My footballing titillator for today is all about Risk.
I thought short and hard how best to make my point, and here it is:
GOOD: “Arsenal come streaming forward now in surely what will be their last attack. A good ball by Dixon, finding Smith, for Thomas, charging through the midfield. Thomas, it’s up for grabs now. Thomaaaaas! An unbelievable climax to the league season.”
BAD: “Arsenal come streaming forward now in surely what will be their last attack. A good ball by Dixon, finding Smith, for Thomas, charging through the midfield. Thomas, it’s up for grabs now. Thomas turns, plays the ball back to Richardson, who finds Adams…”
Now, imagine you were Mickey Thomas at that very moment you received the ball from Smudger. You could have looked up and thought: “Crikey, defenders homing in on all sides. A goalkeeper advancing. I don’t like the look of my chances. Nah, stop, pass back, safety first”.
But no, our Hero thought: “Sod it, I’ll have a go”.
In other words, he did a quick risk assessment, and thought “Mmmm”. He did not think about what’s the worst that could happen, he thought about what’s the best thing that could happen here, and went for it.
My view is that games are often won on the back of split second decisions. The term “who dares wins” springs to mind. Yesterday, Rocky instigated a superb debate about the defence and the balance between attack and defence. Solidity, composure and zero risk should be the hallmarks of a good defence. Whereas moments in attack should be coloured with spontaneity, elasticity and high risk.
The three positions where this should be most evident are in the two wide positions and the most advanced midfielder. During phases of most games, and in some entire games, we do not employ our “taker on’ers” to do their “taking on”. Chief amongst these are Santi, Theo, Gerv, Ox and AA. Players who can take one defender out of the equation and commit another. This inevitably creates space.
I have urged “thrust” on here before, but that forward surge must not grind to a halt around the penalty area.
Of course this comes with its share of risk, and the failure to succeed will hand possession to the opposition, but look at the wide play from Chelsea, Utd and City. They believe that there are areas of the pitch where risk of failure is acceptable, and I would agree, because the rewards outweigh the downside.
Increasingly this season I have noticed Theo doing this with more success, and even Gerv’s poor final ball does not alter the fact that against Pool, when he was out left, he was creating space in the middle. Our Russian has the same effect, and it is not to be underestimated, ask Centre Forwards the value of space and the opportunities presented by having the luxury of taking on one defender rather than two (Persie thrived on it).
I would like Arsene to preach a high risk strategy in these areas of the pitch, as with our set up of a front three, it is the AM and Wide Boys who will do the damage. Free them. Sod it!
Written by MickyDidIt89