A Discussion on Football Spines and Thugs by Chunner
Ever since Henry said that Arsenal need a new ‘spine’, it has been an over-used phrase in the football world, especially in matters to do with Arsenal.
Got me thinking. What exactly is a spine for a football team? Is it what Henry had said: Goalkeeper, CB, CM/CDM and forward? Maybe. Or is it just one player in each position that can lead. Or is it one player in each position who can win a game for you, through attack or defence or both.
Let’s look at some teams and their so called spines.
Real Madrid – (Casillas, Ramos, Modric, Ronaldo). Weak Links: Casillas and Modric (as a leader)
Barcelona – (Bravo, Pique (used to be Puyol), Busquets, Messi). Weak Links: Pique
Bayern Munich – (Neuer, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Robben)
Chelsea – (Courtois, Terry, Matic/Fabregas, Costa)
Manchester City – (Hart, Kompany, Toure, Aguero) Weak Links: Kompany, Toure (both only this season)
Juventus – (Buffon, Chiellini, Pogba/Vidal, Tevez)
Atletico Madrid (Oblak, Godin, Koke/Raul Garcia, Mandzukic). Atletico are a team of fighters. Players like Juanfran, Gabi, Tiago and even Griezmann epitomize their team spirit and desire to win. All leaders in their own right. Which is why Maureen and Chelsea will raid Atletico every year. Easy work, players trained in the art of fighting in a league with far superior teams than themselves.
Arsenal: (Ospina, Koscielny, Ramsey, Giroud): Weak Links: Ospina, Ramsey, Giroud
Now, Ospina and Ramsey have been fantastic recently but I don’t think they are the leaders in their positions yet. Giroud can never be only because of the sheer number of chances he misses.
In Arsenal’s case, the players I see that have the potential to be Arsenal’s ‘spine’ are, Koscielny, Ramsey, Wilshere, Coquelin and Alexis. But at present, only Koscielny makes the cut.
From all the players we have been linked to this season, the only one who can command respect and be the ‘spine’ is Petr Cech.
Arsenal do not have the quality of Barcelona or Real Madrid which can function without too many leaders and with a soft under belly. I have always said that from all the players who left, we have missed Patrick Vieira the most.
Wenger, go find an aggressive beast for midfield (Kondogbia?), who can cope with the aggression of the PL. We also need a thug at centre-forward. It is the only way Arsenal can hope to beat teams with forward lines like Neymar-Messi-Suarez (wow!).
The best thugs present in modern football at Forward: Mandzukic, Costa, Ibrahimovic, Suarez, Alexis
Maybe Thugs: Benteke, Lacazette