Feck. Bollocks. Balls.
We were doing ok; then we conceded; then the familiar tale of trying to break through a deep defence while being wide open for counters. Urgh.
There’s gotta be another way. It’s gotta be better to lose another way than this way. Our way doesn’t seem sensible enough to me. It doesn’t seem to calculate the odds well enough. Or….we just aren’t that good. Still, maybe I’d prefer to be not quite good enough another way, or the other way: putting defence first and refusing to play what feels so much like a sucker role, one that allows teams who concentrate on defence and wait for breaks against us to look so smart.
Probably there is overweighting of the most recent, painful game going on. Just the week before our win featured a lot of us sitting back defending a lead (admittedly without the counter threat for plenty of it)…but still…it, this defeat, was bloody painful and aggravating. It felt so familiar, the sights, the tale, the blasted asymmetry. How can being light in defence while trying to get through a team who are defending deeper be smarter than being organised with a lot of numbers in defence and attacking into huge spaces with few defenders? Boy, it isn’t the whole story, which is a season or even seasons long, but ,ah, that doesn’t help on the day when it is the story of the action, and it is a story that has played out so many times before.
Of course, there is the big old issue of defend and counter being dependant, in its smartness, in its likelihood of securing a good result, and in the sheer spectacle of it, on the other team playing ball, literally. If they go for the exact same approach, then you will often get checkmate, or rather stalemate. The big spaces will not be there for either side to attack into. Something will have to give. Someone will have to push.
It’s also not true that defend and counter is adhered to 100%. The D & C team will sometimes push up some and commit players to non-counter attacking, attacking attacking, or whatever the hell you want to call it (Utd’s first was not a counter, but did feature exploiting a nice gap behind our defence); they won’t always be totally set in a deep defensive block; they won’t always ensure there is no space at all behind their defence.
In addition, it doesn’t always work, of course. Sometimes- often even, if there is a gulf in quality- the possession team wins the day. Sometimes their extra possession and their extra time probing around the opposition box leads to a breakthrough. Sometimes they get in front, and have their increased chance from there of looking smart while the opponent looks dumb, or has to change, and face the threat of conceding again while they do so. Sometimes. The odds depend on quality more than anything else, but luck and chance are also factors.
It is all far better judged over time- months, a season, seasons- than in one game, obviously. Though, frustratingly, the nature of things ensures no two games are exactly the same, so while it is clearly not fair to judge one game as a conclusive measure of one idea against another, one team against another…a perfect means of judgment can feel, finally, painfully elusive. In a lovely neat Scientific experiment you could run it again, and again, and again. 10 times. 20. 50. Are you really so smart,eh, Mr Solskjaer? Is defend and counter really so f*cking smart? But no. Ten league games against them takes five seasons. Ten home league games ten years. The casts changing all the time. The variables. We can get ten games or more per year against teams who primarily play defend and counter against us, so there’s that, but again little is constant, or not quite enough is the same for the results to be completely satisfying.
It isn’t science. Too many variables. The luck factor. Arghh. So speaks a man, hopefully not too weird a man, who has just been burned by football. Whose passion, drug, vehicle of joy or whatever, has just delivered another good ole kick to the balls, bad trip, crash.
All this talk but in the game it is more a thing of emotion, with something like reasoning riding along in the sidecar. Meaning what exactly I don’t know. Reason isn’t king? Even emotion isn’t king, as in this case it isn’t in charge of its own destiny and destination? Ah, the lot of the sports fan, ey (where can i get me a bedsheets to deface? What’s Talksports number? etc)
Pulling back from all that, pretending not to be a emotional wee beastie, timorous or no, an immature goon, or anything like that; a person of sense or science or something, shit in order; head kept, dreams not your master, triumph and disaster not fooling you, no sir…where are we at? What is a reasonable set of expectations currently? Should we focus on trying to be better in attack, or in defence? Is there a way, on our budget and from the exact position we are in, squad wise etc, to try and keep (or forge for one set of the disenchanted) an attacking identity while NOT BEING SO F*CKING SUSCEPTIBLE TO F*CKING COUNTER ATTACKS (sorry)? What next? What does the future hold in store?
We will find out, in time. The perfect analysis does not exist because the perfect test doesn’t. We don’t get to play each game 20 or 50 times under the same conditions, with the same variables etc. Luck and chance will have their say. The things of perfect scientific tests, while leading to some very handy discoveries and inventions, well, they’re not generally the stuff of real, wild, chaotic, messy life. They’re only a part of it.
We do ,however, get the months, year after year. We get a season and then another; that has to do and it is not, after all, that bad a way to judge the merits of teams, systems and ideas.
I hope I haven’t overreacted too gratuitously. But, f*ck me, that prick dancing again on our home patch. Utd again getting to look clever, and, horribly, actually be clever, while using a style that doesn’t place much onus on having to actually build play very intelligently…oh well. Onwards. The mind straining towards the impossible a little, half-craving those ten years of games in a week or something. Thankfully not getting it. Or at least not getting it because it aint fucking possible. These frustrations do make the good days sweeter don’t they.