As a football fan, there is nothing better than seeing an attacking game of football where both teams create many chances and the game flows from end to end.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho recently drew huge criticism for his defensive style of play in their 0-0 stalemate at Liverpool, and the fact is that a more defensive style football is beginning to pay off for many clubs in England.
Wigan have built a strong defensive unit this season and have conceded just nine goals in League One, leading the league with eight clean sheets so far this season. Going forward they have impressed, but it is their strong defensive play that has paved the way for success so far this season and what they will be hoping to build upon.
The trend of strong defensive play runs throughout the English leagues, with all teams at the top of the league being typically very good defensively. This doesn’t mean to say they are playing defensive football, or struggling in front of goal, simply that they are making it a priority to defend well. While this may not always please the fans, as a results business it clearly looks to be the best way forward. We will still see many free-scoring teams do well but at the end of the season, those who win the four English league divisions are more than likely four teams who have very good defensive records.
In the Championship, Norwich are aiming to gain promotion to the Premier League and in recent weeks have adopted a more defensive approach. The experts have noticed this and successfully backed them to win to nil in a recent game, a game they won with one unanswered goal.
They were praised for their defensive work in this game, something they have improved recently and could be what gives them a genuine shot at promotion. They are still finding a way to score goals, and they have many creative options, but defending has certainly become a priority for them.
Going down to the fourth tier, top of the league Luton are currently having a great season and while they have scored many goals, they too have a good defensive record. Luton have conceded just two goals in October so far, and if you are looking for a reason why they are top of League Two, then that is it.
While a switch to a more defensive style of play may be quite a long way off right now, it has been noted that teams are really paying attention to keeping clean sheets and defending well. With many teams capable of scoring goals, it could be the teams who are also focusing on defensive play that rise to the top this season.
Wigan continue to defend well and while we will see the odd 4-3 game take place, their defensive play has certainly added to their recent success in League One. Along with fellow high-flyers Shrewsbury, they set up with a stoic mentality. It may not be what the fans want week in week out, but football is about winning and if the additional defensive focus means winning then the fans will surely accept it.
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