Daley Blind, Girona’s metronome

Daley Blind was pushed out of the Ajax squad last season and when he failed to get playing time at Bayern Munich, people expected his career to fizzle out. But the 104 times capped left footer is on his way to fight for the title in La Liga. His first half season there is easy to summarize: he has a coach who uses Blind for his strenghts. The defender is basically the first player in the attack. His team mates give him the ball and he will most the ball exactly where it needs to go, with the perfect weight and the perfect direction. This is a very specific process, which needs a lot of brainpower on the pitch and lots of hours on the training field.

You should probably let Blind play with a microphone and instruct him to say out loud what he is seeing and thinking. That is the best way to understand all that is going on in the intriguiing complex machinations of his football brain. Everything he does seems simple, but it’s not. Blind can’t do much by himself. He’s not Mbappe or Haaland. Blind has limitations. He depends on team mates moving and running and offering options. He is vulnerable due to his frailties.

Put him in a team without structure and limited positioning changes and he will slowly suffocate and his talents will become invisible. All you see are his weaknesses. If you let him chase quick forwards, it even becomes pathetic or laughable. He is like a conductor without sheet music. That is the Blind Ajax didn’t need anymore.

Girona is a team without any stars. And they don’t play their opponents off the pitch either. But what you do see, is a team that stoically is trying to find gaps and openings to hurt the opponent. They are looking at ways to accelerate the game suddenly, to find openings that don’t really exist. It seems. Or to press in such a way that opponent has no options left or situations where they can benefit from a man-more situation. And Daley Blind is the general from the back who oversees it all. Girona’s football comes to life when you decide to focus on what Blind does.

When looking at Blind on the ball sometimes feels like the tv broadcast is stuttering. It feels like he’s not sure, like he takes too much time, as if he doesn’t know what to do. As if he’s at a restaurant scanning all the menu items until a dish really speaks to him. Suddenly he sees his best option and he accelerates the game with a firm pass. A pass with a message, as he himself says. Playing the ball at the right moment, with the right speed, the right weight of pass and direction, it’s an art. It looks simple. It’s not. Most players at the top know how to play a ball from A to B. Blind’s passes have more communication in them. He plays the ball to C and that ball instructs B to make a run in behind. Because B will be receiving the ball from D who gets it played into him via C. If player B, C and D can’t “read” the messages, it is better not to use Blind. Because then he becomes a weak defender.

Daley is constantly asked in all sorts of interviews what magical change happened and the 33 year old laughs and says he’s simply enjoying life in Spain. He is in the autumn of his career and he is taking on Real Madrid, Atleti and Barca. His selection for Oranje is suddenly not longer a strange affair.

But Blind didn’t change anything. He is still the same player. But he is viewed differently and used differently than Schreuder did at Ajax. Blind was signed by Girona as the missing piece of the jigsaw. To start the attack. That is his strength. And if you judge him on that aspect of the game, there are few players better than him. De Bruyne, probably. Frenkie, surely. Kimmich, maybe. Blind can now be considered one of the most important centre backs in La Liga. Not because he changed. But because he is used in his strength.

Thanks to VI Pro –

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66 comments

  1. Watched Dortmund thrash Cologne 4-0. Will say this, another composed performance from Maatsen and has jelled into the team in no time. Last week I said I want to see him and sancho combo and it was indeed on the cards in this game. They linked well especially in tight spaces with sancho dancing his way around taking on 2-3 Cologne players. Maatsen’s crossing was eye catching and suprisingly consistently linking with Malen on the other flank with pin point crosses. One of which he assisted Malens run away goal..

    In defense he relatively kept his flank threat less and in attack didn’t have to do much as sancho took care of that. He did provide him with option overlapping outside and vice versa. I haven’t checked his rating but surely would have been good.

    Also while Maatsen started at LB , he would drift into the midfield changing the formation to three at back as Meunier playing RB would drift to slot in as RCB. I remember seeing this at Man United with ten hag using malacia in the same way.

    I really hope koeman is watching this kid and will be transparent in his selection and in the best interest of the team make the right decision. Maatsen would be the best competitor for Hartman going forward and should be in the mix for starting or off the bench.

    Malen was a different animal today. Started on the right and was big threat for Dortmund on that flank. Typically he was cutting inside and often dropped in the middle as a shadow striker with Brandt overlapping on the wings. Good combo there. Don’t know if this could work with Wieffer as Brandt as played alit on the wings and plus Brandt played in that double AM with sabitzer in point back on the right. Malen’s run away and positioning on maatsen’s assist was top notch as well from half way. First goal was typical striker goal from corner with a good shot evading everyone.

    Last week he was lackluster playing on the left and in his more preferred position. This week playing out off less familiar position he put in a big performance.

    Like I said last week,Dortmund now are burning all the cylinders. PSV vs Dortmund shud be a good game.

  2. Lock and loading. Just two games and he is already the best player in the team.

    Ian Maatsen (8/10)
    Maatsen was one of Borussia Dortmund’s best players on the pitch, with his shrewd decision making on both the attacking and defensive end helping him stand out. His pass to set up Donyell Malen’s for BVB’s third goal was simply outstanding, and he also influenced the team’s build-up play by slotting into midfield.

  3. From last week

    Watched Dortmund vs Darmstadt. Maatsen started and played full 90’. Didn’t flex his wings fully but was heavily involved and played well. His vision and link up was very good . His ability to pick up players in the middle and open up play was eye catching. Defensively was good as well. Was caught up few times but not entirely his fault as Dortmund forward lost the ball while in attacking phases which then led to Darmstadt counter attack. Was defused though by the Dortmund back line.

    Other wise good debut for Maatsen. Just have to play week in and week out , avoid injuries and he should get the nod in the NT squad. Added bonus, the euros is in Germany.

    Malen once again, is not showing anything as to why he shud be going to euros. He only looks good on counters and typically with his strikers instinct of popping up on the back post to tap in if needed. His combo with Maatsen also had no spark as every time he received the ball he just held it and instead of going outside he typically cut in and took the ball inside before passing away. It was disappointing given he never run the flanks like a typical winger which could have given Maatsen better option. He did make I think few good runs but was tackled out. Few good link up as well. I really can’t see him going to euros given what other forwards are showing.

    Dortmund now looks like a squad that will fight for the title. All their players are avaliable now, Reus, moukoko, Reyna all came in the second half and changed the game around. Sancho and Maatsen combo is what I’m really looking forward to. Sancho played on the right when he came on and moukoko also scored a good solo effort.

  4. Re Blind

    Been watching Girona games. Sumed up well but I think we all know WHAT TO EXPECT, WHEN TO EXPECT and WHERE TO EXPECT when it comes to him in NT.

  5. My bad, I have to rephrase what I said “ sumed up welll”

    After reading throughly I have to admit some parts are debatable. He was never signed as missing piece of jigsaw but as a cheap barging for experienced players with few others.

    I think the sentiment that he needs to be played to his strength, It’s beyond doubt under Van gaal he was given all protection, played to his strengths, reshuffled, rotated, make shift to suit him to his best capabilities at United and in NT but going back to what I said on top we all know WHAT TO EXPECT, WHEN TO EXPECT and WHERE TO EXPECT when it comes to him in NT.

    The de bryne comparison and the best attacking defender in la liga, is a joke. I won’t go deep into this.

    On another note you have to agree Girona right now has the winning formula and once you find that you simply don’t change it and keep going. The disadvantage here though is when that one important piece gets lost, it’s doesn’t take that formula to fail and the team to crumble.

    Girona really hit hard opponents on counter offensive and a lot of team including big ones have been caught napping. It’s not that blind is a central piece in there and with out him the team won’t win. Yes all of the players do have certain contribution but we all know what is store for him when opponents coaches will find strategies to counter the current tatical play of Girona. Like vs Real Madrid where Girona counter offensive didn’t work and defensively got pegged.

  6. Watched Girona thrashed Sevilla 5-1 and while critics will wanna sweep this underneath the carpet but Sevilla ‘s goal came from blind blunder. This is exactly what I mentioned the other day “
    At Girona blind gets exposed big time but the forwards are descive on counter offensive and make it count. “

    1-0 down Girona turned the game around scoring Five goals on counter offensive and making it look easier.

  7. Hey Wilson,

    I’ve liked Maatsen since seeing him play at the U17 WC. He was more of a mf then, so he is versatile I wouldn’t worry about Koeman not watching him; he was in the NT camp for the Greece/France games, so he is clearly on the NT radar.

    He has started well. But some players start fast—opposing teams haven’t seen them and don’t know their skills and/or underrate them, give them too much space and room,and get surprised. Then word gets around and teams pay more attention to them, start figuring out what they can and can’t do. That is the real test. Some pass it, many don’t.

    What he needs to do is put in a good 3-1/2 months with a quality that makes it an easy decision for the coach to write his name down as a regular. Hope he does, the NT could use another lb. He is off to a good start.

  8. Ok. Some take aways from the feyenoord and PSV game.

    Koeman was obsessed about calling up Luck De Jong. This was yet a typical game where he was ineffective and threatless due to feyenoord’s defense marking him out. Workrate was there but no break through and no impact. I have long said this, in eredivisie he scores goals for fun vs average defenders. When it comes to teams with good defenders he is often isolated and wondering around.

    Was a good game and while feyenoord had a upper hand in the midfield. PSV used the flanks to do the damage. Lang again showed coming off the bench how important he is for PSV in big games. Showed more agency and hunger than Lozano. Made a clean break and combined with luuk and Til for the only goal which was right fully ruled offside in the build up. Lang shud have started the game and also shud have been awarded a penalty after Wieffer brought him down in the box.
    Must say PSV looked thin in midfield without veerman. And above all Bosz opted to bring on Van annholt and deployed him in at RCM. Crazy stuff man.Schouten too, big game but looked lackluster . I don’t think he can fill the void in midfield for NT. These were the type of games where sangare used to be the beast.

    Wieffer on the other hand was in the thick of things popping up every where. Bit scrappy at times but his workrate was excellent.
    Timber was another player who looked sharp and explosive amongst everybody but PSV often took advantage of him playing a high line leaving big gap in middle for PSV to launch counter attack. Wonder what if he is deployed at AM.

    https://www.facebook.com/100044156873461/posts/pfbid031uPKZs2i13zELVryCvtsUBeJevfCTHZmQsJVjPiwKtSM6dzsdqwiaDgubScgqvAKl/

    Look at schouten’s positioning on the goal.

  9. Girona lost 3-2 to Mallorca in the Copa del Rey and guess what their coach made that critical mistake of reshuffling the team and benching their key players.

    Exactly what I said on top happened. Blind got exposed on the goals and upfront the new players didn’t have the same impact as the normal starting 11. The coach was quick to sub on the regular players at HT but was too late.

  10. No need to keep on promoting the fact Blind is vulnerable in defensive tasks. I think we all know by now, and the blog post mentions it as well. SOme coaches will say: I take the bad with the good. The Girona coach is one of them, as were Van Gaal, Koeman and Ten Hag. No need to keep on harping on about it

    What I don’t think is fair is to say the Sevilla goal was a Blind “blunder”. It was well played, Blind was out position, the striker behind him stopped, while Blind moved further back and he was free to score. Blind put in a block but it wasn’t enough. It happens. Its football. Not every goal conceded is a blunder.

    As for the Fey-PSV match report, Lang couldn’t start. Bosz is careful with Lang as he has been struggling with ongoing hamstring issues, all the result of Lang being impatient. Coaches make decisions based on match fitness, among other things.

    Coaches rotate for a reason and at times have to give players playing time to make sure all 16 (?) are always at top match fitness.

  11. Well that has been always the case (strength over weakness)and from dutch perspective, the dutch coaches have pesistant in gambling with that and have paid the price. Dont wanna repeat again again how the dynamics of the team had to change in order to accommodate him.

    I have forever insisted + and – = 0. Its just gonna show its ugly head when head to head its becomes a descive factor and this is where the team has paid the price.

    This is what the critics dont wanna accept. Few good games and they all start jumping but then it only takes a good team to expose his weakness. Good investment bad investment, only in the end you find out which one you chose.

  12. @wilson – Its very tiring to hear you complain about the same things and your arguments are so incredibly bias.

    When girona wins, you say that its because of their starting 11. Take a few of them out and blind will surely fail. HOWEVER, you also maintain that blind provides nothing and you can take him out of the 11 and girona wouldnt notice.

    Why is it that you give the benefit of the doubt (and credit) to everyone except blind, but then you criticize blind (and no one else on girona) when the opportunity comes.

    Blind is one of the best attacking CB’s in la liga if you look at the stats. Sure he has weaknesses. But to ignore his ball progression because hes slow is just wild to me.

    In fact, knowing what to expect from a player is indicative of consistency. Sure, he may not be what the NT needs. However, you can trust exactly what you are gonna get with him but danjuma and malen is a coin toss for how they will play.

    To claim + and – = 0 is the worst argument ive ever heard. Messi has a + that he can do anything with the ball but his – is that he walks around and doesnt defend for the majority of the game. Would you say he’s a sum of 0. Of course not! Theres weight behind a positive attribute and weight behind a negative one. Literally every single player has pros and cons and they dont always equal a sum of zero.

    1. are you serious man. you call that bias opinion I just explained thats exactly what happened on top vs mallorca. Go and watch the game. . their coach made that critical mistake of rotating the squad and benching keys players like Yan couto, Dovbyk almost. yes the coaches do rotation in other competitions to enhance depth but this doesn’t change the fact that the dynamics of the team took a hit and the team got pegged and weakness in the backline got exposed. you see alot of girona games are high scoring games and girona forwards have been clinical to oppose when they concede goals. there is only few teams that have put up defensively to their attacking threat and then peg around them on the other end. real madrid was one of them. go and watch this game as well

      https://www.soccereco.com/soccer-news/dramatic-evening-for-blind-lived-up-to-his-surname

      again the key point here is WHAT TO EXPECT, WHEN TO EXPECT and WHERE TO EXPECT as I pointed above. I hope this answers your benefit of doubt claims as well. enough of the blind gambling and experimenting.

      also you claims of Blind being one of the best Cbs is again dubious and unsupportable. one eye claim and just by looking at one aspect of his play, unfortunately it more than that to it

      https://www.whoscored.com/Players/70033/Show/Daley-Blind

      if this is what the stats for one of the best Cb in la liga looks like, then I have to say Girona are fortunate to have him.

      lastly what I meant by + and – = 0 is his weakness cannot be countered or swept under the carpet for his strengths. it always comes back (weakness) to peg the team and if not the players around him. Taking from NT perspective here. nothing has changed and nothing gonna change. we have seen enough.

      the messi comparison again is out of context and hilarious , Argentina doesn’t loss just because Messi cannot head and or he doesn’t defend. that not his job. a defenders credibility is based on his defensive attributes primarily and attackers on attacking, the rest is secondary .

      1. @wilson

        I know that the rotation led to girona losing. Thats not my point. My point is that you say the starters of girona all have roles. If you sub out a starter (cuoto or dovbyk etc,) then the team is weaker. Thats true and I agree with you. Now if you sub out one of their starting CB’s, they would also be weaker. Therefore, not starting blind makes girona weaker.

        Do you agree with the above paragraph?

        Your next paragraph is nonsense. You say that we know what to expect from blind. You are correct. So do his coaches who coach him every single day. They know what to expect. It’s not an experiment like you claim. They genuinely see his merit and are willing to put up with his weaknesses. This happens with every single player. stop acting like blind is the only player to have a weakness.

        Why can blinds strengths not outweigh his weaknesses? Be realistic and look at the facts. Girona is performing a miracle. If blinds weaknesses were soooo obvious and his strengths do not outweigh them, then girona is performing a miracle with only 10 players. The liklihood that girona is competing for first place is sooooo unlikely. Now youre trying to say that girona is doing that with 10 men because blind is a negative net sum.

        As for the messi case. You are now saying its not messis job to defend or head. Which means that the team makes special considerations for him. Which is a great strategy. How come you get so upset when teams do the exact same thing for blind? ITS CLEARLY WORKING FOR GIRONA!!!! OPEN YOUR EYES WILSON. Stop being so arrogant and bias. Take one look at the standings.

        You’re insufferable with your arrogance. You’re not a professional player, nor a coach and I highly doubt you ever played at any significant level. Where do you come across this undeserved level of arrogance with your own opinion when so many better and more accomplished people constantly are doing the opposite of you. How can you genuinely believe youre smarter than the coach of girona whos performing miracles with blind in his starting line up. I have critiques of blind and want to move on from him too. But honestly, I’ve never seen someone other than you, with less credibility believe they are so smart. I think its impossible for you to ever think for one second that someone else may be right or smarter than you.

  13. @ Anthony

    the observations or lets say analysis I do or make, I do it from watching the games. yes im not a professional analysist but somethings you don’t need to be one. I have tried to explain it in the simplest way I could but you still don’t seem to get it. I will try breaking it down again.

    the girona team have scored 52 goals highest in La liga and conceded 25 and this is where I was coming from;

    ” you see alot of girona games are high scoring games and girona forwards have been clinical to compensate when they concede goals by scoring on the other end”. especially on counter offensive and for this reason I said their forwards have been their key players being clinical in front of the goal. dovbyk-14 stuani – 7, savio 5,assits, savio 7, couto – 6 dovbyk – 5. I know you agreed to this but just facts fun.

    now your specific question here was this:

    “Now if you sub out one of their starting CB’s, they would also be weaker. Therefore, not starting blind makes girona weaker”

    again I answered this in two parts above firstly how girona was pegged for not being able to compensate for leaked goals upfront ( rotation) and secondly how the defense was exposed. once again the emphasis here is how much the forwards are carrying this team. This is why I concluded with or without blind really doesnt matter. I mean you dont have to be genius here, on a day even if blind is not avaliable and the rest of the them are, it will be job as usual for them, if they concede, they will be able to compensate it by scoring on the other end.I mean that how tatically its unfolding. Counter offensive. It’s not as if in blinds absence the forwards will struggle or wont be able to score while still conceding at the back. The show will go on.

    I hope I’m clear and this answers your precise question.

    Your next claim:
    “Your next paragraph is nonsense. You say that we know what to expect from blind. You are correct. So do his coaches who coach him every single day. They know what to expect. It’s not an experiment like you claim. They genuinely see his merit and are willing to put up with his weaknesses. This happens with every single player. stop acting like blind is the only player to have a weakness.”

    im not acting, im not despising but illustrating the facts. how many articles have I posted over the years on blind and how he is viewed across the soccer fraternity. also on the part on willing to put up with his weakness. Not sure if this is the case at Girona. He was a free and experienced option as per their strict salary, expenditure cap so technically you can say the coaches have no other option but to put up to his weakness and his blushes as well because they can. Again going back to how its unfolding. Counter offensive, concede, compensate and

    Outside of girona, the other coaches that have put up to his weakness, you/ we have seen it all and what it yields. Tell me if you want to know or break down this part into detail. And also its does not happen with every single player. Yes any defender can be beaten on any day and no if a defender fails to clear the ball and concedes a a goal, that cannot be considered as his weakness. a certain outcome derived from your flaws in ability is whats called weakness and from which you are exposed. Dont mix this two up. I’m also interested to know which player in mind has the same characteristics as blind and the coaches are keeping up to them regardless of their weakness.

    like I said on top a defenders credibility is primarily based on his defensive attributes and attackers on attacking, the rest is all secondary

    you wanna say anything before I move one

    1. @ wilson

      First off, you do need to be a professional analyst to understand things at the expert level. There are reasons people are experts and you are not…. You’re not smart enough to be one. You would never have picked blind for Girona and therefore, never be able to get Girona to compete for la liga title. You sound like someone who thinks they know better than a doctor because they googled their symptoms.

      You’re implying that Girona conceded alot and rely on their forwards to compensate. As if they concede 3 goals a game and score 5. If you look at the facts they have 25 against in 22 games. That’s about 1 goal a game. Thats pretty good. For reference, Atletico who is known as one of the most defensive oriented teams in the world has conceded only 1 fewer goals. You’re assesment is incorrect. Girona is not defensively irresponsible, unless you want to call 80% of teams in the world defensively unstable.

      Next, Blind is a top ball progression. Don’t you think the strikers would struggle to score if the ball never got to them? Blind is in the team for his build up play, NOT defending or running. Blind deserves credit for how well the strikers are performing. Imagine removing the best XT player in the league (blind) and expecting that it wouldnt impact your attack…..

      As for compensating for weakness.
      1. United did this with ronaldo. He wouldnt track back so fletcher would cover the attacking winger. https://therepublikofmancunia.com/fletch-united-stronger-now-we-dont-have-to-cover-ron/
      2. Alvarez did messi’s running at the world cup.
      3. Canada plays vitoria centrally in a back 3 because hes slow. It led to qualifying for the first WC in 36 years and topping qualifying over USA and mexico.
      4. TAA was struggling defensively for liverpool so they now play him as an inverted Fullback in the midfield.
      5. Pirlo cant defend. They put vidal and pogba next to him so he can dictate tempo.
      6. Haaland doesnt contribute well to build up play so now man city play way more direct.

      SOOOOOO many examples of teams that alter how they play to maximize strengths.

      If you think that defenders are only meant to defend and attackers are only meant to attack then youre stuck in the stone age. Look at the prem. TAA, trippier and Porro are all top 7 in chance creation. In la liga, the XT from passes has blind, mingueza and de jong as the top 3. Succesful crosses are all defenders.

      If you open up your mind, you will see that Girona has a style that uses blind in an offensive capacity, even though on paper he is a defender. Stop judging a fish by his ability to climb a tree(i’ve seen you make similar comments to this before).

  14. I also mentioned this on top, real Madrid was the only team that stopped them in their tracks and exposed them in defense.

    Yes Real Madrid is a top team, I know but What I’m merely trying to prove here is my argument points from a above.

  15. @ Anthony
    I did agree and I did say on not being professional analyst part and It’s funny how you to repeated it around and brought it up again. 😂. I could say the same for you but for the sake of arguments and debating here on this blog like many others we all talk, agree to disagree based on our own views and pertaining to watching the games. This is what I exactly said on top. Either way moving on. My arguments below is from NT and present day perspective.

    I never said blind not a top ball progressor or distributor, we all know this and what he is good at and what he is not. It’s also not that other others coaches like Van gaal, his daddy, koeman , FDB , ten hag and others didn’t use his strengths to the best, tatically and undermining his weakness. This has always being the case but then overs the years it’s has been far from evident that the outcome is SUBJECT TO WITH different teams and around technical players. Playing alongside and opposite. This is the aspect that has been contentious and from NT perspective how it impacts the team. This is why I claimed above when it comes to him, it’s all about WHAT TO EXPECT, WHEN TO EXPECT and WHERE TO EXPECT. (NT). He can’t sustain the ball progression as you point out consistently with every team and when he is not able to do that he is either exposed or he makes the team lag on his side because all of a sudden he is pegged at the back. This is how or what affects the dynamics or the balance factor of the team.

    At Girona again it’s nothing new and I said this before his stats has always looked good every where he has played and perhaps the Girona coach like others is using him to his strengths as well and allowing him to pull the strings when ever possible. No doubt it’s working and so was the case at Ajax ( ten hag), united ( van gaal) and in NT but his weakness always creeped in those critical stages where he gets pegged at the back, not able to progress forward with ball, it makes his flank lag and if he does, puts the pressure on players around him when caught upfront and not able to track back. We have talked about this in depth and are still beating around the bush and now trying to prove otherwise that things have changed for him at Girona.

    They coughed up in Copa Del Rey at QF stage, major silverware and in which the backline was exposed and also putting their teams credibility under spotlight with respect to how they can stopped.

    On the same note and on your argument@

    “Don’t you think the strikers would struggle to score if the ball never got to them? Blind is in the team for his build up play, NOT defending or running. Blind deserves credit for how well the strikers are performing”.

    Looking at this from another angle, what happened to his ball progression in the game vs Mallorca or why he couldn’t pull the strings, build up play with just few changes to the team? I do accept all team loss but it’s all red flag popping and suspicious that how all of a sudden blind couldn’t do what he had been doing so perfectly through out the season as you claim and coming to QF stage couldnt.

    I leave it to you to go and watch that game and see it for yourself how and why he couldn’t and then come back and tell me?

    The other question which you also still have not answered is this one as well from above

    Me:

    “ I’m also interested to know which player in your mind has the same characteristics as blind and the coaches are keeping up to them regardless of their weakness”

    As for compensating for weakness and SOOOOOO many examples of teams that alter how they play to maximize strengths argument”

    I’m not questioning or denying the factual basis of the example you have put forward, but simply the legitimacy of relating it to blind. Unfortunately with blind his weakness creeps in no matter where he plays and in which set up he plays. Once again let’s not best around the bush here. Relating all those example to blind is far from true

    Another counter Argument I can put here is to that of Robbens and his contribution during defensive play. Van der Weil, janmaat, were they vulnerable or exposed defending under pressure. Matter of fact if you look back at the right flank of NT, it has been a dominant attacking flank for past how many years while left with blind often under spotlight. I remember critics saying here that this was tatical, one flank more offensive and the other defensively (with blind). You look at that now and how with Hartman things have changed for good and threat wise from both flanks
    ..

    I also would like to clear the air on this:

    “If you think that defenders are only meant to defend and attackers are only meant to attack then youre stuck in the Stone Age”

    What I said what this,

    “like I said on top a defenders credibility is primarily based on his defensive attributes and attackers on attacking, THE REST IS ALL SECONDARY”

    1. @ wilson

      You say that blind provides zero value to the team. But now you are admitting he is a top ball progressor. Is ball progression not of value.

      That’s the whole point of my argument. Blind has value. Maybe not how you like it, but you consistently say he provides ZERO value. If you are now changing from what you said earlier and admit he provides girona value such as ball progression, then we agree.

      The QF was not a priority. Don’t blame blind. They prioritize la liga and champions league and rotated. Lets look at the stats. Girona had 75% possession, more big chances missed, more shots, more expected goals. Blind had .62 expected assists which is the highest on the team, he had the second highest passes into the final third. He was dribbled past ZERO times. All of this evidence proves his ball progression was the best on the team and he wasnt getting dribbled past. How can you blame blind with these stats. The real answer is that blind played exactly how he always does but the back up strikers missed their chances. Don’t blame blind when he’s doing his job but the strikers didnt do theirs.

      Next, Girona won’t win every game. To say “what happened vs mallarco” as a justification that blind is bad is nonsense. You win and you lose. losing a game is not evidence that blind has ZERO value.

      As for my examples, they all are the exact same as blind. Vitoria for canada is even slower than blind. But hes not chosen for his speed. He’s chosen for other reasons. It’s literally no different than blind.

      My point is that the game has evolved. A defenders primary attribute is not defense first anymore. Davies is arguably the best lb in the world and he’s not a defender first. TAA sucks at defending and hes a top rightback in the world. Trippier, marcelo, porro, frimpong, hakimi are just further examples of elite defenders whos #1 attributes to the team are attacking and the defending is secondary. Again, you’re in the stone age to think that davies is the best leftback in the world because he knows how to defend…… To say defending is #1 and everything else is secondary is incorrect in the modern game.

  16. @wilson – I know you do not believe in facts or statistics so lets do the eyetest for blind in the girona match.

    Goal #1 – serrano doesnt follow his runner and mallorca counter 3 on 2 for a goal. Sure, blind could take some criticism as could the entire defence but it was a simple mistake.

    Goal #2 – Blind defends well and eventually the ball goes to the top of the box where the CDM’s are not tight and allow mallorca to score a banger. Can’t blame blind at all for that one.

    Goal #3 – The other defender has a handball – PK.

    So the stats say that blind was arguably the most important player on girona with the ball and that he also was never dribbled past. The eye test shows that blind was not at fault for any of the goals.

    Therefore, your only argument is that girona lost and therefore this proves blind is bad.

    You’re bias is showing and you’re grasping at straws to fulfill your nonsense narrative.

  17. The fact of the matter is that we both want to look at a coin from different sides. Weakness and strength and how it compensates each other, again going back to the argument on top.

    “ WHAT TO EXPECT, WHEN TO EXPECT and WHERE TO EXPECT. (NT). He can’t sustain the ball progression as you point out consistently with every team and when he is not able to do that he is either exposed or he makes the team lag on his side because all of a sudden he is pegged at the back. This is how or what affects the dynamics or the balance factor of the team.”

    Again we are all going in circles here

    For some reason there was no ratings for that game and neither on his player profile.

    https://www.whoscored.com/Players/70033/Show/Daley-Blind

    Don’t wanna dwell on this much but as for the game there were far too many instance where he was was caught up playing CB/ high line which some got punished and some didn’t. It’s not just about looking at the goals but his overall game. You can just tell how lvulnerable the backline looked on turn overs and over the head balls

    https://youtu.be/rVYpnZBf7UE?si=KmeCOL0qigffpRjM

    Im not just trying to pin him down just because they lost the game but till the red card, how Mallorca were pressing them consistently and were exposing them on turnovers. Try and watch blind on all of this. In fact this is where I was coming from when I said how gets exposed going forward and if not gets pegged at the back not willing to come out. It’s either of the two.

    Moving on you still didn’t answer the other part of the argument.

    Your claim:

    “Blind deserves credit for how well the strikers are performing. Imagine removing the best XT player in the league (blind) and expecting that it wouldnt impact your attack…..”

    My argument

    “Looking at this from another angle, what happened to his ball progression in the game vs Mallorca or why he couldn’t pull the strings, build up play with just few changes to the team? I do accept all team loss but it’s all red flag popping and suspicious that how all of a sudden blind couldn’t do what he had been doing so perfectly through out the season as you claim and coming to QF stage couldnt.

    I leave it to you to go and watch that game and see it for yourself how and why he couldn’t and then come back and tell me?”

    Its all there in this game.

  18. @ wilson – https://www.fotmob.com/matches/girona-vs-mallorca/2809vm#4405514 Player ratings where blind is the best defender and 5th best on the team.

    You need to consider the context of the match. Mallorca has a red and girona need a goal and have 75% possession. Would you seriously want 3 cb’s to stay deep and not contribute going forward? Of course not, therefore blind pushes up high and the remaining 2 CB’s should easily be able to cover for him. It is not blinds fault that the other 2 CB’s couldnt handle the counter attack. Literally everything about blind encourages him to join the attack when you need a goal vs 10 men. He’s not going to be fast enough to stop a counter so hes wasted at the back.

    But here is the real kicker in all of this. You claim he cannot contribute to the build up play vs mallorca but you won’t actually believe the evidence. He has the 2nd most completed passes, 2nd in touches, by far the most expected assists, the most chances created, 2nd most passes into the final third, the most accurate crosses, and the most accurate long balls. EVERY SINGLE passing STAT has blind in the top 2 AND his passing isnt backwards and sideways, they are very expansive and progressive.

    How can you say that he couldnt pull the strings when EVERY SINGLE STAT PROVES HE DID….

    And this is where the conversation becomes difficult to have with you wilson. You are so arrogant that you think that you know better. Even when the evidence and stats are clear and right in front of you.

    Do you not believe in stats? Are there other stats that are more valuable to the analysis? If so, which stats would prove or disprove that he was pulling the strings.

    OR

    Is the “all knowing wilson” the only metric that is valuable to proving if blind did or did not pull the strings. Forget stats or evidence. Lets trust the guy whos arrogant and EXTREMELY BIASED against blind (and has zero credentials/experience in the professional game) to make an accuarate assessment of blinds play.

  19. @ wilson – I rewatched the game and its quite laughable that you think Mallorca was high pressing. They set a low block, not a high press. The exact opposite of your claim. The first five-ish minutes they did a bit of pressing but they had every single player defending inside their own half until the following:

    Press #1. 24th minute where they pressed. What happened during that press? Girona played through them and savio had a breakaway he should have scored.

    Press #2. 43rd minute – Girona plays through the press with class and ease and progress past half where mallorca set up a low block again.

    Press #3. (45 +3)48th minute – This is a squeeze inside mallorca’s own half. Not a real press. Girona plays through the pressure and draws a foul.

    Press #4 54th minute – Girona’s GK sees that mallorca is up field and he plays a long ball instead of playing through the press. Mallorca clear the ball back to the GK and they could press but instead, they choose to drop back into a low block.

    Press #5 58th minute – Mallorca press off a goal kick and Girona take 4 quick passes to break the press and are instantly inside mallorcas box where they have 10 guys defending.

    67th minute – Red card.

    Wilson, please provide any examples of blind not being able to handle the non existent press of mallorca. Which minute was blind unable to handle the pressure. Or for that matter, where is the high press of mallorca.

    I can say with a lot of confidence that you didnt even watch this game if you think mallorca was high pressing or if you claim blind couldnt handle it.

    I know you love to switch the topics so you never have to provide any evidence so please be specific. We are only talking about blind not handling the “high press” and NOT his lack of speed when hes defending. Please provide specific minutes in the match for your examples as you say “its all there in the match”. Now is the time to prove how smart you really are…..

  20. @ Anthony

    What madness is this, even before the red card and with Mallorca winning 3-0, girona was significantly dominating possession 71% to 29%.(HT).

    You are just running and again turning a blind eye on this. I even gave full match highlights. Still you dont wanna acknowledge it. I mean what else was the reason that mallorca with 29% possession were comfortably 3-0 at HT and what were Girona doing with 71% possession. You see this is where stats can be deceiving and not show the true picture and no I’m not arrogant.

    Like I said you are just running and trying to focus on blind after mallorca went one player down and girona went back 3 and with blind roving higher up. Obviously the momentum of the game had changed in girona favor more and with the dominant possession as well which finished 75-25% at FT. What would you except from Blinds in this type of situation. Obviously his stats, rating will spike.

    Also Which stupid coach wont take advantage of extra man and tatically try to turn the game around.

    Then you again made that silly comment that I said mallorca was pressing high. What I said was this:

    ” Mallorca were pressing them consistently and were exposing them on turnovers”

    Well this is what my eyes saw, when ever girona had possessions or in attacking phases, mallorca players pressed them in 2s forcing turnovers and that’s how the first goal was scored or forcing them to lateral or back passing .Look at how you interpreted this with your press #1-5 stances. for blinds he can do his lateral and back passing whole game and still he will have the highest passing completion rate and that was what mallorca were wanting. The ball not to reach upfront. My focus here more on first half course

    Lastly when I said “it’s all there in the match” I was referring to what I said on top what happened to Girona in the first half with that 71 – 29% dominance in possession and in context to blind why he couldnt pull of nothing but his favourite lateral and back passes. You see we have been debating for how long and you still dont wanna acknowledge this.you instead want to favour his stats and performance after he was more in his comfort zone and with mallorca having having to protect their 3-0 goal cushion with a man short

    As per specific minutes you want to see. First goal (20.02) as I have said,there is also quite few particularly in the first half, Larin mallorca striker runs past him like if he is not there.@ 10:13. Luckly for him the ball arrives over him to the back post.again larin on 28.14 gets better of him ( arieal ball). Girona keeper had to come and punch it out In the build up to second mallorca goal. 29.36

  21. @ wilson – Madness? Girona dominating possession before the red card and mallorca defending in a low block, further proves my point that blind is the extra of the 3 CB’s who are to push further up field. Literally everything I said, applies to both before and after the red card, but I used the red card to emphasis my point because I didnt have faith in your ability to understand what a low block is.

    you are so bias against blind. When girona dominates, all of girona’s players stats spike. Yet blind is still top. Why doesnt the CB to his center or right have matching stats?

    Im not sure I can take your assessment seriously anymore if you think mallorca was pressing. You can watch how fast they drop into a low block. You can look at how little possession they had. You can look at heat maps to see how frequently mallorca were in there own half. Compare liverpools high press to mallorca and you see 2 extremely opposite styles of defending.

    Next your claim that blinf is passing backwards is NONSENSE. How do you explain he has the highest expected assists on the field and is top in all progressive passing stats such as passes into the box etc. Please explain how blind would generate these stats if he was passing backwards? Do you seriously not understand how these stats are generated? BY PASSING FORWARD! THE STATS SAY THAT BLIND WAS THE PLAYER WHO GOT THE BALL UP FRONT WAY MORE THAN ANY OTHER PLAYER!!!!!!!!!!! Open your eyes buddy.

    as for your nonsense examples.
    – I specifically said that we are talking about blinds passing so please do not use an example of blinds lack of speed/defending and guess what you provide. An example of blinds lack of speed. WE ALL AGREE HE IS SLOW. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HIS BALL PROGRESSION SINCE YOU CLAIMED HE WAS PEGGED BACK AND HAD SO MANY TURNOVERS.

    PLEASE PROVIDE EXAMPLES OF BLINDS INABILITY TO PROGRESS THE BALL DUE TO A HIGH PRESS OF MALLORCA.

    Typical wilson post. You have no examples to justify your claims so you bring up any possible mistakes of blind. We all agree that blind has flaws. I am asking you to justify a specific claim but you reply with absolute nonsense.

    The biggest challenge in a conversation with you is that you have a very poor football knowledge if you dont know the difference between a high press and a low block, YET you are so arrogant that you could never in a million years consider that your opinion is wrong. I’ve never seen you ackowledge your wrong, even when its 100% clear. The fact that you claim you arent arrogant further illustrates the complete lack of self awareness. It’s exhausting to provide you evidence and stats only for you to ignore them time and time again because your little ego cannot accept that its been proven wrong.

  22. I will just touch on your specific question because for the rest of the arguments we are just beating around the bush.

    your terminology argument “low block” and me saying pressing and exposing them on turnovers was the same thing. this is exactly how the first goal was scored. I said this above, when Girona had possession Mallorca pressed them in 2s and sometimes in 3s forcing turnovers and making them into lateral and back passing. when do you expect this to happen, when Mallorca was attacking ??????? I explained this so clearly on top but you totally change the context around with the HIGH PRESSING ASSSUMPTION AND THROWING ALL THOSE EXAMPLES WHICH IS OUT OF CONTEXT.

    “WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HIS BALL PROGRESSION SINCE YOU CLAIMED HE WAS PEGGED BACK AND HAD SO MANY TURNOVERS.
    PLEASE PROVIDE EXAMPLES OF BLINDS INABILITY TO PROGRESS THE BALL DUE TO A HIGH PRESS OF MALLORCA.”

    I don’t know how you draw this conclusion. did I specifically say this.

    “Next your claim that blinD is passing backwards is NONSENSE. How do you explain he has the highest expected assists on the field and is top in all progressive passing stats such as passes into the box etc. Please explain how blind would generate these stats if he was passing backwards? Do you seriously not understand how these stats are generated? BY PASSING FORWARD! THE STATS SAY THAT BLIND WAS THE PLAYER WHO GOT THE BALL UP FRONT WAY MORE THAN ANY OTHER PLAYER!!!!!!!!!!! Open your eyes buddy”

    I will address this first. You keep saying extra third man when in the first half Girona started with 4-2-3-1 with Blind merely a LCB and then after HT, yes switching to 3-5-2 as you are saying (extra third man).this is where I was coming from the spike in his stats (second half) where he now was more offensively involved tactically (playing high) in that back three and also with Mallorca one man down. and in getting the ball up to the Dovbyk and stuani now two strikers up front. you gain fail to see, acknowledge OR consider this in the first half. JUST GO AND WATCH HIS BALL PRGESSION UPFRONT IN THE FIRST HALF. ITS LATERAL AND BACK PASSES MOSTLY. yes this changed in the second half due to circumstantial reasons but the damage was done in the FIRST half.

    this are the claims I made leading up to Blind arguments its all on top. repeating again.

    “I never said blind not a top ball progressor or distributor, we all know this and what he is good at and what he is not. This has always being the case but then overs the years it’s has been far from evident that the outcome is SUBJECT TO WITH different teams and around technical players. Playing alongside and opposite. This is the aspect that has been contentious and from NT perspective how it impacts the team. This is why I claimed above when it comes to him, it’s all about WHAT TO EXPECT, WHEN TO EXPECT and WHERE TO EXPECT

    “ WHAT TO EXPECT, WHEN TO EXPECT and WHERE TO EXPECT. (NT). He can’t sustain the ball progression as you point out consistently with every team and when he is not able to do that he is either exposed or he makes the team lag on his side because all of a sudden he is pegged at the back. This is how or what affects the dynamics or the balance factor of the team.”

    note some of this is in context to NT as well but applicable to the mallorca game as well. if you are saying that blind progression of ball, stats, highest expected assists etc was the same in both halves. im ending this debate right here.

    1. Pressing and a low block are by definition different. If you want to use the terminology of “pressing and pegging blind back” to describe that mallorca, not girona, are pegged back in their own half, then thats an incorrect definition. My examples are of a press. However, if you agree that mallorca were not pressing but instead played a low block (almost a park the bus strategy). Then I agree.

      Your claim of blind is that 1. he gets pegged back and coughs up the ball. 2. he only passes backwards and sideways. 3. he gets exposed by counter attacks because hes slow (I obviously agree with #3).

      1. I was asking you to provide any evidence of blind getting pegged back. pegged back means hes being pressed. I don’t see him losing the ball because he cannot handle the press and is pegged back. If you mean something completely different to this. Let me know.

      2. Blind has the highest ball progression stats of anyone on the team. Do you agree these stats prove he passes forward? Does blind pass the ball sideways at times… Yes. Do you know the most simple way to beat a low block? Shift the defenders and try to expose gaps during the shift. If you dont swing the ball from left to right, then the movement in a low block is minimal and therefore its very difficult to create gaps. every team in the world does this. Despite all of this, blind is still top in the league and during this match at ball progression. I am shocked you deny this.

      3. We all agree hes slow. no need to keep bringing this up whenever you cannot argue #1 and #2.

      Your last paragraph is talking about how blind can only sustain ball progression in some circumstances. If that is the case, why is he leading the league in these stats instead of just 1 or 2 matches. Your argument sounds like – “messi didnt score in the first half so we know he cannot do it when the tempos high”. Lets unravel this argument more.
      -Blind is the top ball progressor over the course of the season so far. This includes many matches with higher tempo and pressing than mallorca who are not good.
      -He was top in the mallorca game even if you think he isnt.
      -Girona was rotating to keep their squad fresh for la liga.
      -If blind is the top ball progressor in the league and in your single example of the match vs mallorca, where is the evidence to your claim that “we know what to expect and when to expect it”? I assume you mean, “we know to expect that blind cannot progress the ball when he plays a top team who does X (i would say that X is pressing and pegging him back but I’ll let you fill it in).

      Using the above sentence would you say that blind did not progress the ball even though he was the top ball progressor? Would you say that mallorca is a top team? Would you say that mallorca pressed?

      I agree that blinds second half was more attacking than his first. HOWEVER, do you know how hard it is to break down a low block as a CB. Its extremely difficult for creative attackers to do this. All of girona had to pass sideways to some extent because of the low block. Look at man city play and youll see how pep only plays players who do not lose the ball cheaply by trying to force the ball through a low block. To say that blind gets 1. pegged back. 2. coughs up the ball and 3. has an inability to progress the ball is incorrect.

      Here’s another question for you. What is the best strategy for breaking down a low block? Second question, what is the best strategy for blind as a CB when facing a low block?

      You seem to misunderstand that blinds ability vs strategy can change. You also seem to imply that blinds ball progression is directly related to the fact that girona couldnt score vs mallorca. If this is true, then also give him credit for the 17 la liga matches they won… Stop picking and choosing and have a non bias assessment.

  23. Late to blog discussion & thanks for the FYI @ Wilson. He & I go back & forth about Blind all the time on WhatsApp bc we know that RK is drooling over Michel’s “Buccaneer” Tactics. No top team manager would ever dream of playing with such an extremely high defensive line esp w/ a CB duo (on paper) of Daley Blind + Eric Garcia. I don’t have the exact stat/analytics post but both Garcia & Blind have the highest distance from goal metric in duels & possession won in La Liga. For me though, it’s the performance of that midfield 3 that determines how well Girona performs. Also ever since that intense 4-3 win over Atleti, I feel that Michel has them playing a bit more pragmatic than before as he had to play different CDs w/ Blind since Lopez & Garcia were out w/ injuries

    1. @victionary – Good post. Although many teams play an extremely high line with huge success (liverpool, aston villa etc) I do agree that a slow CB pairing on paper is not well suited for this line. Having said that, its obviously working for Girona with arguably the slowest CB in a top 3 team in a top 5 league.

      It’s interesting you say that its the midfield 3 that is key to the team. Wilson has said its the strikers who are most important. The stats say that blind has a huge role…. Perhaps the key is that the entire team is valuable.

      And thats my main point against wilson. Blind has value, the strikers do and everyone else involved does as well. To simply say that you cannot replace the strikers but you can interchange blind and you will get the exact same results is just not true. Its a team game and everyone has a role and provides value.

  24. https://www.espn.com/soccer/story/_/id/39449471/why-premier-league-centrebacks-no-longer-just-need-defend

    Heres an article that goes against your claim that everything other than defending is secondary for defenders.

    It also talks about how CB’s will “bait” the opponent so that they can go left or right and then exploit gaps. Sound familiar to your claim that blind sometimes passes sideways?

    It also talks about how attackers will pin (you use the word peg) Cb’s and how a cb who can progress the ball through this “pin” to create a 4v4 in the attacking zone. If you relate this to blind, I dont really ever see mallorca attempt this pin on blind. In almost all the examples I put down of mallorca implementing this pin, they only do so against the other defenders as they respect that blind can play through this better than the other defenders.

  25. You guys have argued the heck out of each of your positions re Blind’s effectiveness. Props to you both.

    To me, Blind is now in the twilight of what has been a good career. After last year’s difficult season, he’s had a comeback year playing an important role in a small club that is one of the surprise teams of the year. It is a good story, both for the team and for him.

    But to the extent that the arguments have a subtext of concern or desire that he take on a more prominent role in the NT, either should be put to bed. If the NT plays 3 CD’s, he is not going to be slotted ahead of Ake or Van de Ven as lcd. If they play with a 4 man backline, he won’t play ahead of Ake at lb or Van Dyke at lcb, nor would he play ahead of their reserves, Hartman or Van de Ven.

  26. @ Anthony

    we are playing the police and thieve game. you are running and Im trying to catch you.this will be my last response to your arguments. please go back and read specifically what I have I said. I will acknowledge one same parts the context can differ like on the preesing and low block argument. no where I said malorca were PRESSING HIGH AND BLIND GOT PEGGED BECAUSE OF TURNOVERS. my writings, analysis or points are always simple and not complex using real life terminology as you said.

    point1 – i never said any where that blind was pegged because Mallorca was pressing them high. i=this is third of fouth time I’m writing this. what I said was this agin, third time im putting this;

    “when Girona had possession Mallorca pressed them in 2s and sometimes in 3s forcing turnovers and making them into lateral and back passing”.

    its a no brainer that you can only do this when you are defending and you exactly went opposite saying that mallorca were pressing high.

    point 2 – pay attention to this one because you ARE STILL RUNNING AWAY FROM THIS. you said the most simple way to beat a low block? Shift the defenders and try to expose gaps during the shift. If you dont swing the ball from left to right, then the movement in a low block is minimal and therefore its very difficult to create gaps.. this was why exactly I asked you this specific question” I dont want any more reponse from you but your views on this.

    WHAT WAS GIRONA DOING WITH 71% -29% POESSESSION THAT MALLORCA WAS SITTING COMFORTAFBLY 3-0 AT HT?

  27. some other answers to your claims.

    Here’s another question for you. What is the best strategy for breaking down a low block? Second question, what is the best strategy for blind as a CB when facing a low block?

    why you ask this question when you have already have answered this. low block , park the bus, park the train, what you said is not the only way to defuse it. that’s the typical Dutch style and what dutch coaches do. you go and watch German football even when they have space on the wide, they punch through the middle. and above all it depends on the quality of players you have.

    as for what blind shud have done, isnt it clear that the coach changed the tactics to get him up more offensively.

    mallorca started with 3-5-2 and played pretty much contained savio and Tsyhankov their attacking wide man upfront and like I said when Girona had possession Mallorca pressed them in 2s and sometimes in 3s forcing turnovers and making them into lateral and back passing. they made sure that the ball doesn’t reach up and sat comfortably pouching on turnovers.

    again after HT Girona coached changed the tactic to counter it but by then it was too late and it again comes back to the decision by their coach to reshuffle the team in the first place and yes it was his preference and it took a hit. simple.

    “You seem to misunderstand that blinds ability vs strategy can change. You also seem to imply that blinds ball progression is directly related to the fact that girona couldnt score vs mallorca. If this is true, then also give him credit for the 17 la liga matches they won… Stop picking and choosing and have a non bias assessment.”

    im not picking and chosing being biased. I just know when and where he will get pegged. it has been through out his career. a team with a good high pressing attack like it happened vs madrid will bring him into spot light.

    https://www.soccereco.com/soccer-news/dramatic-evening-for-blind-lived-up-to-his-surname

    as for the 17 games that they have won, for the last time, it doesn’t change the fact about his weakness or flaws. he will always be a weak link only to be exposed at critical juncture which has been my claim from day 1.

    as for all the the others things you have said about blind and blinds ability it all here.

    https://theanalyst.com/eu/2023/09/girona-can-start-dreaming-la-liga/

  28. paragraph 1-4: your claims “Im not just trying to pin him down just because they lost the game but till the red card, how Mallorca were pressing them consistently and were exposing them on turnovers” and “all of a sudden he is pegged at the back”.
    -Mallorca were not consisntely pressing. They sat in a low block. I agree that once girona entered the box, mallorca had a superior number of players. But thats not “consistent press” nor was blind responsible for turnovers. Next, if blind is pegged back, that implies he was being high pressed. you didnt claim he was pegged at the front (which would be weird). If blind is pegged back, it implies he cannot break through a high press. All false.
    – If by saying mallorca consistently press and blind pegged back, you actually meant that mallorca dropped back into a low block and blind was never pressed high, then I agree. I think you dont know what a press is. Imagine being a coach and asking your players to press in 2 and 3’s. They arent going to drop into a low block.

    Paragraph 5-6: What was girona doing with possession. They were creating chances as evidenced by the expected goals. What was blind doing? He was the TOP chance creator. The stats prove this. It is not blame blind because the strikers failed to score. Im shocked you won’t admit that the stats prove blind was the top chance creator. Its impossible to deny.

    Post #1 Paragraph 1-3: Not quite sure that “punching through the middle” is a clear strategy. What does that mean. Long balls through the middle. More players or less players in the middle. My point is that in order to break down a low block, you need to create gaps. Those gaps occur by baiting them out of position and/or shifting the ball faster than the team can shift. This means that you cannot just force the ball through crowded areas. Sometimes you need to pass sideways and backwards.

    Paragraph 4-6: It is not factual to say the ball didnt reach the top. Look at blinds stats and youll see how he was the top ball progressor. Start looking at the evidence.

    Paragraph 7-8: Again, a bias response. You say that you know where and when blind will be pegged back. You use 2 examples. Mallorca in a low block and madrid with high pressing. Those are the exact opposite styles. In which context does blind become the best ball progressor in the league if you think he cannot do it vs a low press or a high press.

    Paragraph 9-10: Again, we all know blinds weakness is his speed. We agree. This initially started with your claim that “with or without blind” it doesnt matter. I’ve been agreeing the whole time that blind has flaws and is slow. However, my main point is that having blind in the line up DOES matter to girona. If you take out their best ball progressor, it will have an impact. Does Girona compete for the title without blind? Probably not. The same could be said about any of their starters. It’s a team game.

    Its so wild that you wont admit that girona is better because they have blind on.

    @andrew. 100% agree with you. None of my arguments are in favour of Blind starting for the national team. I just think he deserves a fair assessment on his pros and cons and to say he doesnt matter to girona is false.

  29. Lets be respectful here and lets not act is if one or the other has the right to end debates. It’s not your debate to end Wilson. Anthony and Andrew and myself have every right to keep on debating.

  30. @Jan, I didn’t take Wilson’s comment as disrespectful or that he had the right to end discussion, I just took it as him advising that he wasn’t going to add anything more on the subject.

    And Real crushed Girona today…without Blind who was who was out for yellow card accumulation. So…its a Rohrschach test. lol

  31. So with the NT matches coming up in a month, and things looking iffy regarding De ligt and Timber due to injury, does Koeman play Geertruida (who has not looked convincing), try out Van Hecke, or even give Van de Ven a look, even though he is left footed, at RCB? Thoughts?

    1. @andrew – Good Question but de ligt came out and said he was 100% fit for the leverkusen match.

      assuming we go with a back 3 we can pretty much guarantee ake and van dijk. Then its between de ligt, de vrij and geertruida at rcb. I think geertruida gets the call as koeman doesnt seem to like de ligt at rcb. Although de vrij looked great last time he played there for the national time.

      If koeman doesnt like de ligt at rcb due to his ball playing skills, then i have a hard time believing he would be ok with a left footed RCB.

      My predicted squad –

      dumfries de vrij VVD ake Maatsen
      Frenkie reijnders
      xavi depay gakpo

      frimpong, geertruida, de ligt, van de ven, hartman
      Koopmeiners gravenberch/weiffer
      lang brobbey malen

      zirkzee/dalinga

      the main thing is if we play 5-3-2 or 5-2-3. I believe lang and bergwijn are injured so I think we take an extra midfielder (gravenberch). hartman likely starts over maatsen

      1. @Anthony,

        Thanks for the info. about De ligt, I assumed that he was still injured, but if he is healthy and still not getting time, not a good sign. You’re right of course about De Vrij. He was very good in the last few nt matches. I guess after seeing Van de ven play more than a few matches for Tottenham this year, I am just thinking that he needs to be on the field. But you are likely right about Koeman’s preferences.

        As for the rest of your squad, Reijnders has to be FDJ’s partner, the attackers could turn out to be any of the top six you mention, and you’re right about alot depends on 5-2-3 vs. 5-3-2 As well as Dumfries has played for the NT, its still a tough call for me about him or Frimpong, who is not only having a terrific year in Germany, but made a difference when he came on against France. Hartman has done well with his NT opportunity, but Maatsen will give Koeman something to think about if continues his form in Dortmund.

  32. Well Girona missed a few things from not having Blind in the XI v Real Madrid last night: among them that key pass into the 14 zone to the #10 or acting as that outlet to recycle possession on the left.

    As it applies to NT, the squad is evolving into a more athletic & physical team w/ fairly high technique. Our metronome moving forward is Frenkie & we need to pair him w/ the right foil. Idk where that places Blind…if he’s selected then he wears the #17 only to be the 25 or 26th man in the squad. Maybe better if he’s just in the coaching staff…start earning his UEFA A license.
    I just hope we find that RW to balance it out.

  33. its time to stop this blind saga,we all know whats his strength and weakness..only issue is he is getting selected to NT by one or other reason..He was piss poor against arjetina,he cannot defend us vs top team,but still getting called up..the defensive fragility brought by him to be compensated with Ake,Frenkie,Virgil….that makes them vulnerable too..for me Molina become his dad after allowing molina to free run to receive that great pass from messi..he lost in champions league semi final,he lost in world cup smei final and quater final to arjetina..but 2014 he was excellent..he is looser when it counts or in the side of loosers.
    .i agree he has won knvb cup,fa cup or few eredivise,which is not bad…but in knock out matches tournaments at this age he should not be considered at all…his time is up for high intensity euros,world cups of champions league or even Europa league..
    he is no Lothar Matthäust or Franz Beckenbauer to consider in NT..We have no shortage of world class LB or LCB to play an error prone, slow, aged player in our LB or LCB spot..koeman has to open his eyes…
    May be with little fund and finance tightness,he might be well fit for girona,which i think no chance to win la liga…

  34. @Victionary_472

    I didnt watch the game because I knew what was in store for Girona. Would have liked to see Blind in this game but realized he was suspended. I went and watched the game after reading your this statement.


    Well Girona missed a few things from not having Blind in the XI v Real Madrid last night: among them that key pass into the 14 zone to the #10 or acting as that outlet to recycle possession on the left”

    Madrid let girona come up or press high and in first half particularly on the right and then on turn overs they broke through the inside channels and on to vinicius on the flank. Yan Couto had a nightmare of a game and all 4 goals came from his right flank while left flank was fairly quite with rodrygo on that side. Madrid beat them to their own game, tatic, strategy

    I said this somewhere on top, teams that can contain the girona forwards and then peg them at the back will be able to stop girona easily.

    The Madrid defensive who were without Ruidger were simply ruthless and never let the ball reach to their descive players. This was also the case in the first round

    https://www.managingmadrid.com/2023/10/2/23897270/three-stats-from-girona-0-3-real-madrid-joselu-bellingham-ancelotti-laliga-202324

    The left flank became more alive after the second half time when pablo torre came on. Unfortunately the Madrid defense were quick to defuse the attack often.

    I only watched till the 4 goal which was around 61′ and their young LB Gutierrez did have a good game. He was fast linking with savio and overlapping into Madrid box through inside channel and coming with crosses and often with the same lateral and back passes as well. His runs were better and dangerous though tha blind

    In terms of your claim that they couldnt recycle possession and get the ball in that 14 zone is not really true. Madrid were simply superior in the midfield or shud I say in all aspect. Neither girona counter offensive opportunities arrived where they could catch Madrid off guard and nor Madrid let them sniff around when it came crosses and shots in the box.

    Yan couto being one of their best players will wanna forgot about this game other wise girona had since good passage of play in the first particularly on the right and then in the second half from the left with torre coming in at 10.

    Forgot to mention Bellingham in the midst of everything. Was a constant threat and a class combining with that fcuker vinicius. Deadly

    1. @wilson – Thought you finished the debate about blind and his influence on girona…..

      Seems like you don’t like to respond to facts and statistics but you love to make broad statements that have zero value or zero ability to be proven or disproven.

      If you’re done debating, stop dangling a carrot out with a post like this.

      1. I tried my best to explain and break down things to simplicity as I can but you are too deterrent to see it from other angles or sides than what I’m trying to pinpoint. Can’t do much here. Like to that of the pressing part. Low block ok but Mallorca pressed them well defending in 2s and 3s. Don’t wanna go around beating around the bush repeating everything again.

        1. @ wilson – We can disagree but when you shut down the debate, you should walk away entirely. To throw little jabs after you shut down the debate is disrespectful.

          1. I walked away from your debate and gave the reasons. This doesn’t mean I can’t respond to others. Again hypocritical of you to say it’s disrespectful

  35. watched ajax vs NEC and Bologna vs Lazio one after another. NEC simply were a better team with more ambitious going forward than ajax. in the first half especially after the ajax goal, ajax build up was limited to lateral and back passes while NEC pounced on any opportunity that came their way directly head on. the highlight for me though was the battle of Sandler and brobbey. both were having a micky mouse of a thing and again I will say sandler is a good defender and needs to be playing at a bigger club. was composed and defended well keeping brobbey at bay . for me this is something that we have talked about brobbey. workrate and perhaps holding the ball up is always his high point but this game again proves he will find it going tough vs good defenders. again the same old antics , tumbling to the ground and unable to hold himself in tackles and then complaining to the referee (yellow carded) the spectators were enjoying this though. also missed two good chances and I dont think its about the team letting him down. being critical of him here but it is what it is. if in contrast if I have to compare him to zirkzee, apart from aggressiveness, strength and ariel strength, zirkzee is ahead of him all other department, skills, technicality, clinical. his winner vs lazio was top notch. started it and ended it superbly. lets see which way koeman will bend towards.

    in the second half ajax picked did pick up the momentum with forbs and martha and van den bommen adding more attacking threat but again I would say NEC’s were calm after ajax took the lead 2-1 and continued with their straight and direct attacking game and tied up the game late in extra time. like I said they looked more ambitious and were a better side. tjaronn chery also deserves to be mentioned here . at 35 he still looks like a player in top form on loan from maccabi haifa. its a pity how father blind overlooked him. i can only imagine what this guy could have brought to NT. was constantly a threat in the build up from the middde for NEC.

  36. Anyone see the PSV-Dortmund match? 1-1 was about right.

    Maatsen had a difficult time defensively, both with positioning and in one on ones, though somewaht better in the second half. I haven’t seen him play enough at this level, so I can’t say whether that was just a one off due to lack of experience and the nerves of a UCL knockout game, or that is just how he is defensively at this point in his career. Offensively, he looked good—fast, balanced, good skills. Periodically, he would move into the mf from lb, and he did some good work there.

    Veerman…he is purely cost/benefit. On the ball, he puts the ball in good spots to release players, good vision, gets rid of the ball quickly, and keeps the flow going, and he consistently puts dangerous balls into the box from free kicks and corners, probably the best of the current Dutch players for this…but…on defense…a little scary, especially playing as a single holding mf in front of the defense. In the first 12 minutes, Malen ran away from twice, and a Dortmund player ran right at and by him. He seems to back off physical battles.

    Schouten. Solid, simple. Good thing he was playing behind Veerman.

    Malen looked lively early. But after his goal, he faded out of the game.

  37. My feed was lagging badly in the first half so cant say much about it.second half was better and have to agree maatsen had an acid test vs bakayoko and saibari. was beaten cleanly on few occasions. the yellow card made it more hard for him to go toe to toe with them. had few good defensive clearances form dangerous areas but overall this wasnt a good game for him. not only him the RB also endured a tough time on the right.malen goal was nice one too. the thing I see from him at dortmund when comparing in NT is that he has more license to move around while still playing on the right and often playing as a second striker to fulkrug

    a good contrast of Dutch football and german football was on show. the dutch typically going laterally and with back passes awhile the Germans direct through the middle. pretty even game you can add.

    i also think the tactic of maatsen drifting to midfield in second half didnt help dortmund especially with bakayoko on that flank. its was here that his short frame and physicality was exposed trying to take on 2-3 psv players.

    1. Why go there in first place. Showed no urgency to win in the ET like what Roma showed. Just sat deep and defended.

      Secondly if the dutch teams cant play through the middle. Simply no use progressing further. The Dutch football needs to evolve from lateral and backing passing

  38. My honest opinion. The Dutch football simply needs to evolve from lateral and back passing. Clearly Roma was a better team playing more direct and modern day attacking soccer. Feyenoord defended well though must say. That new defender Thomas Beelen and Hancko were rock solid in the middle. The rest all average

    Karsdorp also had a good game. Really kept his flank quiet

    But my biggest worry like I mentioned is the typical Dutch mentality. In the extra time feyenoord was just defending and trying to force Pks and got pegged in it. Roma also defended but their attack were equivalent to that of defense and could have snatched the victory in the last few minutes. If you can’t play through the middle, no use progressing to final stages. This is the warning to all Dutch teams.

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