’ll get John Stones defending like Bonucci and Chiellini and English clubs will bully their way back to the top table of European football. One thing is for sure, we aren’t playing our way there at the moment!