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Roles of a Defensive Midfielder (DM)

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SPORTS NEWS: Roles of a Defensive Midfielder (DM) [New Sports News] » Naijacrawl
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Defensive midfielder is a relatively modern position.



Players like Claude Makelele, Yaya Toure, Sergio Busquets, and Paul Scholes thrived in the holding midfield role. The defensive midfield role has to do two things on the pitch: break down build-up play from the opposing team, and distribute the ball from the defense into the midfielders or forwards.


However, a successful defensive midfielder, above all, must be able to read the game. The positioning of the defensive mid alone can make a massive difference in the outcome of a match. There are three primary defensive midfield roles: anchor, ball-winning, and the regista. 


Anchor

The anchor sits right in front of his defensive line. Usually, their job is to apply pressure for any opponent breaking through the midfield and to join the defense when on the back foot. Offensively, the anchorman is instructed to play the ball to his playmaker to begin an attack.



Ball-winning

Ball-winning midfielders don’t sit quite as deep as anchors, but they are primarily responsible for defense-oriented duties as well. Because of this, ball-winning midfielders are often underrated in their support for the attack.


In some situations, when the ball-midfielder plays alone in his or her line, positioning becomes essential. On defense, the ball winning-midfielder has a lot of ground to cover to assist all positions in defense. Alternatively, on offense, the ball-winning midfielder plays some role in possession and distribution and is expected to play (and pass) simply and keep the ball. In the 16/17 Premier League season, N’golo Kante boasted 65% tackle success and averaged 60 passes per game, earning him the player of the season award.


Regista/Playmaker

The regista is only a defensive midfielder due to their deep positioning. His or her main priority is to distribute the ball, and link the defense to the midfield. As a playmaker, the regista must move constantly to keep an open lane with the ball. A playmaker who is available and able to receive the ball can make the difference between winning and losing. Positioning is key.


Midfield legends Paul Scholes, Xavi, and Andrea Pirlo thrived in the regista role. Their athletic limitations did not factor into their performances because they had the vision to be at the right place at the right time. However, positioning alone is not enough. Being the focal point of the team, the regista receives the ball often during a match. More recently, Jorginho made an average of 79 passes per match in the Premier League. A player in this role must have the technical ability to receive the ball under pressure and distribute it to his teammates.


Additionally, in a system that plays with a playmaker, the team moves and plays to the pace that the regista dictates. Because of this, the regista must understand the game well and be very technical in keeping possession and distributing the ball to start an attack or escape a press.


Often considered cynical, aggressive, rash and undervalued, the defensive midfielder holds the key to the fortunes and success of a team. Defensive midfielders act as a shield to the defence and goalkeeper, harrying defenders and committing fouls. They provide a link between the defence and midfield and most attacks tend to stem from their feet.


What prompted me to write this article was the brillance performance of Ngolo Kante against Manchester city in the 2020/2021 Champions league Final which earn him the man of the match . Time and time again he was present at the right place to make interceptions, blocks and tackles.


That's basically what the defensive midfielder has to do. The DM provides a stability at the back and provides a smoother transition from defence to attack. He has to be at the right place at the right time and cannot afford to get caught in the opposition's half too many times.


The defensive midfielder has to relieve the pressure of the back four. Many times people tend to associate the DM as a player who puts in rash challenges and commits fouls.


The DM does commit fouls but only for the sake of the team. A foul can put an end to a promising move and give the defense the time it needs to regroup and reorganize. The DM has the key role of covering the defenders and full backs who get caught out of position or ball watching.


It has been evident over several seasons that a stringent defense is key to the title aspirations of the team. However good the defense of a team may be, it requires a person who can relieve the pressure of their backs, a person to break up the attacks and dispose of the attackers.


The DM of a team must have an exceptional positional sense, anticipation and work rate. When a DM lacks this, the defense gets caught often, especially on the counter. A defensive midfielder has a key attacking role to play as well.


Most attacks often tend to originate from the DM. The DM has the key role of distributing the ball further up the field. But DMs tend to go unnoticed or are extremely undervalued.


This is because the role of the DM is not the most attractive roles on the pitch. He breaks up the flow of the game with tackles, which, although not pleasing to the eye, are invaluable for the team. The DM has to put in a hard-working performance, which sadly goes unnoticed.  



It must be no coincidence that very often the transfer or the retirement of a defensive has led to a decline in a team's performance. Real Madrid and Arsenal are the perfect examples of this.


Ever since the sale of Patrick Viera, Arsenal have failed to win a major trophy. In the last two years, Arsenal have once again started challenging for major trophies and Arsenal's steady improvements have coincided with the rise of Alex Song.


The Cameroonian's rise has provided Arsenal with some much needed steel. Real Madrid is another case of how vital the contributions of a DM are. Ever since the sale of Claude Makelele, Real Madrid have failed to win the UCL.


Teammate Steven McManaman had this to say on Makelele:


"I think Claude has this kind of gift—he's been the best player in the team for years, but people just don't notice him, don't notice what he does. But you ask anyone at Real Madrid during the years we were talking about and they will tell you he was the best player at Real. We all knew, the players all knew he was the most important. The loss of Makélelé was the beginning of the end for Los Galacticos…You can see that it was also the beginning of a new dawn for Chelsea. He was the base, the key and I think he is the same to Chelsea now."


Every winning team has had a truly inspirational DM who pulls the strings of the team: Marcos Senna and Segio Busquets for Spain and the latter for Barcelona, Essien and Kante for Chelsea.


This just goes onto highlight the fact that how much flair and skill a team possess, it always remains incomplete without the hardwork, effort and tireless running of a defensive midfielder.


Zidane perfectly summed up the value of a defensive midfielder when speaking on the sale of Makelele: "Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?"

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  • SPORTS NEWS: Roles of a Defensive Midfielder (DM) [New Sports News] » Naijacrawl

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  • SPORTS NEWS: Roles of a Defensive Midfielder (DM) [New Sports News] » Naijacrawl

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  • SPORTS NEWS: Roles of a Defensive Midfielder (DM) [New Sports News] » Naijacrawl
  • SPORTS NEWS: Roles of a Defensive Midfielder (DM) [New Sports News] » Naijacrawl


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