Touches are an important part of football.
The best sides take minimal touches, half-touches if your names are Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, when moving the ball in a style of play that sets hearts racing.
Manchester City and Barcelona under the management of Pep Guardiola are the sides that spring to mind when you think of such sides. And as seen by the successes of both outfits, it’s an incredibly effective method of playing.
Will Arteta leave Arsenal for Barcelona?
With Mikel Arteta having worked under the stewardship of Guardiola, you would have thought quick football was on the agenda. Back in May 2014, the former Catalan player voiced his desire to play ‘expressive, entertaining’ football.
It’s safe to say the football has been anything but expressive and entertaining in recent weeks. If anything it’s been slow especially in the centre of the field.
Martin Odegaard and Granit Xhaka were two players who encapsulated the type of turgid football, during the win over Olympiacos, which has plagued the side in recent weeks. Whilst the on-loan Real Madrid man had the third-most touches of any player on the pitch, his Swiss counterpart had the most. The duo took far too many touches to control the ball/find and execute a pass, slowing down attacks frequently.
Make no mistake, it’s not just the two midfielders who are guilty of an act that really needs to be reversed sooner rather than later.
Hector Bellerin is another one of the guilty party. Receives the ball, stutters on the spot for a good while before playing a sideways pass he could’ve played five seconds earlier. In the clash against the Greek giants, the Spaniard had the fifth-most touches of any Arsenal player whilst completing just 86.5% of his passes.
Make no mistake, the Reds’ performance had periods of fluid football which should’ve seen them score. But, I can’t remember a game where the team have produced fluid attacking football from minute one to minute 90, a real worry for the Gunners.