By, Jordan Harbin
Sharpen those pencils, grab your notebooks, and lace up those new Payless sneaks….’cuz school’s back in session! (BOOM)
With Chelsea finishing up it’s pre-season jollies in Asia, it is time to gear up and focus in on a very important role in this Premier League season. Everyone wants them, few clubs truly have them, and all the money is being splashed out to get them…you guessed it….WING-BACKS! Here we will take a look at the three most important reasons why this Premier League season and seasons to come will be heavily influenced by these positions.
These feisty defenders bring an exceptional depth to their game that not many other positions can hold. Their ability to defend is just as vital as their ability to attack. This positional versatility gives teams a multi-faceted quality to their playing style. Not only can they stop an attack, but they can also be the first instruments that shift momentum to attack. This is important for Chelsea because of their desire to hit teams on the counter and hit them fast. The wingback provides this flexibility in keeping a defensive player, who has the ability to strategically attack, to be higher up the pitch without sacrificing the space left in behind him. This role requires these players to be in the absolute best shape that they can be in. Because they are the catalysts of the counter-attack, they must be able to press high up the pitch and turn on a dime to get back in the same ferocity.
Teams are looking to splash the cash on these players because they provide such a different form of attack to defenses. In the Premier League, this is such an important role in taking other back lines by surprise when the defender who just made a crunching tackle is now steaming ahead of two, three, or four players up the pitch to put in a lovely cross. They give an added relentlessness to an already grueling competition. However, it is important to find these wing-backs who have a balance on both technique in attack and in defense. A lot of these wing-backs are converted midfielders who lack the defensive know-how, and others are defenders who have no idea what they are doing past the half-way line (wait…how did I get here?) Oh this balance, my friends, is absolutely everything!
The option to have a defender that attacks is like seeing those fries that have slithered to the bottom of the bag after a completely unashamed late night jaunt that gave you the rumbly tumblies this morning…You didn’t expect them to be there at all, but wow do they taste delicious! They don’t conform to the normal expectations traditional football laid out for them. They jumped out of that greasy fry box and became something great, something special. Managers have chomped at the bit to slap their paws at these pacy predators. Why you may ask? It is because they have the chameleon-like tendencies to be whatever the coach needs them to be. They provide the other attackers with more options. Oh sweet and glorious variety! Watching wing-backs like Moses and Alonso (who do still need experience/competition) carve up defenses and cross a lovely ball onto the path of a prolific Blue attack was a true spectacle to behold. It was, however, clearly evident to see when there was an injury, or an apt attack that sought our fledgling wing-backs out. That is why we need to not only buy these wing-back wonders but more importantly, buy smart.
One of the most vital reasons wing-backs are important is fact that they consistently exert pressure on the opposition. When a wing-back provides constant movement and maintains the same distance covered from behind and in front of them it allows teams to find more space untouched farther up the pitch. These guys are holding up and winning crucial canvas space for our masterfully creative midfield to paint with. It allows the midfield to concentrate on purposeful flow in stead of constantly marking the next attack and trying to rebuild after each blow from the opposition. If pressured correctly, defenses will find themselves flustered and most often numerically outnumbered in their defensive third.
Woah, easy….hold it right there partner! I am not saying to buy every player that is listed as a wing-back with some signs of promise on FIFA potential. That’d be crazy…(or Man City). Either way, we do have to be smart. Consistency and balance truly are the keys to a great wing-back. Just because a wing-back has uncontrollable swagger, or exceptionally good hair (…I’m looking at you Marcos Alonso) doesn’t mean we have to buy them all up! We, more importantly the club, need to buy smart. These players don’t come by that often. Some may be listed as wing-backs, but in order to truly be considered one you must have all three qualities and have them perfectly balanced.
While our deputized wing-backs are still plying their trade on the training pitch, we must be patient. Patient to find just the right balance. Patient to find the next perfect fit for the club. Patient to hold onto this wonderful blue dream of ours. Whether that means us buying one world class wing-back, or three pretty good wing-backs (cough…Man City), we must trust the Godfather. Forza Chelsea!!! KTBFFH
Thumbnail Image Courtesy of: Daily Mail
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