Warning: This is NOT written out of hate, criticism or bias, every point is an opinion backed with facts. You have the right to: weigh, filter, agree or disagree to it but not to change the context.
Football’s biggest feature is its dynamism. I guess its shape explains it better; spherical, all rounded with no edge. It means there are many possible routes to getting success with it. There are diverse scenarios it produces. Hence a player with just a certain big strength will struggle to fit in all scenarios. But to begin with, you don’t need to fit in all scenarios. Just work with a manager who needs your quality in his system.
Fortunately, these managers are many nowadays. Football has evolved to a point almost every manager sticks to a philosophy of the game, instead of wasting time trying to capture the whole parts. For instance, we have Pep Guardiola – who believes in the philosophy of short-passing beautiful football, and then we have Jurgen Klopp who invests in the pressure of the game. And so on, you have managers with their distinctive belief.
In the aftermath of these special beliefs, system players are produced. Players who focus on one strength of their game, as the quote says “It’s better to be great at one thing than to be average at everything.” This is an easy route to be a world-class player when your strength is complemented with a team that needs it.
The unfortunate twist is, there are also modern flexible managers who adopt more than one edge of the game. Whilst Hakim Ziyech is an epitome of a system player, Frank Lampard is the malleable boss who changes his tactical slate every week.
Throwback to when Ziyech was signed. Spare me the ‘Lampard promised him he’ll play an important role’ crap. Let me say, it’s a tactic to lure transfer targets. Managers say that a lot. The latest player that heard these words from Frank Lampard; that he will play an important role for him this season, is Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Weeks later he was shipped on loan to Fulham.
Unexpected scenarios that happen most times make football a clouded game. To be fair, the manager doesn’t know the future, a situation may occur and force him to change certain things he didn’t plan to change, hence affecting the promised player. This doesn’t mean Ziyech isn’t truly important, but just pointing out that Lampard’s words are a defeated factor when tactical decision strikes.
Talking of tactics, do we need Ziyech’s quality in our play? Surely we do. Creativity is his only big strength. The vision to spot an opening and a great passing ability to exploit it. This attribute will be influential for us when we need to break teams down. A pivotal quality against low blocks.
However, every match doesn’t require breaking down teams in the English Premier League whilst his suitability to direct football is worrying. He lacks the speed needed to; dribble spaces and cover openings quickly before opposition defenders recover. Lampard tactically is a mix of both direct and possession football. Sadly, Ziyech’s biggest strength is not the primary attribute in the direct system. Probably just explained why Mason Mount starts every match.
Before you miss the point and misunderstand me that I’m saying creativity isn’t needed in every game, well, it depends on how you define creativity. In a context; creativity is a vision, in another, it means Chance creation. Don’t hold me for how YOU define words.
My contextual perceptions of Creativity are: Creativity, in the context of vision isn’t needed in every match. Vision is one of the ways to create chances NOT the only approach. There are other tools of creating chances in football; Pressing, Set pieces, Counter-attacking etc. While Creativity, in the context of chance creation, is what is paramount in football, that is what create goals. After all, the idea of football is to get the ball inside the net.
Finally, understand Lampard’s flexibility, that he favours the belief of approaching matches with numerous tactics. If you disagree, name his starting XI.
The positive side of ‘signing the creative heart of Ajax’ stays with us, we perceive it, we believe it. But it seems not to be the only appealing side of the story, the negative side is also full of points to consider. I’m not flatly saying Ziyech will be out of Lampard’s plan because I don’t know what Lampard will do next; possession or direct football? He needs to stick to a system before one can get the full picture of his plan.