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Sammy Crooks, 1930: Clashing styles in Cup semi-finals

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-04-19 13:12:31

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Clashing styles in Cup semi-finals
Samuel Crooks | 15/03/1930

At the moment footballers have the spectacle of seeing first-class teams sharply divided in their ideas of tactics. This is all for the good of the game; it shows that there is some thinking going on. And, better still, there are representatives of four different schools left in the semi-final. It is an exceptional year.
Consider first Huddersfield Town.
Here you have flying attack on the wings; the mastery Alex Jackson.
The Scottish International moves freely on the right wing, and is likely to turn up at the vital moment anywhere between the goal upright and the touchline. He combines with Smith on the opposite wing, yet contrives always to be in position for the passthrough.
Then note Arsenal. "Speak-Head" attack.
This is the "spear-head" attack — inconsistent when things are going unluckily, but brilliantly effective when in full flight.
Arsenal play a three-forward game. Though David Jack at inside right is usually in position for a centre, he manages this by covering lot of ground.
In mid-field he adopts in modified form the policy of the inside left, Alex James.
James's long shots at goal are not as effective as those of Robert Kelly, of Huddersfield, but the Arsenal inside left is the craftsman of the team.
His passes to the wing, and his surprise thrusts down the middle to send Lambert away, are the best football of their kind to be seen in the game to-day.
The centre-forward, Lambert, is the surprise of the team. Effective methods.
Though critics earlier in the season declared he was far and away the best man Arsenal could field in this position, the directors evidently did not think so. They tried others — only to return to Lambert.
To-day, Lambert has definitely won his place in the side. His methods may not be classic, but they are effective.
He has a goal-getting complex.
A big fellow who can take few knocks without moaning, he lies in wait for the cunning pass-through from James.
If he gets the ball with any sort of a clear run in front of him, it is odds on his scoring. Sometimes Lambert seems to be out of touch with the rest of the line, but the James-Lambert thrust has only to work once, and the the enemy are goal down. The champions.
Then turn to Sheffield Wednesday, declared be the best side of the year.
They are exponents of "first-time football"; they share the game between the whole team, and seldom take two kicks when one will do. This again is not perhaps classic football. But it is also effective, especially when heavy grounds favour the "all-air route."
Critics have said that the Wednesday might keep the ball lower than they do, but the retort to this is that the Wednesday have done better in League and Cup combined this season than any other side. Real "Tigers".
Hull City, who have not done much this season in the league, have shown what can be done in Cup matches when sheer courage is combined with an indomitable defence.
Gibson is a great goalkeeper, whose anticipation is equal to his agility. Goldsmith and Bell are both sound tacklers, and when they clear the ball it travels.
The City have not so far made the mistake of trying to emulate first division methods. They play what we have come to call the second-division game, and they do it with ability.
The Cup Final is certain to bring a clash of styles — though it may not prove conclusively which style pays.
There are personalities in footbail to-day, and my own view is that they compare with the greatest of the past.
It is men who make teams, not teams who make men. Many good footballers have been made by managers who had a genius for team-building, but an outstanding player will always mould the strategy of a team.
The other players are quick to see that goals lie in his direction; they will invariably play up to him. The trouble that pulls teams down arises when the man who wants dominate the team is just not good enough for the job. Each for all.
At the same time, there is not one team left in the semi-final this year that depends on a single "star."
That method must fail because once the star is effectively marked, there is nothing left.
Huddersfield have thrust on both wings, as well as the scheming and long-shooting Bob Kelly as inside man. They have also Roy Goodall, one of the best backs playing to-day.
Arsenal have Jack, James, and Lambert — an impressive inside trio — and a sound half-back line.
Sheffield Wednesday have talent everywhere, and a centre-half who is relentless in marking the opposite centre-forward.
Hull City have a fine goalkeeper and inspired backs, and real courage all through.
I sorry for the football forecasters!