by ScoreBossTeam on Mar 11, 2022 4:45 am
Dutch total football, Spanish tiki-taka, Argentinian toque… The term “beautiful football” ties together different schools and eras having in common the practice of an open, collective, attacking and often spectacular football. Ajax Amsterdam has contributed enormously to pass and move football, and derives an immense aura from it. Football fans love teams that don't close down the game and simply look to score one more goal than the opposition. But what about bettors? They are sometimes less festive, because the practice of beautiful football can lead to rather unpredictable results. Let’s explain why, and how to take advantage of it in your predictions!
“Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is”. The legendary Johan Cruyff summed up very well one of the contradictions that make up the charm of the beautiful game. Its rules are very simple to understand. However, once on the field, succeeding in playing collectively in an effective way is not an easy task!
Many teams neglect playing beautiful football and prefer to adopt a defensive style, or to rely on individual actions to make the difference. However, during the 1970s, the Dutch school of football, led by coach Rinus Michels in Ajax Amsterdam and the Oranjes, showed that another type of football, spectacular and attacking, also made it possible to win .
This approach favored collective strength and inspiration. Coordinated movements between the lines, passes into spaces, ball calls and player permutations made it possible to destabilize the opponent and put defenders out of position. Total football was born! This style of play has influenced generations of coaches and teams, especially those who today practice what is called beautiful football.
Even today, Ajax Amsterdam continues to rely on successful collective expression to make a difference. Its principles of play are taught to players from an early age, within the Youth Academy, the most renowned football academy in the world. Over time, the club continues to perfect its pass and move game, allowing players to go beyond their initial position roles. This blend of football is the basis of their success.
The club holds the record of 35 Dutch league titles, and Ajax regularly shines on the European scene against teams of superior caliber. Ajax Amsterdam is the 6th most successful club in this competition, ahead of giants like Inter Milan and Manchester United. A feat that owes a lot to the beautiful football played by the Amsterdammers. In 2019, Ajax reached the semi-final of the Champions League by eliminating Real Madrid and Juventus of Turin, and stunned all fans with their amazing playing style.
This season again, Ajax is delighting their supporters with an average of 3 goals per game in the Eredivisie. But in football, there is no offensive bonus like in rugby, Ajax thus remains within reach of Feyenoord Rotterdam and PSV Eindhoven in the standings. It's a good time to get interested in this championship and join the Bettor Undisputed March round, which follows all Eredivisie matches!
When a team manages to develop a successful collective and attacking style of play, it gives them an advantage over teams with poorer expression. An open and brilliant offensive game can thus make it possible to defeat an opponent who is nevertheless a favorite and has better players. But beautiful football has its drawbacks, because football is not an exact science!
Sometimes it does not take much to disturb a very well playing team. This can lead to misfires, even against much weaker opponents. In both cases, unpredictable results are therefore possible, bringing high odds for bettors, and opportunities for the best sports betting tipster! Here are some helpful tips to help you predict if a team playing a superior brand of football will prevail or will fall flat.
Avoid cognitive biases. A team that plays good football is always more pleasant to follow, and we often prefer to see them win! But beware, playing beautiful football is not the main goal, only victory is. Winning 5-0 or 1-0 earns 3 points either way, and there is no artistic note at the end of the match. Your preference for attractive football should not prevent you from objectively analyzing a team's chances of winning a particular match.
Pay attention to transfer periods. If a team is experiencing a very turbulent transfer window, new players will need time to assimilate the playing principles of the technical staff. Expect a team known to play beautiful football to drop in performance for a while.
Plan for many goals. Teams that resolutely play offense give themselves more chances of scoring goals. But it also involves taking risks defensively. Take this into account when betting on match scores, especially over/under bets.
Anticipate the playing conditions. To play beautiful football, the terrain must allow it. Teams with a very collective style will suffer more from difficult match conditions, such as a waterlogged pitch, a bad lawn, or strong wind. Take a look at the weather forecast before making your prediction!
Study the adversary defensive tactics. Some teams like Atlético Madrid are very hard to defeat through quality football, because they play in a compact and withdrawn way in defense. If the opponent has fast players in front, a team with a very open game could stumble on a defensive wall and suffer on the counter-attack.
Beware of the pressure of major events. It's a fact, coaches passionate about the art of playing beautiful football can sometimes overlook its psychological dimension. It's a risk in big games, where the mental aspect often prevails. Pep Guardiola can thus regret his failures in Champions League with Man City, often after having turned his starting lineup upside down for tactical considerations.
Check ball possession. If a very playful team like Ajax Amsterdam finds themselves dispossessed of the ball, then they can lose ground. Players risk being destabilized by undergoing the same technical and collective domination that they are used to inflicting on the opponent.
Expect a few loose score losses. Teams very inclined towards attack sometimes find themselves without solutions to hold the score in defense if the match turns against them. Goals can then pile up quickly. Marcelo Bielsa and his Leeds United players are familiar with such heavy losses.
Many teams and technicians still play beautiful football, inspired by the total football of the 70s and that which Ajax develops today. With certainly many evolutions, variations and adaptations, these clubs and coaches favor beautiful football to achieve victory, often with the ambition of constantly bringing danger towards the opposing goals. Here are some outstanding examples since the 2000s:
FC Barcelona. The Blaugranas have historically favored a collective and attacking game, introduced to the club by Johan Cruyff himself. From 2008 to 2012, Pep Guardiola sublimated this style by bringing it an additional technical dimension inspired by the Spanish tiki-taka, with high ball possession and short passes.
FC Nantes. In France, the Canaries are a symbol of pass and move football, a term which is even nicknamed football à la nantaise . Their last title, obtained in 2001, brilliantly demonstrated the primacy of the collective over individualities. Unfortunately, the club has tended to abandon its own playing principles in recent years.
Arsenal. The Gunners are known and loved for their fast forward play, often on the counter-attack. As such, the 2003-2004 season of Arsène Wenger's Invincibles will be remembered for a long time, with a playing style that was both collective and inventive, led by Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp.
Beautiful football also has its place on the other side of the Atlantic, on the South American continent. Argentinians are masters in the art of the toque , a fast, one ball touch style of play. Brazil is no exception, and their 1970 World cup title constitutes for many the historical quintessence of beautiful football.
Let us emphasize in conclusion that it is rare for a football club to make beautiful football an essential component of its history and identity. Ajax Amsterdam and FC Barcelona are exceptions. Often, it is rather the coaches who bring their collective and spectacular football from one club to another.
We can cite Marcelo Bielsa, who imposes from Chile to Leeds via Olympique de Marseille his intense forward football as soon as the ball is recovered. Jürgen Klopp is also an ambassador of beautiful football, in a dynamic variant with high pressing, which he perfected by moving from Borussia Dortmund to Liverpool FC. Julian Nagelsmann and Pep Guardiola are other high profile examples.
In fact, it's no coincidence that some of the greatest coaches in the world are strong advocates for beautiful football in one form or another. At the highest level, all teams have excellent players. Knowing how to make them play well together is what makes it possible to reach the very top.