Arsenal - We Want Our Beautiful Game Back
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We Want Our Beautiful Game Back

Vital Arsenal member Professor Calculus believes negative football is killing the beautiful game. Is this a rant of fact or frustration at Arsenal's apparent poor start to the season? Personally, I'd have to side with the Prof.


I genuinely feel that at some stage the rules will have to be tweaked to deal with what I see as a serious problem in football. Football is entertainment, not any old rent a movie entertainment, it's damn expensive, for the money we pay now I don't think it is acceptable that one side is quite happy to position everyone in their own half and try to defend for a point, as long as this tactic works and is not discouraged then there will always be managers and teams who will exploit it.

Not so long back football introduced the rule which stopped keepers picking up pass backs, they did this because boring as fuck teams (including Arsenal) would simply give it to their keeper if they couldn't see a way through or if they were under pressure, the keeper picked it up then launched it Bolton style.

When this positive no pass back rule was introduced everyone claimed it was a mistake and pointless, the usual argument about tinkering with the rules is bad etc, well the rule worked. If you actually watch recorded matches from before this rule was introduced, you can't believe how often play was broken up by players going for the easy option of giving the ball to a pair of hands. My argument is that way too many teams are taking the easy option in the modern game of football, they are exploiting the generosity of footballs laws. Why should the most popular sport in the world be held hostage by negative teams and managers, the art of defending is of course very necessary but basing an entire game plan around stifling the opposition whilst having no ambition to go out and play is ruining the game.

If you give anyone the cheap and easy option then they will take it, that's a fact of life and it applies to football as well. I'm saying the cheap and easy option should be discouraged by promoting and rewarding positive football. You know this country has never had a love of beautiful football, Brian Clough was the exception to the rule, he loved to play football the way it was so obviously meant to be played, but most in this country people value other attributes more so than technique and passing skills, no one in this country is going to voluntarily start playing good football but perhaps if the rules reward it, then they might be drawn towards the idea. I know that every league his it's pros and cons, in the prem diving and cheating is considered a bad thing and not really tolerated, in Spain diving is part of the game, but no one can tell me that if Arsenal were in La Liga right now, that after three games we still would not have won, the Spanish culture demands good football, Arsenal would come up against a team who wants to out play them rather than stop them from playing.

I think the UK is a progressive place and they usually try new things first, I do think football needs some positive tweaking. Here's a question, lets just say Arsene Wenger leaves, we're in the post Wenger era, our new manager cares little for good football and cares only about results, we win the league George Graham / Jose Mourinho style, bore the pants off everyone and get slated by football legends who love the beautiful game, but more importantly we win the league by playing ugly stifling, sit back and hope for a set piece football. Would you care? I would, I do not under any circumstances want to go back to the George Graham days even if it means success, I would rather Arsenal remained a footballing side and stayed mid table than a boring anti-football side challenging for everything, surely at the end of the day we watch football for the love of football. If you love football then the Premiership is not the league to watch I'm afraid.

Article submitted by Professor Calculus.

Feel free to agree or counter the Prof's argument on either the forum or via the article comments.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 11 2006

Time: 6:25PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Spot on. While results are certainly nice, I definitely agree that I'd rather play pretty football and draw than sit 11 men behind the ball and scrape out a 1-0 victory
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11/09/2006 18:57:00

You are talking rubbish. Our slow playing is giving always time oppostion to pack too many players in their goal. We should play more one touch football to accelerate the game and not give them time to regroup, or shoot more often to get deflected goals if they pack in front of their goal.
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11/09/2006 19:08:00

its a shame because the premiership was the league to watch a few years back. counter attacking brilliant passing fotball but now it has all changed
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11/09/2006 19:37:00

like the theory but it needs to be something practical that can be applied at all levels of the game. any ideas?
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11/09/2006 19:58:00

An extra point if you score three or more goals??
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11/09/2006 20:22:00

I hear Fran Merida hit a 30 yard free kick against spurs tonight to draw 2-2. Supposed to be a pearler!
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11/09/2006 20:53:00

fran merida soon will break into 1st squad. but back to the article, it is true now that i look at it we should keep on playing our way of foootball that makes us unique to every team. yeah it is frustrating, but the boys have almost perfected it. i have faith in the team and all we need to do is score now and somtimes be a bit more decisive in our decision making in defence and attack. i would like the team to become a little bit more dirty also, to antagonise opponents. its good to play a little dirty, jus to show players u are serious. anyhow we will conquer this season, ppl laugh at me wen i say that, but i really do believe we are the best in the league.
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11/09/2006 21:05:00

Fine article. Could not agree more. What is annoying - besides the fact that we did not win - is that Boro is actually being praised. Why praise a team for such a boring and destructive approach? I don't get it. Heroic defending? Oh please, what's so heroic about sticking 11 behind the ball while huffing, puffing and hoofing through the entire 90 min.? Anyway, here is an idea (JUST an idea!) for a rule change: Each team MUST keep 2 (or maybe 3) players on the opposition's half for the entire game. It need not be the same two or three players - as long as no more than 7 or 8 outfield players are allowed on their on half of the pitch at any one time. Such a rule would obviously make it impossible for a team to park a bus in front of their own goal and might (just might) encourage a more positive and attack minded approach to the game. Just an idea. I would like to hear your comments.
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11/09/2006 22:19:00

Some real food for thought there.
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11/09/2006 23:00:00

Passion, I think that's a brilliant idea. We'd see how managers like Fat Sam would fare with that set of rules
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12/09/2006 00:01:00

I disagree with Passion on having 2-3 players parked in the attacking half, as this would interfere with offside unless you make the opposition have someone in their own half, which in turn would make the game look more like netball. The best way to tackle this problem is for teams that play the beautiful game to figure out how to play against 11 defenders and start succeeding. If the defensive game wasn't working it wouldn't be used. But I don't mind the idea of an extra point for 3+ goals, or for perhaps a 2 goal margin. The only problem is chelski often get large scores playing rubbish football.
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12/09/2006 02:02:00

Watch the language "because boring as ***** teams"
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12/09/2006 06:31:00

Note that was from your article
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12/09/2006 06:33:00

hows about an extra point if you win by a margin of 3 or more goals, that would really open things up. maybe im crazy but id love to see how this rule would work..
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12/09/2006 07:51:00

oops didnt see jakeB's contribution there
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12/09/2006 07:55:00

Gianluca Vialli proposes limiting offsides to the final third of the pitch to open the game up more and give strikers more space. Any reactions?
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12/09/2006 09:29:00

yes i think the offside rule to change would be a good idea, and i like more points for more than 3 goals. i like the idea of a sin bin for constant illegals fouls, how would this effect our game ? well a player gets a warning, then gets sent to a sin bin for 10 mins, this would then reduce the other team and give the 11 men more of a chance, if he comes back and fouls again then he is off. with all the many many fouls in our game you could suddenly find a teams with 8 v 7 or something like that and you would then have a very open 5 a side style game which would prove interesting.
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12/09/2006 09:38:00

...Backed by Arabs, run by a Frenchman, not an Englishman on the pitch perhaps an Arsenal fan could tell me whether or not I will have to take my passport to get into the new stadium...
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12/09/2006 13:00:00

Perhaps your pretty football will be more appreciated in the championship. LOSERS!
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12/09/2006 13:05:00

Onnors did you ask your mother before you went on the internet?
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12/09/2006 21:38:00

West1 - I actually like that idea. It's simple, not too disruptive and with the shorter distance the linesmen would have to run, they'd have no excuses for not being able to keep up with play!!!
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12/09/2006 22:03:00

Yeah, when I read the idea I thought it could help open things up, and, as you point out, make life easier for the linesmen. One other point Vialli made is that in Brazil the ref carries a can of "spray paint" to mark the 10 yard spot on free kicks, now how easy would it be to introduce that?
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13/09/2006 15:53:00


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