Ever since the massive success of Guardiola at Barcelona, a lot of people have gravitated towards the philosophy of positional play. This momentum in turn, increased the number of articles and analysis on the subject, putting a large emphasis on playing out from the back in the current literature on the game. Because of this, I thought that it might be interesting to go completely against the grain, and instead focus on long balls and how one is able to utilize them.
Two of the Europa League’s strongest remaining sides met as Inter Milan took on Bayer Leverkusen in one of the first quarter-finals on Monday evening. Leverkusen dispatched Rangers comfortably over two legs, whilst Inter beat Getafe in a one-off tie. An intriguing counter lay in waiting.
Early in the 2017/2018 season, Julian Nagelsmann met Jurgen Klopp in opposing dugouts for the first time. The young coach demonstrated some effective ways of playing against Liverpool’s narrow 4-3-3 press using their 3-1-4-2. This analysis will breakdown those tactics, but does it constitute as a retro analysis?
As has often been discussed across Spielverlagerung, the flanks generally offer lesser strategic value for the in-possession team. A ball-carrier by the touchline only has 180 degrees of movement and limited access to space across the pitch. Therefore, defensive strategies commonly look to show the opponent towards the outside and into a pressing trap.
Constantin Eckner and Abel Meszaros discuss the state of Spanish football. They take a closer look at Barcelona’s issues on the field, Real Madrid’s road to the title, Atlético being as gritty as ever, Sevilla reviving the careers of many, and the greatness of Real Sociedad and Granada.
In this piece, authors GJ, JD & MK, discuss aspects of designing and coaching sessions focusing on numerically un-balanced teams.
The Canaries entered the 2019/20 Premier League season with an abundance of hope, fresh from finishing their promotion campaign in the Championship on top of the pile with a notable 94 points, 5 clear of runners-up Sheffield United and a whole 11 from Leeds United back in third-place, Daniel Farke would have surely been confident of steering the new boys to safety in their return season to the top flight. However, this has not played out in the manner to be expected.
Solskjaer’s in-form Manchester United hosted a similarly buoyant Southampton side at Old Trafford on Monday evening. With the hosts locked in a battle with Chelsea and Leicester for the final Champions league positions, a win was vital. Whilst their opponents had no such clear targets, their recent performances and results show they do not lack motivation.
The first half of Brighton against Manchester City was a great example of how City’s positional play adapts to create stability as well as positional superiority against their opponents. This analysis will therefore focus on City’s possession game against Brighton’s midfield press in the first 45 minutes, and not touch upon the second half.
One of my favourite matches this season was Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Brighton from early September, where the home side scored their first in the 2nd minute, and the match itself was overshadowed by Aymeric Laporte’s injury.
Looking past the result, Brighton made one of the best performances with the ball that I have seen for an away side at the Etihad in recent years, and also attempted a rather daring plan without the ball, too. But don’t just take my word for it, here are Pep’s views on the game in the post-match press conference – note he was not prompted this question, but rather wanted to make a key point of it besides Laporte’s injury.