Oh yeah, it’s Wednesday when it should be Tuesday.
Soak that up for a second.
… and we’re in!
There’s not too much going on in the world of football at the moment.
I did read an interesting article by Rapha Honigstein on Bayern and Dortmund. Take a read here.
Two threads I found interesting. Firstly that Bayern at the moment don’t have many attacking players. So instead of playing the way Pep likes to play, he’s having to resort to playing without the ball. Kind of Stoke like.
What I like here is that he’s accepted the team he has in front of him, and he’s practicing and playing a style that suits them. I think Bayern had 50% percent possession against Dortmund. A total turnaround. That ability to sacrifice style for substance is such a positive trait. Must be a tough one for the players to execute as well.
The other interesting snippet was about Dortmund since they lost Oliver Bartlett. He’s the fitness coach who gave them the energy to play that hard pressing game when they were winning. Since he left, Dortmund have become an injury machine and lost their edge.
Bartlett is quite a fascinating character. He went over to Redbull when they’d had a bit of a slump. They finished 5 points off the top. A season after he came in, made them physical beasts, they finished 18 points clear. You can read more about his approach here.
This, again, is an example of why fitness is so important in the game. It’s most likely why English clubs struggle in the Champions League. Our teams are way fitter on average, way more intense and we play more games and don’t have a break. It all adds up at the end of a season.
Oliver Bartlett was a London raised Aussie as well. Hard to believe Arsenal didn’t speak to him before he went to Levurkusen as their assistant coach. He’s the best in the world. Doubt Arsene would have given him that position, but it’s amazing the power these specialists have nowadays. At the highest level, it’s very difficult to split out teams on technical ability… a major differentiator is fitness. The best clubs are realising that.
That’s why the signing of Shad was so important. It looks like something is happening now… but the real test will be whether he can do it from the start of the season. Because what happened at the start of the last season was a joke. Tony Colbert still being about wouldn’t have helped. Probably still doesn’t.
Thing is, for a great fitness coach to have an impact, you need a manager to buy into the approach and cede control. For that, you need a force of personality in the person coming in. Hopefully Shad is that guy.
Redbull and Dortmund are brilliant case studies for fitness being king… Barca under Pep are another. That intensity was incredible. Arsenal don’t play like that, but we’re building a crop of players who have the power to do so… I mean, we’re getting Ozil through 90minutes these days. Which is a massive win!
Right, that’s your lot today!