Resenha – Let’s talk tactics

Resenha, here in Brazil, is the word used to describe a conversation in the ‘ballers’ mood. Samba, beer, and soccer is the appropriate environment to have a genuine resenha.

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Now, grab your beer an on to the resenha:

Today I will make a detailed post about what are my ambitions with this tactic. Explaining from the tactical look and analyzing all player roles, duties and individual instructions. We will also briefly talk about phases of the game, from the build-up to attack, exploring offensive and defensive transitions.

I would like to emphasize that there is no perfect tactic. All tactics have their highs and low points. It is up to you to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the human material that you have at your disposal and develop a tactic based on your playing principles but taking into consideration the individualities of the squad you have.

THE TACTIC

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As you can see, today we will talk about one of the most popular tactics currently, which is 4-1-2-2-1 or 4-1-2-3, as you prefer. It’s always been a tactic that combined a lot with the principles of the game that I like the most.
Recently, this model enchanted the world with Pep Guardiola. Pep showed us many possible variations of this tactic with the use of his players in different roles through the years, always adapting to the material that he had at his disposal.

Our game proposals with this tactic are:

> Keeping purposeful possession of the ball
> Build from the back
> Advance with short and quick passes
> Numerical superiority in the build-up
> Overload half-spaces
> Our most skilled players getting on 1v1’s frequently
> Win the second ball as often as possible
> Recover the ball as soon as it is lost
> Counter-press to avoid being caught on the counter

ROLES AND DUTIES

GK – (Sweeper Keeper-S) The idea here is that our goalkeeper has the freedom to start our attacks with more direct passes when he decides that is the best option. And also, when he’s tight on the ball he has the license to try a long pass instead of just passing the ball to our defensive line and maybe commit a mistake in this dangerous area.

RB/LB – (Inverted Wingback-S) The function of our IWB’s on both sides is: In the build-up, form a line of 3 men with our DLP to advance in numerical superiority in practically almost scenario possible. In the attacking phase, the IWB on the ball side forms sort of a double-pivot with the DLP and the opposite side IWB is free to attack the half-space from deep. Their defensive phase starts as soon as we lose the ball, they will close down the opponents in any part of the pitch that we lost possession and have less running to do on the counters because they already are positioned in central areas. Both of them close down less to don’t disrupt the shape of our defensive line.

IWB AVANÇANDO (1)
IWB noted the space…
IWB AVANÇANDO (2)
… and attacked the space.

RCB – (Ball playing defender-C) Our right centre-back comes in the role of ball-playing defender with a cover duty and an additional dribble more instruction. I noticed that in several situations in which our CB’s had the ball if our DLP and MEZ (primary vertical outlets) were marked and the CB were under pressure they end up roofing the ball forward. Let’s say the idea is that Pavard, our RCB, is the team’s first playmaker. If everyone is marked in front of him, he has the freedom to carry the ball until someone drops his marker and close him down, so he will already have an option to pass the ball and this will generate an imbalance through opponents team because someone closed Pavard down so a gap will appear somewhere.

LCB – (Central defender-D) A normal defender who works with short and simple passes.

DM – (Deep Lying Playmaker-D) This is the heartbeat of the team. Where the plays start from whenever possible. He has the freedom to decide how to start the attacks: with short passes, long passes or carrying the ball until he finds out the best option. He’s the one who dictates our game from the back. When we are in the attack and we do not find space, we recycle the possession through him to find the best option to try again. When we lost possession, he is who win us the second balls or rebounds, and he is always watching out to reorganize us as a team at every moment.

Tonali in perfect shape
Controlling the midfield.

RCM/LCM – (Mezalla-A) The main reason to play with MEZ in the attacking duty is that when I was creating the tactic, I realized that we had a lot of difficulties to play from the back when the opponent played with a high line and don’t let us think too much. The mezallas on support stayed too close to the DLP and this let us overloaded in a short space. So, I decided to leave the mezzalas as a more advanced option in the field, so once we pass the first line of pressure (we have 5 players for this LB-LCB-DM-RCB-RB), they have the whole field ahead to work with freedom. The attack duty also avoids that they and the IWB’s occupy the same positions on the field, which happens when they all are on support duty.

RW/LW – (Winger-S) This is simple. Take on your man and keep the width. Maintaining width is the main task of our wingers. Stretch the opponent’s defence to the maximum, opening spaces for the underlap of their side IWB and mezzala. And when space is available for them, run past their marker and cross/shoot.

ATAQUE PELA PE
Winger on 1v1.

ST – (Variable role) Depending on the game, here we change the role. If the opponent plays with a high line, we play with a more spare man to vertically stretch the opposition defence and keep the CB’s occupied. If the opponent plays with a lower line and maybe a back-5 or 2DM’s, we work with a more mobile role like Complete Forward or DLF.

BUILD-UP

Goalkeeper distribution – If the opposing team has 2 strikers, the distribution is made to the IWB’s who stay wider on the keeper’s distribution. If the opponent plays with a lone striker, the instruction is to distribute to CB+IWB’s and become a goalkeeper choice where to send the ball.

20190115215714_1
Multiple options for our ‘keeper.

> Build-up through DLP – Our transition from defence to midfield third is usually done through our DLP, which drops between the two center-backs, allowing the IWB’s to take more advanced positions and form a line of four men with both Mezzalas. If the DLP is marked, then the ball returns to our BPD, which with the dribble more instruction that he has, carries the ball progressively until someone disengages from his man and close him down.

OFFENSIVE TRANSITION

> Creating options – As we advance in the field, whether with DLP or Mezzalas, the wingers assume maximum amplitude, sticking to the byline to give us options across al the field.

> Overloading half-spaces – Generally, the IWB on the ball side has the freedom to form a double-pivot along with the DLP, thus releasing the IWB on the opposite side to advance along with the MEZ to gain numerical superiority and overload the half-spaces.

ATTACKING

> Wingers on 1v1 – As was just mentioned, when the opponent’s defence needs to worry about our IWB + MEZ double attacking in the half-space, this results at the winger of that side completely free to receive the ball.

> Free MEZ-IWB – If the defender chooses to mark our winger out of the game, there will probably be only 1 CB left to deal with the quick arrival of our IWB+MEZ duo, attacking the area from deep, which will result in of the two free to receive the ball.

DEFENSIVE TRANSITION

Counter press – The idea is to use the counter-press with all the players that are close to the ball, no matter who is the order is: close down and make sure they will not breathe easily. This approach can be used in our favour to regain the ball and construct a goal situation very quickly. Generally, the only player who does not press the ball in case of possession lost is the DLP, he returns next to the CB’s to give us stability. The IWB on the opposite side of the possession lost, too, because he is not so close to the sideline, he takes less time to reach its ideal defensive position.

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Closing passing lanes.

DEFENCE

> Wingers tracking back – Our wingers get the support duty, precisely because, therefore, they track down the opponents full/wing-backs during the whole game and this allows our side to not have to disrupt our back four, which would generate a cascade effect that would end with a situation that we all know: opposition winger in behind our full-back at the far post. This minimizes the risk of this situation to occur.

> DLP+CB’s Pivot – In the defensive phase, the tendency is for our back four to be compact with our DLP screening the defence and any possible space left. And he is always ready to catch any rebound or loose ball in front of our area. He closes down less to avoid one of our CB’s to leave their position to cover for a bad timing tackle from DLP.

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So, that’s it, guys. Hope you all have been able to understand my thoughts in behind the creation of the tactic and the little details that could give us the edge in most of the matches.

This piece is my first tactical writing so I hope you can give me some feedback about it.
Punctuate what you liked and disliked about it and where do you think I can evolve.

Thank you for reading, share if you can.

See you next,

Maia.

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