Top 5 Ultra Defensive (Anti-Football) Teams History

by Sameer Arshad | Posted on Friday, July 25th, 2014 | 2

“Parking the Bus” is thrown about almost after every game Chelsea are playing this season, specialy their performances against Atletico Madrid 1st leg and Liveprool match on 27th april. In both games it was so clear there was only 1 team who was trying to win and it was no chelsea. The brand of football Mourinho side is playing at the moment some would call it genius and some call it “anti-football” but its working for him and his team.

football parking the busDifference between a good defensive display vs parking the bus ?

Well you can call Chelsea’s performances against Atletico and Liverpool as a good defensive displays but it also falls into defination of parking the bus.

Parking the Bus: is a term used in football when a team go into the game with ultra defenisve mindset and almost whole lineup is assigned with defensive duties, the team who park the bus dont commit players forward apart from the corner kicks and set pieces.

They allow the opposing team to have more of the ball, but fill out the defensive gaps which restric opposing team to long range shots, cross and lobbs. Basicaly the team who parked bus are happy to get a 0-0 draw or take the game to penalties (if its a knockout)

A good defensive display: now when a team defend collectively where even wingers pushback and help defence while team don’t have the ball. But once they have it back they try to play normal style football and force the play. In a good defensive display pressing the opposing players, countering their tactics without having to compensate their attacking play.

So today we put up a list of some of the famous ultra defensive/anti-football sides from the past. That include a few national sides and few clubs which used the strategy to great effect.

#1. Greece 2004

Probably the greatest underdog story in football, when Greece beat all odds to win the European Championship 2004 in portugal. But than greece coach Otto Rehhagel played his team out in such a defensive strategy that they became so hard to penetrate. They only commit players in opposing half on corners and that is where most of their goals came from. But we can make an exception of greece defensive strategy as they did not had the flair players to attack compared to the likes of Portugal and France etc.

Otto Rehhagel later replied to critics stating “you tell me that my strategy is not modern football, but modern football is about winning”

#2. Stoke City 2008-2013

Tony Pulis installed a defensive and direct football tactical gameplay to his stoke city who became a solid premier league side who never got threatend by the relegation since their promotion in 2008. According to opta-stats it took 118 premier league games for Stoke City to register more than 50% possession in a match.

Another interesting stat is 5 season which Pulis managed Stoke from 2008 to 2013 stoke city scored more goals than games in the league just 1 time out of 5 seasons, meaning their goal to game ratio was less than 1 for 4 season under pulis. Even though Pulis kept Stoke away from relegation woes fans got frustrated and he was sacked before the start of 2013-14 season.

#3. Arsenal 1992-1995

Today Arsenal are one of very few teams in premier league who likes to pass and play beautiful football under manager Arsene Wenger, but in the early 90’s George Graham was in charge of the team and chants of “boring boring Arsenal” were often heard.

Grahams first 6 season in english top flight averaged more than 60 goals a season but with the start of 1992-13 season he started to build his team on strong defence which meant they would scored around 40 goals a season from 1992 to 95.

#4. Argentina 1990 World Cup

Diego Maradona led Argentina to 1986 world cup triumph but 4 years later Carlos Bilardo incharge of Arengina national side at the world cup opted for a ultra defensive style, they scored only 5 goals in 7 matches on route to the final where they lost 1-0 in the hands of Germany. They scored only 1 goal in open play in the knockouts which was against Brazil in the first knockout round while they won penalty shoot-outs in quarter finals and semifinals.

#5. Inter Milan 1960’s (Catenaccio style)

Inter milan started using that famous italian defensive tactics called “Catenaccio style” which means bolted door paid the way to so much success. Inter Milan went through their most successful era in 1960 having won 2 european titles pls 3 league titles but that was all down to their counter attacking football.

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