The Bayern game and GIE’s comments, used as the third part of the triple post yesterday, got me to thinking. It left me with a question, that being should our holy grail be that we be aiming towards playing at the level of possession and passing football that Guardiola’s Bayern (and Barca before) do, or do we have a team that can adapt and play differently, according to the opposition, and still be equally effective and successful?
Two great sides with a reputation for attacking football both with world class dangerous attacking players met the other night. I do ask myself what would happen if we were to play Guardiola’s side 10 times in succession, them playing their game and us adapting to a solid defensive base counter-attacking game? Would it come out 50-50 over those games or is their style superior enough to limit us to 1-2 wins over those games and this just happened to be one of them?
Looking at Guardiola’s sides I get the feeling they don’t have a plan B, that they just play their same style of football regardless, and mostly to high effect it has to be said. Not having a plan B is a criticism that has been aimed at Arsenal and Wenger over many years. I would certainly say that in the recent past there have been games that cried out for a tactical change to our normal style, and failure to do so has cost us.
The tactical changes and adaptability that GIE highlighted over our last 3 games have been very refreshing. This is of course only relevant moving forwards if we continue to do this and don’t revert to a one size fits all playing style at all times. I do historically feel that Wenger has changed from what appeared to be working formulas before back to his utopian style of football, often to our detriment.
The bigger questions for me though is which option do we settle with?
Should we be aiming to emulate Guardiola’s type of football in the long run? To have such a prolific plan A style of football that tactical considerations need only be minimal. If the answer to this (in your opinion) is yes then it also begs the question of how does Arsene take us to this level, and is it actually attainable within the framework of the EPL?
If you feel the other option, the one we have seen recently, that we have a prolific attacking team that can adapt its type of play, at times even surrendering the possession and passing football stats to a team like Munich, but still remain as competitive and dangerous as them in head to head games, then are we where we need to be (albeit possibly with a couple of upgrades and additions in certain positions)?
Over to you erstwhile A.A’ers, what do you think?