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No. 9 is fading, football is evolving and much more…

All Premier League clubs, without any major income, have that one, typically British commodity. While being completely average, very predictable, a often unpopular with their own supporters, these are a must have for any manager facing a struggle. Villa have Heskey, Everton have Stracqualarsi (at the moment), and now QPR have rivalled their opponents with the signature of Bobby Zamora. If you’re not from Britain, these are regarded as cannon fodder. If you are from Britain, they are more commonly known as No. 9s.

In fact, there are even luxury versions of these, especially in the case of Andy Carroll, a man bought exactly a year before Zamora. Buying these big, bulky front men not only shows a lack of creativity, but also a lack of faith. Traditionally, route one style English football is suited to these men, but as football evolves the smaller clubs are slowly becoming better equipped by playing free-flowing, counter-attacking football. West Brom tried and failed at it for a few seasons, but now Swansea are showing early signs of the future of football. Two pacey wingers who can shoot, two central midfielders who can pass, and then the scrappy ball winners, are perfectly suited to supporting the tall player who is capable of scoring, not just for knocking long balls down to the fast players to run onto.

In Swansea’s case, this is Danny Graham. He can dribble to a certain extent, pass to a certain extent, and score more goals than the traditional No. 9. If you’re a superb club, such as Barcelona, you will have three attackers who are all perfectly capable of interchanging positions. However, this is only convenient if you have three short, tireless, and fairly ambidextrous forwards who have impeccable vision and are fast to adapt to each others strengths and weaknesses.

This has been the thorn in Barca’s nest. Ibrahimovic started well, however, his form didn’t last for long and the lack of natural speed compared to Pedro and Messi left him standing out like a luminous sofa in a dark room. Since then, he’s left the Catalans to play in Italy where his qualities are more appreciated. Then, David Villa came, he intially suited Barca’s style perfectly. He ticked every box of the short, energetic, and both-footed forward that Barca were so hungry for. However, he and Pep Guardiola have since been at conflict with each other. Unfortunately for Villa, his career will now have to find an impressive revival after breaking his leg in the Club World Championship. In addition to this, he will almost certainly be replaced by Neymar (the one with a bit of an ego) in the next couple of years.

To conclude, Liverpool will cut their losses on Andy Carroll and employ Brendan Rodgers or his way of thinking, Swansea will get Wenger after a revolt from some disgruntled Gooners, Neymar needs a haircut so that David Villa doesn’t kidnap him, and Andy Carroll will drink his way to retirement. Football will be much more glamorous and we’ll all be winners, or at least we hope.



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