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The Emperor has no clothes

1 year ago

After watching Newcastle United play Brentford on Match of The Day, I decided to write this because it demonstrated perfectly what I’ve been going on about to my mates for ages, especially when it comes to the Premier League.

Goalkeepers “passing out from the back”.

If there’s one thing (just ONE thing?) that really irritates me about modern football, it’s this popular (but in my view, suicidally stupid) practice of goalkeepers “playing out from the back”.

Goodness knows how many goals I have seen conceded in the Premier League and elsewhere (e.g. U.S.A.’s goal in the Women’s International at Wembley on Friday night or Newcastle’s second and fourth against Brentford on Saturday afternoon the latest examples) with a mistaken pass in the keeper’s final third. or his penalty area. or the keeper mis-controlling the ball and being closed down by a forward.

In fact, I’d like to see some stats (if anyone has compiled them – mind you, you get stats for everything in football nowadays – something else that irritates me, don’t get me started – so there’s bound to be someone who’s done it!) to show just how many goals have been conceded due to this tactic since it became fashionable.

I blame Pep Guardiola for introducing this obsession with possession which must “start from the back” (remember when he discarded his England International goalkeeper Joe Hart because he wasn’t good enough with his feet?) and while I acknowledge that Pep is a brilliant coach and has produced some of the best teams and performances we have ever seen from an English football club. I think it’s blanket adoption by all teams as the ‘modern’ way to play is woefully misguided!

How on earth can the risk factor (i.e. of conceding a ‘gift’ goal) of the goalkeeper passing the ball to his defender in his own penalty area, be justified against the supposed advantage gained. What fabulous advantage does this ACTUALLY give to a team except to increase the risk of conceding a goal?

I don’t get it and nobody can convince me that the gain outweighs the risk, so why do so many teams do it and concede unnecessary goals – especially as teams press so high in the modern game and the attackers line up in threes, like raptors ready to hunt down these short passes, increasing the risk further.

Even the England goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, is selected because he is pretty good with his distribution, even though, in my opinion, he’s no better as a goalkeeper than several others.

As a youngster, I was a very ordinary goalkeeper and also a solid but slow centre-half in my undistinguished and largely anonymous career, so I COULD pass a ball but I wouldn’t like to be playing today.

I say this because it seems to me to put unwanted and unnecessary pressure on the goalkeeper, which is already the most high pressure individual position in the team and for what advantage??

It completely baffles me and I challenge anyone to convince me otherwise so, sorry Pep, as far as I’m concerned “the Emperor has no clothes” but nobody’s prepared to say it!!


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