In that screenshot you can see the space down my wings which we already knew was one of the main weaknesses of the tactic but that doesn’t mean I will get battered down the wings, far from it. You can see that positionally my players are placed very well to deal with any threat and I have players looking to cover the gaps already should any appear.
This screenshot is actually misleading as it makes out my complete wingback is caught of of position and that the defender on the near side isn’t covering the space. What’s actually happened is the complete wingback has already seen the danger of the ball being played and has stepped up to head it away already as he’d anticipated where the ball would go. The defender is actually jockeying across the pitch and is dealing with the player behind my wingback and covering for him just incase he doesn’t get the ball.
As you can see the players had the situation under control and covered well. You can see how deep the defensive line is and can see the back four dropping deeper. This helps dramatically with balls over the top as normally the defence should be able to deal with situations like that without any real issues. It does mean at times though the opposition might have the ball in front of them while playing a passing game. But that doesn’t matter or bother me because if I stay compact and players do the required job they won’t be able to break me down.
The next image shows the opposition trying to use the full width of the pitch as I haven’t allowed them much space, so they try getting the better of me by switching play to the opposite flank;
That is the very start of the move. You can see how compact I am and have players covering the oppositions and should be able to deal with any kind of threat.
This is the video for rest of the move;
There just isn’t anywhere for the opposition to go as everyone is covered when it matters. There is one part of the video that it looks like I’ve been cut wide open though but lets take a look at it;
It looks bad doesn’t it? When he gets the ball he has a lot of space to play in. I actually don’t mind this as long as the team keeps its defensive shape in my final third that is all I care about. Remember its a narrow shape I use so when the opposition uses the full length of the pitch my players need a few seconds to readjust. The opposition cannot hurt me in this area because my back four are well spread and should be able to deal with any kind of through ball from this situation.
After this part of the move you can see my players get back into position and become compact again and give them no real target to aim for or give them any viable option to create a scoring chance. You can’t really cut out or prepare for switches in play like this that cause you to become stretched. What you can do is ensure your defence is rigid and solid though and start from a position that allows them to retain their defensive shape. I’m happy for the opposition to control the game from higher up the pitch as they can’t hurt you from those kind of areas. I don’t need high amount of possession and I don’t need to close down aggressively and risk losing my intitial shape. So I can afford to be patient, if this happened in my final third then it would be different but it didn’t so there is no real threat here even though it might initially look like there was. It’s all about context
I think we’ve took enough from this particular game. So how about we look at a game where I’m the massive underdogs!