“We found a lot of problems when attacking a 5-4-1 when the striker is marking our holding midfielder and 10 players are defending so deep. We are thinking about how you could attack against that system.” – Pep Guardiola when previewing the 2018/2019 EPL season.
“There is something right in the state of Denmark” – Interview with Midtjylland’s former head of scouting Lars Hallengreen
On the last day of the transfer window, you will always see remarkable transfers being made and this season was no exception. We took a look at the situation in Denmark where two transfers caught our attention in particular.
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.
Is a country that is struggling to stay in the top 100 of the FIFA ranking worth writing about? Does anybody even care about “soccer”, when there’s baseball, ice-hockey and other games, that use the name “football” for themselves?
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 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?
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.
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.
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 of the questions I have received most is how to create a game model. Which aspects should you look at and how? This is my article trying to answer that.