Right welcome back to Room 433, where lock away all the things that I don’t like about football in the aforementioned room. Last week I had a pop at the likes of Mo Salah for refusing to celebrate against clubs he barely played for, amongst many other examples of non celebrations. I actually missed the one offender worse than all and that’s Mr Wes Hoolahan who refused to celebrate against Aston Villa because he almost signed for them. This is probably the single most pathetic thing I have ever heard, but anyway onwards and upwards.
This week I’m having a pop at defenders and specifically the ones that ply their trade in UEFA’s Champions League. Yes that competition that is meant to showcase the crème de la crème of European football. A level at which all players aspire to get to. Well I am here to inform you that at risk of sounding a bit too ‘the game has gone’ that well the game has gone. Well specifically defending, which in this iteration of the competition has been hopeless.
Take a look at the two aggregate score lines across the semi finals. Real beat Bayern 4-3 on aggregate while Liverpool beat Roma 7-6 overall. That is 20 goals across four matches, 5 goals conceded a game! We have seen defences routinely crumple see Barcelona, Real Madrid have gotten away with it twice and Liverpool and Roma effectively took turns to concede over their two legs. The emphasis has been placed so much on attacking that defending has seemingly fallen by the wayside.
There is of course the argument that strikers have just got better recently, Mo Salah is a great example of this attacking improvement. This is partly true but the likes of Salah have been helped on by some absolutely woeful defending. I’m sure the Egyptian hero will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Sergio Ramos in the final, a man who is meant to be a Real Madrid stalwart!
I do quite enjoy these new fangled ludicrously high scoring games we have gotten this year and obviously don’t want a tie to be decided by penalties after a boring 0-0 but I just think the art of defending has been completely forgotten and top teams have to improve their ability to see a game out. So that’s Big Sam lined up for the Barcelona job then right?