The Need for an Advanced Defensive Midfielder

If Jonathan Wilson’s bible of football, Inverting the Pyramid, taught me anything, it is that football tactics are a matter of action and reaction. A constantly changing and ever-evolving realm of innovation and countering. When one method of play appears to have taken over the world, defeating all that come before it, a coach will discover the tactic that nullifies the seemingly perfect system.

Since Jose Mourinho tore up the rulebook on the stereotypical English 4-4-2 by employing Claude Makelele as a defensive midfielder, sat in front of his centre backs, it seems that no team can be without one. Whilst other Premier League teams had defensive players in their midfield, none were as single-minded and as specialised as Makelele. His sole purpose in the team was to sit, break up attacks, and play simple passes to those in front of him. His inclusion in the team gave the more creative and attacking players the freedom they needed, and was the catalyst for the shift from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3.

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Football As A Religion

I have often noticed the commonality between religion and football, and I have not been alone in doing this. Peter Evans, from the National Football Museum, once called football “the religion of the masses”, and it is not hard to see why.

My holy day is a Saturday, the service starts at 3pm, and I make sure I am in suitable attire for it. The gods of Rodgers, Gerrard and Suarez are worshipped, the hymns of Anfield Road and You’ll Never Walk Alone are sang, and I gather with my brothers as our icons attempt to create more legendary tales and stories.

Our football clubs are considered sacred to us. When we see somebody sporting one of their kits, we consider them a friend, when we contemplate a tattoo, our mind turns to our team, and when someone bad-mouths one of our teams players, we defend them to the hilt, despite having never even met them.

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