Friday, 23.02.2018

Aspect Analysis: Manchester City dismantle Cardiff’s man-marking

Touted going into the fixture as unusual opponents, Guardiola’s Manchester City were drawn away to  promotion candidates Cardiff City for the 4th Round of the FA Cup. The Bluebirds, managed by Neil Warnock, tried to nullify the Citizen’s threats by utilizing a stricter form of man-marking in defense. Posing a different test than what they usually face in the league and Europe, this piece explores how Manchester City overcame Cardiff’s marking.

Tactical Theory: the various methods of dismarking

In football there are two broad categories of defensive approaches; zonal defending and man-marking. Each approach has sub-divisions; however, the two styles differ mainly on reference points. In zonal defending each player references their team-mates and the ball, in man-marking however, the reference point is the opponent.

Pressing, counterpressing, and counterattacking

Pressing, counterpressing, and counterattacking are three very popular concepts that are associated with the most exciting and dominant teams in modern football. Pressing and counterattacking are perhaps the more “classic” ideas in football tactics, while counterpressing is a buzzword which has become quite popular over the last five to six years – despite having existed for decades. But what do these terms really mean and why are they so important to modern football?

Tactical Theory: The strategic potential of the blind side

In football one of the most underrated and yet most important aspects is perception and how it affects decision making and the execution of actions in all phases of the game. However the importance of perception is inherent given that every action on the field is influenced by what the players perceive. The most important and most commonly used dimension of perception in football is vision. Whilst players at times use other senses, the ability to view things such as the ball, team-mates, opponents and their positions on the pitch is vital.

The tactical trends of EURO 2016

As the competition has progressed, we have been able to witness a number of tactical trends shared by many teams in the tournament. Whilst there hasn’t been a particular pattern in terms of formations like we saw with the back 3 in the 2014 World Cup, there have been clear trends in marking schemes, attacking strategies and other tactical features.

Tactical Theory: Vertical build-up passing

One of the most important principles of football is moving the ball forward. As an invasion sport, the eventual aim of any play is to reach the opposition’s end of the pitch and score. With the rise of ever more advanced pressing and counterpressing schemes, it is increasingly difficult to do this.

One-dimensionality of reactivity

The Bundesliga, the heart of German football, lives from its entertainment qualities. It is sold as an exciting and attractive league with modern stadiums, fan-owned clubs and a relatively passionate but also peaceful atmosphere during the matches. The Bundesliga, though, is suffering at the moment. It is suffering from the uber-pressing syndrome.

The 3-6-1: A logical step

The 3-6-1 is a rarely used formation, which could bring some interesting opportunities in top-class football. The aim of this analysis is to give a small example of a system utilizing this formation.