Definition of Anchorman

What is the role of anchorman in contemporary football?

Anchorman is a position of a player who fills in the area between the midfielders and defenders. His job is to anticipate and intercept potential moves of opponents.

Over and above that, his job is tackling and winning the ball and distributing out passes to players in mid and forward positions, especially to those with a scent for the goal. He acts as an anchor to the defense and does not stray too far away from his position. His job is to choke any potential attack stemming from midfield moves of opponents and at the same time support players of his team in advanced positions. A anchorman's role could differ from situation to situation.

In a 4-4-2 formation there's no anchorman behind the two strikers. There are just four midfielders - two offensive and two defensive.In the 4-2-3-1 formation, the anchorman is the key to helping out the backline in the role of a defensive midfielder. His job is to dispossess the opponents off the ball and distribute it to wingers or players gearing up for a counter attack.

Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong is one of the earliest players who typified the role of an anchorman. In his stint with Hamburg SV from 2006-09, he became a superb exponent of that field position under coach Huub Stevens. Xabi Alonso is another midfield anchorman who's been around for Spain since 2005 and a key protagonist in his country's glorious international phase from 2008 to 2012. Javier Mascherano is another one who dons the role of an anchorman for his club Barcelona. Found lacking in technical ability, coach Guardiola converted the Argentine to a more center-back role where he naturally excelled. Sergio Busquets of Barcelona, too, is another player who forms the base of the midfield play not just for his club but for his country, Spain, also. At 26, he is already the ideal successor to the ageing Xavi. At Barcelona he's the conduit between the defense and forward line consisting of Messi & Co., many of whose goals have come from passes or moves initiated by the the young Busquets.

But the best exponent of the anchorman position in contemporary football is Chelsea's Nemanja Matic. The 26-year old Serbian caught the eye of coach Jose Mourinho in 2014 and was soon signed over from Benfica for £21 million. Since then he has been instrumental in Chelsea's ascent to the top of the Premier League. So much so, the few games the club lost was when he didn't figure in the Starting XI. He has won over crowds at Stamford Bridge with his brilliant sense and measure of the opponent's game, breaking up their play and farming out the most astonishing of passes. His tackling and interception is top drawer. He initiates counter-attacks and creates goal-scoring opportunities while taking the ball back and get the play going. Another player with great midfield potential is Ruben Loftus-Cheek who made his debut for Chelsea in December 2014 featuring for 7 minutes in a UEFA clash. At 19 years, he's of the same height as Matic at 6ft. 4in. and an admirer of the Serbian anchorman. His long strides, deep playmaking skills, shielding and dogged possession abilities make him a Jose Mourinho favorite and also won him a promotion to Chelsea's first-team squad in February 2015.