Now, let's look at some these in action. Here is a match between Soton and Manchester United in September of 2013. We'll start at the beginning of the play.
Image #1 - Boruc starts of the play from the back, passing it to the Central defender. The wing players for Manchester United are playing close to our fullbacks, the striker and attacking mid is playing on Wanyama and the DLP(Ward-Prowse) is on the other side of the formation with the B2B player(Schneiderlin) pushing forward. The central defender takes a long pass to the AP on the wing.
Gaston Ramirez now has many options and there is a lot going on with this play. The RB is not coming up the pitch, so Ramirez has plenty of time. The RB is playing narrow for United as well, a result of the AP sliding into a more narrow position. Now with the RB narrow and the Right winger not marking tightly, Luke Shaw pushes forward into the space. Rickie Lambert is playing the DLF position and notices space that Phil Jones(DM) is leaving when he goes to mark Schneiderlin(The B2B). With Schneiderlin pushing forward in his role, it drags the DM out of position. Also, the Center half is playing tight on Lambert and is going to be dragged out of position, with this the LB has to replace. This leaves a sticky situation for the LB, either stay wide for the IF or replace to stop the DLP who is pushing forward into space. He will choose to replace, which leaves huge spaces on the right side of the pitch. Wanyama and Clyne will replace the two areas that were left open.
Lambert receives the pass from Ramirez and plays it quick to the feet of Schneiderlin, who will send a beautiful pass to Rodriguez who will open up Manchester United quickly.
A Clear Cut Chance but De Gea will make a great save to keep us off the scoreboard.
Video Clip #2 -
We were sort of stumped on this attack, United has a very solid defense and they started a more defensive lineup. Rickie Lambert was pushed wide and we didn't really have an answer. Rickie Lambert ends up throwing a cross in and trying to make something happen. I probably would have liked him to play the ball to the FB(Image #1, example 2) but this is where we start with the clips.
Image #1 -
We see Phil Jones head out the cross from Lambert, we now see Wanyama moving forward to win the ball back. Luckily we have a huge advantage in this match up because the ball is headed to Juan Mata. We will take that match up. Also notice the positioning of our other players, our fullbacks are pushed far up the pitch, which we want. This forces United down into their own box to defend. Also look at Schneiderlin drifting into the holes in the defense.
Wanyama easily wins the header and gets it to James Ward Prowse who is sitting on the edge of the box. He will play a ball right back to Lambert who is loads of space. Rodriguez has continually pulled the FB inside from his position and Carrick is sort of lost in the motion. If you notice, this puts the Winger(Valencia) in a contradiction. He can't drop down on Lambert or mark Clyne, what he ends up doing his try to close down Prowse but it's too late.
Lambert has a choice here, he can either throw in another cross or pull it back to Schneiderlin. The movement of the ball causes the Center halfs to reorganize and get in front of goal. What happens is that it Rodriguez will find loads of space due to the FB having to close down on Lambert and the Center half closing down the space that was left open.(Not the best organized line either here by United, lots of space. Could be from our movement and winning the ball back quickly or just a poor movement). Lambert picks out Schneiderlin. The choices that Lambert had puts Carrick in a tough position, he ends up drifting back thinking it's going to be a cross to Ramirez. This gives just enough space for Schneiderlin.
Rodriguez is wide open without anyone marking him about 8 yards from the goal. Schneiderlin who has a decent first touch pass picks him out perfectly.
Rodriguez has another Clear Cut Chance on goal but De Gea makes another great save. We actually don't score in this match even though we have over 4 CCCs and 3 half chances. A terrible back pass from our Center Halfs allow Rooney a 1 on 1 and United wins the match 1-0, even though we played a very good game. It was just one of those games.
The point of this images is that we aren't necessarily looking to win possession, we're looking to pass the ball around and get great chances on goal while looking good doing it. We want to win the ball quickly and force a move on goal quick. This is a quick strike offense, while we can win the possession battle, it's almost non stop. The defensive side of it looks better than what it sounds, but the basis of the defense is not allowing the back four including the keeper time to relax on the ball, then believing that we can win the midfield battle.
Since we have gone over the tactics, I believe it's time to talk about the players, staff, and the most important thing we want to do, and that's the youth system.
Part Three- coming soon
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