Football Tactics for Beginners- The False Winger

A relatively new one to the lexicon of the footballing world, the false winger is often associated with players that drift inside to make...
Konstantine Var
Football tactics have always exerted a certain appeal to the generations growing in the 90s and the last two decades. Colossal figures of these times, such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, have influenced many a folk to indulge further in the people's game. As a part of this generation, I couldn't stand aside. I launched a personal blog discussing the tactical trends of English football. Here we are going to analyse the above theme alongside tactical matters comprising the rest of European football.

Latest Posts

Remembering Arthur Wharton: The First Black Professional Footballer

In an interview from 1888, Arthur Wharton recalled overhearing a conversation between two fellow track competitors some years before. “Who’s he,” one rhetorically asked,...

Analysis of Man City’s 9 league losses or The Importance of Kevin De Bruyne

With debates regarding the PFA Player of the Year vote for the Premier League, I decided to dig deeper and research the Kevin de...

The Jürgen Klopp Pressing system

If a single tactical feature were to be used to define a manager, for Jurgen Klopp, it would certainly be the pressing or the...

  The different methods to Marcelo Bielsa’s madness

The current Leeds United manager and arguably the most influential coach in modern football, Marcelo Bielsa is the subject of this analysis because I’m...

The Tactical Feud of our Times: Klopp vs Guardiola

The end of a 30-year old wait in conquering the first English tier for Liverpool coincided with a visit from their main rivals the...

Tottenham 2: 1 Arsenal- Tactical Analysis

In this analysis, we will be observing the tactics of Mikel Arteta and José Mourinho in their recent Premier League clash. Spurs eventually won...

Man City 3:0 Arsenal Tactical Analysis- The Master vs The Apprentice

When Mikel Arteta was an assistant of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, they not only dominated England but were one of the best teams...

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...

The Tactical Feud of our Times: Klopp vs Guardiola

The end of a 30-year old wait in conquering the first English tier for Liverpool coincided with a visit from their main rivals the last years, Manchester City. This rivalry is also an extension of the ‘tactical feud’ between their managers (Klopp and Guardiola) lasting from their tenure in Bundesliga. Last week’s clash, albeit without table interest, provided several tactical talking points and glimpses for the future. 

The longevity of Klopp’s counter-pressing strategy

The triumvirate of Jurgen Klopp, Mike Gordon (Fenway Sports Group president) and Michael Edwards (Sporting Director) managed to draft the Bayern Munchen employees Andreas Kornmayer (Head of Fitness and Conditioning) and Mona Nemmer (Head of Nutrition). The latter duo had impressed Klopp, and they were deemed indispensable for the implementation of the counter-pressing style.

This adopted counter-pressing strategy requires insurmountable levels of composure and remarkable physical attributes. The acquisition of such skills is a long-term process with a mental toll except for the physical one. Signs of fatigue have emerged throughout the current campaign exposing well-covered deficiencies, such as the inability to circumvent the deadly counter-attacks of Manchester City last week.

These counter-attacks often caught the defence unawares, and especially the wing backs (Alexander-Arnold and Robertson). The latter pair is indispensable for the proper offensive function of the team with their crosses, assists, and goals (21 assists and 5 goals, collectively). Their innate attacking prowess often contradicts with their defensive responsibilities against adept attackers. The following figure depicts their positions and movements.

Figure 1 Liverpool’s offensive strategy

The embark of a counter-attack by the opposition dictates instant covering from the wide midfielders (Henderson, Winjaldum). As the build-up play predominantly commences from the right, Henderson retreats to cover Alexander-Arnold. The same occurs respectively from the left (Robertson, Winjaldum). The defensive struggle against rapid counter-attacks soars after periods of heavy workload. Adequate addressing would require a series of reinforcements.

Reinforcements and long-term strategy

An insurgence of athleticism, composure and individual brilliance shall pave the way for further glories. A vibrant group of youngsters (Jones, Elliot, Williams) are to blend within the well-oiled machine of Jurgen Klopp. The latter is renowned for improving youngsters and rejuvenating established players (Henderson, Milner).

Furthermore, the signing of two forwards resembling the characteristics of the front three seems paramount. This move would originate a new dimension on the build-up game and a more effective counter-pressing strategy. Especially a worthy alternative for Firmino is crucial for the longevity of the project. His creativity and tendency to drop back and create space are unique qualities.

Conclusively, Liverpool must dispel the ‘three-year rule’ of Bella Gutman. The Hungarian manager had characterized the third year as “fatal”. His reasoning involved the potential complacency of the players. Fortunately for the Reds, the ecosystem of Anfield oozes with innovative and radical ideas.

Schroedinger’s Manchester City

The future of the Citizens in European competitions has a definite outcome finally. The wait had created a Schroedinger’s cat akin state with different repercussions upon resolution. Should the appeal had failed, a period of turbulence would have followed. Fortunately for Manchester City, the decision was satisfactory, and they are rolling up their sleeves for the next important fixtures.

Tactical insights

The tactical awareness of the Catalan was at full display against Liverpool last week. He implored to a series of shrewd decisions, such as the utilization of proficient ball-playing centre-backs (centre-halves) (Laporte, Garcia). Their prowess in passing and keeping possession facilitated the build-up game of the team and suitably opposed the counter-pressing attribute of the opponent.

The latter strategy wouldn’t have succeeded but for Gundogan’s newly established role. Gundogan, renowned for his positioning and keeping possession skills, retreated to the centre of defence. This move led to the enhancement of ball circulation and managed to withstand the pressure of Liverpool. The following figure shows the formation in this case.

Figure 2 Manchester City’s build-up game

After withstanding 25 minutes of Liverpool’s rapid movements, the Citizens engaged in their usual high-intense attacking display. Especially, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden were instrumental in the impressive win. Occasionally, De Bruyne moved towards the left flank of the attack to intersect with Alexander Arnold’s crosses. Foden, in his turn, caused numerous problems to Robertson with his narrow-wide positioning. Walker and Mendy provided the necessary width facilitating the pace of Sterling and Jesus.

Shortcomings and the future

One major pitfall in Manchester City’s game plan is the absence of an adequate replacement for Aguero. The Argentinian has a keen eye for goals, a quality Jesus lacks. Nevertheless,  the Brazilian is exceptional in moving without the ball and contributes substantially in the collective effort. His performance against Real in Champions League stands as a paradigm to the latter statement, but the signing of a goal-scorer is essential for the current project.

Furthermore, the acquisition of a ball-playing centre-back (centre-half) resembling Laporte is of paramount importance. Laporte’s pace and ability with the ball are qualities lacking from the rest of the centre-backs. Consequently, the long-term absence of the Spaniard proved to be a significant blow in the quest to retain the Premier League title.

Additionally, no one can overlook the lack of Sane in the majority of the season. The German provided a respectable number of goals and assists alongside the necessary width from the left. His transfer to Bayern Munchen necessitates the signing of an inside forward with the same skills.

An ongoing battle

Conclusively, the rivalry between the two teams shall grow within the following years. The current facts suggest upcoming battles for any silverware available for, at least, the next campaign. Naturally, this can only be beneficial for the game, as their clash has derived numerous tactical innovations, a pattern expected to continue.

- Advertisement -
Konstantine Var
Football tactics have always exerted a certain appeal to the generations growing in the 90s and the last two decades. Colossal figures of these times, such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, have influenced many a folk to indulge further in the people's game. As a part of this generation, I couldn't stand aside. I launched a personal blog discussing the tactical trends of English football. Here we are going to analyse the above theme alongside tactical matters comprising the rest of European football.

Related

Remembering Arthur Wharton: The First Black Professional Footballer

In an interview from 1888, Arthur Wharton recalled overhearing a conversation between two fellow track competitors some years before. “Who’s he,” one rhetorically asked,...

Analysis of Man City’s 9 league losses or The Importance of Kevin De Bruyne

With debates regarding the PFA Player of the Year vote for the Premier League, I decided to dig deeper and research the Kevin de...

The Jürgen Klopp Pressing system

If a single tactical feature were to be used to define a manager, for Jurgen Klopp, it would certainly be the pressing or the...

  The different methods to Marcelo Bielsa’s madness

The current Leeds United manager and arguably the most influential coach in modern football, Marcelo Bielsa is the subject of this analysis because I’m...

Tottenham 2: 1 Arsenal- Tactical Analysis

In this analysis, we will be observing the tactics of Mikel Arteta and José Mourinho in their recent Premier League clash. Spurs eventually won...

Man City 3:0 Arsenal Tactical Analysis- The Master vs The Apprentice

When Mikel Arteta was an assistant of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, they not only dominated England but were one of the best teams...

A look at Nigel Pearson’s tactics at Watford

4/12/2019, Leicester City Stadium. Watford suffers yet another defeat, and the ominous bells of relegation are echoing louder at Vicarage Road. The board had...

Great Squads From History – Bayer Leverkusen 2001-2002

The 2001-02 great Bayer Leverkusen side is infamous for their incredible choke job in the last stretch of the season, losing out on three...

Latest Posts

Real Madrid and Barcelona remain the most valuable football clubs

Football is the most popular sport in the world, and so it is understandable that the biggest football clubs will also be some of...

Remembering Arthur Wharton: The First Black Professional Footballer

In an interview from 1888, Arthur Wharton recalled overhearing a conversation between two fellow track competitors some years before. “Who’s he,” one rhetorically asked,...

How will Coutinho fit in at Arsenal: Arteta’s new look 4-2-3-1 formation

English outlet, Express are reporting that Arsenal are considering a loan deal for Barcelona's record signing, Philippe Coutinho. The report indicates that Coutinho might have...

Analysis of Man City’s 9 league losses or The Importance of Kevin De Bruyne

With debates regarding the PFA Player of the Year vote for the Premier League, I decided to dig deeper and research the Kevin de...

Don't Miss

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 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...

Dimples, Kangaroos and Bohemians

One of the main tram routes in Prague is the 22. This goes all the way from Bíla Hora, the site of one of...

The Jürgen Klopp Pressing system

If a single tactical feature were to be used to define a manager, for Jurgen Klopp, it would certainly be the pressing or the...

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,...

Transfers

How will Coutinho fit in at Arsenal: Arteta’s new look 4-2-3-1 formation

English outlet, Express are reporting that Arsenal are considering a loan deal for Barcelona's record signing, Philippe Coutinho. The report indicates that Coutinho might have...

How will Pjanic fit in at Barcelona? A look at Barcelona’s 4-3-3 formation for next season

As the deal between Barcelona and Juventus regarding the transfers of Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic has almost been finalised, let's take a look...

Three best Premier League transfers of all time

The Premier League is famous for its lavish spending on player’s transfers. Top clubs like Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United have been spending...

Where will Kai Havertz play for Chelsea? A look at Lampard’s exciting 4-2-3-1 formation for next season

There have been several rumours surrounding Kai Havertz's transfer to Chelsea and Havertz's current boss, Peter Bosz has indicated that the winger might not...

Man United expected lineup against Sheffield United: Pogba & Bruno to start together for first time

Manchester United salvaged a draw against Tottenham in their first game post the lockdown. Their performance improved after the substitutions of Paul Pogba and...