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The Return of the Attacking Midfielders


Giselle
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Watching the games this past weekend, I couldn't help but notice the abundance of young, talented attacking midfielders playing in the league. If you go team by team, you could pick out some outstanding names and as a collection of talent around the league, I think this current crop is one of the best ever crop of attacking midfielders that we've ever seen in the league.

 

The first name that comes to mind for me is of course our own Hatem. I honestly think that technically he's one of the best in the league and I know I've been harping on about this for a couple of years already, but his combination of technique and mental strength means that there aren't many players in the league that I'd willingly swap him for.

 

Then you look at Chelsea, the two prominent names are Oscar and Hazard; both young, quick, have excellent technique and still far from fulfilling their potential. Schurrle is another one to watch.

 

Liverpool of course have Coutinho, who has ripped apart so many defences in just six months here. This boy is also destined for big things.

 

City have Silva, whose track record speaks for itself.

 

Spurs have a bunch of new names but the two that comes to mind are Eriksen and Lamela; both young, full of pace and have great technique.

 

Arsenal have two of their own as well: Cazorla and of course, one of the best of the bunch, Ozil.

 

Everton also have one of the most promising English players for many years: Ross Barkley, who for me looks perfect for the league.

 

So what do you think? What other names belong here? Is this a collection of talented attacking midfielders that we'll only see once every many, many years?

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Guest firetotheworks

Suarez is as well. He just has more to his game and with someone like Coutinho behind him, he can concentrate on making the most of the most dangerous part of his game.

 

Nasri is definitely another, but he's still never reached the level that he did at Arsenal, for me.

 

Why Kagawa doesn't play more for Man United baffles me a bit. I guess there's no need to rotate a winning team, but I thought he would feature more heavily.

 

 

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Guest firetotheworks

I don't think so, I think the success of Spain has put them at the front of the media's eyes. Before them it was Lampard, Gerrard, Kaka, Alonso that were seen as THE midfielders, I guess.

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Did they ever go away?

 

Not really, but I believe PL teams are using them more nowadays as more sides seem to abandon 442 which (in most setups) has less room to carry them.

 

But people like Zidane, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Kaka... became the best players of their time playing in that role.

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For me, the three midfielders that defined the past ten years were Lampard, Scholes and Gerrard. So yeah, I think there was a time when we didn't have this many good attacking midfielders in this league. We've had a 180 degree turnaround in that respect.

 

Arsenal always had a bevy of midfielders but never two good true attacking midfielders since Pires was here. Chelsea had some good wingers but they won more because of Lampard and Drogba than they did because of Robben or Duff or J Cole. Man Utd of course have been brilliant but again their dominance is down to Ronaldo, Rooney, van Persie, Scholes, Giggs etc with nary a true attacking midfielder in sight.

 

The talent level of this current crop, IMO, hasn't been seen in the league for a long time. On a related note, I think we're going through a severe talent drought for strikers in this league in comparison to other leagues.

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For a long time (well maybe 5 years or so) #10's went out of fashion in Europe and existing ones had to play out wide a lot or become strikers.

 

Now it seems more teams employ a #10 in their natural position.

 

There's a lot of truth in that; Rivaldo had a fallout with Van Gaal because he shifted him wide, Ronaldinho always played wide... although Zidane always was a #10 for RM - even though I do believe his role in a 442 actually diminished the side as a whole (not a problem of his, but tactics)

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For a long time (well maybe 5 years or so) #10's went out of fashion in Europe and existing ones had to play out wide a lot or become strikers.

 

Now it seems more teams employ a #10 in their natural position.

 

There's a lot of truth in that; Rivaldo had a fallout with Van Gaal because he shifted him wide, Ronaldinho always played wide... although Zidane always was a #10 for RM - even though I do believe his role in a 442 actually diminished the side as a whole (not a problem of his, but tactics)

 

Yep, also the focus went to deep-lying creators instead of a #10. Xavi, Scholes, Alonso, Pirlo received more praise than anyone that can be described as #10 in the last 5 years.

 

 

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Guest firetotheworks

For a long time (well maybe 5 years or so) #10's went out of fashion in Europe and existing ones had to play out wide a lot or become strikers.

 

Now it seems more teams employ a #10 in their natural position.

 

There's a lot of truth in that; Rivaldo had a fallout with Van Gaal because he shifted him wide, Ronaldinho always played wide... although Zidane always was a #10 for RM - even though I do believe his role in a 442 actually diminished the side as a whole (not a problem of his, but tactics)

 

Yep, also the focus went to deep-lying creators instead of a #10. Xavi, Scholes, Alonso, Pirlo received more praise than anyone that can be described as #10 in the last 5 years.

 

Aye, except Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. By far and away the best and most critically acclaimed players in that time period.

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so who is our number 10?

 

Cabaye is not.  I know some like to use him in that way and he might do ok, but he is more of a xabi, alonso pirlo type of mould.  not in the same class of course.

 

Our number 10?  HBA, Marveaux?  We put HBA there then we simply do not have anyone close to his ability that can play wide right.

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Guest firetotheworks

so who is our number 10?

 

Cabaye is not.  I know some like to use him in that way and he might do ok, but he is more of a xabi, alonso pirlo type of mould.  not in the same class of course.

 

Our number 10?  HBA, Marveaux?  We put HBA there then we simply do not have anyone close to his ability that can play wide right.

 

People bang on about HBA playing in the #10 role, but I much prefer him on that right hand side. The nearest player that we have in that more central role is Marveaux, imo.

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On a related note, I think we're going through a severe talent drought for strikers in this league in comparison to other leagues.

 

Are you sure? Here's the strikers from the top sides of every league

 

England: Van Persie, Torres/Eto'o, Negredo/Dzeko/Agüero, Giroud (plus Suárez, Soldado elsewhere)

Spain: Benzema and... Benzema. (we don't even have a natural striker FFS :lol:)

Italy: not my forte... Balotelli, Llorente/Tévez and Higuaín I'd guess.

Germany: Mandzukic and Lewandowski

France: Ibrahimovic, Cavani and Falcao

 

I just don't think it's a good period for natural strikers at all. And the best of them all are in France FFS :lol:

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For a long time (well maybe 5 years or so) #10's went out of fashion in Europe and existing ones had to play out wide a lot or become strikers.

 

Now it seems more teams employ a #10 in their natural position.

 

There's a lot of truth in that; Rivaldo had a fallout with Van Gaal because he shifted him wide, Ronaldinho always played wide... although Zidane always was a #10 for RM - even though I do believe his role in a 442 actually diminished the side as a whole (not a problem of his, but tactics)

 

Yep, also the focus went to deep-lying creators instead of a #10. Xavi, Scholes, Alonso, Pirlo received more praise than anyone that can be described as #10 in the last 5 years.

 

Aye, except Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. By far and away the best and most critically acclaimed players in that time period.

 

Neither are #10s. 20 years ago Lionel Messi would've been a #10 then maybe a striker. Now - he played wide then moved upfront. Ronaldo plays wide.

 

The classic #10 - Zidane, Cruyff etc. spent a number of years wide or upfront these past few years.

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so who is our number 10?

 

Cabaye is not.  I know some like to use him in that way and he might do ok, but he is more of a xabi, alonso pirlo type of mould.  not in the same class of course.

 

Our number 10?  HBA, Marveaux?  We put HBA there then we simply do not have anyone close to his ability that can play wide right.

 

Quite simple we don't have one..... but if we persist with the 433 we don't need one, not many teams who use 433 use attacking midfielders main reason being is because it tends to make you unbalanced defensively.

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Guest firetotheworks

For a long time (well maybe 5 years or so) #10's went out of fashion in Europe and existing ones had to play out wide a lot or become strikers.

 

Now it seems more teams employ a #10 in their natural position.

 

There's a lot of truth in that; Rivaldo had a fallout with Van Gaal because he shifted him wide, Ronaldinho always played wide... although Zidane always was a #10 for RM - even though I do believe his role in a 442 actually diminished the side as a whole (not a problem of his, but tactics)

 

Yep, also the focus went to deep-lying creators instead of a #10. Xavi, Scholes, Alonso, Pirlo received more praise than anyone that can be described as #10 in the last 5 years.

 

Aye, except Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. By far and away the best and most critically acclaimed players in that time period.

 

Neither are #10s. 20 years ago Lionel Messi would've been a #10 then maybe a striker. Now - he played wide then moved upfront. Ronaldo plays wide.

 

The classic #10 - Zidane, Cruyff etc. spent a number of years wide or upfront these past few years.

 

:lol: right oh.

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