TECHNIQUE AND TACTICS

How to study the offensive game in football: a case study of EPL teams

Author: Joao Nuno Fonseca

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Every team in the World that has possession of the ball is going to try to create the best situations to be able to have success. In view of the players’ characteristics, the interpretation that is formed of the moment of the game as well as the awareness of the opponent, this is going to lead to positional superiority being generated.

During the offensive process the movement behaviors of the players must always be contextualized within the chaotic aspect which is the game. There must be the capability of demanding from the players that which they can effectively do and at the same time giving them creativity to surprise themselves and the team. Let’s see an example of FC Barcelona where in the vertex of the midfield triangle Sérgio Busquets appears as the deepest player in the field of play, which becomes essential in the starting process of the offensive play.

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It is possible to comprehend that his behaviors assume a decisive protagonism, because pursuant to the needs (the pressure from the opponent in the 1st phase) he positions himself so that the players of the 1st building phase (center-backs and goalkeepers) always have the possibility of finding him behind the line of pressure. He helps them when their time for execution, in certain moments of the game, is more limited due to pressure from the opponent.

Let’s now see an example of Manchester City with David Silva – one of the best center-midfielders that is capable of decisively advancing with the ball into the opposite half. Without running large distances, he sees the moment in which he can appear “on the blind side” of the opponent.

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Good players don‘t conceive specific areas for exhibiting their qualities. For them the perception of the moment of the game creates their own area of intervention.

In the same way it is possible to see that Antonio Conte’s aim, with this Chelsea playing with the formation of the players with 3 central defenders is clear: breaking up my own team’s players to simultaneously be able to also break up the opponent’s defensive lines, i.e., seeing the moment in which the opponent intentionally positions themselves to recover the possession of the ball and attack the space.

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Teams with this positioning in the game show tremendous tactical wealth because above all they develop offensive processes whilst taking the context and the moment of the game into account. They tend to not always apply the same idea for resolving the problems of pressure that the opponent causes. I am talking about sensations that the game itself transmits, because each game is a game that shall never happen in the same way again.

What will always determine the quality of the offensive process shall be the way that the players relate to each other.

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Joao Nuno Fonseca
Senior Football Match Analyst

Joao Nuno Fonseca hold an MSc in Sports Training with specialisation in Football under the guidance of the Professor Jose Guilherme. Start his professional career during University in Academica de Coimbra – 1st Division Portugal, as match analyst for the historical club. Won the Portuguese Cup in 2012 against Sporting Lisbon. Currently is Senior Football Match Analyst for ASPIRE Academy in Doha – Qatar and U19 Qatar National Team.

www.joaonunofonseca.com