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okereke

WC'10 Louis van Gaal 3-5-2 Inspired System

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A little over a year I wrote a three-part piece in which I created a formation based on some LVG concepts used during the 2010 World Cup by the Dutch side. I used PSG as my team. You can read the text and how I approached and thought the system next. I just thought some of you would probably like to read it given its nature. Hope you enjoy it!

* * *

The last World Cup saw the Netherlands came up with something not seen during their qualifying matches, as the LVG’s side changed their already established 433 for a 532 formation.

To implement the system, then, Van Gaal produced a defense formed by three central defenders and two wing backs, such as Juventus did against Real Madrid last season in the UCL semis. On top of that, the team featured Clasie and De Jong as the (defensive) link between the back three and the offensive players, both covered at the flanks by the already mentioned WBs. Surpassing the midfield line there was Sneijder and at the top of the lineup two centered (although freed up) spots featured both Robben and Van Persie.

 

I was reading some text analyzing the team and to sum it up, and here are the points I’d highlight for every line of the team schema:

  • Defense: It may seem that the team is over protecting itself, and that could be completely right given the five men at the back and the pair of holding midfielders, but it is actually composed from the back to launch attack after attack when recovering the ball.
  • Midfield: Consistency was the prime goal of the formation, and that is what made LVG chose two holding midfielders over one and two playmakers over him. Although Sneijder was asked to play a defensive role when needed, he was able to ralease himself from the defensive phase to produce counters.
  • Forwards: This is one the most interesting points and the focus of the team in terms of damaging the opposition. While they lost the wings with this formation, they gained two players in “blurry” positions where they could operate as they saw fit. This means that as attacking players, they were freed to drop to the sidelines or remain in the center of the field, depending on the situation, but always launching fast paced transitions with direct combinations. This, combined with the arrival of the playmaker or even the holding midfielders in some cases from the back made the team attack surprising and unexpected in its behavior. Everything is supported by the crossed that the WBs can make from the midfield line, looking to catch the defense unaware of the danger.

I’ve always being a firm believer in possession football, in holding the ball and waiting for the hole to appear, but I always try to emulate other styles of play, and this one caught my attention and therefore I’d like to replicate it in FM. To make this happen I’ve opted to take charge of PSG, as I think they have everything I need to try this out.

The French side has a wide range of forwards with way different abilities. They have interesting midfielders, both to hold back and go forward easily. They’re also paying top class defenders and have a couple of players for each flank when talking of wing backs. The only sign I made, just in case someone got injured and not intending to play him on a regular basis, is Lucas Orbán from Valencia.

So, starting with the formation itself, the next three images depicts it as it was originally designed by LVG for the WC and it’s been translated by me into the game.

netherlandsoffensedefense

The first image is the original formation employed by the Netherlands. It features the aforementioned players in the already discussed positions. The next to its right depicts the first attempt at replicating this style I came up with, and at the far right there is an interpretation of how the shape changes when the teams is playing defense, with the forwards dropping a little (as much as to the midfield), the midfielders forming a stretched triangle in the middle and the three men defense turning into a five men line.

First of all, I didn’t want to put two holding midfielders in the field because I think it is not necessary to replicate the system. When the team is pushed back by the opposition, the triangle the trio forms is way close to the other option, and thus it’s counter-producing when transitioning to offense, as there will only be one player running forward faster enough. As far as the rest of the formation, I maintained the original idea and tried to create something similar to LVG’s approach, although I’m still in the early stages of defining everything.

I want the three men defensive line to hold their positions and remain over there for as much as they can, without disrupting the order, so I fixed them as Limited Defenders with Cover duties. The Wing Backs (WBs from now on) must produce some direct passes to the forwards and even look for chances to get up the field, so they are definitely going with Attack instructions.

In terms of the midfield, I don’t want to overload the defensive zone and create a overly dense zone full of players, so a Central Midfielder with Defensive duties sounds enough as of now. He’s flanked by two Advanced Playmakers (APs from now on). The idea here is to have two players that cover holes in defense but don’t over commit to it (think of the original Sneijder role), so they can start offensive phases quickly enough as to catch the opposition out of place.

As far as the forwards, I’m setting both of them as Poachers. I want them to be as far as possible and not care about defensive duties. They must remain between the defense players all of the time and create chances by themselves when receiving long crosses or straight passes. Their actions are directed towards creating chances between them but also giving players arriving from the back (mostly the two APs and the two WBs) the ball to disrupt the opposition formation and create advantageous situations.

Although this is still much in its making, I wanted to test it right away so I played the first match of the preseason with PSG. The next two sequences highlight what I want to achieve with this formation and way of play very clearly. Obviously the team had its highs and lows during the 90 minutes and it was not always like this, but there is hope that the system could works as expected with a little more tweaking.

1 Organized build up from the start.

2 Long ball to a forward, clearing the gap.

3 As the defender goes higher, a two versus one is created.

4 Another unbalanced situation as the plays progresses.

5 Clear cut chance due to a forced bad defense transition.

The first play serves as a presentation to the formation and ideas in play. It starts with the keeper putting the ball in play with a short pass to a central defender. As can be seen, the midfielders and defenders are very close to each other, creating tons of passing posibilites as they outnumber the opposition. From the very first moment the forwards are waiting in advanced positions, having nothing to do with the build-up phase of the game starting from the back. The gap this generates allows the team to hold the defenders tight on their positions due to their covering duties, preventing them to go forward to help pressing.

Although the team has plenty of options to create through short passes since the beginning of the play, its identity relies on the long balls. This is what happens in this sequence, with the defender looking directly at a forward, to whom he throws the ball. The simple move of the forward coming back to receive the ball makes his marker go with him, creating an unbalanced defensive situation in which one man is out of his position while our two APs are coming forward to help by overloading the field. This move can be seen in the third picture, in which a two versus one situation has been generated due to the defender moving away from his position.

As our forward passes the ball to the nearest AP, the remaining defender must make a decision. He either covers the receiver or tries to hold the receiver and the free man at the same time while other defensive players arrive. He chose to go for the receiver in this case, generating another space for us to go through down the left side of the field. Another two versus one situation is created, and in this case it is presented with a lot of free field to run through. As our second AP receives the fall from the first, he only has to pass it to the remaining forward running next to him to create a clear chance against the keeper with no pressure applied from the defensive line, which was already overcome.

a Build up from the defensive line. The gap between the forwards and the midfield is cleared by a long ball.

b The forwards overcome the defense and generate an unbalanced situation with lots of space ahead.

c Clear cut chance of scoring in just two touches.

The second situation starts from the exact spot, but in this case the long ball is continued by the forward rather than passed back. As the APs couldn’t arrive in time, this was to be expected. Both forwards start running towards the opposite goal, surpassing the defensive line and finding a clear space where to work alone. The play is clear as the player with the ball just has to pass the ball to his partner to create a clear chance again in front of the keeper. The pass could have been better and the chance much clearer, but the idea was in play.


As I stated before presenting the case studies, this has just been the first game and therefore the first test of all of the concepts explained. It is still early to judge and to really know if this is working as expected or if those were just random occurrences. I’ll keep exploring this idea and tweaking the formation until I get it to a point where the team always plays as it should be expected.

There are areas yet to explore such as the effect of different defensive line heights (as of now I’m pushing it a little forward to avoid an overloading of the defensive zone with my own players), more specific individual and team instructions, variation of roles, etc…

Edited by okereke

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One of the first things that I had in mind when thinking about changes was definitely the forward roles. Actually, at the very first time I thought of taking into this journey, the first formation I could think had no strikers on it. I think a good approach to this system could be a tactic with two Attacking Playmakers with attack duties. While this seemed to be a good idea, I tried it for a short period of time but it made the team feel way defensive as a unit, so I discarded it almost right away. So I decided to go on the opposite direction while maintaining the “deeper” positions active. I opted to feature two False Nines in the forward line.

I want to keep the formation’s shape, while modifying little things to adapt it to its real life counterpart. The change of the forward roles was aimed to provide the midfielders with more options and enable the team to play a more cautious and developed game through something more than long crosses caused by the gap between the midfield trio and the poachers.

With this new system in play I hoped to create a better connection between both lines. I wanted the forwards to go looking for spaces both in the flanks and the middle channel, depending on the situation, and I also wanted the midfielders (the two Attacking Playmakers, above all, and also the Wing Backs) to have better attacking options to create clearer chances. Although the change can look minimal, the impact was notable from the first minute.

1 Direct but secure build-up from the back, looking at the wings. Notice the smaller gaps between lines.

2 The midfield support the wing back, who has a wide area to perform his action.

3 The midfielder in possession attract the opposition, freeing the whole 3/4 for his partner.

4 This creates an unbalanced situation. The holding midfielder must do cover duties, leaving a hole at the wing behind his back.

5 Our wing back finds the needed space to run the field, receive the ball and cross it to conclude the sequence.

The first thing worth noting is how the forwards now drop a little more, making the gaps between the lines stretch a little bit, thus enabling the team to play a more compact and precise game. The dropping actions also make for better combinations while not restricting our attacking options. In the sequence atop, one False Nine remains close to the ball while the other goes full forward to reach the area as soon as possible, making the defense going back to prevent damage and creating space for our attackers.

By having a forward playing in midfield positions we create more space for other players, such as our other AP, who finds himself with all of the field available to progress in case he gets the ball. This, again, produces another unbalanced situation in the defense, as the opposition holding midfielder must decide between keep covering the wing or move to cover the potential pass to the free AP. Once he closes down the AP he sells his team by allowing our Wing Back to be free and to receive the long ball to then crossing it for a good scoring chance.

a The AP receives the ball and immediately gets closed down by the opposition. The WB detects a freeway on the wing and goes for it.

b Each forward provide help to a different teammate. One goes to the wing, the other drops to 3/4 positions.

c The AP keeps running forward after giving the ball to the WB, attracting a holding midfielder. The forward behind this defender sees a clear chance with tons of space in front of him.

d Two touch sequence that ends with a clear shot on goal.

This situation is quite similar to the first one. The team is able to pass the ball to a midfielder. The time between the reception of the ball and his pass is enough to create room for the WB to run the wing and get into a clear position covered by no one. The same situation happens when the WB receives the ball, as the AP keeps running and generates a move from the opposition holding midfielder that frees the False Nine at bottom of the image.

Two exact movement patterns in the same play and both with the exact devastating results for the defense, as the forward is able to shoot without even a sole defender applying pressure on him.

a0 Notice the False Nines dropping to the midfield to provide attacking options.

a1 Once one receives the ball, they both run towards the goal into a free space, getting a fast clear chance.

Finally, this short sequence shows a play which was started after a throw in from the left side. With the both teams tied up at the left side of the field, the False Nine from that sides drops deeper to create a passing option for the midfielder. He holds onto the ball and once he has attracted two players he plays it between them to the F9. While this happens the other forward is already running into the space behind the defense, which the first one recognizes instantly and takes advantage of to give a ball through to his partner, creating another scoring chance easily.


This is just the first tweak to the formation but it has proved to be worthy in terms of having more attacking options than the two Poachers gave us at first. One the things to explore next could be both the midfielder trio to see how it works better (2 Holding Midfielders or 1), and how the defensive line (the 3 Central Defenders) can be tweaked to get the best out of it.

Edited by okereke

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In this third entry I’ll present some more image-supported plays were some concepts were applied and developed, so the work being done with the team becomes clearer and the goal of this series gets closer to its achievement.

Before getting into what has happened into the field, this is what has happened in the tactic board.

formation

The formation remains exactly the same as it was from the first post, and the changes at the forward positions were already described in the last one, when I opted for two False Nines at the top of the team’s tactic. On top of that, and new, are the attacking Complete Wing Backs. One thing that could be noted in LvG’s side was the fact that playing three central defenders, the wing backs were given more freedom to go up the pitch and play the ball with crosses from the midfield or further down the line. I could replicate this by setting both wings to this role and mentality. As far as the midfield itself, the central player in the group of three is now a Ball Winning Midfielder. This allows the team to have an anchor between the defense and the APs (think about De Jong here), and creates a position to be filled by a player with the clear role of recovering the ball and putting it in play faster both to the midfielders or the wing backs in support.

Stepping into the team instructions, most of them are clear while some other are debatable and more open to interpretation and adjustment depending on the situation. With a 3-2-3-2 formation and 5 players in the line on the defensive phase, I don’t want the team to become a blurry mass of people going around crazily. This is why the mentality is all the way up at Control and not Counter or Defensive. I added a normal defensive line in depth because holding it back would have the already mentioned negative effects on the team. As far as pressure, I opted to close down much more, trying to get the ball as soon as possible from the opposition to generate fast paced counter plays.

The attacking instructions are much easier to describe and ultimately predictable. LvG’s team tried to get the ball up the field as soon as the could (without rushing it or making obvious dumb risky passes, tho). Although I opted for a shorter passing style of play here, I did it because I don’t want the defense to get the ball and automatically play it long forward. I want them to build intelligently, and once the ball comes to the wing backs or the attacking midfielders, then they are the ones who would either hit the early cross or look for the False Nine to create the chance. Finally, I opted to give players freedom to roam for positions as we need a flexible attack that involves player movement, especially from the forwards.

With the system already explained, it’s time to highlight some playing scenarios next.

1 Throw-in from the left side. Our right WB is all alone.

2 Overload from the left with multiple crossing options.

The first sequence shows a play started from a throw-in. Notice how both teams are balanced towards the left side of the field, and how all of the opposition midfielders are close to each other, with no one covering the right flank. There is where Lambèse is all alone, by himself, awaiting for the ball.

Thanks to crosses from deep down the field the team is able to give him the ball  in a hurry. The next frame highlights the movement from the defense, going all over him once they realized that he’s alone on the wing. This generates the same situation, now on the other side of the field, but with greater danger. Not only one but up to five players advance in attack to scoring positions. This opens multiple crossing options, both to the first post, the second, or the edge of the area.

a Same situation than the last one with the throw-in and the inverted spaces.

b This time the F9 drops to receive the ball and allows the shorter pass.

c Ball to the wing, run towards the goal line, and cross.

This case highlights another virtue of the team, the elaborated build-up in contrast to the straight long ball. In this case the throw-in generates the same spaces for the wing back, although Ibrahimovic opts to play the ball to Matuidi, one of our APs here, who receives the ball and thanks to the help of Cavani’s movement (dropping from his forward position) is able to play the ball to him with a simple certain pass.

Although the closest defenders close on him, he’s able to get the play going by passing the ball to Lambèse again, who finds himself liberated on the wing as earlier in the game. This time the central defenders tried to cover the most part of the area but Cavani was intelligent enough as to catch their backs and wait for the long cross to put the ball in the back of the net.

1a Fast paced play with both the F9s and one AP active.

1b While Cavani attacks the area, Ibrahimovic offers a second passing option.

The third play involves three of our offensive players launching a fast paced play which originated from the defensive line, with Kurzawa passing the ball to Di María in the first place (after receiving it from the goalkeeper). He, along Cavani and Ibrahimovic launches the team forward trying to break the defensive lines and connections.

Once the opposition has backed up, the players show their adaptation by providing different options to the ball carrier. At first, Cavani keeps running towards the goal allowing Di María to cross the ball and ultimately create that ended in a goal. At the same time, Ibrahimovic stopped his run to provide a shorter passing option, which could have then lend to further passing to the midfield or to a cross to the other forward. At last, and although not highlighted in the second image, Matuidi (7) also offers a third option for Di María, who could have played the ball back to him taking advantage of the space on the back of the opposition defenders and midfielders.

2a Offensive play from the right, with everyone following the same direction. Huge space at the left side.

2b Unbalanced situation with multiple passing options, both short and long.

This time the play start from the right side of the field, again being constructed from the goalkeeper through multiple passing combinations. As the play was developed through the right side, both teams balanced their players to that side of the field, leaving the opposition exposing the left flank again as seen in earlier examples. This allows Matuidi to, once in possession of the ball, pick one of his multiple options. He can pass the ball back to the wing back on the right; he can play it short to Di Maria (the other AP and his closest midfield partner); or he can go for the long ball to Van der Wiel on the left (what he ultimately did) to enlarge the playing area and create a dangerous situation.

With the left wing back in possession the system again highlights one of its strongest habilites, the players movement. Just at the moment VdW receives the ball (depicted in the second image) he can directly play the ball back to Di María (arrow not included in the image) who was waiting for it at the edge of the area. Instead of that, he opted to run past the defender, finding another two options, Cavani at the second post and Ibra at the first, letting the chose up to the wing back’s election.

3a From the left, to the middle, to the right of the field. The oppositions moves the whole block.

3b Overload in the middle; lack of defensive presence in the area; dangerous situation.

This sequence represents a common pattern talked before, the one starting from one side, then going to the middle, and then to the other side of the field. In this case can be very easily appreciated how the opposition moves the whole team from side to side, and how the quick pace of our team makes an opportunity appear.

Once Edouard has got the ball he quickly passes it to the right to Aurier. This makes the defensive side to go all over the right flank trying to prevent our wing back from creating anything. The problem of this defensive approach is the fact that the defense is almost not putting any player in the area to cover a long cross to the second post (only number 4), so our forward can catch the back of the defense and put himself in a clear scoring position. Aurier sees the run of the attacker and instantly crosses the ball to reach him, creating a clear cut chance with almost nothing but a paced build-up.

4a Once the ball is recovered by an AP the team is ready to launch a counter. One forward drops while the other goes up the pitch.

4b Two holes open up. One in the midfield for the APs and another in front of the goalkeeper for the forward to exploit.

4c The quick move by the dropping False Nine allows him to plays the long ball to his attacking partner.

4d Clear one on one situation with no other opposition than the goalkeeper in front.

The sequence over this paragraph shows a different situation from those already discussed. In this case we recovered the ball in defense at three quarters of the pitch, which instantly opened a counter window for us to attack. Given the current scheme of the team, it is normal to see one forward drop down the attacking line to connect with the midfield, and in this case it was Ibrahimovic who went back to link with Di María and allow the counter to progress. Di María himself passed the ball and ran straight to Ibrahimovic position, making a switch and offering a short passing option to the striker.

Instead of taking the short path, our False Nine opted for the individual run over the opposition’s central defender to then throw a long ball to Cavani, who outran the defense and got himself in a clear spot to score.

5a Recovery in defense. One forward stays close to receive the ball while the other runs towards the goal.

5b Long ball from the dropping False Nine to the attacking one, with a constant forward motion from everybody.

5c Lavezzi opts to run to his right instead of facing the goal, thus creating a clear space behind the two covering defenders to exploit by our men coming from the second line.

5d Multiple passing options due to different position players running towards the goal at different heights.

While the last play showed a terrific fast paced play by the AP and the F9s, the last one highlights another possibility. In this case the ball is recovered a little further down our defensive zone, so it doesn’t automatically becomes a 2 vs 2 situation. There were three defensive men covering our forwards and another man, a midfielder, near the play, which made it a little harder to capitalize from it.

The first phase of the play starts in the same way as the last one. Our midfielder, in this case Matuidi, recovers the ball and instantly plays it forward to the dropping False Nine Cavani. Once he gets it, he just have to play it long for his partner, Lavezzi, who has tons of space to run in front of him. Not only Lavezzi, but also Cavani, Di María and even Kurzawa follow the play by running forward to provide options later. The fact that Lavezzi opts to go to the side of the area instead of facing the goalkeeper is one of the most interesting moves analyzed here. This motion makes the covering defenders follow the same direction as the one he took, creating a great space for the coming players in attack (highlighted by the red square).

With such space available, and given the time Lavezzi took to take the ball from three quarters to the goal line, three players appear as passing options, with any of them being a viable solution for the end of the play. Again, Lavezzi opts for the most clever option by crossing a long ball that surpasses the defense and leaves the AP (could have also been the WB) open to make a clear shoot on goal.

Edited by okereke

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On 24/08/2018 at 17:05, okereke said:

In this third entry I’ll present some more image-supported plays were some concepts were applied and developed, so the work being done with the team becomes clearer and the goal of this series gets closer to its achievement.

Before getting into what has happened into the field, this is what has happened in the tactic board.

formation

The formation remains exactly the same as it was from the first post, and the changes at the forward positions were already described in the last one, when I opted for two False Nines at the top of the team’s tactic. On top of that, and new, are the attacking Complete Wing Backs. One thing that could be noted in LvG’s side was the fact that playing three central defenders, the wing backs were given more freedom to go up the pitch and play the ball with crosses from the midfield or further down the line. I could replicate this by setting both wings to this role and mentality. As far as the midfield itself, the central player in the group of three is now a Ball Winning Midfielder. This allows the team to have an anchor between the defense and the APs (think about De Jong here), and creates a position to be filled by a player with the clear role of recovering the ball and putting it in play faster both to the midfielders or the wing backs in support.

Stepping into the team instructions, most of them are clear while some other are debatable and more open to interpretation and adjustment depending on the situation. With a 3-2-3-2 formation and 5 players in the line on the defensive phase, I don’t want the team to become a blurry mass of people going around crazily. This is why the mentality is all the way up at Control and not Counter or Defensive. I added a normal defensive line in depth because holding it back would have the already mentioned negative effects on the team. As far as pressure, I opted to close down much more, trying to get the ball as soon as possible from the opposition to generate fast paced counter plays.

The attacking instructions are much easier to describe and ultimately predictable. LvG’s team tried to get the ball up the field as soon as the could (without rushing it or making obvious dumb risky passes, tho). Although I opted for a shorter passing style of play here, I did it because I don’t want the defense to get the ball and automatically play it long forward. I want them to build intelligently, and once the ball comes to the wing backs or the attacking midfielders, then they are the ones who would either hit the early cross or look for the False Nine to create the chance. Finally, I opted to give players freedom to roam for positions as we need a flexible attack that involves player movement, especially from the forwards.

With the system already explained, it’s time to highlight some playing scenarios next.

1 Throw-in from the left side. Our right WB is all alone.

2 Overload from the left with multiple crossing options.

The first sequence shows a play started from a throw-in. Notice how both teams are balanced towards the left side of the field, and how all of the opposition midfielders are close to each other, with no one covering the right flank. There is where Lambèse is all alone, by himself, awaiting for the ball.

Thanks to crosses from deep down the field the team is able to give him the ball  in a hurry. The next frame highlights the movement from the defense, going all over him once they realized that he’s alone on the wing. This generates the same situation, now on the other side of the field, but with greater danger. Not only one but up to five players advance in attack to scoring positions. This opens multiple crossing options, both to the first post, the second, or the edge of the area.

a Same situation than the last one with the throw-in and the inverted spaces.

b This time the F9 drops to receive the ball and allows the shorter pass.

c Ball to the wing, run towards the goal line, and cross.

This case highlights another virtue of the team, the elaborated build-up in contrast to the straight long ball. In this case the throw-in generates the same spaces for the wing back, although Ibrahimovic opts to play the ball to Matuidi, one of our APs here, who receives the ball and thanks to the help of Cavani’s movement (dropping from his forward position) is able to play the ball to him with a simple certain pass.

Although the closest defenders close on him, he’s able to get the play going by passing the ball to Lambèse again, who finds himself liberated on the wing as earlier in the game. This time the central defenders tried to cover the most part of the area but Cavani was intelligent enough as to catch their backs and wait for the long cross to put the ball in the back of the net.

1a Fast paced play with both the F9s and one AP active.

1b While Cavani attacks the area, Ibrahimovic offers a second passing option.

The third play involves three of our offensive players launching a fast paced play which originated from the defensive line, with Kurzawa passing the ball to Di María in the first place (after receiving it from the goalkeeper). He, along Cavani and Ibrahimovic launches the team forward trying to break the defensive lines and connections.

Once the opposition has backed up, the players show their adaptation by providing different options to the ball carrier. At first, Cavani keeps running towards the goal allowing Di María to cross the ball and ultimately create that ended in a goal. At the same time, Ibrahimovic stopped his run to provide a shorter passing option, which could have then lend to further passing to the midfield or to a cross to the other forward. At last, and although not highlighted in the second image, Matuidi (7) also offers a third option for Di María, who could have played the ball back to him taking advantage of the space on the back of the opposition defenders and midfielders.

2a Offensive play from the right, with everyone following the same direction. Huge space at the left side.

2b Unbalanced situation with multiple passing options, both short and long.

This time the play start from the right side of the field, again being constructed from the goalkeeper through multiple passing combinations. As the play was developed through the right side, both teams balanced their players to that side of the field, leaving the opposition exposing the left flank again as seen in earlier examples. This allows Matuidi to, once in possession of the ball, pick one of his multiple options. He can pass the ball back to the wing back on the right; he can play it short to Di Maria (the other AP and his closest midfield partner); or he can go for the long ball to Van der Wiel on the left (what he ultimately did) to enlarge the playing area and create a dangerous situation.

With the left wing back in possession the system again highlights one of its strongest habilites, the players movement. Just at the moment VdW receives the ball (depicted in the second image) he can directly play the ball back to Di María (arrow not included in the image) who was waiting for it at the edge of the area. Instead of that, he opted to run past the defender, finding another two options, Cavani at the second post and Ibra at the first, letting the chose up to the wing back’s election.

3a From the left, to the middle, to the right of the field. The oppositions moves the whole block.

3b Overload in the middle; lack of defensive presence in the area; dangerous situation.

This sequence represents a common pattern talked before, the one starting from one side, then going to the middle, and then to the other side of the field. In this case can be very easily appreciated how the opposition moves the whole team from side to side, and how the quick pace of our team makes an opportunity appear.

Once Edouard has got the ball he quickly passes it to the right to Aurier. This makes the defensive side to go all over the right flank trying to prevent our wing back from creating anything. The problem of this defensive approach is the fact that the defense is almost not putting any player in the area to cover a long cross to the second post (only number 4), so our forward can catch the back of the defense and put himself in a clear scoring position. Aurier sees the run of the attacker and instantly crosses the ball to reach him, creating a clear cut chance with almost nothing but a paced build-up.

4a Once the ball is recovered by an AP the team is ready to launch a counter. One forward drops while the other goes up the pitch.

4b Two holes open up. One in the midfield for the APs and another in front of the goalkeeper for the forward to exploit.

4c The quick move by the dropping False Nine allows him to plays the long ball to his attacking partner.

4d Clear one on one situation with no other opposition than the goalkeeper in front.

The sequence over this paragraph shows a different situation from those already discussed. In this case we recovered the ball in defense at three quarters of the pitch, which instantly opened a counter window for us to attack. Given the current scheme of the team, it is normal to see one forward drop down the attacking line to connect with the midfield, and in this case it was Ibrahimovic who went back to link with Di María and allow the counter to progress. Di María himself passed the ball and ran straight to Ibrahimovic position, making a switch and offering a short passing option to the striker.

Instead of taking the short path, our False Nine opted for the individual run over the opposition’s central defender to then throw a long ball to Cavani, who outran the defense and got himself in a clear spot to score.

5a Recovery in defense. One forward stays close to receive the ball while the other runs towards the goal.

5b Long ball from the dropping False Nine to the attacking one, with a constant forward motion from everybody.

5c Lavezzi opts to run to his right instead of facing the goal, thus creating a clear space behind the two covering defenders to exploit by our men coming from the second line.

5d Multiple passing options due to different position players running towards the goal at different heights.

While the last play showed a terrific fast paced play by the AP and the F9s, the last one highlights another possibility. In this case the ball is recovered a little further down our defensive zone, so it doesn’t automatically becomes a 2 vs 2 situation. There were three defensive men covering our forwards and another man, a midfielder, near the play, which made it a little harder to capitalize from it.

The first phase of the play starts in the same way as the last one. Our midfielder, in this case Matuidi, recovers the ball and instantly plays it forward to the dropping False Nine Cavani. Once he gets it, he just have to play it long for his partner, Lavezzi, who has tons of space to run in front of him. Not only Lavezzi, but also Cavani, Di María and even Kurzawa follow the play by running forward to provide options later. The fact that Lavezzi opts to go to the side of the area instead of facing the goalkeeper is one of the most interesting moves analyzed here. This motion makes the covering defenders follow the same direction as the one he took, creating a great space for the coming players in attack (highlighted by the red square).

With such space available, and given the time Lavezzi took to take the ball from three quarters to the goal line, three players appear as passing options, with any of them being a viable solution for the end of the play. Again, Lavezzi opts for the most clever option by crossing a long ball that surpasses the defense and leaves the AP (could have also been the WB) open to make a clear shoot on goal.

do you have any results?

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5 hours ago, blehq12 said:

do you have any results?

Was there any need to quote the whole message? The thread is almost impossible to read now, good job.

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