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14 Oct, 29 tweets, 6 min read
Noa Lang is one of the strongest ball-carriers I've seen. Once he gets the ball in his stride, good luck trying to get it back. That is his style. He is a carrier. There are different methods of getting it past a player.

Let's examine a few, shall we?

(Unmissable Thread).
Intelligence is a huge part of dribbling. People always focus on the physical aspects and while that is important, intelligence is really needed for effective dribbling, especially against good opponents.

Even an average physical and technical prospect can do well on the dribble
if he learns the right angles, body coordination, his opponent body coordination, feints etc etc. Dribbling can be a mental thing. In fact, it is a mental thing. 70 percent for me. What's your attitude when you get the ball? Where do you choose to keep it? How do you keep it?
Angles ARE IMPORTANT when dribbling or carrying the ball 1v1. See, you DON'T NECESSARILY have to completely humiliate your opponent with an amazing trick or get past them before you are an effective dribbler.

Football is a team game. Separation is important. You have people who
are around you. Are you planning on finding them or are you planning on winning FIFA Street skill points?

The other day, DD (@ddoublepivot) was talking about how Raphinha isn't anything special on the dribble. He may not indeed be special but he is extremely effective.
The key thing is to unbalance your opponent. Not just your opponent but the opponents around you. Not just the opponents around you but their whole team. The latter informs when you choose to go with the ball or to simmer and wait.

Messi doesn't always explodes past players.
Instead, in his interviews, he talks about how he has a little dance with the opponent, a little give and take ('Hey, the ball is here. Oh, it's now on the other side. Am I going in or out? Is my foot saying otherwise? Where do you think my body is angling towards?')
And at the right moment, when the marker is ever so slightly unbalanced, Messi sticks it in. Sometimes he waits for the imbalance to appear. At other times, he forces it out by changing his orientation, adjusting his posture and momentum. Slight things. Big difference.
You don't always have to completely beat your man, most times, if you have options all around you, all you have to do is to create enough separation in order to find your teammate in a key position via a pass or cross. Or even separation to shoot.
I am not a hard man to please and neither are most coaches. Consistently creating separation between yourself and your marker makes for a great dribbler in my opinion. Hence Raphinha is pretty good player out wide in my opinion.

Separation usually needs driving with the ball.
Remember Messi versus Boateng? Did Messi explode past Boateng or was Boateng deceived? That's intelligence. That's not just knowing how to shield the ball well but also being proactive with it, knowing exactly how your opponent would react to what you show him.

Remember Bernardo Silva versus Liverpool? Bernardo didn't explode past anyone. He was simply in full control, taking elegant touches that controlled his opponents, controlled the ball and controlled the situation.

This is instinct for these players. You can't teach it.
But what happens when you put Bernardo Silva on the wings? Well, you get a less effective dribbler.

There is a real difference between dribbling in midfield vs on the wings. Though it's more dangerous, dribbling in midfield area is relatively easier than on the wings.

There's simply more angles, options and areas available to you. A central marker has to defend a full 180-degree range behind him and has to also block you from going sideways. Much more range available to the dribbler. That's why methodical, technical and deceptive dribblers
usually excel in central areas. Even a slight shift of the ball from one leg to another can result in you taking out the opponent.

Out on the wings, though, you are playing at much more limited angles, at a more packed area. Things are more predictable. This is why wingers who
are extremely rapid and powerful in their momentum excel here. They can force the issue. They can go down the predictable lane and still come out with the ball. Or they can force you to commit to one side and rapidly change the situation to the other side. These are jailbreakers.
The reason why a player like Raphinha succeed on the wings is because of his legs and his light, lithe body. His legs are long, choppy, with a big stride. He can take the ball and his body this way and come out the other way. His legs allow him to while his body sells the deceit.
Technical control of the ball is of course needed to do this. A swiftly adjustable body helps immensely. Riyad Mahrez.

Usually, again, these players know that they can't physically overpower opponents and have trained to exploit any small advantage they gain by finding teammates
in the box. There are levels to all of this, of course. Riyad Mahrez is still more physically assured than Raphinha and can take on a few more.

For players like Callum Hudson-Odoi, Wilfred Zaha, Eden Hazard, Jeremy Doku, Adama Traore, it's a little more different.
These players are simply physically powerful. You rarely can body them off the ball or away from it. It is not that they do not need deception or all the other things mentioned above, it is that they are just forces of nature and, naturally, being that way from their youth, they
are conditioned to be less nuanced and sophisticated on the dribble. However, if they happen to also be as delicate as the Jadon Sanchos of this world, you have... Well, you have, ladies and gentlemen, Eden Hazard.

What Hazard has over CHO is the gift of a deceptive body.
That doesn't mean that Hudson-Odoi cannot deceive with his. Far be it from him. It is just that Hazard is more blessed in this regard.

Callum Hudson-Odoi is a motor. You really can't stop him from driving. You really can't push him off the ball. You really can't do much but hope
CHO has an immaculate engine. He keeps the ball rolling between his legs like a more delicate player and fronts with his body. You will have to get through both his body + his technique to get the ball. That's more or less impossible, I'll be honest. Such is how good he is.
As a result, CHO effortlessly creates separation. Defenders are afraid of him. They recognize his type, how powerful he is and shiver. They simply choose to be conservative and defend the space behind them. CHO gets his separation and as their rotten luck would have it, he also
has delivery to rival some of the best in the business. Creation galore. Over and over again. If you are tired of it, you can step out to him and get beaten.

Now, back to Noa Lang. Noa Lang has a curious body. He has a the body of a more delicate player and the legs of a much
more powerful player. So while he looks lean, he is mean. He has striding gazelle legs and simply pushes it past his opponents most times or into their blindside. Basically, he creates chaos in opposition defences. That is why he is a Premier League level winger.
Those legs belong in England, among the cadre of the best of the best, going against the likes (pun?) of Livramento and Wan-Bissaka.

He is a Prem level winger. His body also allows him to excel in tight zones and delicate conditions. In fact, he is known as the Zone 14 man.
I will be honest. Without his coordination and comfort in tight spaces, Noa Lang would be a average player. Average, not bad.

While he is a strong carrier, he is not always unstoppable. In fact, he is not an exceptional wide dribbler. He drives, mostly. And that is predictable.
Deception, control and conviction. Dribbling can be many things,, even if you have to beat a player.

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More from @nonewthing

15 Sep
People often ask me why I am so willing to defend Arteta like he's the second coming of Christ.

Today, I will answer this.

This is why I believe Mikel Arteta is the best appointment Arsenal have made since we hired Arsene Wenger from Japan over 20 years.

(a massive thread)
Just look at some of the signings we've made at his behest:


I have no words to describe how transformative these signings are. No words or I'm going to be writing poetry. This is extremely good talent ID, especially with the state
of the club when Arteta arrived. We LACKED technical ability. We couldn't keep the ball in any phase of the game. Up front, we had Pepe and Aubameyang. At the back we had Sokratis and Holding.

This is why Emery resorted to a 3-4-2-1 knock it down football. It was TERRIBLE.
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Any Arsenal fan who watched the Bayern v Barca game can immediately tell that Arteta is a far superior coach to the likes of Ronald Koeman.

Structurally, our shapes are so much better than the rubbish Barca had tonight. We are so incredibly lucky to have Arteta, you will see.
I was not really impressed with Nagelsmann's structures tonight. His Leipzig were far more interesting. But it's early days, yet.

People don't see how incredible Arteta as a rookie coach is but they will. He's actually amazing if you know what to look for in a top coach.
Whenever I remember that it is Arteta in charge, I actually smile. It's like having a young Tuchel manage your club. His is more difficult due to the league strength and cultural issues at Arsenal but he is so good all the same.

Only a matter of time, lol. Next star manager.
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Tacticos often mistake a coach adapting to the profiles he's got as some baffling tactical choice or philosophy pivot. This happens with analysts, too.

'Pressing is a means of chance creation. Why are Arsenal not pressing more? At least Klopp did it in Liverpool's first year.'
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You think that is the kind of atmosphere to instill a gung-ho approach? Especially with a coach who wants control?
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People who use results without context to judge teams have the worst ball knowledge around.

Was Pirlo bad or was it Juventus that were bad?

Juventus are a little like Arsenal before this transfer window: lacking in the necessary elite technical quality to meet their ambitions. Image
The way out for Juventus is to admit the state of their squad. This means that the manager get ALL THE excuses in this world until the team is infused with sufficient quality. Just like with Ole, Klopp and Arteta.

The best way to successfully compete is to play with sustained
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Lock in for the scrappy results and
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Football is amazingly nuanced. In the mishmash of the game and with macro factors above macro factors, recorded events are not necessarily the best version of the truth.

Saying X Player did X number of this does not equal to a useful take. It only shows a basic take on the game.
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He created a decent amount but that statistic is
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Don't get it wrong. Today's start at RW was another massive opportunity that Arteta handed to Pepe to prove himself as part of our future going forward—and he absolutely ruined it.

Another infuriatingly wasteful performance from the most expensive player in our history.
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