Football Tactics for Beginners: The Low Block

What is the low block? The low block is generally referred to a football team's defensive shape without the ball. Generally the low block consists...
Nick Witts
Journalism student at Cardiff University, 20 years old, MUFC supporter.

Latest Posts

Súper Dépor! The rise and fall of Deportivo La Coruña

At the Start With the exception of a 2nd place finish to Helenio Herrera’s Atlético Madrid in 1948/49, Deportivo La Coruña have historically plied their...

The ironic situation at Olympique de Marseille

Since the American Businessman, Frank McCourt bought the club in 2016, and despite a Europa League final two years ago, OM has failed to...

Best Football Analytics Books

We have compiled a list of the best football analytics books for the casual football fan. Football analytics and data science/machine learning in general...

A look at Simone Inzaghi’s managerial era at S.S Lazio

The Lazio team of 2020 has captured the Serie A fans' attention with their incredible playing style along with strong results which has seen...

The Evolution and Political Dynamism of Football in Mussolini’s Italy

On a November night in 1934, the English national football team faced their Italian counterparts, Nazionale di calcio dell'Italia. The match was held at...

Martin Ødegaard : A ‘failed’ wonderkid on his way to rejuvenation.

Martin Ødegaard is a Norwegian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Real Sociedad, on loan from Real Madrid, and the Norway national...

Promising Teams We Wished Made it to The Euros

The European Championship is considered one of football's most distinguished trophies, with teams battling it out for untold glory. But what of the teams who...

Football Books

Best Football Analytics Books

We have compiled a list of the best football analytics books for the casual football fan. Football analytics and data science/machine learning in general...

The Best Football Books of 2019

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2020, we have compiled a list of the best...

The Best Football Books of 2018

It's been another eventful year in the world of football. As we look forward to 2019, we have compiled a list of the best...

5 Books every Soccer fan needs to read before the FIFA World Cup 2018

The FIFA World Cup is just around the corner and it's the perfect time to brush up your history and facts about the World...

Best Soccer Coaching Books

We have compiled a list of the best soccer coaching books which every soccer coach must have in his/her bookshelf. No matter whether you...

Football Tactics for Beginners: Pressing and Counter-Pressing

Introduction:

The idea of pressing is to put pressure on the ball with the intention of winning it back off of the opposition. By forcing the opposition to complete an action in a pressured atmosphere, every aspect of that action is made more difficult. An action consists of both a decision and the execution of that decision – if these two aspects can be manipulated correctly, the opponent will lose the ball. Successful examples of this high energy style of play can be seen in the Borussia Dortmund side of 2013 who narrowly lost in the UEFA Champions League final that year.

Advantages:

The system can be tailored to expose particular weaknesses identified in the opposition. For example, if it is recognised that the passing ability of the players playing in the oppositions defence is limited then you would organise your team to press from the front.

The idea of pressing also forces the opposition to play their normal passing game under pressure, meaning the ball can be turned over through positional play and running off of the ball. This can help take the onus of the defence to do the ‘defending’ as it done by the whole team at large in this system.

It is also important to mention the idea of counter-pressing whereby if a team is pressured and loses the ball when attacking it will seek to win it back instantly as opposed to settling into a defensive shape. For example, it is widely acclaimed that when the Barcelona side under the tutorship of Pep Guardiola lost the ball, they are were given 6 or 7 seconds seconds to win it back. If they did not do it in this time they would then settle into shape. By doing this they are able to win the ball back high up the pitch and disrupt the opposition’s transition from defence to attack. Speaking about this style of play, Barcelona full-back Dani Alves said, “Pressing is difficult to pull off, but when the team manages it well, there is no better way to win games. You must see where the ball is likely to go, then react immediately to press the opponent or intercept any pass. When we lose the ball, we want to win it back immediately, which is when this tactic is so good and works so effectively.”

Disadvantages:

One weakness to this system of defending is that it can be bypassed by using a more agricultural, direct style of playing. Should the opposition be able to switch the ball using a diagonal pass, or find an outlet by more direct means then it becomes more difficult to win the ball back by harrying the opposition.

The system also requires extremely high fitness levels in order to be executed. Players have to be able to close down options for the opposition by applying pressure to the player in possession. It is often hard to execute this style of play for the full 90 minutes without having trained extensively. One example of a team playing implementing this style of play without the required fitness levels to press for the full match is the Liverpool side under Jürgen Klopp. Whilst his side have become proficient in pressing, there have been examples this season where his side have tapered off against opposition around the 70 to 80 minute mark.

The system also requires high levels of communication and cohesion whereby if the front players begin to press it must be communicated and recognised by the midfield so that they can back them up and make the correct movements. If this is not completed with efficiency, then players are often seen closing down without support to no avail.

Example:

If we imagine that the ball has be passed from the right sided centre back to the right back in this situation, the team pressing would put pressure on the right back and aim to cut off options.

pressing football

Conclusion:

The system is dependent on high levels of fitness and communication. If executed efficiently, the team pressing can gain a stranglehold on the gain and prevent the opposition from settling into a passing rhythm. The hunt for the ball must be coordinated. If done without cohesion, defending can become disjointed and make passing through the lines easy for the opposition.


- Advertisement -
Nick Witts
Journalism student at Cardiff University, 20 years old, MUFC supporter.

Related

Football Tactics for Beginners: The Low Block

What is the low block? The low block is generally referred to a football team's defensive shape without the ball. Generally the low block consists...

Football Tactics for Beginners: Defending Corner Kicks

We are all afraid of it. It is the 90th minute, your team is up by one goal and the opposition is about to...

Football Tactics for Beginners- The Sweeper Keeper: From Lev Yashin to Manuel Neuer

Germany’s Manuel Neuer has been widely credited as one of the finest goal-keepers of his generation, and quite rightly too. The Bayern Munich shot-stopper...

The Diminishing role of the Stopper Center Back in the Premier League

Defending and its place in the modern game has spawned a quagmire of critical debate. Back in 2014, when Gary Neville’s article in the...

The art of the long throw and how to counter it

Since the dawn of time, mankind has yearned to to throw stuff really far. Rocks, spears, shapes in the night club, to be human...

Football Tactics For Beginners-The Christmas Tree Formation

  Football is a result oriented business. Whatever succeeds, earns fame for itself and for its conceiver. And if it captures the imagination of spectators...

Football Tactics for Beginners: Tactical Periodization

What is Tactical Periodization? Tactical Periodization is a coaching methodology which is used to train football players with respect to the tactical context of the...

Football Tactics for Beginners-Compactness

If you have the ball you must make the field as big as possible, and if you don’t have the ball you must make...

Latest Posts

Súper Dépor! The rise and fall of Deportivo La Coruña

At the Start With the exception of a 2nd place finish to Helenio Herrera’s Atlético Madrid in 1948/49, Deportivo La Coruña have historically plied their...

The ironic situation at Olympique de Marseille

Since the American Businessman, Frank McCourt bought the club in 2016, and despite a Europa League final two years ago, OM has failed to...

Best Football Analytics Books

We have compiled a list of the best football analytics books for the casual football fan. Football analytics and data science/machine learning in general...

Celtic drop out of KPMG’s “European Elite” report

Celtic who were the first Scottish club to feature in KPMG's annual study on European Football Clubs' valuation in 2019 have dropped out of...

Don't Miss

The Original Invincibles- Preston North End 1888/89

In the wake of Manchester City’s record-breaking claim to the Premier League, The False 9 will look back at some of the greatest club...

Cruyffism through Spain

Spain has developed a unique commitment to technical football which has put them in good stead to make the past decade a period of Spanish dominance. The story to this dominance begin decades before hand when Cruyff decided that Barcelona would be the club he would next manage after his time at Ajax was over. He would create a cohesive identity for the club which kept the vision while finding success. This vision began with a number of manager who came before Cruyff but after Cruyff left, there would be many managers in Spain who would use his methods to discovery their own success.

What if Pep’s Barcelona played against Sacchi’s AC Milan?

Pep Guardiola has re-invented football so much in the past decade that one wonders if the game is still the same that was played...

FC Start and The Death Match

“Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we must not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived.” – John...

The ironic situation at Olympique de Marseille

Since the American Businessman, Frank McCourt bought the club in 2016, and despite a Europa League final two years ago, OM has failed to...

Transfers

Celtic drop out of KPMG’s “European Elite” report

Celtic who were the first Scottish club to feature in KPMG's annual study on European Football Clubs' valuation in 2019 have dropped out of...

Rangers interested in former Premier League forward

According to The Scottish Sun, Rangers are keen on Saido Berahino who currently plays for Belgium side Zulte Waregem. Berahino who had a very...

Arsenal set to start talks with Barcelona for Arteta’s dream signing

The English outlet, The Sun reports that Arsenal are set to complete a deal for Philippe Coutinho this week from Barcelona. Arsenal's manager, Mikel...

Arsenal and Juventus set to battle to sign Barcelona star on loan

According to the English outlet, The Sun, Barcelona are willing to listen to loan offers for their winger Ousmane Dembele. Dembele has had an...

Man United agree deal for teenage striker

According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United have agreed to sign Sunderland's teenage striker Joe Hugill for £250,000. The move is still to be ratified...