Vicente del Bosque could possibly have the easiest job in world football at the moment with the quality of players he has at his disposal. But while nobody can argue with Spain’s results in Euro 2012, with 9 goals scored and only 1 conceded from their 5 games so far, the same could not be said for their performances. Yes Spain will always have more possession of the ball then their opponent will and generally create more chances. But by flooding the midfield with 6 players are they damaging their performances.
Without doubt their midfield the strongest area of the squad. Especially when you take into account players like Mata, Pedro and Fabregas are not considered 1st choice in the starting XI. When you have players like Xavi, Iniesta, Alonso, Silva and Busquets playing in midfield, why is their a need to play a 6th midfielder? The 5 players already playing are probably the best in the world at holding possession and carving out chances. Playing another midfielder means they lack a vocal point for their attacks. When the opposing team gets men behind the ball in numbers 40 yards outside their goal, Spain need a player who will play high up the pitch, on the line of the defence making runs off the centre halves. This would straight away open up more space in midfield for players like Xavi, Iniesta and Silva to work their magic to create chances which a quality striker would thrive on.
Everybody knows Torres has had a torrid time in the last couple of years but as he proved against Ireland in the group stages, he will score when the opportunity arises. He may not be as technically gifted or as good a passer as the rest of the Spanish team, but what he offers is his willingness to stay as far forward as possible occupying both centre halves, as a result creating more space for the more creative players to flourish. By a team not playing a recognised centre forward, we will miss exciting battles between central defenders and centre forwards.
I hope clubs and other football nations don’t buy into this new formation of football as it will only deprive us of quality forward play, excitement and goals.
By Alan O’Brien