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Tactics

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comment by Welshy (U1348)

posted on 6/6/21

SHEFFIELD UNITED v Leeds United


----------------------Kelleher
Lamptey, Andersen, T. Silva, Grimaldo
--------------Kovacic, Höjbjerg
-Mahrez----------James----------Mertens
-----------------------Suárez

Subs: Livramento, Ampadu, Koopmeiners, de Roon, Gallagher, Brooks, Isco

Captain: Thiago Silva
Free Kicks: Mahrez/James (Brooks)/Mertens (Isco)
Penalties: Suárez

Our defensive unit consists of Joachim Andersen and Thiago Silva paired up at centre-back, Tariq Lamptey at right-back and Álex Grimaldo at left-back, with Mateo Kovacic and Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg as our midfield ‘double pivot’ screening them.

This ‘double pivot’ is the key to our team and in Kovacic and Höjbjerg we have a perfect pairing to initiate attacks by distributing the ball in an intelligent fashion, to be key players in circulation and to prevent dangerous opposition attacks, being disciplined in positioning and limiting space in between the lines.

The strength of our double pivot is that Höjbjerg can press the ball without leaving lots of space, as Kovacic can maintain a good position to react if the initial press is bypassed. Our double pivot will offer huge defensive stability and will ensure that a structured shape is maintained.

Having two defensive midfielders centrally prevents others being dragged out of position to press.

Helping the defenders maintain solid positioning is a key part of Höjbjerg's role, he will press almost anywhere in his own half to allow defenders to stay in the defensive line.

With Höjbjerg running his socks off for the team, our high tempo will be dictated by his partner in holding midfield, Mateo Kovacic.

Kovacic is not just your “win the ball and pass it on to the closest player” – there is a real creative mind in his locker, but it’s his ability to be the shield of the back four and then be creative once he gets the ball that makes Kovacic such a talent.

The attacking unit consists of Riyad Mahrez, James Rodríguez and Dries Mertens as our band of three attacking midfielders with Luis Suárez as our lone central striker.

Our 4-2-3-1 is set up to have that wonderful ‘springy' quality - it absorbs pressure without breaking and then snaps back with surprising force.

In defence our 4-2-3-1 covers space very effectively, with the band of three attacking midfielders and centre forward able to press the opposition high up the pitch while the two defensive midfielders ensure that there is no space left in front of the defence. Then the back four can either play a high line, compressing the space even further, or drop deeper as preferred.

Once we have won the ball back, often by Kovacic or Höjbjerg, then our 4-2-3-1 can spring into attack.

Lamptey and Grimaldo can surge up the wings in the knowledge that Kovacic and Höjbjerg can drop into the space left behind if needed. As they come up the wings, both Riyad Mahrez and Dries Mertens, who are excellent in tight spaces and fantastic dribblers will cut inside or make runs into the box.

James, our attacking central midfielder’s low centre of gravity will enable him to navigate away from defenders. James is blessed with an instant first touch and can dribble with the ball at such a close proximity to his feet that it makes him almost impossible to tackle this creative passer with his quick flicks and one-touch passing, will combine exceptionally well with Mahrez, Mertens & Suárez to create openings and goal scoring opportunities for each other.

Upfront, Suárez will be utilised to “bind” our oppositions defenders in place by occupying them with his positioning, to the point of blocking their defenders in order to create space for Mahrez, James & Mertens to exploit between the lines as this trio look to profit from Suárez’s off-the-ball actions.

Suárez will act as a focal point around which our team will build our attacks, using his strength to hold off their defenders. Suárez is proven adept at one-touch passing and quick flicks in combination play and of course Suárez’s stock in trade when the occasion calls for it – intelligent dummies to fool their defenders.

All 4 of our most advanced players are equally gifted in terms of assisting and scoring goals, and as thus we will not be purely reliant on Suárez on this front, although I expect of course for him to find the back of the net on a number of occasions.

Subs on 75 mins
Brooks on for James and Isco on for Mertens

Double substitution - fresh legs and plenty of dribbling trickery from Isco and Brooks in the last 15 minutes to look to unlock the opposition’s defence for a late goal regardless of the score line.

posted on 7/6/21

----------------- Ter Stegen -----------------
---- S.Ramos --- P.Torres --- F.Mendy ----
------------ Fabinho --- N.Kante -----------
J.Sancho ------- E.Hazard -------- L.Sane
---------- T.Werner --- Griezmann --------

Subs:
Sanchez, Cancelo, Reguilon, De Paul, Asensio, Martial, Iheanacho

Tactics:

The boys are absolutely flying at the moment and with confidence sky high we continue with our brand of fast paced high quality attacking football.

After edging the first leg lessor teams would go to Leicester looking to shut up shop and try to defend the lead, with confidence high we do the opposite as we look to take the game to the opposition and go for goals.

The onus will be on them to attack which will create plenty of space for us to exploit in behind on the counter. We go with a perfectly balanced 3-2-3-2, a solid back three with two of the best DM’s in the business protecting them will give us a solid defence shape to frustrate the opposition. As soon as we win back possession we look to counter at pace. Sancho and Sane offer us pure pace out wide as we look to hit them on the flanks whilst Werner is one of the quickest CF’s in the business.

If the opposition go too hung ho they will leave themselves exposed and with aways goals to our advantage we’re more than happy for this one to turn into a shootout.

Defence:

We go with a perfectly balanced back three, strong defensively but also with great ball players which will allow us to retain possession and play out from the back. If they play one up top then Torres will mark, Ramos and Mendy will act as cover or pick up the second CF. We don’t want them to drift out wide, let then wingers come to us, keeping the central area’s compact will make it extremely difficult for the opposition to play through us.

The opposition have bags of pace out wide in Sterling, Mane & co however we’re happy to let them have the ball out on the flanks, our 3 CB’s will stay compact and central, don’t go out and engage the wingers instead force them to come infield, with a compact central area there will be simply no room to manoeuvre and with three towering CB’s we are comfortably dealing with any crosses in the air.

Our brick wall of Fabinho and Kante will shield our defence, limiting the supply to their attack whilst also having bags of pace and energy to scamper across and deal with any threats out wide.

In this set up we also have the flexibility for Fabinho to drop in alongside Torres, allowing Ramos & Ferland to cover the flanks in a conventional back 4. Tactical flexibility is our greatest weapon.

Midfield:

Kante and Fabinho will act as our enforcers in the middle. They will sit in front of our defence stifling the oppositions creativity and more importantly, cutting off the supply line to their forwards. We want to physical impose ourselves in this area of the pitch and these two are absolute warriors.

All action players we rely on their fantastic tenacity and high level work rate to break up the opposition play, winning back possession and setting us up on the counter as we look to get the ball into our creative players as quickly as possible.

If their wingers break at pace then we want one of Fabinho/Kante to drift across to engage them whilst the other stays central and picks up their AM. Importantly this will allow our back three to stay intact and deal with their forwards.

If they look to build from the back slowly then this is when we will drop into a deeper defensive shape with Fabinho dropping in at CB. As soon as we win back possession we spring in to attack with Hazard terrorising them from AM as Fabinho slots back in alongside Kante at DM.

Forwards:

In this set up our attack is where the fun really begins. With a back three and DM defensive pivot this allows us to essentially play with a front five when in possession and enables us to really cause some damage.

Hazard will be given freedom to roam and exploit any gaps in the opposition midfield. A player with superb technical ability he will look to get on the ball as much as possible, running at the opposition drawing them in and committing a defender before playing that decisive pass to slip in our wingers or supply our strike partnership up top.

Out wide we look to hit them with pure pace and skill. If they opt for three at the back then Sancho and Sane can cause them real damage. We want them to hug the touch line, make the pitch as wide as possible and exploit any space on offer. We want them to be direct, get on the ball and go straight at the opposition, looking to either supply one of our front two, cut the ball back to Hazard or go direct for goal themselves.

Up top we go with the dangerous duo of Werner & Griezmann. Timo will play on the shoulder of the last man, looking to use his lightening pace to get in behind and through on goal, the German often at his best when playing in a front two. Griezmann has a bit more freedom, the Frenchman has great link up play so able to drift between the lines however when on the attack we want him to get in the box and finish any chances that fall his way.

Subs:

If winning/drawing:

70 mins: Hazard & Sane off, De Paul & Reguilon on. No point shutting up shop and inviting pressure, instead we keep our shape but bring in fresh legs. De Paul adding increased work rate to go with his creativity whilst Reguilon gives us an orthodox wing back both strong in attack and defence.

If losing on aggregate:
70 mins: Fabinho & Hazard off, De Paul & Asensio on. The dangerous De Paul slots in at CM giving us bundles of creativity whilst Asensio adds an injection of pace and incision with Sancho moving centrally to work his magic as we push for the winner.

posted on 7/6/21

-----------------------Neuer

-------Soyuncu---Hermoso---Hernandez

Castagne---Brozovic----SMS--------Guerreiro

-------Chiesa--------Kane------Depay

Pope
Walker
Denayer
Pellegrini
Foden
Ocampos
Vardy

I have opted for the 3-4-3 today, as I think it gives us a bit more stability in the game, and allows for us to have a tighter grip. With us holding a lead, it gives us a bit more of a defensive base, whilst not sacrificing those attacking options that got us into this position. We should still have men going forward, with clinical attackers, and support from attacking full-backs and SMS, meaning that we should be able to attack in numbers, create chances, and look to get an away goal of our own, without being left open and vulnerable at the back.

I still want to see the same quick movement of the ball in our defensive third, with defenders playing a 2-3 touch system. Brozovic will sit just in front of the defense, operating as the deeper part of the midfield pivot, with SMS more advanced, meaning Brozo will be the first option for the defense playing out, though SMS can also drop deep and support if this option is getting choked out. In Neuer we also have a reliable option to pass back to, if necessary, to keep us on the ball, and draw them out to press. We then have to break their press by looking to spread the balls out wide. In Castagne and Guerreiro we have quick options, who will look to break up the pitch, and this is what we want to see, allowing us to break their lines, and hit them quickly, working in those spaces. Once again, I want to see us double up on their FBs, with the WBs serving as overlapping options, so breaking from these areas is key. Should we attack through SMS in the middle, the WBs should stay in line with him, so that we can spread the ball into these areas.

As I said earlier, the key to our offense is to target the wide areas, so with Chiesa/Depay being supported by Castagne/Guerreiro, I believe we can double-up in these areas, with Chiesa and Depay operating as slightly inside options, and the WBs working on the overlap, looking to get the ball to the byline and put it into the box. In Kane we have a striker capable of operating both on the ground and in the air, so a variety of different balls can be put in. Kane should always be joined in the box by the opposite winger, whilst the WBs and SMS will make a secondary trident around the edge of the penalty area, allowing for us to maintain pressure from loose balls and clearances. We want to keep the pressure on, attacking at a high intensity, pegging them back, not allowing them to play the game on their terms, and also looking to create chances and get ourselves on the front foot. An early goal for us would change the shape of the game, so coming out of the blocks and playing with intensity is key to the game today.

In terms of our defensive press, I want to see Kane, Chiesa, and Depay pressing high, not allowing their defense the time to play out from the back, forcing them either into long balls forward, or errors and mistakes at the back. SMS will engage in the middle third, working as the engine room of the midfield, and allowing for Brozovic to hold his position until our shape has been re-engaged. Brozovic should operate as a crab in the holding midfield role until our WBs get back, covering the space, and pushing out wide to support if necessary. Hernandez and Soyuncu will also have to cover some of the wider areas, and when this is the case Brozo will sit in front of Hermoso, offering him support, and meaning we don’t get overworked in the middle area of the pitch.

A key for us today is to get that first goal, or an away goal in general. Should we take the lead, then we have to transition to a more conservative approach, with less bodies being pushed forward, so the WBs will sit deeper, and instead SMS will be used to link the attack and defense, with a more attacking approach being engaged should we concede.

Substitutions

If winning

Federico Chiesa off for Lorenzo Pellegrini 70 mins

Switch a 3-5-2, with Depay going up front to support Kane, and Pellegrini going into CM, with him and SMS playing either side of Brozovic.

Timothy Castagne off for Kyle Walker 75 mins

A slightly more conservative option here, with Walker also freshening up the legs in a key area.

Memphis Depay off for Jamie Vardy 80 mins

Fresh legs up top, with Vardy looking to use his raw pace to exploit a tiring defence.

SMS off for Phil Foden 90 mins (ET Sub)

Looking to hold possession, Foden gives us a bit more flair as an option, and freshens up the options in midfield.

If drawing

Raphael Guerreiro off for Lorenzo Pellegrini 70 mins

Switch to a 4-3-3, giving us another option to try and control the midfield, with Hernandez shifting to LB, and Pellegrini and SMS operating in front of Brozovic. This is our more conventional tactic option.

Federico Chiesa off for Lucas Ocampos 77 mins

Fresh legs at RW, and Ocampos gives us an energetic pressing option.

Timothy Castagne off for Kyle Walker 85 mins

Fresh legs in defense, as Sheff United will no doubt be throwing all they can at us.

SMS off for Phil Foden

Looking to hold possession, Foden gives us a bit more flair as an option, and freshens up the options in midfield.

If losing

Mario Hermoso off for Jamie Vardy 70 mins

Switch to a 4-4-2, with Vardy and Kane playing up front together. This gives us an option to be going for the goals to get us back in the game.

Federico Chiesa off for Lorenzo Pellegrini 77 mins

Switch to a 4-3-3, with Depay pushing up to operate alongside Kane and Vardy.

Marcelo Brozovic off for Phil Foden 83 mins

A more attacking option, and a switch to a 4-2-1-3, with SMS and Pellegrini slightly more reserved than Foden.

comment by Sima Yi (U8966)

posted on 7/6/21

Newcastle 4-3-3 / 2-3-5


_____________Navas
Trent_____Dias______VVD_____Shaw
____________Casemiro
_______Llorente_____Modric
Salah_________Son___________Coman

Subs: Koke, Koulibaly, Fabian, Gundogan, Olmo, Lingard, Raul

Today I’d like to take complete control of midfield, holding possession and stretch their back line while outnumbering every area of the middle third and final third of the pitch. Our full backs will play as inverted fullbacks assuming the role as box to box and pivoting midfielders, thereby pushing our midfielders further forwards creating a 5 man attack.

______________Navas
_________Dias_____VVD_______
____Trent____Casemiro_____Shaw
Salah__Llorente___Modric____Coman
_______________Son______________

By doing so I will always have an extra man in midfield, including wide passing options, creating overloads. It will also help us stretch the field wider as I would expect opposition players to drift in-field to try and mitigate the presence of the extra bodies in midfield leaving wide areas for our wide players to exploit. As such the wide players will be given instruction so hug the touchline when waiting to receive the ball, then they can cut in and play their natural game but providing pass options initially is a must.

I fully expect us to create difficulty for the opposition in assessing exactly how and where to cover space and how to effectively pressure the ball. Create pass options to drag players out of position when they struggle to cope with the extra man in midfield exploiting gaps between the lines.

Our attacks will be taking a very vertical approach which allows the attacking midfielders to receive the ball in space allowing us to hurt them. Our version of a vertical approach is passing the ball up and down the field, with players inviting pressure as they receive and release the ball thereby creating a gap for another player to move into to receive a recycled pass. Eventually a path to goal will appear and it’ll be up to the players to exploit that playing their natural games. The whole point of this system is about opening greater space in between the lines for the attacking midfielders to receive. The attacking midfielders will also be expected to break the lines and make runs beyond the striker to find space higher up the pitch creating goal-scoring opportunities. The fullbacks therefore have many options to pass to, the 9, the 10s, and out wide depending on the natural movements of the players.

Defensive stability is very important to the way we want to play. One of the rules ultimately in football is you cannot score if you don’t have the ball, so we aim to keep the ball as much as possible with the ongoing ball recycling process of trying to drag players out of position finding space to exploit. When the opposition do gain possession they immediately face a block of five in the middle and our third of the pitch, quickly changing back to a standard 4-5-1 in two flat lines (plus the striker up top). Doing so will allow us to effectively defend our wide areas stopping any crosses coming in while congesting the middle enough for minimal gaps to appear between the lines. We press less to minimise the risk of gaps appearing but instead rely on cutting passing lanes and options. Once possession is regained, we immediately progress up the pitch and revert back to 2-3-5. The central defensive triangle of both CBs and the DM are good in the air capable of winning plenty of duels in the air as well as on the ground, in addition of course to their exceptional passing ability. It is important to have players that occupy those three positions that have on-the-ball intelligence, astute awareness of how to cover space in transition, and an aerial presence.

Subs.

65 mins - Koke on Modric off. Fresh legs.

70 mins losing/drawing - Gundogan on Llorente off. Better finisher in the box from midfield.

75 mins losing/drawing - Raul on Son off. Better presence up top.

75 mins winning - Fabian on Llorente off. Fresh legs while not losing creative quality.

posted on 7/6/21

PORTSMOUTH vs Chelsea (2-4-1-3 wing-backs and inside forwards)
Injuries:
Nathaniel Phillips
Cristiano Ronaldo
Franck Kessie
Scott McTomminay

Took a beating last week, against the run of play but a beating none the less. Today with home advantage and Mr Portsmouth himself (John Portsmouth FC Westwood) banging his drum, driving us on we go in the hunt for the 2 goals to take us through.

Our formation on paper looks really gung-ho, but football isn’t played on paper, and we’re not as gung-ho as you think, cold calculated risks, but if ya gonna go down, may as well engage party mode and have some fun doing it no?
We have some beautifully gifted ball players at our disposal but today is all about pace, getting at this Chelsea back-line, stretching them and getting in behind. Fan has a frightening attack but they can only run one way, so we won’t worry about them so much our defence can deal with it. Our main issue is over-running perhaps the most boring, yes boring midfield combo’s ever assembled we stop this midfield and his attack has nothing to work with.

this is why this formation gives us our best shot, our front line takes his defence man for man, they have not out ball, our wing-backs will mark his wingers, our CM’s are bigger,faster,stronger, and our back-two marshall the tap in merchant up front. Sounds simple doesn’t it

………………………………..Ederson………………….
……………………Milenkovic……Romagnoli…………..
Calabria…………Busquets…..Neves……..D.McNeil
……………………………………Insigne………………………………
Berardi………………………Vlahovic…………………Jota
Subs: Pickford, Mancini, However, Bernardo, Goncalves, Belotti, Koita

So as I said earlier proper attacking on paper, but it’s also pragmatic, we have a top top holding midfielders that can help us to shut up shop and effectively give us a back-four and a front-six approach to this game, I know it’s risky but with a 3 slot head start for home advantage there’s no reason why we shouldn’t try it.

Ederson, we all know his quality and skillset, a very good ‘keeper but his biggest attributes are his ability with ball to feet. That’s a massive use for us in this system, with flying-wingbacks and inside forwards really stretching the pitch and this sssllllooooowwww Chelsea spine.
Milenkovic and Romagnoli are a great duo, not often being 6ft2 make you the “little man” but that’s where Roma finds himself. Milenkovic will use that massive 6ft4 frame to close down the tap-in king. Physically get In his face, slam him on his touch and keep him playing with his back to goal, Roma is an old school Libero, he’ll sit off a yard, watch for any loose balls, and keep a watchful eye for any runs from deep.

Calabria was the top-rated RB in Serie A last season, so he’ll be tasked with man marking Greasy, don’t dive in just faint an attempted tackle and watch the clown fall over, then nip in and take the ball away, given free licence to drive forward and make the most of the space ahead of him, our RIF will occupy the left back, and Greasy won’t chase back so that flank will be massively exposed for him to bang some crosses in.

Dwight Mcneil is a fantastic young talent with an absolute wand of a left-peg, defensively obviously not as sound as Calabria so he’ll just have to jockey the RW and try to slow him down, chase him out wide and try and force the cross, Neither of Fans wingers are known for their defensive out-put and with our LIF taking away the right-back, McNeil will have acres of space and bags of time to whip in those pin-point crosses, it’s not just Vlahovic to aim at he’ll have both of our inside forwards and Lorenzo Insigne loitering for the pull-back as well.

Neves and Biscuits are a great pivot, Busquests has been there and won everything, will use that vast experience to help us dominate the midfield, Neves is a far better player than he’s given credit for, has goals in the locker, and an amazing range of passing, long and short but this season he’s shown that he can be the DM the top sides would love, in the top 5 in the prem for tackles and interceptions. This duo will hold the middle and allow our WB’s to rampage forward, Neves the orchestrator will have 6 targets making the runs for him.

Insigne is the magician in the side, really low centre of gravity and a great burst of speed, a defenders nightmare, he’ll link the play, with 3 some-times 5 players ahead of him he can wreak absolute havoc in this game, little give and goes with big man Vlahovic pulling this Chelsea defence apart.

Berardi and Jota are our inside-forwards, it’s a dying position but when used properly it’s impossible to defend against, our wing-backs will run the line, these two taking the FB away, their wingers won’t track back so we’ll get all the over-laps to turn the tide of this fixture. Once the ball is on the opposite flank they attack the back stick, when it’s on there flank the move towards the penalty spot. Vlahovic is the 6 yard box poacher and with his size and frame theres always gonna be the knock-downs or rebounds to pounce on.

Vlahovic is the target-man, he’s the focal point the rest of the side bounces off, 21 goals in Serie A this season, only 3 less than Lukaku who did it in a title winning side. He has shown he can lead the line pretty much unsupported for a pooor fiotentina side, with the supporting cast he has playing off him today and with the love and adulation from our fans he can and will dominate this defence, we’ll get him his 1v1’s and he’ll punish the Chels.

Subs 65 mins:
Bernardo > Biscuits….Neves becomes the prime DM and Bernardo uses his vision and range from deep, we know have 2 of the very best long and short passes in the game working in tandem.
Pedro G > Jota…. 23 goals in 32 league games for sporting if you’re still chasing goals then this guy isn’t a bad bench option.
Koita > Vlahovic > absolutely rapid this guy, 14 goals in 17 games for Salzburg is a phenomenal strike rate

posted on 8/6/21

SOTON VS Newcastle

----------------------------------------Gulasci-----------------------------------
----------------Fofana--------Upamecano--------Badiashile-----------
Raphinha---------------Ndidi------------Valverde---------------Pulisic
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------Odegaard----------------------------------
--------------------Greenwood-----------------Rashford--------------------

Subs - Sessegnon, Dest, Curtis Jones, Kulusevski, Wirtz, Adama, Kean

CAPTAIN - RASHFORD
CK'S - ØDEGAARD
FK'S - ØDEGAARD
PENALTIES - RASHFORD

I want us to hold a deep defensive line to start of with so the oppo don't get an early goal. Keep things simple in the beginning and only pressure the oppo when they get in our half. When we have the ball I want the team to play pass and move football. Don't stay static, try and get in behind the oppo defence as there is a lot of pace in our attacking players. As the game goes on, when we don't have the ball I want the team to defend from the front line and pressure the oppo and try and win possession back. Do this in fits and bursts as it is a tiring tactic.

Defence
GK to be confident in box. Don't take risks. Punch the ball away if the shot is too powerful. Command your area. The back 3 is well balanced and full of pace and power. Fofana and Badiashile will be playing as the outside CB's and will look to close down the oppo wingers. Upamecano in the middle will marshall the defence and look to snuff out any attacks from the oppo striker/s. All 3 of these CB's are very good at playing from the back and I want them to use that ability if they have some space to dribble into from defence.

WINGBACKS
Raphinha and Pulisic are playing as wingbacks today. They are not defenders irl but both of them put a shift in defensively for their real life clubs and I want them to do that here. Your defending doesn't have to be flashy just stick close to the oppo wingers and stop them from getting past you, the DM's will be helping you a lot aswell. Both of you are rapid so if it's a foot race the oppo wants they'll be up against it! Fofana and Badiashile will be ready as the outside CB's to help you clear up any loose balls etc. Be vary of oppo fullbacks making overlapping runs as I want you to stick with them to stop them getting to the byline. One of our DM's will come over to mark the oppo winger who has the ball incase they don't use the overlapping fullbacks. As an attacking outlet I want Raphinha and Pulisic to play how wingbacks would normally play. Stay wide and make runs forward when given the opportunity. Try and whip some dangerous balls into the oppo area and use your pace to get back into defensive positions if the oppo try and hit us on a counter. Both of you can cut in from time to time if you want to into your stronger fits to give the oppo summat different to think about.

Defence Mids
Ndidi + Valverde
These 2 will be the main defensive force to cover our defence. When the oppo LW is attacking down the wings I want Ndidi to close him down and put a tackle in or stop him getting to the byline. Likewise with Valverde who will be tasked with the same job against the oppo RW. This will help sort our Raphinha and Pulisic's defensive vulnerability. If either Ndidi or Valverde are helping out on the wings I want the other DM to stay in the middle of the pitch and close down the oppo AM if they play one. When in possession pass the ball out to the wings or to Ødegaard who will drop deep from time to time. Valverde will be allowed to stretch his legs and run with the ball from deep if there is space to do so in the centre of the pitch. But he must not forget his main job which is to protect the defence.

Attack Mid
Martin Ødegaard
The Big Ø will be the playmaker and chance creator for our attackers. His technical ability on the ball is world class and he is the type of player that can run all match without getting tired. Off the ball I want him to press the oppo midfielders. When we have possession of the ball try and find space in the attacking third of the pitch for you to receive the ball and use your playmaking ability to create chances for the team. Look out for runs from our wingbacks and strikers and thread some pinpoint passes to them.

Strikers
Marcus Rashford MBE + Greenwood
These 2 blood brothers will be the main goalscorers of the team. Rashford is a striker that has the deadly combination of pace and finishing. He will look to use his pace to get the better of the oppo defence. Be vary of crosses into the box and try and get in front of your marker. Time your runs off the shoulders of the oppo CB's and use your pace to get away from them. Play quick pass and move combinations with your teammates to find spaces in the oppo defence.
Greenwood will use his physical ability and hold up play to bring others in to the game. He's a proper two footed striker equally as strong on his right as he is on his left so I don't want him to hesitate to shoot when he has an opportunity to shoot.


Subs if LOSING BY 65MINS
Put on Wirtz for Ndidi and Kulusevski for Pulisic to bring some more attacking impetus on. Play a high line and put a lot of pressure on the oppo to win the ball back. Adama Traore on for Raphinha aswell.

-------------------------------------Gulasci-----------------------
---------------Fofana---------Upamecano--------Badiashile----------
----------------------------------------Valverde--------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adama----------------Odegaard---------Wirtz-----------------Kulusev
-------------------------Greenwood------------Rashford-------------------

Subs if WINNING BY 60MINS
Take off Ødegaard and put on Curtis Jones in CM. Play defensive with everyone in our own half defending for their lives, waiting to hit the oppo on the counter attack. . Take the attacking wingbacks off and put on Dest and Sessegnon as defensive wingbacks who'll offer a lot more defensive stability.

--------------------------------------Gulasci-----------------------
----------------Fofana--------Upamecano--------Badiashile--------
Dest------------------Valverde----------Ndidi---------------------Sess
--------------------------------------Jones---------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------Greenwood---------Rashford----------------------

Subs if DRAWING BY 65MINS
Kulusevski on for Pulisic
Kean on for Greenwood
Wirtz on for Ødegaard
Fresh legs to bring on.

posted on 9/6/21

Portsmouth vs Leicester – 4-3-3 (inside forwards not wingers)

Second cup final of the season for Pompey after losing to the Chels in the Carabao Cup. Bit of a shock we’ve come this far after our heroics beating the wide-boys in the semi. Rof has got such a strong squad he can comfortably absorb the injuries he’s encountered but we can’t change or affect how he plays only how we play, so with that in mind we’re going to go with a fast paced 4-3-3, short slick passing, keep Leicester moving and exploit the spaces when the chances arrive.
We know RoF tends to go with his 4-3-3 so if that’s the case it’s fine we stand them up man for man, in his last game he went 3-5-2, if that’s how he plays it today it suits us fine as we’ll stretch the pitch and try and get in behind that way.

…………………………………………Ederson………………………..
Calabria……………..Milenkovic……..Romagnoli……….Angelino
……………………………………….Busquets……………………………
………………………Bernardo……………………..Kessie……………..
Ronaldo……………………………………………………………..Neymar
………………………………………Vlahovic…………………………

Subs: Pickford, Mancini, Phillips, McTominay, Goncalves, Belotti, McNeil

To win a big game, you need big game players and we’re packed with serial winners, Our Starting XI has cumulated a combined 556 international full caps, 7 international cups, 95 cups at their respective clubs and a whopping 32 league titles.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, I know it seems Bernardo and Kessie are on the wrong side but they’re not, Calabria is much better defensively than Angelino, so Kessie goes that side to help strengthen the left flank, the other advantage of having them on the opposite side is that should Rof’s wingers cut-inside to run across them, they’re actually running onto our men’s stronger feet.

We play a deep-line and hold the edge of the 18 yard line, no need to push high up the pitch and leave spaces in behind for Leicester to exploit, any ball squeezing through from just that short distance, Ederson will be on his toes and off his line.

Ederson – is the perfect sweeper keeper, super duper fast off his line to collect any loose balls, Don’t do anything daft, just keep it simple, a very clever player he has the freedom to play the short sharp passes or the little dinks into space over the top.


Calabria and Angelino are given the freedom to attack, they’re effectively playing as wing-backs when we have possession, but I don’t want them just charging, we have wingers in those spaces, this is a disciplined attack they move forward with the ball/ball carrier, always providing that outlet as Rof looks to hit us with his press, When we have the ball Busquets takes 5 steps back and becomes a 3rd CB, we now have a makeshift diamond-shape for passing triangles between the midfield 3 and the FB’s as the ball moves forward they go forward and create a new diamond shape with the wingers and CM’s (Busquets is no longer the base)
Defensively they can’t expect too much help from our wingers but we have a hard working midfield to help the double-up so whilst they can’t allow “their man” too much time on the ball they’re free to “jockey” until support arrives.

The midfield-three is all about combinations, the experience and winning mentality of Busquets, the lung bursting all action exploits of Franck the tank and then Bernardo with the magic wand of a left boot, Busquets will dictate the play in the first stage moving us on and being that vocal influence all sides need, but he won’t be advancing past half-way he’ll sit in and allow our FB’s the freedom. Kessie is a pure specimen and goes B2B today, great defensively and always a good shout for a goal he’s a tough man to close down and can turn the tide in the midfield battle single-handedly. Bernardo is given a free-role, he’s too good to be tied in a single position so has that flexibility to get forwards and support the front three, but he has to be willing to run back, we’re not expecting Maldini-esque defending but HE WILL put a shift in for the team and harry his man if nothing else.
That midfield three pretty much makes us a 4-2-3-1 but it’s more a 4-1-2-3 – Busquets is the safety first option, Kessie the power and Bernardo the glory.

The trident up top have absolutely everything to make them a frightening prospect, most teams double up on Ronaldo to stop him, (try and stop him) but how can you do that and mark Neymar to?
Ronaldo and Neymar are inside-forwards, they start wide and we want them drifting inside taking the full-back with them and creating the over-laps for our FB’s to get into, I know it may be over-loaded with 2 men plus Bernardo centrally but these three have the awareness to be flexible and spot the spaces to run into and to be honest the 3 way interchanges of play should be exciting to watch. Vlahovic is our no-nonsense old school #9 6ft2 and a bag of goals for Fiorentina he’ll look to bully Rof’s centre-backs, 21 goals from 42 shots on target show this lad has all the credentials to be a top top hitman. And with Neymar 9 goals from 21 and Ronaldo 29 from 68, anything loose in the foxes box(es) is getting hit and punished.


Defensively Vlahovic will try to cover both CB’s, if they spread too far go to the defender without the ball (or least likely to have it) CR7 and Neymar mark the LB/RB respectively. Bernardo and Kessie tuck in, Biscuits marks the AM/SS/#10 and our back-four go man for man, we’re well drilled and hard to breakdown, the only players unmarked are their keeper and one of the two CB’s what happens next is down to Lesta’s decision making, but we will compete for every secondary ball, hit them hard on their touch each and every single time, we have to be in their faces from the off, and get to them fast, really really fast 😊

Subs 70 Mins:
McTominay > Busquets – goes to anchor man just fresh legs and a massive frame for set-pieces (both sides)
Pedro G > Bernardo – like for like but with an additional goal threat
Belotti > Vlahovic - less target man, more ice cold finisher

comment by Welshy (U1348)

posted on 12/6/21

SHEFFIELD UNITED v Newcastle United


------------------------Patrício
Maehle, Andersen, T. Silva, Grimaldo
-------------Cristante, Höjbjerg
-Mahrez-----------James---------Mertens
-------------------------Suárez

Subs: Meret, Lamptey, Ampadu, Gallagher, Isco, Brandt, Ibrahimovic

Captain: Thiago Silva
Free Kicks: Mahrez/James/Mertens (Isco)
Penalties: Suárez (Ibrahimovic)

Our defensive unit consists of Joachim Andersen and Thiago Silva paired up at centre-back, Joakim Maehle at right-back and Álex Grimaldo at left-back, with Bryan Cristante and Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg as our midfield ‘double pivot’ screening them.

This ‘double pivot’ is the key to our team and in Cristante and Höjbjerg we have a perfect pairing to initiate attacks by distributing the ball in an intelligent fashion, to be key players in circulation and to prevent dangerous opposition attacks, being disciplined in positioning and limiting space in between the lines.

The strength of our double pivot is that Höjbjerg can press the ball without leaving lots of space, as Cristante can maintain a good position to react if the initial press is bypassed. Our double pivot will offer huge defensive stability and will ensure that a structured shape is maintained.

Having two defensive midfielders centrally prevents others being dragged out of position to press.

Helping the defenders maintain solid positioning is a key part of Höjbjerg's role, he will press almost anywhere in his own half to allow defenders to stay in the defensive line.

With Höjbjerg running his socks off for the team, our high tempo will be dictated by his partner in holding midfield, Bryan Cristante.

Cristante is not just your “win the ball and pass it on to the closest player” – there is a real creative mind in his locker, but it’s his ability to be the shield of the back four and then be creative once he gets the ball that makes Cristante such a talent.

The attacking unit consists of Riyad Mahrez, James Rodríguez and Dries Mertens as our band of three attacking midfielders with Luis Suárez as our lone central striker.

Our 4-2-3-1 is set up to have that wonderful ‘springy' quality - it absorbs pressure without breaking and then snaps back with surprising force.

In defence our 4-2-3-1 covers space very effectively, with the band of three attacking midfielders and centre forward able to press the opposition high up the pitch while the two defensive midfielders ensure that there is no space left in front of the defence. Then the back four can either play a high line, compressing the space even further, or drop deeper as preferred.

Once we have won the ball back, often by Cristante or Höjbjerg, then our 4-2-3-1 can spring into attack.

Maehle and Grimaldo can surge up the wings in the knowledge that Cristante and Höjbjerg can drop into the space left behind if needed. As they come up the wings, both Riyad Mahrez and Dries Mertens, who are excellent in tight spaces and fantastic dribblers will cut inside or make runs into the box.

James, our attacking central midfielder’s low centre of gravity will enable him to navigate away from defenders. James is blessed with an instant first touch and can dribble with the ball at such a close proximity to his feet that it makes him almost impossible to tackle this creative passer with his quick flicks and one-touch passing, will combine exceptionally well with Mahrez, Mertens & Suárez to create openings and goal scoring opportunities for each other.

Upfront, Suárez will be utilised to “bind” our oppositions defenders in place by occupying them with his positioning, to the point of blocking their defenders in order to create space for Mahrez, James & Mertens to exploit between the lines as this trio look to profit from Suárez’s off-the-ball actions.

Suárez will act as a focal point around which our team will build our attacks, using his strength to hold off their defenders. Suárez is proven adept at one-touch passing and quick flicks in combination play and of course Suárez’s stock in trade when the occasion calls for it – intelligent dummies to fool their defenders.

All 4 of our most advanced players are equally gifted in terms of assisting and scoring goals, and as thus we will not be purely reliant on Suárez on this front, although I expect of course for him to find the back of the net on a number of occasions.

Subs on 75 mins
Lamptey on for Maehle, Isco on for Mertens and Ibrahimovic on for Suárez

Triple substitution - Searing pace from Lamptey, sublime dribbling from Isco and a real focal point for the attacking midfielders in Ibrahimovic in the last 15 minutes to look to unlock the opposition’s defence for a late goal regardless of the score line.

comment by Sima Yi (U8966)

posted on 13/6/21

Newcastle 4-3-3 / 2-3-5


_____________Navas
Trent_____Dias______VVD_____Kostic
____________Casemiro
_______Llorente_____Gundogan
Salah_________Andre___________Son

Subs: Koke, Tomori, Fabian, Eriksen, Olmo, Coman, Raul

Today I’d like to take complete control of midfield, holding possession and stretch their back line while outnumbering every area of the middle third and final third of the pitch. Our full backs will play as inverted fullbacks assuming the role as box to box and pivoting midfielders, thereby pushing our midfielders further forwards creating a 5 man attack.

______________Navas
_________Dias_____VVD_______
____Trent____Casemiro_____Kostic
Salah__Llorente___Gundogan____Son
_______________Andre______________

By doing so I will always have an extra man in midfield, including wide passing options, creating overloads. It will also help us stretch the field wider as I would expect opposition players to drift in-field to try and mitigate the presence of the extra bodies in midfield leaving wide areas for our wide players to exploit. As such the wide players will be given instruction so hug the touchline when waiting to receive the ball, then they can cut in and play their natural game but providing pass options initially is a must.

I fully expect us to create difficulty for the opposition in assessing exactly how and where to cover space and how to effectively pressure the ball. Create pass options to drag players out of position when they struggle to cope with the extra man in midfield exploiting gaps between the lines.

Our attacks will be taking a very vertical approach which allows the attacking midfielders to receive the ball in space allowing us to hurt them. Our version of a vertical approach is passing the ball up and down the field, with players inviting pressure as they receive and release the ball thereby creating a gap for another player to move into to receive a recycled pass. Eventually a path to goal will appear and it’ll be up to the players to exploit that playing their natural games. The whole point of this system is about opening greater space in between the lines for the attacking midfielders to receive. The attacking midfielders will also be expected to break the lines and make runs beyond the striker to find space higher up the pitch creating goal-scoring opportunities. The fullbacks therefore have many options to pass to, the 9, the 10s, and out wide depending on the natural movements of the players.

Defensive stability is very important to the way we want to play. One of the rules ultimately in football is you cannot score if you don’t have the ball, so we aim to keep the ball as much as possible with the ongoing ball recycling process of trying to drag players out of position finding space to exploit. When the opposition do gain possession they immediately face a block of five in the middle and our third of the pitch, quickly changing back to a standard 4-5-1 in two flat lines (plus the striker up top). Doing so will allow us to effectively defend our wide areas stopping any crosses coming in while congesting the middle enough for minimal gaps to appear between the lines. We press less to minimise the risk of gaps appearing but instead rely on cutting passing lanes and options. Once possession is regained, we immediately progress up the pitch and revert back to 2-3-5. The central defensive triangle of both CBs and the DM are good in the air capable of winning plenty of duels in the air as well as on the ground, in addition of course to their exceptional passing ability. It is important to have players that occupy those three positions that have on-the-ball intelligence, astute awareness of how to cover space in transition, and an aerial presence.

Subs.

65 mins - Koke on Gundogan off. Fresh legs.

70 mins losing/drawing - Eriksen on Llorente off. Better finisher in the box from midfield.

75 mins losing/drawing - Raul on Andre off. Better presence up top.

75 mins winning - Fabian on Llorente off. Fresh legs while not losing creative quality.

posted on 13/6/21

All action 4-3-3

We play a 4-3-3 to dominate possession, best form of defence is attack and them not having the ball. We know they’ve dangerous front men, but their work shy and so we look to play attacking, with a high line, and press high up the park. Exploit the space behind their front 3 with our pace and high energy to get at their defence, we have some of the best defenders out to deal with their threat. Limit their chances on the ball and when they do get on the ball they’ll more often be far from goal and have it all to do.

We have a great mix of physicality and technical ability in midfield, but more importantly we’ve got ball playing defenders which is critical for a possession game, that and pace up top to stretch the opposition. The wingers stay high and wide in the first two thirds of the park.

Tino likes to mix it up, so we focus on our own all action possession game, an all signing all dancing energy approach fit for a final to entertain. Frustrate Portsmouth by keeping the ball, we know Tino will love an excuse to shout at Busquets and Neymar who are sure to play.

As you’d expect possession always starts with the defence and we will be patient in the first two thirds of the park, this means we will move the ball quickly and at pace but will not force the play, let them chase us tiring them physically and mentally. Fernandes is the exception as we give him freedom to play more direct balls from deeper areas.

In the final third we give all players freedom to use their quality to create and produce magic to open up the opposition. One fb gets forward at a time.

Up top we go with a front 3 full of pace, the wingers stay high and wide in possession, stretching Pompey’s defence and setting the side up perfectly for the possession play.

In defence Rodri drops behind the other two cms who press the play as the trio narrow, similarly in attack Rodri stays deepest but the trio do not play so narrow. We have a defence full of pace and great energy in front so play a reasonably high line, helping us press in high areas, and aiding distribution out from the back line.

Laporte the man marker as he is the stronger physically and can dominate in the air next to Marquinhos who is free to use his reading of the game and pace to sweep up. In midfield, the trio narrow in front with the cm opposite play dropping behind, allowing the other two to press with cover. Closing down the space, narrowing to the side of play. Win the ball back from Pompey quickly before they can get anywhere.

Quick passing and moving to find space in between the opposition lines. Using the pace of our wingers and fbs (one forward at a time) to create space in attack.

We have a fluid front three, who can switch positions or drop deep to collect the ball from midfield. This fluidity will help the players to get away from their markers, catch the opposition out and create space.

As we move forward we get quick one twos in the opposition half. Mount supports creating and linking the play, Fernandes gets in and around the box looking for the final ball or shooting.

Positional structure and technical ability will be key to our quick passing possession gameplan going forward. Our approach in build up is to play a flexible asymmetric shape, giving bodies on different lines to increase the options we have in possession, and to create gaps in the opposition, and space for our players.

————————————— Allison ———————————
Carvajal — Marquinhos —— Laporte —— Alaba
————————————— Rodri ————————————
—————— B.Fernandes —— M.Mount —————
—————————————————————————————
Sterling —————— L.Martinez ————— Gnabry


Subs. Henderson, Theo, R.James, Thiago, Felix, Bale, Osimhen

Defending high

When we lose possession the closest player presses the ball, the second closest presses the obvious passing channel. As they’re doing this everyone gets into a narrow rigid formation behind the ball in position to press high up the park. Stop them breaking and press them high up the park.

In a narrow, rigid formation, we will look to press the space, not allowing them options. Keep them from advancing to positions and where they can’t hurt us. Then break quickly in these high positions when we do win the ball.

As Pompey advance into higher areas and into our half, our shape will resemble a 4-1-3-2. Winger on the side of play drops deep and Rodri drops behind the other two cms pressing the space behind the two cms pressing the ball, sweeping up danger behind them and in front of the defence.

Lautaro and the remaining wide forward in the space in between the opposition defence and midfield, and either side of their dm. This will make it difficult for their to dm to circulate possession back to their defence.

The wide man on the side of play that drops and the two cms (Mount and Fernandes) are the trio pressing the ball, force Pompey backwards. With two forwards left up this is where we look to press the opposition into mistakes and win the ball in high areas.

When Tino’s boys get past the initial press higher up the park, we drop deeper into a narrower tighter formation narrowing to the side of play, ensuring there are no gaps in the formation. Our fb’s have fantastic pace up against their wide forwards, bide their time, not diving in.


Subs.


If winning after 70 mins bring on Osimhen for Lautaro. More pace and power up top. And height for defending and attacking set pieces.
If winning after 75 mins bring on Thiago for Mount. Strong defensively and hard working, fresh energy in Cm.
If winning after 75 mins bring on Bale for Sterling, fresh pace and big game player. More height to defend and attack set pieces.

If drawing after 70 mins bring on Theo for Alaba. More attacking lb and fresh pace.
If drawing after 75 mins bring on Felix for Mount.
If drawing after 75 mins bring on Bale for Sterling.

If losing after 65 mins bring on Thiago for Rodri. Thiago to dm. More attacking and control.
If losing after 70 mins bring on Bale for Carvajal. 3 at back with Alaba 3rd cb. Bale plays left wing, Sterling right.
If losing after 75 mins bring on Osimhen for Sterling. Gnabry to right wing.

pens:

1. Bruno Fernandes - pk king
2. Marquinhos - big game player and leader
3. Lautaro - our talisman
4. Gnabry - big game player and German
5. Bale - big game player
6. Alaba - big game player and as good as German
7. Osimhen / Felix / Theo

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