el Gaffer raises an interesting point insomuch as whether or not it’s better to live with the division of labour in the midfield, or to have more versatile players who can do it all. Given the current state of the game, I’d venture to say that a player that can fulfill both roles would be ideal, but the Creator/Destroyer partnership seems to work quite well.

I will, as is now custom, also differ from SuperPippo, who seems to be unable to complete a post without referring to his namesake, that poaching owl.  (Incidentally, how cool would that be: in Soviet Russia, Owl poach you!)

Oh, and Superpippo9 . . that was el Gaffer you differed from, not me.

That’s right . . this was the blogging equivalent of my raising the flag on your inspired rant into the opposing team’s penalty area.

And what’s all this about favouring two holding midfielders? Yes, if they’re good they’d be brutal, taking control of the midfield, but are you honestly telling me you’d rather watch that sort of game? This segues nicely into something I want us to talk about, but which I shall append to the end of this post, in order to control my digression.

On the Creater/Destroyer partnership, I’d say I do have to agree with el Gaffer on Michael Essien being the best for the position at the moment. Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that he is an incredibly annoying footballer for non-Chelsea fans who are playing the Blues. Essien is technically gifted and works like a madman, getting up and down the pitch and intelligently defending against creative players. Yaya Toure does a good job in this role for Barca as well (anyone who thinks Keita is an adequate like-for-like replacement for him in Barca’s midfield needs to have their head examined).
As for a creator, I’d pick Xavi hands down, given the form he has consistently shown, culminating with this season’s epic performances.

To summarise, my picks:

Destroyer – M Essien

Creator – Xavi

– el kapitan

p.s. So the topic I want to debate is this:

Much has been said since the Chelsea v Barca game about strength vs art, an attacking spirit vs defending solidly, and which is more ‘true to football’. I’d like to open the floor to debate on this, in particular looking at teams’ attitudes towards possession. One of the best things about Barca this season, to my mind, has been the determination to get the ball and keep it, to keep prompting and probing until an opportunity presents itself. Look at players like Messi, Iniesta and Xavi, all of whom bear the hallmark of greatness: nine times out of ten, they don’t lose the ball to tacklers. They may pass it backwards, but they’re usually not very easily dispossesed. Zidane was another one who had this sort of languid grace about him whilst cleverly making sure his team stayed in possession.

So, thoughts?