It is a known fact that we're gradually seeing less dribbling in football compared to yesteryears. There are many reasons for this.
1/ Improvements in tactical and defence systems
Very early in the professional game, football was much more a kick and rush-based game. Quite frequently the biggest and most physically powerful team would win. As the game developed, to counter this, teams began to develop passing systems. A well-worked passing style is much more efficient at moving the ball than dribbling. Literally, the ball moves faster when kicked for a pass rather than when a player attempts to dribble.
In addition to this, teams began to develop collective-based defending and zonal marking rather than games essentially being a series of one on one “duels.”
2/ Improvements in general fitness of all players
All players now are very good round athletes. The big, lumbering center-back is very much a thing of the past. Of course, you still have your incredibly fast pacy wingers and strikers who very few can match such as Mbappe, but the difference in pace between the attackers and defenders is much less in modern times than previously. If the attacking player dribbles past a defender, the defender is more likely to have the pace and fitness to recover and get back in position. The defenders are very rarely “left for dead.” It’s a lot harder to dribble if you’re having to beat the same player repeatedly while his teammates get in position to stop you.
3/ Relaxing of Offside rules
While you would assume the relaxing of offside rules would in general lead to more goals, it has changed how teams defend. To counter this rule change, teams frequently defend a lot deeper than in the past. As a consequence of this, when an attacking player gets the ball, there are more players between him and the goal and he’s probably more likely to run into space between midfield and defense rather than contested space I.e. be forced to dribble past a player. So it’s not necessarily that players are carrying the ball less than previously, it’s that they aren’t forced to dribble past or beat players.
4/ Stricter limits on what constitutes legal tackles and greater protection for attackers
Again, you would assume the weeding out in the game of slide tackles would make it easier to dribble, but this rule change has changed how defenders defend. Slide tackles are very much a high-risk or high-reward style challenge. Win the ball, and you take out the player and get the ball back quickly, lose the ball and you are basically out of that phase of play.
In addition to this, badly mistime a tackle in the modern game and you will get a yellow card. This makes tackling a lot riskier than it was previously.
Rather than lunging in rashly in an attempt to win the ball, defenders have to be subtler and there is now a greater emphasis on forcing the opponent into a non-threatening position I.e. forcing them out wide. So, previously a skilled winger could draw an opposing player into committing themselves and skip past them, the defender now has a much greater risk of giving away a foul or getting a yellow card and is, therefore, more patient. Unless the dribbler has a running start on the defender, the defender will generally try to force the attacker into a non-threatening position
5/ Greater emphasis on scouting and preparation for games
At least at the highest level, every player will have watched videos of the opposing team, know their attributes and preferred foot, and all their tricks. As such defenders are less likely to be caught out by the unexpected.
6/ Improvements in playing surfaces
While you could argue this would improve the ability for players to dribble at speed, it also improves passing. No matter how good a dribbler you are, it will almost always be more efficient to pass the ball 10 yards than try to dribble 10 yards on good playing services.
Content created and supplied by: DanielSampson_05 (via Opera News )