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The Coaches Notepad

Defensive Balance

by admin 11 Nov 2018 0 Comments
Newcastle United…

Having only watched 55 minutes of the Tyne-wear derby I have to be very honest, I really really enjoyed it. However, did i enjoy it for its enormous amounts of technical quality, did i enjoy it for its tactical chess like feeling.. Or did I enjoy the physicality and ambition of Sunderland? Probably the last.

Defensive Balance?

In an era of evolution in football, one thing that has remained ever present is successful sides defensive balance. Respecting the need for defensive balance and a defensive structure to support the beautiful attacking game we see today. Teams who posses that beautiful attacking flavour, but lack the defensive balance very rarely win titles..Liverpool..Arsenal…

Sunderland V Newcastle? As previously mentioned having only watched 55minutes of the game it is difficult to comment on the full performance of both sides, however, I was shocked at the lack of understanding and application from Newcastle out of possession. Now it was easy to see Sunderland played 3 very narrow central strikers and In doing so created Newcastle problems in central areas, so excusably they may be exposed early on ? However not to adjust the system to protect against the front 3 was catastrophic.

Now lets look at 4 separate occasions in the last 50 minutes of the game.

Here not only has a centre back been sucked out of his position leaving space in the depth behind, there are 3 Newcastle midfield players within 5 yards. A Holding midfield player should be 1.) Looking to cover the are in front of the CB’s taking up a position that prevents the team in posse📷ssion playing centrally in to the striker whilst deflecting the player wide 2.) Engaging players delaying them and trying to steal possession if possible.  Here 4 players have been sucked out then leaving space for the attacking player to run on to.

The second situation is as painful for Newcastle fans as the first. Now as a central defender or a recovering player you first prioritise the goal, So central areas? Okay now can I engage the ball? Fine one of my team mates can engage the ball? Is there a third man runner can i Support. So why have two premier league central backs made identical recovery runs in to📷 the same position? This just shows the real lack of defensive organisation at Newcastle and the chaos that it’s causing.

Now the next one isn’t as painful as the previous 2 ( I promise you). Now the biggest problem for me here is the two central midfield players, out of possession as previously mentioned they need to provide structure and they need to provide support, knowing Sunderland are playing a central front 3 they should be looking to overload the central areas and force Su📷nderland to play in the wide areas, Make the opposition play in areas they don’t want to play. Central midfield players shouldn’t be stationary parallel with central defenders. Coming 5 yards wider provides extra support blocking passing lines it helps prevent a 2v1 in the wide area but it also gives Sunderland less space to play in, increasing the difficulty for the opposition.

Now lets look at the goal, Great technique, Unbelievable Strike. However lets get away from how good the goal was and look at this 📷defensively.  Okay.. So we are playing Sunderland today, Pantillimon? What springs to mind.. Tall.. Huge Goal Kicks.. So straight away the Newcastle Coaching staff should be thinking about the importance of winning not only the first ball but the second ball. Long ball’s aren’t lucky they’re skillful. not only do you need to win the first ball but you need to react quickly and effectively to the second ball. As you can see the two recovering midfield players are side by side knowing the ball is traveling in the CB’s. Now an effective defensive unit recognise that and pick up positions covering space to prevent the opposition winning the second ball. Also making sure if for some reason the ball does fall in to the oppositions possession they’re in a good enough position to press and make life difficult for the player in possession. Also by covering that space the team can then cut supply to that player and force a mistake or regain possession through a heavy touch.

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