Is it easier to be an attacker today than in the past?

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Post by jibers Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:40 pm

I’ve been meaning to do a mega thread like this for a while now. Hopefully it would get some debate going. Basically Curtinho and I had an interesting debate about the technical abilities improvements of players across eras, essentially, the standard of play in the context of Ronalo vs Cristiano. This can be seen here for anyone interested:
http://www.goallegacy.net/t38520p550-cristiano-ronaldo-i-m-the-best-player-in-the-world-i-am-a-legend

This thread will explore the concept a bit further. I had talked to Casciavit about this in quite a bit of detail as well so that gave me further motivation for this.
Curtinho wrote:Even referring to the 90s and early 2000s the level of play is quite clearly different. The level of athletic performance especially over the last 10-20 years has been almost exponential. I wasn't talking about the offside rule either I was talking about just any space to collect the ball -- if you watch a game today, at least at the top level, it's plainly obvious how little of time each player has on the ball to make decisions especially in midfield or up front. In the past a guy like Maradona could get the ball in midfield (one of the best players in history, mind) and who would be there? It seemed he had all the time in the world to decide what he wanted to do (relative). You don't see that with guys like Messi, Ronaldo, Hazard, etc. Generally speaking if they are getting the ball players are closing them down almost instantly and often more than one.

Things today have generally improved compared to 5 years ago, let alone 10, 15, 20, 30, 50 years ago. Football is no different. Improvements in nutrition, sports science and doping(!) means that the players can get around the pitch for a much longer time, ensuring that overall, players today have less time on the ball than they did in the past. I think that is a general  trand and obviously things vary from game to game.

Marco van Basten said this in 2015:
“I played against Maradona and he was a great player like Messi too. There is a big difference between 25 years ago and now, though.”
“We had an area of maybe 40 metres by 50 metres in which we could play; now it’s so tight it’s only half of that,”
“Players have lost 20 metres of space and there might be 10 players between them and the penalty area when they get the ball."
“You must have very good technique, be very clever to get through the defence, play quick one-twos. That is very, very difficult, and it’s the biggest change between then and now."


So with players having less time on the ball, does that mean they are much better than their past compatriots? What does better even mean and in what context? Know this, a direct comparison would be absurd because putting Messi or Cristiano in a past setting would strip them off the physical advantages in terms of stamina and fitness they had over past players. Everything has to be viewed in context
Would Messi’s HGH treatment (Harmonica pls) have been available in the 50s? 60s? 70s? If it was available would it have been as cheap and as accessible as it was when Barcelona paid for it? Would Barcelona even have scouted him back in the 50s and 60s and 70s? Would he have even made it back then considering how physical football was back then?  Would the foreigner limitation have made a difference back then in terms of teams utilisation of finances? These are questions that obviously can’t be answered but they are worth pondering before people decide doing a pound for pound direct comparison between players across eras What I can say is that R9 would certainly have benefitted from modern medicine with regards to managing his physical condition. How much by? I cannot say, just another thing to ponder.


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Post by jibers Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:42 pm

So we can all agree that players have less time on the ball, but what does that mean for players of the past? As I discussed in the link above I believe that defending has become much harder than in the past whilst attacking has generally become a easier, relatively of course.

Now today, there is less specialisation and players are a lot more ‘universal’ with their skillset than they were in the past, something that Arrigo  Sacchi. Even when compared to 10 years ago. Roles such as poachers, defenders that just defend, trequartistas who do not defend are become harder to find at the highest level in general because players in general are expected to be involved with more than one phase of play. Creative players have to run a lot more such as Modric, Xavi, Silva etc and players like Riquelme would be heavily criticised or even benched if they tried to translate their game in this current football climate. Fabregas and to a lesser extent, Ozil are finding out a lot about this the hard way, rightly or wrongly I might add.
The pitches today are in far better condition than they were in the past, now you can reason it both ways and say that flatter pitches make the passing game easier (Xavi pls). That can be countered by saying that flatter pitches make the game better for players with better anticipation and technique to shine.

Also as there was less defensive organisation (Serie A, particularly in the 90s bucking this trend), you could say that it might have been easier for attackers to score and I counter with this, defenders were allowed to be more brutal and man marking was in prevalent use back then an top players used to be man marked and followed around the pitch. A league that was particularly brutal was La Liga. LaLiga pre-90s compared to the 2000s and more so today, was like night and day.

Cruyff was surprised by the violence in Spain and was even punched in a few matches and the players got nothing. Barcelona’s coach Udo Lattek said this in 1982 about Spanish football: “Spain’s football cannot go anywhere like this. The way the game is played here it is a war. Over here they only play to kick in a punch. A year later, Maradona had a career threatening tackle in 1983 and the player just got a yellow card. Maradona also had his tongue busted open that required several stitches and several fouls that incapacitated him for weeks.
So if you had enough skill to evade your man marker you were free in space, but if they could get their hands on you, they could cause more serious injury. Now what condition would you want to be in as a great dribbler? Add to the fact that tackling from behind has been outlawed and is a straight red, you can understand why I think it is generally easier for a top player.

The Copa America is the only top level competition today that comes closest to mimicking the referring rules of the past we saw that dribblers like Messi and Neymar performances were far less spectacularly than  what we were all accustomed to when they played in the World Cup, the Champions League and even la Liga. I think Alexjoinasik even made this point in post.
Another thing that has made attacking, therefore goal scoring a lot easier is the actual equipment used. The boots are lighter and the balls today are different and lighter than the past balls used. The balls today encourage more unpredictability for goal keepers and this is even acknowledged by FIFA. Another thing that buffers stats is that deflected goals today are given to the player that took the shot if it is considered on target. In the past, deleted goals were given as own goals even if they were on target so that further buffers modern player stats.

So we put players in the past, give them heavier boots, allowed them less protection and essentially they are allowed to be almost assaulted without reprucussions, they would have to run in muddy pitches and they would be stripped off their stamina and physical advantages. Now that would be a site to see the divers today in those circumstances. Complaining after every foul Laughing

I see you El Kommander Is it easier to be an attacker today than in the past? Umad

Another thing that made attacking as a team harder in the past and made individual defending easier as I mentioned before is the offside rule. FIFA changed the offside rule to promote more goals and attacking football. This is undeniable and that as in their mandate as they said football had become to defensive towards the end of the 80s (Serie A pls). As I said before, one attacker being offside invalidated any constructed attack which means defenders didn’t need to be as organised as today. Let us not forget the back pass to the goalie which further removes the pressure defenders faced in the past when compared to today, imagine how many of John’s Stones errors would have been prevented potentially if all his misplaced passes could simply have been picked up.
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Post by jibers Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:48 pm

When I was young, I trained a few hours a week at Ajax, but I played a few hours everyday on the street, so where do you think I learned to play? – Johan Cruijff

So we can agree the technical level of football has improved as a whole overall over the years , so you could infer that technical players have less time on the ball and so they look less impressive than they would compared to their compatriots who had more time to make decisions. One thing that can’t be measured that is the most important attribute for all the top players is the speed in their heads and creativity. You would think that this would alos improve with everything else improving but as I said in the earlier thread, technique and football IQ don’t improve the same way physical attributes improve.  Football IQ as a whole has diminsiehed relatively for a few reasons. Cruyff has said technique and insight has decreased markedly because of a few things.
Cruyff created the Cruyff courts to try and mimic this street effect and to also allow kids to play as much football as possible outside school hours and club hours because they simply do not have the access to the ‘concrete village’ that Cruyff and other past players had.

Good article from great technicians:
"When I see a ball, I want to play – with kids, whoever,'' Van Persie explained of his energetic debut in the cage. "Unfortunately, I can't really play on the street any more because I play professionally. When you get older, you get more money, but in my heart, it's still the same. I love football.
"I learnt on the streets. Since the age of five, I practised all day on a pitch like this five minutes from my house. Look at my left foot. It is so good because I practised so many hours in the cage. When I was eight, one guy told me: 'Your shot is rubbish.' 'I know,' I replied. Two months later he came back and said: 'Man, your shot is amazing.' 'I know because I have been here every single day from nine until the evening, practising.'''
Van Persie used the "cage'' because the streets, the Tarmac alma maters of Cruyff and Bergkamp, acquired too many perils. Cruyff became determined to tackle the curse of "overweight people and criminality'', and began pouring his energies and money into these courts via his wonderful foundation. "It looks a cage but the parents know they are safe,'' Cruyff remarked. "They know they get coaching from Arsenal. Once a month Robin comes to play here. It's fantastic.''
Bergkamp nodded, adding that "the cage is the new street'', and agreeing with Cruyff's belief that "the average technique has dipped''. "I really feel so,'' Bergkamp said. "We played on stones. If you fell down, you hurt yourself, so you get your balance right. The first touch has to be right otherwise the ball bounces away.''
Instincts sharpened, Bergkamp was such a prodigy that "we had to adjust our training to Dennis' school times'', reflected his first coach at Ajax.
"The street taught us,'' Cruyff added. "Messi grew up like this.'' Barcelona's clever little Argentine also drew an appreciative comment from Bergkamp. "Messi taught himself instead of a coach saying 'run from cone to cone with the ball, do this, do that'.'' Pure instinct explained why Bergkamp span the ball around one side of Newcastle United's Nikos Dabizas while he darted the other to beat Shay Given in 2002. "When I scored that goal , it was a feeling. No one can teach you that.''
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/columnists/henrywinter/3254788/Johan-Cruyff-Dennis-Bergkamp-and-Robin-Van-Persie-discuss-the-art-of-football-Football.html

To further emphasise the point:

Players are spending less time playing. 90% of a players technique is developed before they are 13 according to Cruyff. Today, kids attend school a lot more and spend less time playing when they are younger and attend school. Young kids in general, particularly in Europe are cuddled more and are picked up in academies a lot earlier, where they not only conform to the standardised training, but they play less football than past great players outside club coaching.  
Laureneo Ruiz (Barcelona coach that invented the rondo and is one of the most important coaches in the clubs history, he had big involvement with La Masia) has a book that goes into a lot of detail called Soccer Secrets to Success: Things Great Players and Coaches Should Know. Great book.

This is how many hours’ top players spent playing football a day in their youth:

Kubala – 6-8 hours
Cruyff – 5 – 6 hours
Laudrup – 5 hours

A great quote in it by Mozart: “If I miss a day’s practice, I notice. If I miss two day’s, everyone notices”.

Koeman trained with Southampton players and Fonte said that he trained better than a few players
http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/ronald-koeman-better-southampton-players-4765817
In the 90s when he was coach of the dream team, he still had the best technique out of all his star studded players which boasted the likes of Koeman, Laudrup, Romario and Stoickov who were some of the best players in the world at the time.

I’m giving these examples so people can understand that past players weren’t just pub players and great players of the past will still be very good players today.
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Post by jibers Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:49 pm

Another reason I believe modern football favours attacking teams is the emergence of super teams and the wealth disparities between the top clubs and the others, perhaps less in the premier league but it still applies.

To put things in context, all the best players rarely played on the same team.Talent was more spread out over a larger pool of teams. You go into the 90s and 3 foreign players were only ever allowed to be on the pitch at the same time. Imagine if the dream team could have played Koeman, Laudrup, Stoickov and Romario at the same time? The bosman ruling kick started this trend that UEFA tried stopping in the 70s.

Great players today tend to have greater supporting casts when compared to the past. Scoring for a top team now, particularly one of these super teams is just that much easier. I gave the example of Suarez joining Barcelona and getting 59 goals. Ibrahimovic getting astronomical stats at PSG because his team had an enourmous talent advantage.

In the past it was easier for teams to mark out individuals because they could easily be identified and there were less of them in the team. Now the sum of the parts supersedes the individuals to an unprecedented level. Lewandowski is the first striker to approach Gerd Muller in modern Football because he plays in a super team that gives him a competitive advantage. Aubameyang is not even considered an elite striker but he is getting 39 goals, 6 goals less than RVN’s best ever season.


Also, I spoke about the referring becoming increasingly less lenient in terms of punishing fouls and even a player like Makelele would probably look out of place if he was dropped into football today.

The improvement in tactics and fitness doesn’t change the fact that football overall has become more attacking. Teams now are now using La Salida Lavolpina (CM/DM dropping in between Cbs during gk) that Guardiola’s Barcelona made popular in Europe even without having the necessary tactical structure and automatisms to utilise it, which means a lot of mistakes are made at the back which, aided by the increased counter pressing and the inability to tackle from behind, the inability of the defenders to pass back and the defenders being asked to do a lot more than their past compatriots means a lot more goals are being scored today at a rate not seen in football since the Dixie Dean era.

Tidbit: This misuse of a particular tactical trend is not new and occurred during the 60s after Herrera adopted Nereo Rocco's Catenaccio with his Grande Inter that won 2 consecutive European cups. Other teams adopted it without the personnel nor the understanding of the principles to be able to apply it effectively and it set Italian football back in terms of tactical innovation and also attacking football and gave them their reputation for being defensive. This has been rectified since with Saachi leading the way and with Serie A generally becoming a lot more attacking today. Of course these are general trends and there will be some nuances.

These things lead me to believe that a top attacking player, who will most likely be playing in a top team, will be able to have much better statistics than any of their past compatriots despite the increased level of scouting, fitness, defensive organisation and time on the ball due to all the aforementioned points.

Teams in LaLiga have gone from playing like convicted criminals to being renown as the league that plays the most technically skilled football. The head to head factor means that teams in these leagues care more about result than goals they concede so they generally don’t tend to shut up shop as effectively and try to ‘play football’ even when they are getting put to the sword. silent


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Post by Doc Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:04 am

Very detailed post there Jibers and I would try to give my take on some of the stuff you posted.

For the title of the thread, um, I never really considered it to be any easier or harder to be an attacker than it used to be. Players play in accordance to the skill level of the era they are in. To me, it is simply an adjustment to the "needs" and "demands" to what is needed to succeed at the highest level. We look at the players during different era (your very thread of the great Di Stefano could be an example). Those very defenders and attackers moved "slower" than what we are currently seeing but back then, they were playing at the pace the game was in.

As the game got "faster" or physical aspects of the game improved, so did the players' attributes to cope with the game at that level. I would say this though, I think the rules have helped attackers have a higher chance at scoring a goal. The refereeing has certainly gotten harsher on tackles to attackers, the offside has been adjusted to favour the attacker, the ball got way lighter (I actually kicked those leather balls, no bueno I tell you), boots have been tailored made to "wrap" around the ball better, etc.

For the part about Bergkamp and RvP talking about playing football, absolutely spot on. I remember playing football for hours even after actual training. Practicing to kick a ball for hours upon hours just to get a pass or shot just right. It's something a coach can't really teach you or tell you to do, one has to do it on their own. Many of the world's finest talent learned their trade outside a training pitch. Down in these parts, we still play street ball but I'm not sure how it is in more developed nations.

That sort of "upbringing" also helps with the mentality of a striker. That hunger, selfishness, desire to score a goal. To scrap and scrape with any defender to get into a proper position. RvP had it, Lewa has it, Suarez has it (a lil too much honestly), many of the great forwards had it. I can tell someone like Martial never had that sort of "upbringing" or wasn't around it much. For all his talent, he doesn't have that fight in him. Just an example.

The last part about super teams, I think the removal of "only 3 foreigners" really changed the landscape of how teams were built more than wealth imo. Great teams always had wealth or access to really good credit so the have and have nots were in existence long time. But that rule kept things, for the least, even out. Not that I am disregarding the wealth part, it certainly plays a huge role. Just felt that the only 3 foreigners and Bosman had a much bigger effect.
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Post by Casciavit Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:05 am

Some great posts jibers.

It's harder to be a defender now than it was in the past. That's a fact.

We talked about how players have less time on the ball and less space to work with. So hypothetically speaking that must mean it's become easier for defenders to defend, no? Well, I disagree with that because modern tactics have been designed to aid attacking rather than defending because football will always be a game of goal scoring.

For me, it boils down to the effect that the tempo of today's game has had on modern tactics. I'll try to illustrate better what I mean below.

The ball moves so quickly now. The transitions from box to box happen in mere seconds. How many seconds does the average player stay on the ball now? I'd assume 2 seconds. How about in the 70's? We're talking around 6-7 seconds.

Why is that important? Well, it's because the direction of the ball changes much quicker than the direction of players. That will always be the case, but it's now more apparent than ever because of how quickly transitions happen now. Defenders will always be at a natural disadvantage because of that.

So how do defenders cope with this? In the past, referees were much more lenient when it came to dishing out cards. If you watch old footage, fouls then are fouls now, but the difference is when it came to handing out cards. Nowadays a foul or two, it's a yellow card. Back then, you could get away with a lot more. It's a recent thing now more than ever. The other day I was watching Milan-Juve from 2006, and Gattuso was left off the hook 10x more than he would now. Laughing

If that was 11 years ago, imagine how much worse it was 2-3 decades ago? The game is designed to protect attacking players now.

So defenders have that natural disadvantage that has got worse, and the one way they were able to cope with it was with fouls. That's gone for the most part now. How do coaches deal with that? Well, they've decided to become more organized and intense.

When you're defending in the opposing half, press high up the pitch and double up on the player on the ball. Don't make him comfortable. When you're defending in your half, defend compactly. Squeeze the space in between the lines, and make the opposition attack through the wings.

Because of this, attacking players have less space and time. Coaches combat this with the following:

They use the quick tempo of today's game to hurt the opposition. Verticality FTW.

The specialists are gone. The emphasis is now on becoming a jack of all trades, rather than a master of one. Since players have less time on the ball and less space, now every player should be able to contribute to attacking. Football is going to become all about memorizing specific attacking sequences and automatisms so that the less technically players, but athletically gifted players can contribute as well.

I also think it's fair to say that the focus on becoming more well-rounded has hurt specific attributes. Defenders are no longer just defenders; they are the first attackers. Traditional CB's are dying. If you are a defender, you need to be able to play with the ball now. There's no other way around it.

I'll add the rise of super teams too. You mentioned it already, so I won't go into it much, but that has also had an effect. Talent is no longer spread out, so the better players are playing with each other. If you play with players better than you, you will become a better player. So now the shittier teams are getting destroyed due to getting overwhelmed by individual talent.

Let's think about it this way. You're an attacking player who's playing for a top team. All the players attacking with you are able to contribute offensively, so this reduces the individual burden. At the same time, your coach has given you a detailed guide on how to attack the opposition and what movements you must make. The rules and laws of the game also protect you more than they do the defenders...

Attacking players are at an advantage. No other way around it.
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Post by Harmonica Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:29 am

Football in general was easier for the best players in 50's and 60's because football simply wasn't fully professional. This led to a professionalism edge and inflated their perceived ability to their peers. Today even the lowest players are able to afford the same training as the best players.
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Post by jibers Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:59 pm

Doc wrote:Very detailed post there Jibers and I would try to give my take on some of the stuff you posted.

For the title of the thread, um, I never really considered it to be any easier or harder to be an attacker than it used to be. Players play in accordance to the skill level of the era they are in. To me, it is simply an adjustment to the "needs" and "demands" to what is needed to succeed at the highest level. We look at the players during different era (your very thread of the great Di Stefano could be an example). Those very defenders and attackers moved "slower" than what we are currently seeing but back then, they were playing at the pace the game was in.

As the game got "faster" or physical aspects of the game improved, so did the players' attributes to cope with the game at that level. I would say this though, I think the rules have helped attackers have a higher chance at scoring a goal. The refereeing has certainly gotten harsher on tackles to attackers, the offside has been adjusted to favour the attacker, the ball got way lighter (I actually kicked those leather balls, no bueno I tell you), boots have been tailored made to "wrap" around the ball better, etc.

For the part about Bergkamp and RvP talking about playing football, absolutely spot on. I remember playing football for hours even after actual training. Practicing to kick a ball for hours upon hours just to get a pass or shot just right. It's something a coach can't really teach you or tell you to do, one has to do it on their own. Many of the world's finest talent learned their trade outside a training pitch. Down in these parts, we still play street ball but I'm not sure how it is in more developed nations.

That sort of "upbringing" also helps with the mentality of a striker. That hunger, selfishness, desire to score a goal. To scrap and scrape with any defender to get into a proper position. RvP had it, Lewa has it, Suarez has it (a lil too much honestly), many of the great forwards had it. I can tell someone like Martial never had that sort of "upbringing" or wasn't around it much. For all his talent, he doesn't have that fight in him. Just an example.

The last part about super teams, I think the removal of "only 3 foreigners" really changed the landscape of how teams were built more than wealth imo. Great teams always had wealth or access to really good credit so the have and have nots were in existence long time. But that rule kept things, for the least, even out. Not that I am disregarding the wealth part, it certainly plays a huge role. Just felt that the only 3 foreigners and Bosman had a much bigger effect.

Yea no doubt the foreign player rule blew things apart. Imagine Madrid having to play with mostly Spanish players Laughing

Or Bayern or Juve or Barcelona now Laughing

This was always the natural progression and I feel the super league will be the inevitable end where all the elite players go off to ply their trade.
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Post by sportsczy Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:03 pm

Much easier. The offsides rule change was massive. Also, they've pussified the game a lot in terms of fouls, cards, etc.
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Post by jibers Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:10 pm

Casciavit wrote:Some great posts jibers.

It's harder to be a defender now than it was in the past. That's a fact.

We talked about how players have less time on the ball and less space to work with. So hypothetically speaking that must mean it's become easier for defenders to defend, no? Well, I disagree with that because modern tactics have been designed to aid attacking rather than defending because football will always be a game of goal scoring.

For me, it boils down to the effect that the tempo of today's game has had on modern tactics. I'll try to illustrate better what I mean below.

The ball moves so quickly now. The transitions from box to box happen in mere seconds. How many seconds does the average player stay on the ball now? I'd assume 2 seconds. How about in the 70's? We're talking around 6-7 seconds.

Why is that important? Well, it's because the direction of the ball changes much quicker than the direction of players. That will always be the case, but it's now more apparent than ever because of how quickly transitions happen now. Defenders will always be at a natural disadvantage because of that.

So how do defenders cope with this? In the past, referees were much more lenient when it came to dishing out cards. If you watch old footage, fouls then are fouls now, but the difference is when it came to handing out cards. Nowadays a foul or two, it's a yellow card. Back then, you could get away with a lot more. It's a recent thing now more than ever. The other day I was watching Milan-Juve from 2006, and Gattuso was left off the hook 10x more than he would now. Laughing

If that was 11 years ago, imagine how much worse it was 2-3 decades ago? The game is designed to protect attacking players now.

So defenders have that natural disadvantage that has got worse, and the one way they were able to cope with it was with fouls. That's gone for the most part now. How do coaches deal with that? Well, they've decided to become more organized and intense.

When you're defending in the opposing half, press high up the pitch and double up on the player on the ball. Don't make him comfortable. When you're defending in your half, defend compactly. Squeeze the space in between the lines, and make the opposition attack through the wings.

Because of this, attacking players have less space and time. Coaches combat this with the following:

They use the quick tempo of today's game to hurt the opposition. Verticality FTW.

The specialists are gone. The emphasis is now on becoming a jack of all trades, rather than a master of one. Since players have less time on the ball and less space, now every player should be able to contribute to attacking. Football is going to become all about memorizing specific attacking sequences and automatisms so that the less technically players, but athletically gifted players can contribute as well.

I also think it's fair to say that the focus on becoming more well-rounded has hurt specific attributes. Defenders are no longer just defenders; they are the first attackers. Traditional CB's are dying. If you are a defender, you need to be able to play with the ball now. There's no other way around it.

I'll add the rise of super teams too. You mentioned it already, so I won't go into it much, but that has also had an effect. Talent is no longer spread out, so the better players are playing with each other. If you play with players better than you, you will become a better player. So now the shittier teams are getting destroyed due to getting overwhelmed by individual talent.

Let's think about it this way. You're an attacking player who's playing for a top team. All the players attacking with you are able to contribute offensively, so this reduces the individual burden. At the same time, your coach has given you a detailed guide on how to attack the opposition and what movements you must make. The rules and laws of the game also protect you more than they do the defenders...

Attacking players are at an advantage. No other way around it.

Great points. The bit about defenders doing more is poignant as Neville even said that players aren't being taught to defend like they were in the past. Specialisation meant that a lot of groups trained separately now aligning with football becoming more universal, everyone trains together now. Defensive positioning is simply weaker and defenders are more prone to mistakes due to teams generally being more attacking generally when compared to a few years ago. Even Gks are being asked to play with their feet.

The bit about attacking players having to do less and having less of a burden is spot on. As I said in the 90s serie A, trequartistas where being boxed off and that was probably the hardest position to play. Pirlo was actually a trequartista first but Mazzone put him as a reverse trequartista ((Smile so he could have more space to operate in, the midfield area just had like 6 players dedicated to stopping attacks and 2 that shouldered all that burden. The only player that is man marked that I can remember on any high level is Messi in the Wc where he had 3 players following him and defences literally tilted to stop him. You man mark one player in a super team and that leaves space for one of the other monsters to kill you.

As I posted earlier, everyone tries to build from the back now and they don't have the structure for it meaning that the defence is under pressure a lot faster. In the EPl the 2nd balls are still the most important but teams build from the back as default when pre Guardiola a long ball was the default
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Post by jibers Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:33 pm

Sevilla watering the half they will attack during halftime ...

Is it easier to be an attacker today than in the past? C58V6__WYAA8wl2
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Post by Collblanc Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:45 am

What isnt easier to pursue today then it was in the past?
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