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How to play against a team that aims to control possession?


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I have a match coming against Borussia Monchengladbach, and they're the classic control possession, work ball into box, play out of defence, high pressing team.  My question is how to play against them in a broad tactical sense.  I know a lot depends on who's playing, but generally speaking, eg should I play a fast counter attacking style, etc.  Thanks!

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There are generally two school of thoughts to this problem. First is the German school of thought which aims to disrupt possession with high pressing and counter pressing to exploit transitions where the opponent is most vulnerable. However executing these type of tactics require good players that can go 1 on 1 with the other team since you will need to use some degree of man marking.

The other school of thought is to let the opponents have possession but control all the important spaces so that they cannot do anything with the possession while you threaten them with the spaces they left behind. The prime example of this will be the recent match between Chelsea vs Man City where Man City have loads of possession but never do anything with it while Chelsea constantly exploit spaces behind the defensive line eventually wearing down their backline. Both attacking midfielders Mount and Havertz were frequently tracking back to cover both half spaces and stifle man City attacks.

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54 minutes ago, zyfon5 said:

There are generally two school of thoughts to this problem. First is the German school of thought which aims to disrupt possession with high pressing and counter pressing to exploit transitions where the opponent is most vulnerable. However executing these type of tactics require good players that can go 1 on 1 with the other team since you will need to use some degree of man marking.

The other school of thought is to let the opponents have possession but control all the important spaces so that they cannot do anything with the possession while you threaten them with the spaces they left behind. The prime example of this will be the recent match between Chelsea vs Man City where Man City have loads of possession but never do anything with it while Chelsea constantly exploit spaces behind the defensive line eventually wearing down their backline. Both attacking midfielders Mount and Havertz were frequently tracking back to cover both half spaces and stifle man City attacks.

Hmmm.  I think my team doesn't have the quality to go toe to toe with them, so I'm thinking sit deep and hit them on the counter.  I hate inviting pressure though, I prefer to take the attack to them.  DM powers - activate!

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1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

However, the key question here is not what style of football you should implement but how you are going to implement it. 

Also, who. The players you select have a big influence.

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Thanks for the input y'all, it's much appreciated!  I'm really trying to develop a deeper tactical sense of what to do when, but I'm still very much at the "thog make fire" stage.  I want to find someone who's written/made videos about this sort of thing in depth.  Do you have any recommendations?

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, temporaryeggs said:

Thanks for the input y'all, it's much appreciated!  I'm really trying to develop a deeper tactical sense of what to do when, but I'm still very much at the "thog make fire" stage.  I want to find someone who's written/made videos about this sort of thing in depth.  Do you have any recommendations?

My favourites are our very own Rashidi's 'BusttheNet' series and a guy named 'Zealand'. Youtube's algorithm will throw up a ton of others.

Edited by phnompenhandy
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