Il Fenomeno - R1 - VideoBrothers vs Mustard

With players at their career peak, who would win?


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Šjor Bepo

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A pretty straight-forward 4-3-3 with a fluid attacking trio. The tactical highlight of this set up is the role of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge — frankly, we’ve got a bit tired of shoehorning him on the right, while at his peak he was absolutely unplayable as a free-roaming center forward. Kalle’s goalscoring had massively improved after Müller’s departure from Munich in 1979, as he was finally made the focal point of their attacks — and in the first 2 seasons in a new role he had scored a staggering 75 goals for his club and another 13 goals for West Germany. It was almost a Ronaldo-like transformation, from a scorer of great goals to a great goalscorer — the amount of «striker’s» goals that he had scored in that era was quite impressive. On either side of Kalle we have perfect wide players for such formation — Rensenbrink was a creative wing-forward that guaranteed 20+ goals per season (and even scoring 31 in his best year) & Simonsen was a fantastic all-round threat — hardworking, two-footed & outrageously gifted.

In midfield it’s a traditional set up with Charlton in his preferred inside left zone, Bozsik as s slightly deeper midfield playmaker (again, basically in his preferred role as a right half back) & Pirri in his later incarnation as a defensive midfielder/libero, covering the zone behind them. Bozsik's long passing is going to be especially handy with Kalle's fantastic runs — while you can't bet that they're going to understand each other perfectly, like he did with Breitner, still, having someone capable of providing Breitner-esque long balls forward is definitely going to be quite handy. Don Elías is marshalling our defense, on the wings we have Cabrini & Gerets, who were attacking enough to provide serious threat, but also quite disciplined and capable defensively. Maxime Bossis rounds this defense quite nicely — he has all the needed attributes to play this role and he’s pretty much perfect in covering Gerets runs on the right.



Team Mustard


The Formation:

Jonathan Wilson:

"That those channels between the centre-back and the full-back are vulnerable is no great revelation. The vast majority of strike pairings would look to probe in those areas. Pulling them deeper, into the gap between defensive and midfield zones, complicated matters for the defending side even further, which is why the Christmas Tree formation, the 4-3-2-1, pioneered by Co Adriaanse at Den Haag, practised briefly by England under Terry Venables and dissected in his Coverciano thesis by Carlo Ancelotti, enjoyed a surge of popularity in the early 90s.The problem with the Christmas Tree, though, was that, even with attacking full-backs, it lacked width and so was relatively easy to shut down...Add a third centre-back and the full-backs could be pushed much higher, as wing-backs and beyond. And so was born the 3-4-2-1."

Deployed in recent years by the likes of Conte and Guardiola, both of whom shamelessly stole the concept from Brendan Rodgers, the 3-4-2-1 was chosen to provide Cruyff and Zico with as much creative liberty as possible. With two genuine wing backs in Demyanenko and Alexander-Arnold providing the width, and the intelligent and selfless Seeler leading the line, Cruyff and Zico are afforded a level of positional freedom to probe for space and interlink that will be difficult for the opposition to handle.

Defence:

We're playing a moderate-high defensive line and aim to play the match on the front foot. All 3 CBs have played in a 3 man defence at some point, with Azpilueca having excelled under Conte in this very role in the same formation, and Bratseth having peaked as a libero for Werder Bremen. All three of them have pace to burn, as does Demyanenko at LWB, and all are accomplished in possession. Ahead of them, Redondo and Tardelli function as a DLP/B2B combo, with Redondo taking the lead in our deeper build-up play.

Trent:

'21 year old current player in an all-time draft who plays for Liverpool' is a particularly unfertile starting point for winning votes, but I wanted him as soon as I decided on my formation and tactic. He's made 122 appearances in the 3 year time frame, encompassing imo one good and two world class seasons. Defensively, he's no great shakes in this company, although after those struggles in back to back games against Rashford and Zaha he's had few notable slip-ups that I can recall, and acquitted himself well against a Marcelo/Cristiano Ronaldo flank in a CL final. It's obviously his attacking game that i've selected him for though, and in that area he's hit a freakish level already. 6 goals and 33 assists in 113 matches for Liverpool in the timeframe tells its own story, and the quality of his passing and crossing is up there with the best I've personally seen from a full back.

Cruyff and Zico:

The obvious question that pops up whenever someone gets their mitts on two GOAT-calibre players like Cruyff and Zico are whether or not they're compatible. Firstly, I don't see any obvious personality clash there, with Zico seemingly being a modest, amiable sort who isn't likely to get embroiled in an ego-clash with Cruyff. Secondly and more substantively, I don't view Zico as a particlarly dominant playmaker, but rather someone who would often play a more restrained role in the deeper build up and spring to life in the final third, where his interplay with Cruyff would be a treat to watch. The tactical framework should enhance their compatibility too, with the attacking WBs stretching the play horizontally, and the versatility and intelligence of Seeler's movement patterns creating space and opportunities for positional interchange.
 

Šjor Bepo

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Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, 1979-1982.

Simply the best footballer in Europe and arguably in the world at the time (Zico would be his only rival). Under Pál Csernai, Bayern’s manager at the time, he had significantly improved his goalscoring, which elevated him to a truly elite level — in 79/80 he had scored 36 goals and in 80/81 he had scored 39, an insane progression from his previous standards, which were close to 15 goals per season. It’s not a coincidence that this happened in 1978/79, because that season marked the end of an era for Bayern — in the summer the great Gerd Müller had left the club and moved to United States. Rummenigge assumed the role of a main star and a focal point of that team – and this was the moment when he had finally transformed into a central player, although his free-roaming nature and overall skillset made him a very different striking option compared to a more traditional interpretation of the role by Gerd Müller.

Individual awards: Ballon d’Ors (1980, 1981), 2nd place (1979) and 4th place (1982). Onze d’Or (1980, 1981). Bundesliga Top Scorer (1979/80, 80/81). German Footballer of the Year (1980). European Cup Top scorer 1980/81. UEFA Euros Team of the Tournament (1980). World Cup All-Star Team, Silver Shoe, Bronze Ball (1982).
Team honours: UEFA Euros (1980), World Cup runner-up (1982), Bundesliga title (1979/80, 1980/81), DFB-Pokal (1981-82)


Rob Rensenbrink, 1975-1978.

Football is a game of tight margins and no one knows this better than Rensenbrink. A few inches right and he would’ve became the man who had won Netherlands their long-awaited World Cup title — him hitting the post at the 90’ minute of the final has to be the memory that kept him awake at night, even though eventually he said that he had found his piece with it. As of right now, he is often forgotten when people are naming best Dutch players of all-time, which is a category that he certainly belongs to. He had finished the 1975/76 season with 31 goals to his name, playing in a free role from the left, and his incredible performance against Bayern Münich in UEFA Super Cup almost got him a Ballon d’Or — he finished second with Beckenbauer beating him in a close race. In an alternative vote for Onze d’Or he came first and Rob was also named European Footballer of the Season by the International Olympic committee. Two years later, with Cruyff refusing to play in the 1978 World Cup, he had assumed the role of their talisman in attack and led them to the second consecutive World Cup final, the one that they’ve lost in an even more disappointing set of events. He had scored 5 goals (2nd best) and made 3 assists (the most) throughout the tournament and, as we’ve already said, was only inches away from the triumphal end to that campaign.

Individual awards: Onze d’Or (1976). Ballon d’Or — 2nd place (1976) and 3rd place (1978). Cup Winner’s Cup top scorer (1975/76). World Cup All-Star team, Bronze boot & Top assist provider (1978). Belgian Golden Shoe (1976).
Team honours: Cup Winner’s Cup (1975/76, 1977/78). Super Cup (1976, 1978). Belgian Cup (1974/75, 75/76). UEFA UEFA Euros 3rd place (1976). World Cup runners-up (1978).


Allan Simonsen: 1975-1978.

A pocket-sized dynamite, Simonsen was truly a slippery paradox - a scrawny, slight and an unassuming figure, who was lethal on the pitch with his searing pace and razor sharp perception. Simonsen, was one of the premier footballers of the 70s as he took Europe by storm with his irrepressible brand of football. A tricky customer on the ball with his wonderful dribbling, two-footedness and an exceptionally low centre of gravity, the Dane allied them with his predatory instincts and slippery movement off the ball to deadly effect. No small wonder then, that he is the only footballer ever to have scored in the European Cup Final, UEFA Cup Final and the Cup Winner's Cup Final. As the talisman of the Gladbach side which went toe to toe against Der Kaiser's Bayern, and led them to 3 Bundesligas on the trot with 45 goals in 95 games. His brilliant displays in Europe (with 43 goals in 71 games) and the Bundesliga culminated in him being awarded the Balon d'Or against the more fancied Platini, Keegan and Cruyff, despite playing for minnows Denmark in the seventies. He'd go on to play an influential role in the rise of the Danish Dynamites in the 80s with his leadership and quality proving crucial to a young and budding side - finishing 3rd in the Balon d'Or with his goal against England at Wembley sending England packing and the Danish to the Euros after a 20 year absence. Who knows what could have been had he not had his foot broken by a harsh tackle in the first match of the Euros 1984.

Individual awards: Ballon d’Or (1977). Onze de Bronze (1977). Bundesliga Team of the Season (1975/76, 76/77). IOC European Footballer of the Season (1976/77). European Cup Top Scorer (1977/78).
Team honours: Bundesliga title (1975/76, 1976/77). European Cup runners-up (1976/77).


Bobby Charlton, 1965-1968.

Undoubtedly one of the greatest midfielders of all-time with an insane peak level — in the 60’s he had won the World Cup, European Cup and thrice in a row finished in top-2 of Ballon d’Or, winning it once. And that was the time when European football had arguably the deepest pool of all-time level talents: Eusébio, Beckenbauer, Best, Moore, Džajić, Suárez, Rivera, Facchetti etc. Charlton was quite a unique player — he wasn’t a traditional number 10, but rather an attacking-minded central midfielder, who contributed in all phases of the game… while still posing a huge goalthreat to the opposition (he had scored 63 goals over the course of 3 highlighted seasons).

Individual awards: Ballon d’Or (1966), 2nd place (1967, 1968) and 5th place (1965). World Cup Golden Ball, All-Star Team (1966). FWA Footballer of the Year (1965/66).
Team honours: World Cup (1966). European Cup (1968). English First Division title (1964/65, 66/67). UEFA Euros 3rd place (1968).


József Bozsik: 1952-1955.

Probably the greatest midfielder of the 50’s, Bozsik was the brain of Aranycsapat, the all-conquering Hungarian national team. Ferenc Puskás said that Bozsik was «the greatest player I ever saw or knew» — a high praise, considering the general quality of Puskás’ teammates and opponents. Bozsik is in a disadvantage towards more attacking players of his era, as most of the footage that we get from that time is a footage of goals, and he focused on the build-up, but even from the scarce amount of available material you can see that he was an outstanding talent. Playing as one of two halfbacks in a WM system, he had to defend quite a lot, but his best qualities were his distribution & his ability to bring the ball forward using his immaculate dribbling. He had also scored some brilliant goals, showing a great variety in his attacking game. This 3-year peak includes the best year of Magical Magyars — from the summer of 1952, when they’ve won Gold at that year Olympics, throughout the 1953, which included 2 dominant victories over England, and peaking with the 1954 World Cup, where they really should’ve won the title.

Individual awards: Hungarian Player of the Year (1952). World Cup All-Star Team (1954).
Team honours: Olympics champions (1952). Central European International Cup (1953). World Cup runners-up (1954). Hungarian League (1952, 1954, 1955).

Pirri: 1974-1977.

He was a midfielder, defender and make-shift forward. He was also a great goalscorer. He netted more than 172 goals during his 16 seasons with Real Madrid. He played the 1971 final of the European Cup Winner’s Cup with his arm in a sling, and the 1975 Copa del Rey final with fever and a broken jaw. He received the club’s maximum distinction: the Laureate. We take the more mature version of Pirri — the one that played as a libero/defensive midfielder instead of a younger box-to-box one. It was also a time of his biggest achievements — 2 league titles & Copa Del Rey in 3 years in a direct competition with Cruyff’s Barca. Individually, he had enjoyed his best years in the mid 70’s, being widely considered to be one of the best players in the world on his position.

Individual awards: Ballon d’Or — 11th place (1975), 20th place (1977).
Team honours: La Liga title (1974/75, 75/76). Copa Del Rey (1974/75).


Elías Figueroa: 1974-1977.

Simply one of the greatest defenders to ever play the game at the very peak of his powers. He had dominated every competition, domestically and internationally. His historic performance against Gerd Müller in 1974 World Cup had earned him world-wide fame and admiration — and even Franz Beckenbauer himself said that he was the «European Figueroa» and not the other way around. It’s hard to find proofs for those, but I’ve seen multiple times claims that Figueroa was twice named by FIFA as the best player in the world — ahead of a certain Kaiser Franz & Johan Cruyff. What can be proven though, is his incredible record as a 3-times South American Footballer of the Year — in a time when his competition included the likes of Zico, Rivellino & the likes.

Individual awards: South American Footballer of the Year (1974, 1975, 1976), 3rd place (1977). World Cup All-Star Team & «the competition’s best defender» acc. to FIFA.com (1974). Best global defense of the year (1974, 1975, 1976, 1977).
Team honours: Campeonato Gaucho (1974, 1975, 1976). Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (1975, 1976). Copa Chile (1977).


Maxime Bossis: 1979-1982.

Bossis was one of the best defenders of his time and also one of the most versatile ones — with equal ease he switched between center, left and right back roles, sometimes throughout one game. He was strong, fast and brilliant on the ball, but his best quality was his outstanding reading of the game, which allowed him to alternate between different roles and positions. Late 70’s and early 80’s was a great time for the French football, as it was a time of emergence of their Golden generation — including the likes of Michel Platini, Alain Giresse & Jean Tigana. So to win French Player of the Year in that time… twice… as a defender, was an incredible achievement.

Individual awards: French Player of the year (1979, 1981). Ballon d’Or — 11th place (1981).
Team honours: Ligue 1 title (1979/80). World Cup 3rd place (1982).


Antonio Cabrini. 1982-1985.

During that period Bell’Antinio had won World Cup with Italy and European Cup with Juventus — being an integral part in both of those teams. He had combined defensive prowess and tactical discipline, traditional for Italian defenders, with elegance and flair of an attacking player, providing quality service to his forwards from the left and scoring a decent amount of goals.

Individual awards: Ballon d’Or — 14th place (1984), 23th place (1983).
Team honours: World Cup (1982). European Cup (1985). Cup Winner’s Cup (1983/84). International Cup (1985). UEFA Supercup (1984). Serie A title (1983/84). Coppa Italia (1982/83).


Eric Gerets. 1980-1983.

Gerets’ illustrious career had spread through 2 decades, but his peak probably came in the early 80’s. He captained Standard Liege side that had players like Arie Haan and Michel Preud’homme and lead them to multiple titles and also a European Cup Winner’s Cup final which they’ve lost to Barcelona. His influence on the national team was equally huge — under his captainship they’ve reached the final of 1980 Euros (but were stopped by a German side with young Schuster and Rummenigge). Not many defenders get individual awards, but Gerets had won Belgian Golden Shoe (best player in the country) in 1982 and finished in the top-3 the year before.

Individual awards: Belgian Golden Shoe (1982), 3rd place (1981).
Team honours: Belgian First Division (1981/82, 1982/83). Belgian Cup (1980/81). UEFA Euros runners-up (1980).


Jan Tomaszewski. 1973-1976.

Before a crucial World Cup qualifier Brian Clough, England’s manager, decided to call an eccentric Polish goalkeeper «a circus clown in gloves». This was a mistake — Tomaszewski decided to prove Brian Clough (and the world that apparently agreed with him) wrong whatever the cost. He had broken his finger in a collision with Allan Clarke a few minutes into the game, but decided to stay on. His heroics paid out — despite their complete domination, England had failed to win the game, and an eventual draw had meant that it was Poland that was going to the 1974 World Cup in their place. It was just the beginning for Poland — they’ve managed to surprise everyone and finish in 3rd place, beating Brazil in the third-place play-off. Tomaszewski was outstanding in all of their seven games and even set up a new record, becoming the first goalkeeper to save 2 penalties in a single World Cup campaign.

Individual awards: Ballon d’Or — 14th place (1973), 13th place (1974). World Cup Golden Glove (1974)*
Team honours: World Cup 3rd place (1974). Olympics Silver (1976).

*by some accounts. Other sources name Sepp Maier.
 

Joga Bonito

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Good luck @Pat_Mustard . Voting for myself to see the score.
 

harms

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While Cruyff - Zico actually look quite decent in this set up (I wasn't sure about them initially), I'm really not sold on Cruyff in a 5-men set up. When you look at the famous diamond explanation video, which is not really about the diamond but more about his general philosophy, you'll see that the first crosses that he changes from a regular diamond are the wingers. The concept of stretching width (and creating more space to work in) is probably more important to Cruyff than to any other player/manager in history. He is all about the space:

From 2:06 there is the crucial question — but how are you going to use your wings in offense and defense? Yes, it's a different formation, but the issue would always be the same — you have to have 2 players on the wings to maximise Cruyff, and if you do that in a 3-4-3 formation, you're going to be exposed defensively.

I know that I had literally laughed at the ever-so-similar argument about 2 offensive fullbacks getting caught on a counter in other thread, but this is a rare occasion where you either have your fullbacks extremely offensive, which exposes you in the back, or you sacrifice some of Cruyff's genius.


The other point would be, of course, Pat's right side of defense. Alexander-Arnold is not great defensively even by contemporary standards, let alone on an all-time scale, and while Azpilicueta is a decent player, I also don't rate him that highly in an all-time draft. While Bratseth is something who should appear more in out drafts, he is also not a Figueroa/Baresi presence that can elevate even an average defense around him to a great level. And we have an absolutely devastating set up on the left with an offensively-minded Cabrini, roaming wing-forward Rensenbrink and Sir Bobby, who loved to drift wide and between the two of him & Kalle there's definitely going to be a third player to create a numerical advantage in that zone on the top of an obvious advantage in individual quality.
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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Good to see Simonsen getting a run out here. I can remember anto waxing lyrics about him, but never got any traction. One of those Balon d'Or winners who get rated less. That front 3 is juicy esp the Kalle/Simonsen linkup. Rensenbrink is another underrated player, who should be picked more often.

Love Pat's tactical setup.

For me the game comes down to how good Pirri was. I picked him earlier and my impression of him was Matthaus-lite....A versatile halfback type CM, good passing range and ability to contribute b2b who ended his career as a sweeper. I just don't see him being effective as a pivot DM, esp facing two elite #10s.
 

Physiocrat

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I know that I had literally laughed at the ever-so-similar argument about 2 offensive fullbacks getting caught on a counter in other thread, but this is a rare occasion where you either have your fullbacks extremely offensive, which exposes you in the back, or you sacrifice some of Cruyff's genius.
Is that much of an issue with Redondo and Tardelli in front of the back 3? I suppose you might want one to be able to drop into CB but even if they don't it seems solid enough to my eyes.
 

DVG7

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Pat wrecked his team with Alexander Arnold. If you’re gonna take a player who’s only been on the scene for 3 years, he needs to be in the system he’s played especially when Liverpool have had the exact same tactics and his role has been the exact same every single game. It’s too unfamiliar for him here and I can see him being subbed at half time.
 

Physiocrat

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Pat wrecked his team with Alexander Arnold. If you’re gonna take a player who’s only been on the scene for 3 years, he needs to be in the system he’s played especially when Liverpool have had the exact same tactics and his role has been the exact same every single game. It’s too unfamiliar for him here and I can see him being subbed at half time.
Really? He's an attacking full-back who isn't the best defensively. This suits him down to the ground more obviously so than Victor Moses who excelled in that position.
 

Šjor Bepo

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While Cruyff - Zico actually look quite decent in this set up (I wasn't sure about them initially), I'm really not sold on Cruyff in a 5-men set up. When you look at the famous diamond explanation video, which is not really about the diamond but more about his general philosophy, you'll see that the first crosses that he changes from a regular diamond are the wingers. The concept of stretching width (and creating more space to work in) is probably more important to Cruyff than to any other player/manager in history. He is all about the space:

From 2:06 there is the crucial question — but how are you going to use your wings in offense and defense? Yes, it's a different formation, but the issue would always be the same — you have to have 2 players on the wings to maximise Cruyff, and if you do that in a 3-4-3 formation, you're going to be exposed defensively.
Im probably the strictest here when it comes to matching GOATs together, specially Cruyff and i have no clue how would that look with Zico as first and foremost i have no clue how Zico played but you cant mix player-manager view of the game and say it wouldnt work because as manager certain player didnt like certain things.
 

harms

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Is that much of an issue with Redondo and Tardelli in front of the back 3? I suppose you might want one to be able to drop into CB but even if they don't it seems solid enough to my eyes.
Tardelli is going to help out with this, not sure how Redondo fits in (and I'm also not entirely sure how Redondo fits in with Cruyff, but that's a different question). Still, if you have Tardelli covering for A&A for pretty much all of the time when A&A is staying up front, it's a waste of Tardelli.
 

DVG7

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Really? He's an attacking full-back who isn't the best defensively. This suits him down to the ground more obviously so than Victor Moses who excelled in that position.
think for a draft match it has to count against him that he’s never played the role being asked. Too much extrapolation for me.
 

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It is Pat's formation from miles away, but am just not convinced with Zico and Cruyff being in those spots.

"Helping me means walking away from me".

I don't mind Cruyff at all with a classic playmaker and him being on the left for example. In that sense I didn't agree with Rivera - Cruyff remarks in the last draft. I understand them, but I don't agree it can't work to a high level. It can function if your playmaker is not a selfish one and you open that space for Cruyff (whether on the left or in the centre) which is by far the most important thing in his game.

I don't mind Alexander-Arnold at all. Lovely pick for this set-up, same as Seller.

Harms/Joga are annoyingly and expectedly on the money with their team. Pirri is not an issue at all and the rest of it is really balanced providing Charlton a lovely platform.

I will wait for more discussion as it is always great to hear Pat's mind. And need a bit more thinking on his tactics as, considering it's personnel, if it somehow works it could work to a spectacular level. Just can't see that atm.
 

harms

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Im probably the strictest here when it comes to matching GOATs together, specially Cruyff and i have no clue how would that look with Zico as first and foremost i have no clue how Zico played but you cant mix player-manager view of the game and say it wouldnt work because as manager certain player didnt like certain things.
It's the same principles that he had as a player. You have Lobanovsky, who had somehow transformed from a talented and lazy showboater to one of the strictest workrate-obsessed managers, but Cruyff's philosophy grows straight out of Michels' and there's really no distinction for him in my eyes, at least. Zico is smart and not overly selfish, so he would probably work with Cruyff pretty well.
 

Jim Beam

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Pat wrecked his team with Alexander Arnold. If you’re gonna take a player who’s only been on the scene for 3 years, he needs to be in the system he’s played especially when Liverpool have had the exact same tactics and his role has been the exact same every single game. It’s too unfamiliar for him here and I can see him being subbed at half time.
No subs, just tactical switches
 

harms

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We've obviously made tons of them, as the drafting helps us with motivation, so I'll only post a few of them.


It's hard to pick the best game, so I'll post one and let you see the rest for yourself if you want to, they're on my channel.

 

Physiocrat

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think for a draft match it has to count against him that he’s never played the role being asked. Too much extrapolation for me.
I don't remember Dalglish playing as a 9 in front three.
 

Edgar Allan Pillow

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think for a draft match it has to count against him that he’s never played the role being asked. Too much extrapolation for me.
Drafts are more of what is asked of a player rather than his position. And the difference between an attacking fullback vs wingback is really minor. In fact had TAA been in a back 4, he'd be a liability considering the all time players featured in here.
 

harms

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Is it okay with you if Joga would post some of his thoughts? @Pat_Mustard
We won't be posting too much anyway.
 

Joga Bonito

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Im probably the strictest here when it comes to matching GOATs together, specially Cruyff and i have no clue how would that look with Zico as first and foremost i have no clue how Zico played but you cant mix player-manager view of the game and say it wouldnt work because as manager certain player didnt like certain things.
As harms already mentioned we do not see an issue with Zico-Cruyff ourselves.

Regarding harms point on Cruyff and the back 3 set up, I'd say the personnel around Cruyff here are brilliant (with question marks on Redondo) and will be on the same wave length but to what extent would a back 5 be able to maximize Cruyff's roaming and interchanging potential, is up for debate. There's a reason why Cruyff more or less always played in a 4-3-3 as it gave him the most freedom to roam, link up and interchange positions with players. That is not to say he has to play in a 4-3-3 but any set up which is fluid and dynamic in terms of the shape of the team and the players roles. A 3-4-2-1, takes away from some of this imo as it's relatively more of a 'specialist' formation and doesn't provide the same tactical flexibility or room for interchangeability, despite the personnel around Cruyff being excellent all round players and I should note that Pat's setup is definitely one of the more attacking and expansive back 3 set ups. It would be just be preferable to utilise Cruyff in a more expansive set up imo. A simple way to put it would be - would Cruyff rather play in a fluid and dynamic 4-3-3 or a relatively more rigid 3-4-2-1 (with its structural constraints not being fully conducive for Cruyff's roaming and interchanging game) but with the same personnel? Open to hearing the opinions of others and @Pat_Mustard of course.

The move to 4-3-3 made that switching of positions rather easier to structure, because it tended to happen either down one flank or down the middle. So Suurbier, Haan and Swart interchanged on the right; Vasović (or Blankenburg or Hulshoff), Neeskens and Cruyff down the middle; and Ruud Krol, Gerrie Mühren and Keizer on the left. ‘People couldn’t see that sometimes we just did things automatically,’ said Hulshoff. ‘It comes from playing a long time together. Football is best when it’s instinctive. This way of playing, we grew into it. Total Football means that a player in attack can play in defence - only that he can do this, that is all. You make space, you come into space. And if the ball doesn’t come, you leave this space and another player will come into it.’ What was revolutionary was that the interchanging of positions was longitudinal rather than lateral.

In Boris Arkadiev’s Dinamo Moscow side, wingers had moved into the centre, and inside-forwards had played on the wing, but the three lines of defence, midfield and attack had, broadly speaking, remained constant. The great Hungarians, by withdrawing their centre-forward and sitting the left-half so deep, had blurred the lines, and with 4-2-4 came attacking full-backs, but Michels’s Ajax were the first to encourage such whole-scale interchanges
 

Šjor Bepo

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@Joga Bonito i dont have a problem with the opinion, just with a source you backed that opinion :)
Regarding the formation, Cruyff would always choose 433, probably like all players that would choose the formation they were playing while at their best so not sure that is relevant as 75% of all players is always playing outside their favorite system.
Think he would be fine here personally, a complete freedom in the final third with a fluid partners is more then enough for him to show his magic.
 

Joga Bonito

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@Joga Bonito i dont have a problem with the opinion, just with a source you backed that opinion :)
Regarding the formation, Cruyff would always choose 433, probably like all players that would choose the formation they were playing while at their best so not sure that is relevant as 75% of all players is always playing outside their favorite system.
Think he would be fine here personally, a complete freedom in the final third with a fluid partners is more then enough for him to show his magic.
Fair enough
 

harms

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Frankly, the Azpilicueta - Alexander-Arnold flank is what's going to cost Pat the game in my eyes, despite his shiny attacking unit. Alexander-Arnold's defensive issues quite often become a subject of discussion of different pundits, and I'm not only talking about the likes of Gary Neville (he can be a world-class full-back if he sorts it out defensively... he must improve by cutting out irrational defending), but also about the likes of Jamie Carragher, who is a surprisingly decent pundit overall, but usually can't notice any Liverpool-related issues through his red-tinted glasses:

Carragher said:
Trent loses the ball [in midfield], he’s in like a fight with [Wilfried] Zaha and it’s tough. This is my biggest problem right now with Trent, you have to sprint back but he’s jogging.

I’ve seen it a lot now. I don’t know if it’s something that Jurgen Klopp mentioned or speaks to him about.

Yes it’s the trade-off, you’d never take Trent out of Liverpool’s team, but what I’m saying is it’s not a trade-off where you say it’s OK to not be sprinting back and be better defensively, you want to keep what he’s got in terms of going forward
Now, this is them criticising a young English fullback that they both aren't impartial to & also judging him a lot for his potential and not only for what he did at the moment. Here he is among the greatest players that the world had ever seen:
  • Rensenbrink had single-handedly demolished Beckenbauer-led Bayern Münich & dominated a World Cup campaign in a way that a very few attackers did before or since
  • Bobby Charlton, who had started out as a left winger and often tended to drift to the left at his peak as a central/attacking midfielder. I shouldn't sell Charlton on United's forum, but I'll still highlight that at his peak inside 3 years he had won a World Cup (receiving Golden Ball ahead of the likes of Eusébio, Moore and Beckenbauer), a European Cup, Ballon d'Or and twice finished runner-up for this award — in 1967 slightly behind Florian Albert and in 1968 behind George Best.
  • Antonio Cabrini, whose attacking runs & crosses were one of the most reliable ways of service for both Juventus and Italy throughout the late 70's and 80's. In terms of attacking contribution, I'd only classify Facchetti, Roberto Carlos & Brehme (possibly Marcelo as well, but I'm still unsure) as those who are clearly in a tier ahead of him.

Now, who do we have covering for him Alexander-Arnold? It's Cezar Azpilicueta, whose career is rather underwhelming in an all-time sense. He had been a steady performer for Chelsea and will probably end up as their legend when he retires, but at the age of 30 he had played 25 games for Spain, which include 2 full games World Cup games, 9 minutes of UEFA Euros & a bunch of international friendlies. You'd think that a player who can play in any defensive position would get more chances, but players that got consistently picked before him are/were: Pique, Puyol, Ramos, Arbeloa, Albiol, Carvajal, Alba.

Both Juanfran & Nacho have 22 caps for Spain, which is pretty much the same level (and Nacho is also younger). Can Azpilicueta feature in all-time drafts? I guess he can, but I'd make sure that he is sandwiched between Baresi & Cafu there — instead, he has to cover Pat's biggest defensive hole against our most potent flank filled with a variety of world-class attacking threats.
 

Synco

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  • Rensenbrink had single-handedly demolished Beckenbauer-led Bayern Münich
Tbf, that 76 Bayern side was past its peak and no stranger to defensive collapse. In the BL season that followed, they conceded 65 (!) goals in 34 games. So Rensenbrink's feat may sound a bit more impressive than it perhaps was. Anyway, there's no doubt about his quality.

And I generally agree about the advantage of your offensive left side vs Pat's right defensive side, seems rather obvious to me.
 

Šjor Bepo

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I dont actually think there is much issue with Trent and Azpi other then length of Trents peak.....
Dont rate Azpiliwilly anywhere else other then in a back 3, meh fullback and even worse centerback but in a three he is fantastic. Think thats also the reason why he didnt feature much for spain as they play with back 4 and he is pretty much useless there - also harms mentioned Juanfran, fantastic footballer and one of those that can easily feature more in drafts.
Similar view on Trent, all his weaknesses(apart from peak but for that he needs Doc Brown) are pretty much solved in a 5 back defence and Azpi is almost a perfect partner in crime.

Dont worry Mustard i will back you to the hills brother, just probably wont vote for you :(
 

harms

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Tbf, that 76 Bayern side was past its peak and no stranger to defensive collapse. In the BL season that followed, they conceded 65 (!) goals in 34 games. So Rensenbrink's feat may sound a bit more impressive than it perhaps was. Anyway, there's no doubt about his quality.

And I generally agree about the advantage of your offensive left side vs Pat's right defensive side, seems rather obvious to me.
Fair enough, I like your note as it give me more opportunities to show more of Rensenbrink :drool:
His performances for Anderlecht always impressed me to no end, take this game against Liverpool from 1978 for example:

This Liverpool side had been famously tight at the back & was one of the most effective teams of that era, winning 2 European Cups in a row at that point.

If @Šjor Bepo seriously believes that 3 at the back system is going to somehow help A-A & Azpilicueta to deal with Snake Man's dribbling runs, I don't know what to say. This system does hide their weaknesses & highlights their strengths... right until the point where the collective unit of Rensenbrink, Charlton, Cabrini & Kalle blows them out of the water.
 

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A never-nude? I thought he just liked cut-offs.
Pat wrecked his team with Alexander Arnold. If you’re gonna take a player who’s only been on the scene for 3 years, he needs to be in the system he’s played especially when Liverpool have had the exact same tactics and his role has been the exact same every single game. It’s too unfamiliar for him here and I can see him being subbed at half time.
I haven't voted yet and don't know the score but as I said in my OP I knew before I picked him that TAA would haemorrhage votes, and of course there's legitimate criticisms to be made there in terms of defensive abilities and peak. Your argument just seems nonsensical to me though. Firstly he effectively operates as a wing back for Liverpool anyway. A good post from your compatriot on that topic:

I think there's a tendency not to recognise that any full-back at an elite club which dominates 70% of the ball and gets 90 points a season is fulfilling a more attacking role than many of the wing-backs from the 3-5-2s of the 1970s-1990s. Transitions happen less frequently in the modern game and there's more horizontal build-up so it allows the time for full-backs to join the attack.
Secondly, he's afforded better protection to mtigate against his weaknesses here than he has at Liverpool, with three CBs behind him rather than two, one of them a proper specialist at covering for a wing back from the RCB position,

@harms @Joga Bonito good posts as expected, with some things that I obviously disagree with. I'll try to respond soon.
 
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Pat_Mustard

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A never-nude? I thought he just liked cut-offs.
I dont actually think there is much issue with Trent and Azpi other then length of Trents peak.....
Dont rate Azpiliwilly anywhere else other then in a back 3, meh fullback and even worse centerback but in a three he is fantastic. Think thats also the reason why he didnt feature much for spain as they play with back 4 and he is pretty much useless there - also harms mentioned Juanfran, fantastic footballer and one of those that can easily feature more in drafts.
Similar view on Trent, all his weaknesses(apart from peak but for that he needs Doc Brown) are pretty much solved in a 5 back defence and Azpi is almost a perfect partner in crime.

Dont worry Mustard i will back you to the hills brother, just probably wont vote for you :(
That's good enough for me man :D. Those two were always going to be flagged as weaknesses by whoever I played in the first round, so I'm not faulting harms and Joga for focussing on them, but imo as a combination they're better than the sum of their (very good) parts, and in general Azpi is probably a better player in this specific role than a fair amount of the bigger name CBs who get chucked in there in drafts.
 

Enigma_87

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Tasty game this. Love Pats use of Cruyff and Zico as I couldn’t imagine working from the offf but with Seeler also up top it’s a beautiful combination.

Tardelli and Redondo also is very complimentary unit and I see no reason why Redondo and Crieff won’t work well together.

Only thing stopping me from voting for Pat at the moment is harms left flank, which indeed is worrisome.

I do rate Azpi, but same goes for Rensenbrink on the other side.

@Pat_Mustard have you thought about changing Azpi with McGrath?

McGrath with bring a lot of calmness on that side and also he has experience in playing as a right back.
Think that would negate a bit harms advantage on the side, which could be match decisive.
 

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As ever I appreciate Pat’s ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ approach, embracing the high risk draft tactics of a high line and two modern defenders. Hell even choosing another central creative in a Cruyff team is invariably fraught with difficulties, but the Cruyff/Zico tandem looks naturally balanced between a 10 and a 9.5, both of whom were mobile enough to work the space. I can see Cruyff enjoying Redondo’s quality on the ball to allow him to motor from the 8 position. Trent works well in that role and his deliveries onto Seeler’s noggin would be potentially devastating. As much as I rate each of the three centre-halves though, the defence does lack a certain top banana leader to steady the obvious Rensenbrink/Charlton route to goal. I’d like to watch some more on Pirri to see how well he stands up to the challenge of Zico and Cruyff in that zone in front of the defence.
 

harms

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Another one who had hardly got any mentions aside from my own posts is Kalle. All the talk is about Cruyff & Zico, but our attack is just as devastating (and personally, I prefer our balance). He's one of the smartest and most devastating attackers that I've personally seen. He had a physique that you don't usually associate with creative geniuses and he had often bullied the opposition by simply outmuscling, outrunning and outjumping them, he had fantastic ball-control and his acrobatic finishing was second to none. But his best attribute was his, very Cruyff-esque, movement that constantly exploited and creates gaps in the opposing defense. It's not a coincidence that they've forged such a partnership with Paul Breitner, whose long passing and vision helped him out in to notice and even anticipate Rummenigge's runs and sending an accurate ball towards him.

Bozsik, who, like many of our players, is going slightly under the radar, was an absolute master of those passes — and the thing that always impressed me is how little time did he need to assess the situation and to play the ball forward after he intercepted the ball.

How many players would dare to hit this pass without taking the time to control the ball? In a World Cup final, no less:

Those were done to specifically highlight Bozsik/Kocsis link, but Kalle is a player that would benefit from this kind of service even more:


Our goalthreat & creative outlets are so significant and diverse... but we also have a one-man wall at the back in Figueroa, surrounded by complimentary defenders, while Pat has a huge eyesore with 2 worst outfield players on the pitch next to each other, facing our most threatening unit.

As much as I rate each of the three centre-halves though, the defence does lack a certain top banana leader to steady the obvious Rensenbrink/Charlton route to goal. I’d like to watch some more on Pirri to see how well he stands up to the challenge of Zico and Cruyff in that zone in front of the defence.
@Pat_Mustard was actually someone who had (re)introduced Pirri to our drafts in a most memorable way, and his compilation of Pirri's actions in a game against Borussia was quite impressive:

I'm only going by the limited footage that I've seen, but he was not a Rijkaard or Voronin. But his reading of the game, overall engine & aggressiveness were brilliant, and when you count in his passing and goals, it's hard to find a better player for this set up. You can, but there aren't many. Will he be able to shut one of those two up? I doubt it. Will he be outplayed and humiliated? I very much doubt it either. Thankfully, he's not alone — I'm not even talking about Charlton & Bozsik, who were quite industrious for their roles, but mainly about our defensive base. His personal record against Cruyff is a funny one, as they've each scored 5 goals in those 11 games against each other; still, the main thing is that he never had a defensive juggernaut like ours behind his back to help him out.
 

Pat_Mustard

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A never-nude? I thought he just liked cut-offs.
As ever I appreciate Pat’s ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ approach, embracing the high risk draft tactics of a high line and two modern defenders. Hell even choosing another central creative in a Cruyff team is invariably fraught with difficulties, but the Cruyff/Zico tandem looks naturally balanced between a 10 and a 9.5, both of whom were mobile enough to work the space. I can see Cruyff enjoying Redondo’s quality on the ball to allow him to motor from the 8 position. Trent works well in that role and his deliveries onto Seeler’s noggin would be potentially devastating. As much as I rate each of the three centre-halves though, the defence does lack a certain top banana leader to steady the obvious Rensenbrink/Charlton route to goal. I’d like to watch some more on Pirri to see how well he stands up to the challenge of Zico and Cruyff in that zone in front of the defence.
:lol: Cheers Gio. I decided to go balls-deep early on in the drafting, as Cruyff/Zico was clearly a high risk high reward combo from the off. I'm glad that duo and Redondo are getting some appreciation. Agreed on my defence of course - I think the central three form a solid unit but it's not perfect by any means. I picked van Himst as my 12th man to give my time to assess whether he could replace Seeler in the event that I made it through the first round and one of the great German defenders became available to me.

On Pirri, Enigma and I played him in that very role in the last draft (with Sir Bobby at LCM as well!) so I'll try to avoid a complete volte-face here, but I think it's fair to say that no real consensus was reached as regards DM being the best use of him or his suitability in shutting down players of Cruyff and Zico's calibre from that position. Most of the fairly sparse footage I've seen of him was playing either as a B2B or an attacking libero. Joga and harms, crafty bastards that they are :D, excluded the 1973-74 season when Cruyff's Barca thrashed Real 5-0 from Pirri's listed peak, but even in the chosen seasons Cruyff's Barca won 3 and drew 2 of the 5 matches they played against Pirri's Real. Cruyff only scored once (Pirri scored twice), and there doesn't seem to be much footage available, but from this brief highlight Cruyff seems to be finding plenty of space and creating all sorts of problems:

 

Physiocrat

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Tight game. I'm leaning towards Mario and Luigi but I'm thinking that Bozsik could be a but of a weak link against Cruyff and Zico due to his relative lack of mobility.
 

harms

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On Pirri, Enigma and I played him in that very role in the last draft (with Sir Bobby at LCM as well!) so I'll try to avoid a complete volte-face here, but I think it's fair to say that no real consensus was reached as regards DM being the best use of him or his suitability in shutting down players of Cruyff and Zico's calibre from that position. Most of the fairly sparse footage I've seen of him was playing either as a B2B or an attacking libero. Joga and harms, crafty bastards that they are :D, excluded the 1973-74 season when Cruyff's Barca thrashed Real 5-0 from Pirri's listed peak, but even in the chosen seasons Cruyff's Barca won 3 and drew 2 of the 5 matches they played against Pirri's Real.
From an additional research it looks like he had pretty much switched to a libero/DM role (alternating for tactical convenience) from somewhere around 1974 on, and those are also the years when he had gotten the most individual appreciation from the press (Ballon d'Or and other sources). So it looks more like a Hierro situation to me. In the infamous La Manita trashing he had played further up, so it wasn't a direct duel between him and Cruyff, although I doubt that there was any stopping Cruyff that day anyway.