Defensive midfielder crucial for success
A Claude Makelele-style battler is a crucial component of a successful midfield
A defensive midfielder is a luxury for some teams but should be deemed as a position that has to be occupied in order to achieve success.
Some of the most succesful European teams have contained a defensive-minded midfield player, the best example being Real Madrid.
Real had French powerhouse Claude Makelele among their gifted ranks a few years ago and the midfielder was never afraid of doing the necessary the dirty work. Sitting just in front of the defence, Makelele stopped nearly everyone coming towards the Madrid backline.
This position gives the defence slightly more protection and, whereas other midfield players will constantly drive forward, the defensive midfielder will sit back and will only occasionally move forward.
A more recent example of a defensive midfielder helping to bring success is Arsenal and Mathieu Flamini.
Flamini has drastically improved Arsenal's side since re-joining in the summer and his defensive qualities have allowed players that would have usually sit deeper - such as Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere - to join Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud in the final third and to get themselves amongst the goals.
Arsenal have impressed so far this season and Flamini has helped shield the defence well.
For an even bigger example, last season Bayern Munich won the Champions League with Javi Martinez played the defensive-midfield role. Stopping players getting to the defence and making key tackles was his speciality last year but he was also good at starting attacks and made many inch-perfect passes.
The defensive-midfield position is one that many find hard to master. Your tackles have to be timed to perfection but must also remain behind the midfield and you cannot find yourself out of position. When the role is pulled off correctly, the team benefits.
It allows your other players to press higher up the pitch and gives the defence some much-needed cover.
This position should not be overlooked and investing in a top player in this position will enhance almost any side.
So, although not every team has the delight of containing a player who can play this position perfectly, the position clearly helps the best teams.
Some of the most successful teams across the European continent do have a defensive midfielder within their squads and this is one of the many ingredients crucial for their success.
Although it is not considered the most influential position, it is certainly one that will help a side defensively.
The position is rarely invested in, but this unique position should be one that is not taken lightly.
Investing in this position will only improve chances of success.
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