Spanish Puzzle

Sid Lowe breaks down Cesc Fabregas’ attempts to crack Spain’s starting 11, and on the face of it, it’s not dissimilar to David Silva’s situation.  Both Fabregas and Silva are immense players, but even if they are in form, there are simply too many good players on Spain and so someone has to sit out.   As mentioned in the article and more at length on this Zonal Marking thread (read the comments too), Del Bosque’s decision to pair Busquets with Xabi Alonso in front of the back four means there is one less position available for an attacking midfielder, which is where both Fabregas and Silva play.

Lately the solution has been to play with only one forward and three attacking midfielders (Xavi, Iniesta, and either Fabregas or Silva or even Jesus Navas and Pedro), meaning that one of them gets left out, but given David Villa’s injury and Fernando Torres’ loss of form the past few years, Del Bosque felt bold enough to experiment against Italy by putting both Fabregas and Silva on the field as more forward players even though neither is a traditional forward. The verdict is out on whether it worked well enough warrant continuation, or whither Del Bosque should just revert back to playing a traditional forward to give the attack more of a semblance of structure.

All of this discussion around the Spanish side makes one thing clear: they are most fun to watch from a tactical perspective.  They are a puzzle, and everyone thinks they have an idea of how best to solve it.


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