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Tactical Theorems and Pitch Width - Contradictory advice?

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I was reading the Touchline Shouts section of Tactical Theorems 2010 and noticed the following sets of advice concerning pitch width:

Exploit the flanks - wide pitch

Exploit the middle - narrow pitch

Play wider - narrow pitch

Play narrower - wide pitch

Do these contradict each other, that is, wouldn't it be logical on a narrow pitch to exploit the middle and play narrow at the same time? Or are they suggesting that on a narrow pitch you play as wide as you can to open up space to exploit in the middle?

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They're not entirely contradictory. Playing wider on a narrow pitch is so that you use a larger percentage of the pitch in your normal play (i.e. 80% of a narrow pitch is, perhaps, the same absolute distance as 90% of a wider one). So, in this sense, it keeps the team balance and shape, which is good for defending.

Exploiting the flanks, however, is good on a wide pitch as it allows the team to exploit space when on the attack. Similarly, battering through the middle may be a good idea if there is no space anyway.

As we always say, the best thing is to experiment. But we saw "exploit" more of an attacking action and the "play" shouts more about team shape.

I'm not sure if you can give these contradictory shouts (i.e. play narrower, exploit the flanks) at the same time. Might be something to play with.

The touchline instructions are definitely a high priority tactical bible article for the coming months. Hopefully we can offer more, and better-explained advice. :thup:

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