The Revolution of the Deeper Role. The birth of Intelligence. By Galen.
Mathieu Flamini left Arsenal for Milan in 2008. We are now in 2015 and we have been having the same debate for the last 7 years. We want a defensive midfielder. I can’t remember a summer passing without us analysing this position. Last summer we spent £16m on Chambers but the plea for a DM was ignored. So what is Mr Wenger thinking?
Arsene argued in 2012: “The age of specialist DM is over. There are no defensive midfield players at the moment,”
“We try to find the defensive balance collectively. We have fewer players who are purely defenders but some are physically strong in defending, like Diaby, some are tactically strong, like Arteta.
“At the moment we have the balance because everybody participates, but we have fewer specialists, purely defenders”
Wenger clearly thinks is about the team and not the individual when it comes to DM. You have got managers like Pep, Van Gaal and Arsene who believe that having a player just for the sake of destruction does not help the team. The ball must continue rolling. This difference has led to a high use of the deep lying playmakers and the registra. Pep explained that Macherano was too defensive and could break the teams hold of the ball by maybe taking an extra touch. Which explained why he played him at CB and went for Sergio Busquet instead. So what is a registra, and what is a deep lying playmaker. Examples include; Xabi Alonso, Pirlo, Varreti, Schweinsteiger, Busquets, Carrick etc. I downloaded books by Sacchi, Mancini and Ancelotti they all gave similar explanations.
A more aggressive version of the deep-lying playmaker, suitable for possession-oriented tactics that press high up the pitch. He is given complete freedom to dictate and play from deep positions, offering a dynamic and unpredictable creative outlet from behind the attack. He will seek to maintain intense pressure by constantly looking for new chances as his more advanced teammates get into goalscoring positions.
Operates in the space between the defence and the midfield, and aims to initiate attacking moves through pinpoint passes to players positioned higher up the pitch. He is a creative player that also has to be competent in defence.
When you think about the deep-lying role you think about intelligence and awareness. Guardiola said: “Lahm is the most intelligent player I have ever trained”. Where did he play him? DM. While a player like Xavi Martinez was played at CB instead.
Arsene said of Mikel Arteta. “Arteta is an extremely intelligent player, focused and committed.These three qualities together make him an exceptional player and he understands everything that is going on on the pitch”. Manchester United manager LVG also mentions the word intelligence when talking about Carrick.
For some football managers the DM role has been revolutionised and now its all about intelligence . French TV Channel Canal Plus mentioned yesterday that Morgan Schneiderlin would have been signed by Man United a long time ago. But that LVG said he should be signed only if United are not able to sign Bastian Schweinsteiger. The rumours today is that Schneiderlin won’t sign if Schweinsteiger is coming to United. Now you easily start understanding how having a creative defensive midfielder seems very important in the ways teams are shaped up. LVG clearly feels Bastian is way superior to Morgan even though Morgan could be way better defensively.
Is this the reason why Vidal is been mentioned as an Arsenal target? Vidal has the intelligence to play like an attacking midfielder (like at Juventus) while also having the intelligence to play as a defensive midfielder, like at Bayern Leverkusen. Is Arsene more interested in Vidal because of his intelligence, creativity and his all round game?
Well I will conclude by saying that, personally, I am old fashioned, and I like the idea of a “Makelele role”. I like a ball winning midfielder like Mascherano for Argentina, Krychiwiak for Seville, Imbulla for Marseille, Javi Martinez (pre Pep) for Bayern. Wanyama for Saints, etc. Coquelin may not recycle and fine tune our game like Arteta but isn’t that the reason why we have guys like Ozil, Rambo, Cazorla and Jack in the team?
I am not a football manager and I can’t claim to know more than these world-class Coaches but I have loved watching some Coq at Arsenal. But if intelligence, distribution and organising play from the back is the way forward then who am I to argue?
Coquelin has shown that having a “Police Officer” can work perfectly for Arsenal.