Archive for the ‘Ligue 1’ Category

Diego Maradona’s famous run against England in 1986 is probably the most famous play in soccer history (closely followed by the Hand of God). It’s a memorable play for many reasons, not the least of which is how it showcases one player’s ability to single-handedly change a game. Maradona’s goal reminds us how rare it is to see a player take over a match by himself, particularly against high-quality competition. A good team is so organized that an opposing player would require skill, speed, luck, guile, and a sublime finish (and cocaine in Maradona’s case) to even attempt a one-man run at goal. No, it is the ability to make a defense cover runs both on and off the ball that makes a great footy offense.

In this age of 80 million pound transfers, it appears some teams are forgetting this basic soccer maxim. There is no “Iso” play like the one that allows Kobe Bryant to drop 55 points in a game; you can’t send three midfielders to one side in order to get man-coverage on Messi the way the Colts do to free up Reggie Wayne. The best players have to be playmakers as much as they are finishers, and the most effective plays happen when passes are fast and flowing, not long and direct. After his 10 man Liverpool side defeated Everton this weekend, Rafa Benitez noted how the Blues made it easier for his defense by playing long and over the top. During a televised match, announcers will consistently return to the idea of movement. In-form strikers exhibit great off-the-ball movement while slumps often coincide with a distinct lack of it. This all ties into the role of superstars on the field. (more…)


Read Full Post »