It’s always a crap shoot when I hit “publish” in the morning. I never know whether my article is going to be received in the way that I intended. Yesterday’s article is a good example. I felt like I was being very clear that I was lampooning the idea that Tiki-Taka is dead by writing an obituary titled “the death of the death of” but clearly I was taken seriously.
I did take part of the article seriously but that’s only because I felt like if I was going to do an obituary I have to do it right, right? That’s what makes it funny, that I would take it at all seriously. I blame myself, my sense of humor is often obtuse and when I’m writing something if it makes me laugh it’s probably not going to be funny to anyone else.
So there you have it, I don’t actually think Tiki-Taka is dead. I think that every system, in order to be a winning system, needs almost every player to play at their best and I think that Spain clearly were not at their best.
Possession based football is far from dead. In fact, what Pep Guardiola is attempting to do at Bayern Munich is play possession based football but do it with big, strapping midfielders sidled by mercurial wingers and fronted by an actual #9 instead of a false 9. Possession based football isn’t dead, it’s evolving into something different.
The target of my article was the folks who love to proclaim that some tactic in football is a failure after it falters. Tiki-Taka joins the very long line of football fads which have “died”. But the one thing I have learned unequivocally about football, from reading about Wenger’s various Arsenal incarnations, is that there is no one way to win. The early Wenger years, Arsenal played a very Tony Adams style of football. His second team, Wenger played a very Thierry Henry style of football. And his third team, he played a very Cesc style of football. What style are we playing now? I don’t know yet. A Ramsey style?
While we are on the topic of me being very direct I just want to say that Wayne Rooney is simultaneously one of the most overrated players ever and a great player. How? Well, it is possible to simultaneously hold two seemingly disparate opinions.
Rooney is obviously a great talent. No one scores as many goals as he has for Man U, not to mention his assists, and is a lucky or crap footballer. Rooney also scores big goals, especially against Arsenal.
But the expectations from the English press and fans of the England team are out of line with his actual talent. The Brits want him to be Suarez but he is more Sturridge. With Suarez in his team he would be amazing, with him as the main focal point of the English attack, he’s just an above average to very good player.
The problem with England is that they lack a real focal point. They need a Suarez, an Henry, a Maradona who will just take them over the line. And it’s a matter of inches this line I’m talking about. Rooney missed a semi-sitter from 6 yards, hitting it straight at the keeper instead of either side. Rooney had a free kick in a dangerous area go literally inches wide. And his missed header crashing into the corner of the crossbar, from literally inches away, is the metaphor for England’s World Cup hopes since 1966.
That said, I’m rooting for England to go through to the knockout stages. They need Pirlo to beat Joel Campbell with a wink and a smile today and then for Italy to beat Uruguay in the final game and then to win against Joel Campbell by enough goals to beat Uruguay on Goal Difference. It’s a tall order considering the fact that they brought on Adam Hahana and Liverpool’s new star forward Rickie Andycarrollambert in order to try to get the win. Talking about inches away…
And I want England to go through because The World Cup is going to hurt Liverpool more than most teams. Most of the England team are Liverpool starters. England even has Liverpool’s psychologist in their employ! Add to that the fact that they don’t have a deep squad, can’t spend any money, Suarez had surgery in order to play for Uruguay (I suspect he will be injured to start the season), and that Liverpool will have the added rigors of the Champions League next season and I would put money that they drop out of the top four next year.
How is that for being direct?