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Pefferkorn, 1932: French football and Arsenal
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-04-10 12:18:52
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After Arsenal... Not bad...
Maurice Pefferkorn | 02/11/1932
Probably the best praise we can give Arsenal is that we watch their development with bliss. Everything about this team is all about ease and facility. Perhaps when they find themselves in front of an adversary who is worthy of it, it is quite different and they find themselves obliged to use drastic measures, to resort to drama and to abandon light comedy.
Are we progressing?
Football has been played in England for a hundred years. Professionalism was recognized and organized there fifty years ago. Will we ever overcome this impressive handicap? This skill, this sense of the game, this football instinct that we acquire, so to speak, from father to son, will all this one day be ours? By dint of rubbing shoulders with these masters, will we one day be the profiteers of their knowledge?
We can hope so. Don't some of the combinations devised by Racing prove to us that the understanding of football is awakening in our players? We saw openings by Veinante, subtleties by Gaby, interventions by Scharwarth which were real promises for us. Yes, French football is improving. At the moment, it is gradually getting rid of its gangue, it is taking on a French face, it is applying itself.
This famous formation in 'W' of Arsenal, these insiders of the attack operating well back from their line, this sacrifice of the centre-half relegated to an exclusive defensive position, is it a spontaneous discovery, a real creation?
We will be allowed to doubt it. We are perhaps not very qualified to judge this sanely. But it seems to us that this innovation which, at the instigation of Arsenal, was all the rage in England, is the pure and simple fact of Alex James. It seems to us that this incomparable football artist is not a forward, but neither more nor less than a centre-half. By taste, by temperament, he does not like fights in front of goal, to which are exposed the forwards who want to play their role. His work of precision and analysis must be done in the shelter of the front lines where one has above all concern to achieve and impose oneself through objective work.
When Alex James plays.
So Alex James started playing behind, and so behind that he's actually a centre-half. It is up to others to finish what he conceives. Annoyed to see that most of his work is being stolen from him, the centre-half withdrew in turn and resigned himself to the defensive task that creator Alex James disdained elsewhere. The state of affairs therefore exists. For this to turn into a method, for the formation of the team to take on the essential geometric form on the checkerboard, David Jack is asked to do a bit the same thing as Alex James. David Jack accepts, but only partially.
Thus can be explained by this kind of reluctance of Alex James to do what fell to him, the creation of a new tactic. Great human inventions are often the result of chance.
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