Tiki Taka vs Route One Football

One nil down in the 75th minute. Do you ask your forwards to shuffle along their backline and wait for your center backs to spray long balls or do you continue to ask your midfield to connect between the two? With Zigic up front, the question is easily answered, but most don’t have the luxury.

Barcelona have perfected the possession style, Arsenal have created their own version, and we all know the Brazilians love it. The problem with route one football is the counter attack. Pushing forward five or six players leaves you with only your backline behind the ball and a recipe for disaster. Teams with the ability to exploit gaps on the counter will do so quickly:

Teams that play the tiki taka possession game are always labeled as more skilled, but can you honestly say that Clichy and Diaby have more skill than the majority of England’s top flight? The style works well for Arsenal and if it helps, looks far better than scramble inside the 18 or a long throw-in from Delap. For 90 minutes, you can’t really rely on Tom Huddlestone to blast long balls and expect the half chances to go in. Just look at the Spurs consistency in the Premier League. There isn’t any.

If I put a label on route one football teams people will just get angry. It’s more likely to get countered than score a goal and it just seems so desperate and painful to watch. Nonetheless, it is exciting with 5 minutes remaining or if you have Xabi Alonso on your side:

I guess route one football is effective when you have the names David Beckham or Xabi Alonso on your roster. The only positives to route one is a quick change of pace in the game or having the opposing team’s backline running towards their own net. An average long ball is easy to defend and gets ridiculously boring after a while, not to mention tires out the front players. Even Barcelona have done it from time to time, but at least they do it with style and spray textured balls in from the flanks with Dani Alves. Chelsea on the other hand just plays the typical English route one. Lucky for them Essien loves his wonder strikes:

I don’t think I really need to explain tiki taka football. The majority of the movements are off the ball and is sometimes slow, but patient in looking for the breakdown of a defense. Only few Premiership teams are patient in the final third, but none are better at possessing in all quadrants of the field like Arsenal. Wengerball is easily the next best form of football behind the style perfected by FCB. No better example than this:

Proof is in the video.

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