The Death Of The Box-To-Box Midfielder.

In English football, some of the most celebrated players in recent history have been the dynamic box-to-box midfielders. Typified by Lampard and Gerrard in...
Ritesh Gogineni
Editor/Founder of The False 9.

Latest Posts

Serie A’s Last Outsiders Part 1: Hellas Verona, 1984/1985

With the 2020–2021 Serie A underway, there is a general sense of uncertainty about a league that has fallen from the heights of its...

Have Opponents Got Used To Liverpool’s 4-3-3 Formation This Season

Liverpool are conceding goals at an alarming rate when you consider that they only conceded 33 Premier League goals throughout last season’s title-winning campaign....

A brief history of the footballing aesthetic (and its gradual death)

The death of football at its most beautiful peak, is nigh ‘Football is the beautiful game.’ A statement we have heard since childhood. Words which...

Southampton 2-5 Tottenham: Mourinho’s reply to his doubters

For the first time in his storied career, Jose Mourinho started a league season with a defeat. Facing a freshly reinforced Everton at home,...

How will Gareth Bale fit in at Spurs-A look at Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 formation

Multiple top-tier sources including BBC and the current Tier 1 Journalist Fabrizio Romano have confirmed that Spurs are in talks with Real Madrid over...

Fulham 0-3 Arsenal:Tactical Analysis – Willian, Gabriel superb in Arteta’s 3-4-3 formation

Lineups and Formation Fulham Fulham lined up in a 4-2-3-1. Rodak was preferred to new signing Areola in goal. The back 4 had Odoi (right), Bryan...

The European Resurrections of Ever Banega

It seems fitting that Éver Banega’s final bow in European competition involved him lifting the Europa League. Barring a surprise reversal in the future,...

Football Books

Foul- The Beautiful Game, An Ugly Truth [Book Excerpt]

The clip-clop of football boot studs on concrete echoed through the tunnel over the hum of distant crowd noise. A drenched team of players...

Best Football Analytics Books

We have compiled a list of the best football analytics books for the casual football fan. Football analytics and data science/machine learning in general...

The Best Football Books of 2019

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2020, we have compiled a list of the best...

The Best Football Books of 2018

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2019, we have compiled a list of the best...

5 Books every Soccer fan needs to read before the FIFA World Cup 2018

The FIFA World Cup is just around the corner and it's the perfect time to brush up your history and facts about the World...

The Rise of the forward destroyer

Over the last decade we have seen the disappearance of the classic number 10, especially in European football. The most famous example of course being Juan Roman Riquelme, who is one of the most talented footballers to have emerged out of Argentina.
Today, all the best players in the world either are players who are forwards or are players who have moved inside from wide areas. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, Andres Iniesta and Mesut Ozil are all among the very best in the world and can play in numerous positions across the pitch. They are all mobile, more involved in the game and of course, are found in more threatening positions than a classic number 10.

But over the past 2-3 years a new breed of footballers has emerged. Highly energetic, physically strong and well built players deployed in attacking positions. This emergence can be attributed to the fact that now the game is dictated largely by deep lying playmakers rather than number 10′s. Xabi Alonso, Michael Carrick, Mikel Arteta, Xavi Hernandez, Bastian Schweinstieger, Andrea Pirlo are the the key players who dictate play for their respective clubs. Initially the deep lying playmaker was successful as he found time and space aplenty and could dictate the game at his will. So this explains the emergence of the forward destroyer.
Serie A’s love affair with number 10′s is drawing a close as the league is surprisingly where the trend of playing a physically attacking midfielder has emerged. Kevin Prince Boateng perfectly exemplifies the modern attacking midfielder: not as technically gifted as some of his predecessors, he makes up for it with his energy, running and willingness to put his body on the line. While Juventus under Conte play a slightly unusual system: they have Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal ahead of Pirlo, a complete opposite to the midfield 3 of Edgar Davids, Zidane and Nedved. Back in the day, they had a defensive player protecting one or more attacking players, whereas today, Marchisio and Vidal do the dirty work, allowing Pirlo to pull the strings from behind.
Yaya Toure, who was primarily used as a defensive midfielder at Barcelona, has been used as  an attacking midfielder to great effect by Roberto Mancini. The same can be said with Marouane Fellaini, who initially was a defensive midfielder but his season has been instrumental in Everton’s push for a European place with his performances in a much more advanced role. Manchester United who under Sir Alex Ferguson in recent years trust brain and graft in the midfield generals rather than a strong physical presence realised that they had to play Jones deep in midfield to nullify the threat of the Belgian. After Roy Keane’s departure, United has never played with a true physical defensive midfielder.
Of course like everything in life, football tactics also goes through cycles. Someone creates a successful tactic and someone else manages to counter it and then someone else comes along and creates a new problem until someone else solves it. This goes on and on.
In simpler terms, a classic Number 10 is nullified by the traditional defensive midfielder. Along come deep lying playmakers who are now nullified by the forward destroyer. And while the forward destroyer is the problem now and the solution is to return to old way by playing a defensive midfielder!

Related

Total Football and it’s impact on the modern game

The popularism of the “Catennaccio” in the 1960s by Helenio Herrera was game-changing in that it focused its tenets on defending and the art...

Football Tactics for Beginners: The Low Block

What is the low block? The low block is generally referred to a football team's defensive shape without the ball. Generally the low block consists...

Football Tactics for Beginners: Defending Corner Kicks

We are all afraid of it. It is the 90th minute, your team is up by one goal and the opposition is about to...

Football Tactics for Beginners- The Sweeper Keeper: From Lev Yashin to Manuel Neuer

Germany’s Manuel Neuer has been widely credited as one of the finest goal-keepers of his generation, and quite rightly too. The Bayern Munich shot-stopper...

The Diminishing role of the Stopper Center Back in the Premier League

Defending and its place in the modern game has spawned a quagmire of critical debate. Back in 2014, when Gary Neville’s article in the...

The art of the long throw and how to counter it

Since the dawn of time, mankind has yearned to to throw stuff really far. Rocks, spears, shapes in the night club, to be human...

Football Tactics For Beginners-The Christmas Tree Formation

  Football is a result oriented business. Whatever succeeds, earns fame for itself and for its conceiver. And if it captures the imagination of spectators...

Football Tactics for Beginners: Tactical Periodization

What is Tactical Periodization? Tactical Periodization is a coaching methodology which is used to train football players with respect to the tactical context of the...

Football Tactics for Beginners-Compactness

If you have the ball you must make the field as big as possible, and if you don’t have the ball you must make...

Latest Posts

Serie A’s Last Outsiders Part 1: Hellas Verona, 1984/1985

With the 2020–2021 Serie A underway, there is a general sense of uncertainty about a league that has fallen from the heights of its...

Have Opponents Got Used To Liverpool’s 4-3-3 Formation This Season

Liverpool are conceding goals at an alarming rate when you consider that they only conceded 33 Premier League goals throughout last season’s title-winning campaign....

A brief history of the footballing aesthetic (and its gradual death)

The death of football at its most beautiful peak, is nigh ‘Football is the beautiful game.’ A statement we have heard since childhood. Words which...

Southampton 2-5 Tottenham: Mourinho’s reply to his doubters

For the first time in his storied career, Jose Mourinho started a league season with a defeat. Facing a freshly reinforced Everton at home,...

Don't Miss

The European Resurrections of Ever Banega

It seems fitting that Éver Banega’s final bow in European competition involved him lifting the Europa League. Barring a surprise reversal in the future,...

What if Pep’s Barcelona played against Sacchi’s AC Milan?

Pep Guardiola has re-invented football so much in the past decade that one wonders if the game is still the same that was played...

Súper Dépor! The rise and fall of Deportivo La Coruña

At the Start With the exception of a 2nd place finish to Helenio Herrera’s Atlético Madrid in 1948/49, Deportivo La Coruña have historically plied their...

Football And Alcohol

      “When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.” Football and booze go a long long way back, in...

The long & bizarre history behind why Red Bull chose Leipzig as the hub for their football club

When Red Bull tried to set foot into German football for the first time, they initially tried to use the same method they had...

Transfers

How will Coutinho fit in at Arsenal: Arteta’s new look 4-2-3-1 formation

English outlet, Express are reporting that Arsenal are considering a loan deal for Barcelona's record signing, Philippe Coutinho. The report indicates that Coutinho might have...

How will Pjanic fit in at Barcelona? A look at Barcelona’s 4-3-3 formation for next season

As the deal between Barcelona and Juventus regarding the transfers of Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic has almost been finalised, let's take a look...

Three best Premier League transfers of all time

The Premier League is famous for its lavish spending on player’s transfers. Top clubs like Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United have been spending...

Where will Kai Havertz play for Chelsea? A look at Lampard’s exciting 4-2-3-1 formation for next season

There have been several rumours surrounding Kai Havertz's transfer to Chelsea and Havertz's current boss, Peter Bosz has indicated that the winger might not...

Man United expected lineup against Sheffield United: Pogba & Bruno to start together for first time

Manchester United salvaged a draw against Tottenham in their first game post the lockdown. Their performance improved after the substitutions of Paul Pogba and...