The art of defending, where has it all gone?
The marvelous defensive players of the past were once the backbone of their teams, bringing protection and stability throughout. But what has gone wrong since then?
Football is leaning towards an attacking style of play, relying on strong midfielders, pacey wingers and lethal strikers. What about the defenders?
A typical defender of this generation is David Luiz. The Brazilian is a very good player, no doubt, he can play in several positions and has great technique, but is certainly not what a central defender should be. Chelsea were happy with his versatility, but getting £50m from him was something Jose Mourinho wouldn’t let down no matter what.
Franz Beckenbauer, Paolo Maldini, Rudi Krol, Daniel Passarella and Bobby Moore are names of some great defenders who not only knew the true art of defending, but also helped their team in attack.
Playing an attacking style of football is a great thing for all of us fans, but sometimes it is just naïve when you score goals but don’t defend well to protect your lead.
That problem can be seen in the Barclays Premier League.
Looking at Manchester United for example, with players like Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling (who were tipped for big things before) in their back line are definitely not consistent and are more of a liability. Liverpool only have two decent centre backs in Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel with other teams also having shortages in defence.
To come back to our club, Arsene Wenger was looking for a defensive cover all summer, in case Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny were to get injured. He found a great prospect in Calum Chambers (a player tipped to be a great CB in the future) but couldn’t find a replacement for our ex-captain Thomas Vermaelen, who was sold for a £15m to FC Barcelona (a hint that defensive players are very hard to find).
Where are the Tony Adams? The Sol Campbells? The Carles Puyols and the Cannavaros?
Major football clubs around the world are suffering from a shortage of quality defenders. The likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Barcelona and others have been inconsistent because of that.
Arsenal have only three center backs in Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Calum Chambers. With Laurent and Mathieu Debuchy injured, we have been really poor at the back.
When all our injured players are back, we will play much better.
Until then, we are going to have to watch Nacho Monreal play CB and hope we don’t concede too many goals.
Let me know what you think.
Who are the best CBs in world football?