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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Boring Man United, entertaining Spurs

Ahead of the announcement about the future of Louis van Gaal, and I write this ahead of that announcement, the Washington Post wrote an interesting article to show how boring Manchester United are under his management.

There were a few things to take from it though, not the least being the style of play. They write:

'Van Gaal has trained his team in a system of “positional play”—a translation of the Spanish juego de posicion — a style of play in which players respond to each other’s positioning in possession to create easy passing opportunities.'
In theory that is what Spurs do. If you watch us with the ball and especially if we are attacking at pace with markers around near a touchline, our off-the-ball running is superb. Players move so that a flick or short pass is available and the next man has already anticipated that pass and has moved for the next one, already knowing where he is going to pass.

Such confidence in your team mates movement does not come easy. Each player has to read the game and understand not only his role but the other players role as well. he has to know where they are going to go before they have gone there. It is the anticipation football I talk about as opposed to the reaction football that has you last gasp defending all the time.

Compare the England centre-backs with Toby Alderweireld. You don't see Alderweireld making last ditch tackles or diving blocks all the time because he reads the game. multiply that over the pitch and you have a side who are going to be second best all the time.

Mentally it is tiring work, obviously when everything is going well it is fun, when it's not going so well it isn't so learning how to deal with them is important. The end of season will have been important for a few of the players. I shouldn't think a few of them are looking forward to pre-season training given how annoyed Pochettino was after the Newcastle display.

The Washington Post article is well worth a read with statistics that allow Tottenham comparisons and an explanation of a style of play that can be related to Tottenham's own approach under Andre Villas Boas and the approach we now have today.


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