The other day, Betis lost to Leganés and Quique Setién came out with an unfortunate explanation – sneering at how their opponents played. Seeing as God hands out punishment indiscriminately, yesterday Betis suffered a strategic defeat at home to Bordalás’ Getafe – purveyors of the kind of football which Quique looks down his nose at. Bordalás has confected a fierce Getafe side, one which battles with win every metre and which doesn’t give possession the same importance as Quique does. They put in a brilliant first half performance yesterday – one which Betis could only counter when Joaquín and Jesé came on. But they couldn’t get back into the game and Getafe consolidated their place in the fourth Champions League place, now six points clear of Betis, plus a superior goal average to the southerners who aspire to return to European football next season.
Football's great variety
Personally, I’m a fan of football in all of its different guises – different approaches with which you can win or lose. Obviously I do prefer to watch attacking football, when teams take the game to their rivals as opposed to the more cautious brand of football when teams sit back and wait for their opponents to make a mistake. I would add that, contrary to popular belief, history shows that teams who play open, attack-minded football tend to win more than teams who use other styles – including the conservative approach which is geared solely on getting a result. But it’s all legitimate, all of it is football and every coach is within their right to choose which style they want to play, based around the players they have at their disposal. Not all teams boast top quality, stylish footballers yet they still manage to get by with what they’ve got and that is to their merit.
Every style is valid
What I don’t like is when the esthetic school of football derides the leaden, defensive school as being morally inferior. And I didn’t like it when Setién, who is champion of attractive, free-flowing football takes the moral high ground – just like the great Xavi did back in the day. Now we’ve seen how Setién’s team have suffered a reverse (and not the first) to Bordalás; and we are also seeing Barça resolve their games in a very different way to the way they played in the Xavi-Iniesta years… so it’s a good moment to remind ourselves that almost anything goes in football, every style deserves respect and life can punish you at any turn – even those who feel they are morally superior.