Week Three: Javier Mascherano


Testimony by / With thanks to: Under the Cosh Blog. Feeling increasingly cynical about football? Try looking at the game through the eyes of Rishay, Alexander, Mohaned and Bernie - especially their Tour of Europe; it'll remind you why you fell in love with football in the first place.

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To call the deal 'dodgy' would be a vast understatement. When Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez showed up at West Ham United in the summer of 2006, nobody quite knew why, or how. Tevez went on to play brilliantly for the Hammers, but Mascherano barely got two games. Somehow Alan Pardew had worked out that Tevez was better than Marlon Harewood, but not that Mascherano was of superior quality to Hayden Mullins.

To the relief of everybody that enjoys football, Rafa Benitez rescued the diminutive Argentine defensive midfielder and took him to Liverpool in January of 2007. There, Mascherano and Xabi Alsono formed one of the greatest double pivots the Premier League had ever seen. Mascherano would patrol the area in front of the back four like a guard dog, snapping into tackles, intercepting passes, blocking off passing lanes and most importantly, giving the ball five yards this way or that to Alsono, whose homing-missile passing would launch Liverpool on the counter attack.

Mascherano’s discipline, energy and tactical nous combined with Xabi Alonso’s freakish accuracy allowed Benitez to move the positionally promiscuous Gerrard out of central midfield and into a free role, where in the 2008/9 season he did his best work; combining lethally with Fernando Torres. The central midfield partnership was the foundation of that scintillating Liverpool team that came within four points of the title.

Mascherano of course left Liverpool in 2010 to join Barcelona where he has since been reinvented as a centre-back, but in the mind of Premier League fans Masch will always be a colossal defensive midfielder. Humble, effective, a leader of men, he performed the role so well that there’s an argument to say he was unfortunate not to have 'the Makelele role' renamed after him.

Sod it, let’s do it now. Here’s to the Mascherano role.


A little background information from me, the creator of Look What it Means to Him...

Of all the posters I've created for 'Their Work Brings Victory' this might be the one I'm happiest with (and I'm never entirely happy with anything I create).  My aim was to do justice to Allied WW2 propaganda posters while avoiding the words 'KEEP CALM AND etc...' - I'd sooner do a 'Take Me To Your Dealer' homage.

I'm not a student of art, so apologies for this uninformed statement... but British and American wartime propaganda appears to share a basic principle; do more with less.  Just as the examples below ask their audience to do their best with what they've got, their creators work with a restricted colour palette; lots of grey, beige, yellow and white ... then one or two striking colours to focus the attention.