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...
Ritesh Gogineni
Editor/Founder of The False 9. Inverted Wingers,Carilleros,Cattenacio,Double Pivots,Medianos,Mezzalas and of course The False Nines we have got it all here for the tactic-crazy football fan!

Latest Posts

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...

Cult sides: Paris Saint-Germain 2001-2002

Before heavy investment from Qatar Sports Investments meant unrivaled wealth and total domestic domination for Paris Saint-Germain, there was once a time, just after...

The long & bizarre history behind why Red Bull chose Leipzig as the hub for their football club

When Red Bull tried to set foot into German football for the first time, they initially tried to use the same method they had...

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...

A look at Carlo Ancelotti’s formation & tactics at Everton

Carlo Ancelotti returned to Premier League after nine years in what was a major coup for Everton. The Champions League winning manager has previous...

Football Books

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...

The Best Real Madrid books every Real Madrid fan should read

Real Madrid Football Club is one of the most popular football clubs in the world. From the Far East to the United States, Real...

Football Tactics for Beginners: The Low Block

- Advertisement -

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 of two banks of 4(Sometimes all ten players form the low block), who sit deep in their area to restrict the space available for the team with the ball. Different managers have different interpretations of the low block, especially on how narrow the low block should be. Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid favour a narrow block as they are comfortable in leaving space out wide but crowd out the center.

Most inferior teams adopt the low block approach while defending against superior teams. But managers like Jose Mourinho have shown that the low block combined with counter attacking is an effective tactic to deliver trophies. Following United’s 4-0 opening weekend win against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, Mourinho said,”

“(Chelsea) were not compact defensively, too much space to play, not enough aggression on the ball, the defensive line, the midfield, the attack, they were not compact,” he said.

“(Forward) Tammy Abraham was staying up, (Ross) Barkley was staying up, (Mason) Mount was staying up, Pedro was staying up.

“Nowadays you look to the good teams and all the good teams defend compact. Higher block or lower block, the lower block is more defensive, the higher block more offensive, more aggressive, but always in the block.

“It’s just a basic principle, you have to defend compact, and Chelsea were never that, so it was too easy for Man United,” 

Mourinho on this occasion was talking about the concept of “the block” which essentially is a team’s compact defensive structure. A “high block” will not necessarily mean a compact shape as maintaining an effective high block will need aggressive pressing which would break a compact structure.

Whether or not other Premier League coaches and managers listen to Mourinho, United’s opponents in the following games used the low block to stifle United’s attackers. For a one dimensional attacking side like United are under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with their counter-attacking style, the low block is highly effective in defending against them. As opposition teams try different approaches and keep pushing players forward in a bid to break the low block, the defending team then get plenty of space and time on their counters. Just like Tiki-Taka is an excellent defending tactic, the low block when combined with counter attacks can be an attacking tactic too.

 

Pressing

For a team looking to win games using the low block, they need an coherent pressing strategy which doesn’t disturb or disrupt their defensive structure. Generally teams utilize the second striker, a central midfielder and a wide midfielder as a pressing unit depending on which areas of the pitch the ball is in. Also, important is to know when and whom to press. Teams can target a specific opposition player or a specific area on the pitch to start pressing.

How to break down the low block

Width probably is the single most important factor in breaking down the low block. As the low block’s primary focus is on staying compact and structured, there is often space on the opposite side of the pitch to where the ball is. Against a defensively strong team with tall center backs, going wide and pumping in crosses into the center isn’t going to work. Occupying the half-spaces, overlapping full backs, cutbacks from wide areas, quick interchanges by creating triangles are all some of the effective attacking moves against the low block.

The single most potent weapon against the low block is the attacking fullback. Fullbacks in the modern game have become an important attacking outlet. It’s not longer enough for a fullback to be a good crosser, he needs to be a good passer, make intelligent runs, combine with midfield players, move into midfield when required, etc. All successful teams currently have fullbacks who are in general better going forward than defending.

- Advertisement -
Ritesh Gogineni
Editor/Founder of The False 9. Inverted Wingers,Carilleros,Cattenacio,Double Pivots,Medianos,Mezzalas and of course The False Nines we have got it all here for the tactic-crazy football fan!

Related

Manchester City and the art of tactical fouling

Manchester City beat West Ham United 5-0 in their first game of the new season as the champions showed no signs of letting their...

How will Liverpool lineup in 2019/20 season

Jurgen Klopp will be looking to build on last year’s bitter disappointment and win the Premier League title which his club craves for desperately....

How will Manchester City lineup in the 2019/20 season

Pep Guardiola will be looking to repeat on last year’s success and win the Premier League title for a third straight year. The Manchester...

Zola To Leave Chelsea This Weekend As Kovacic Returns

Italian football legend, Gianfranco Zola is set to leave Chelsea this weekend following the expiry of his contract with the blues. Zola served as...

A look at Gian Piero Gasperini’s tactics at Atalanta

After almost 3 years with Gian Piero Gasperini at the helm of Atalanta, they finished 3rd in the Serie A this season, securing European...

Mason Mount: Chelsea’s Golden Boy

When Frank Lampard was appointed, Derby County fans everywhere collectively held their breath in the hope of whom his widely spoken about “contacts” might...

Who are the Five Most Tactically Astute Managers in Europe Right Now?

Millionaire superstar players may have endless social media followers, may score the goals, drive the fancy cars and have their names appear on the...

The rise of Luka Jovic

By now even the most casual of football fans will have heard about him, while Football Manager enthusiasts have known about him for years...

Latest Posts

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...

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...

Don't Miss

Football And Alcohol

      “When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.” Football and booze go a long long way back, in...

‘The Diamond demolition’ in the Kolkata derby

The year was 1997, and on the 13th of July, the stage was set for the biggest clash in Indian football – the Kolkata...

How Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona Reinvented Total Football

Arrigo Sachi, the mastermind of the Milan side of the 80′s, had once staked a claim that the next tactical revolution in the game,...

Hungary – The Golden Team that never quite made it.

When you look back at the history of past World Cup winners and European Championship winners the usual names by in large stand out....

Descent into darkness: Osvaldo Zubeldia and the era of antifutbol

EVEN if Billy McNeill was really nicknamed Cesar rather than Caesar, there was no denying that the scene on May 25, 1967, was one...

Transfers

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...

Messi disagrees with Barcelona board on which player to sell

According to the English outlet Mirror, Lionel Messi would rather see Ousmane Dembele being sold than Phillipe Coutinho who has been heavily linked with...

Jurgen Klopp makes a call to French superstar’s father regarding transfer

According to the English outlet Express, Liverpool's boss Jurgen Klopp reached out to Kylian Mbappe's father to check whether the French player would be...