Spain’s masterclass in passing and movement shows why we should have faith in Wenger

Spain produced a display of great artistry and invention which was too much for an England side and which showed just how destructive passing and movement can be.

The England players’ reaction at the end of the match said it all. Walking off the pitch and discussing amongst each other, I’m pretty sure none of them could have explained what had hit them. True, this was an understrength England side against a Spain side who hadn’t changed much after their Euro 2008 win but they knew they had been comprehensively outplayed.

Spain, playing a diamond formation passed and moved the ball with an almost telepathic like understanding of each other, showing great fluidity and flexibility. In terms of technique, England and Spain aren’t much different but in terms of intelligence and creativity, Spain are head and shoulders in front. Xavi, dictated the play though the central midfield four and Villa all contributed in weaving patterns around the England midfield. Torres was disappointing and if proof needed to be that Villa is better than the Liverpool forward albeit different players this was it. The Valencia striker was slightly fortunate to get the ball past Jagielka and Terry before firing the first goal but such is the balance and close control of the Spain side, it wasn’t just about luck.

It wasn’t a perfect performance; England had the better chances while David James didn’t have much to do as Spain lacked the dynamism which surely would have been even more devastating. Capello’s side passed the ball decently at times but with Gerrard, Walcott, Joe Cole and Rooney missing they lacked the quality to keep the ball. It was a match which could have promised more with these players as Spain didn’t look the strongest out wide however they couldn’t capitalise, as the gap between midfield and attack made it seemed like England were playing a 8-0-2. However it was the Spanish’s hypnotic passing which dragged their opponents all over the pitch, the star of the show.

If Wenger was watching, he would have been purring at the sight though it is something he has already witnessed many a times at Arsenal. When the Gunners do get their players back from injury and start to click again the potential is devastating. And with Arshavin and Nasri they will have the dynamism which was missing from ‘La Roja’ to go with the passing and movement. The game brought back memories of last season where Arsenal outplayed Man United and Liverpool (but lost, 2-1 and 4-2 respectively) and of the ‘Invincibles.’

In other news, Eduardo was in action for Croatia and set up Niko Kranjcar just 15 minutes after coming on.”I am delighted to have Eduardo back and his return is an enormous bonus for us,” said Bilic.”His ball control, the ability to hold it and wait for support has been sorely missed and it makes all the difference when we play top-level opposition.”

Sagna and Gallas played in a 2-0 defeat to Argentina for France where both had decent games.  Read about the rest of the Gunner’s in action on the Arsenal website.


9 thoughts on “Spain’s masterclass in passing and movement shows why we should have faith in Wenger

  1. “In terms of technique, England and Spain aren’t much different….”

    How can you make the above statement with a straight face? Oh, right, you were the one who said we need Scott Parker because he’s a technical player!

    Your country is forever in denial.

  2. But what do you know Mark?
    Parker is a technical player! And yes, in terms of technique, we and Spain aren’t much different. Fabio Capello has changed the club and we are gradually transfroming into Spain.

  3. I never said we needed Parker. Just an option we could have looked at. Downing, Beckham, Barry, Lampard and Carrick are technically very strong, not necessarily better but I said they ‘aren’t much different.’ Spain are obviously stronger but it wasn’t their technique that set them apart, it was their intelligence Capello even acknowledge that and so did Villa.

  4. You’re forgetting the most important player of all, the lion in the middle that is Senna: the player who allows his teammates to operate so freely, to connect with each other like they’re psychically bonded.

    Spain would be much easier to beat without Senna.

    And THAT is the type of player Wenger REFUSES to buy. So no, I can’t agree that the wonderful Spanish team somehow vindicates Wenger, it doesn’t. We currently have a team–even when Cesc was playing–that can’t do any quick, one-touch passing like Spain do. We were like Spain last season when we had a midfield made up of players who understood each other brilliantly, psychically. Even with Cesc and Theo uninjured, we don’t have that this season.

  5. England is miles apart from being a technical team….the culture will never be like Spain….England’s culture is running, effort, tackling and putting it in the mixer and hoping for a mistake.

    Its no wonder that the higher you move up the table, the fewer English players/managers are in the first XI and coaching.

    “Fabio Capello has changed the club and we are gradually transfroming into Spain.”

    Dream on!

  6. Mark: I agree with you about England’s culture. Things are looking to change but when and if is the greater question. Regarding managers, most are ex-pros going straight into club management, missing chunks of their education e.g. youth development and also generally the way the english game is played. Personally I’ll like to see non-playing english coaches come through but whether they are given the chance…
    ‘Transforming into Spain’ is an over-statement, definitely. Although he wants greater movement and flexibility. I think come the World Cup, with fully fit players Engalnd will give a better account for themselves against a similarly strong spain side.

  7. While I still believe Spain are clearly technically superior, I agree with the author that it was their tactical awareness that really gave them the edge. It doesn’t take great technical ability to play a 10 yard ball to feet, but with their ingenuity, awareness and quick-thinking, the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso used that to retain possession masterfully, and leave the England players chasing shadows.

  8. The English culture is safety first. Watch any English central midfielder when receiving a ball with any kind of pressure, he will pass it back to the defenders or gk….look at the European/Latin cmf and they are always looking to turn with the ball and make penetrating passes…..Scott Parker, like most English cmf, IF they can turn will more often then not play a square pass which organized defenses love as you know….again, the safety first mentality needs changing…and the “tackling over tricks” development philosophy needs changing.

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