Parking the bus: What’s wrong with defensive football?

Whitey On The Moon

By Matteo and Luca Tiratelli

Football today is plagued by the dogmatic belief that the only acceptable type of football is attacking football. Playing on the front foot and persistently attacking is seen as both aesthetically and morally superior. In its most absurd form you even hear people say that it’s better to play attacking football and lose, than to win any other way.

This restrictive perspective engenders not just recent criticism of José Mourinho’s tactics, and Italian football in general, but also of defenders themselves. A Guardian list of the 100 greatest footballers of 2013 had no defenders in the top ten and only two in the top 20, one of whom (Phillip Lahm) has played in midfield all season. The defenders who do feature in the rest of the list are mostly ball playing defenders like David Luiz and Gerrard Pique. Arguably the best defenses in Europe are…

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