Crio’s Question : Is Defence the best form of Attack?

I watched engrossed last week as Jose Mourinho masterminded a defeat of the “mighty” Man City – the most destructive attacking force in the EPL. Chelsea’s miserly defence took the points, disturbing the Sky Blues’ aura and audacity.

In the same 24hrs Sports News was reporting that Seattle, with a vaunted defense, had smashed Denver, the great offensive side, in the SuperBowl.

It was a stark message to those who want to win.

Is this a trend or a truism? Circumstantial or significant?

And does the mantra of a stingy defense beating a swarming attack translate across the sporting spectrum?


  1. I follow sport via a personal maxim: always back the wall against the ball.

  2. Ross Lyon – the exception that proves the rule.

  3. (but no premierships yet for Lyon).
    Remember the knock on Blight’s freewheeling Cats?
    It often looks bad when attacking teams lose Mourinho exposed some downhill skiers at City.
    I’ve heard some tennis pundits say Djokovic’s defenceis superb…..
    the balance is obviously critical at the pointy end of sport

  4. I hate defensive teams winning. Its easier to be defensive. There is no flair, no skill, no instinct for the game. The offensive teams take all the risk. They take the game on. They must exhibit skill and flair to win. Often times nerves get the better of them.

    If an offensive team’s game is off they are shot. If a defensive team’s game is off, they can simply become more defensive.

    If an offensive team’s game is “on” they are usually beautiful to watch. A defensive team, however, is never beautiful. You can’t polish a turd.

  5. It’s about calculated risk, Dips…like a good card player.
    Assume you were supportive of Pietersen’s “instinct” during summer?!

  6. Defense is the most boring form of sport.

    I struggle to watch games where Ross Lyon coaches. To me it’s a turn off because it takes a lot of skill out of the game.

    Soccer, well it’s set up for defense with off side rules and there’s a lot of nil all score lines.

    When did you last see a serve/volley? Boring behind the backline defensive play even of fast courts.

    Cricket, we beat the poms because we improved just a little bit but also because Cook was so defensive that he struggled to take wickets and Clarke was completely opposite to that and took his chances. Remember that Pieterson was their highest scorer and played a few wild shots but generally when they were 7 or 8 down and he was trying to get a run or two on board, perhaps if they played with a bit more flair he wouldn’t have been in that position( but I really enjoyed him stuffing up)

    Attack gets people interested, defense although necessary puts people to sleep. If we allow defense to rule, kiss enjoying sport goodbye. Good defenders can attack and set up exciting play..we should encourage that.

  7. Crio – Pietersen is a poor example because his head is wedged up where the sun don’t shine. I understand calculated risk. What I hate is the dumbing down of skills to win. It’s way too prevalent. Give me Johnny Famechon or Bill Howard or Gary Ablett. You can have SOS.

  8. Dear Dips,
    I shall give your regards to Ricky Kennedy,
    Love Mickey Gayfer

  9. Crio- it’s one of those phrases that seems to have morphed from opinion to fact, just through repitition. Defence wins flags.
    Surely 18 football departments have stats on that? If not, sack the lot of them.
    regardless, long live the player prepared to think for him/ herself and Have A Crack. Defender or attacker, I don’t mind. Have A Crack.

    Dips- the other half of that phrase is appropriate at times: You can’t polish a turd, but you CAN roll it in glitter.

  10. the truisms are that defense wins flags but also that a good CHF does likewise!

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Types of defence

    1) “keepies off” – deny the opportunity for the opposition to score because they don’t have the ball

    2) “congestion” – as per 1) but space and time are denied

    3) AFL circa 2013 – 1)+2)

    4) “the good old days” – winner determined by ability to get the ball in contested situations combined with ability to convert opportunities – balance of defence and attack

  12. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Superbly put Swish couldn’t agree more

  13. bassory99 says

    Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.
    – Sun Tzu

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