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What is the ‘Basketball Rule’ that Mikel Arteta has implemented in the squad?

“Talent wins games, but team-work and intelligence wins championships” – Michael Jordan

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Recently in an interview, Martin Ødegaard was asked about the basketball celebration that he had done after scoring a goal, he said, ”To explain the basketball celebration, it’s just something we have talked about in the team. We have some principles in the team and the way we work and there is one thing we do that we think is similar to basketball. We do a lot together that is part of our game, so we were talking about that and decided to do it as a celebration.” 

So what exactly is the ‘Basketball rule’? In a Basketball game, offense is a foundational component and its primary emphasis is to use a combination of individual player skills as well as team strategies and tactics to create scoring opportunities near the basket or from the perimeter.

In basketball, a successful game is heavily based on transitions, and for this a team must have 4 essential abilities mastered:-

  1. Positioning Discipline– Always being in the correct places so your team-mates know exactly where to put the ball.
  2. Compactness– Maintaining a good line between each other so that you can progress with the ball.
  3. Organisation– Deciding how to prepare an attack and setting yourself up according to that.
  4. Preparation– To come back in case the transition fails and you’ve wound up facing a counter-attack from the opposition.

When this transition in basketball is perfectly executed it almost always ends up in the ball slicing through the hoop. This aspect of basketball can be applied to football as transitions are a key part of football as well. You have to be quick, precise and creative in order to finish off a ‘basketball transition’ in football. Unlike in basketball, football has a much larger area to cover and therefore precision is a very important aspect, if by mistake you lose the ball in a crucial area the opposition can immediately fight back and counter. Therefore once you begin the transition, you must finish it, however preparing for the opposition’s fight back can help massively here and that is what Arsenal are taught well to do.

Watch the following clip and notice how Arsenal brutally counter Liverpool and score a goal within no time.

As we observe here, the ‘Basketball transition’ was ever so perfectly applied by Arsenal and that helped them score an early goal against Liverpool, right from when Saliba won the ball, the decision was then made to launch the ‘transition’ and then executing the counter attack by following all of the 4 aforementioned essential abilities Arsenal get their goal. However, this must surely be something that Arteta makes the squad practice time and time again as it requires a high amount of team-work. When Arsenal start pulling off this kind of an attack, the entire squad is prepared and follows a certain way of attacking play so that they can finish the transition off with a goal. This ‘way’ that they follow is executed very close to perfection and that is precisely why it ended up being a goal in this case. Our players are always ready and know exactly when to launch this attack, it isn’t something that is done every minute of the game, hence the players must pick the right moment and only then go for the kill. This ‘Basketball rule’ is something that has helped Arsenal massively this season and the reason they sit atop the Premier League table. 

“Talent wins games, but team-work and intelligence wins championships” – Michael Jordan

This quote from Michael Jordan seems to perfectly define Arsenal as of right now; a team functioning at it’s very best.

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