Posts Tagged ‘Fernando Torres’
“LONDON — Chelsea reached the Europa League final for the first time in their history after surviving a first-half scare to defeat Swiss champions FC Basel 3-1 in the second leg of their semi-final on Thursday.”
My AFP match report from Stamford Bridge can be read here.
“LONDON — Chelsea interim coach Rafael Benitez did his best to focus on the positives after the holders went out of the Champions League at the group phase despite thrashing FC Nordsjaelland.”
My AFP reaction piece from Stamford Bridge can be read here. You can read my match report here and there’s an analysis piece on what the short-term future holds for Chelsea here: Chelsea failure leaves little room for manoeuvre.
“KIEV — Spain confirmed their status as one of the greatest national teams in football history by overwhelming Italy 4-0 in Sunday’s Euro 2012 final in Kiev to retain their European crown.”
“I see some players who call themselves strikers but their goal-to-game ratio is laughable. These guys are forwards who occasionally score a goal and the Trade Descriptions Act should be onto them for calling themselves strikers.”
So writes Gordon Strachan in this month’s edition of FourFourTwo magazine. The Middlesbrough coach is addressing the rise of a growing modern phenomenon – the striker who does not score. But is it a genuine cause for opprobrium or a simple failure of vocabulary?
Britain’s tactical vocabulary is woefully lacking when it comes to describing a player’s on-pitch role. Where Italian, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese have given us a wealth of phrases to delineate subtle differences between positions, English gives us defenders, midfielders and strikers. Defenders defend, midfielders run around in the middle and strikers strike.
Increasingly, however, they do not. The centre forward’s role is changing. The widespread popularity of single-striker formations such as 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 demands that a team’s most advanced attacking player must be capable of leading the line on his own. Some, like Didier Drogba and Zlatan Ibrahimović, manage to marry the role of target man with that of a lethal finisher. Less well-rounded forwards, though, are deployed principally as facilitators; their job is to hold the ball up, occupy the other team’s centre-backs and establish a foothold in their opponent’s defensive third.