The tactics thread

MutableEarth

Reiss' Dad
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Can't diagree with most of that honestly, but a lot of these problems are coaching isssues and can be worked on in training. Ceballos seems to bring similar upsides as Xhaka but with fewer downsides.
He's certainly more agile than Xhaka, that alone is a huge advantage. And I agree, Emery was probably not the coach Ceballos needed. Arteta I feel will give him a more focused game when fit. I actually thought of Ceballos when Arteta came in and thought about how he can be used differently. I think as a deeper lying player he's a much bigger threat. I can see him being used similar to Xhaka if the latter leaves.
 

CaseUteinberger

Cazorla (not Cazorla ffs)
Why can we not keep the tactics thread for discussing tactics and not pro and cons of individual players. We have plenty of threads for that?

Just a thought...
 

Tir Na Nog

Changes Opinion Every 5 Minutes

This is interesting, however it looks fairly similar to the positioning from last years fixture vs Bournemouth when Emery was in charge. Which I thought was interesting. Because I don't think we've seen anything similar this season however it is interesting that we did look like this is one of the fixtures from last year.

EMzkbxfWkAEkUU1
 

MutableEarth

Reiss' Dad
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This is interesting, however it looks fairly similar to the positioning from last years fixture vs Bournemouth when Emery was in charge. Which I thought was interesting. Because I don't think we've seen anything similar this season however it is interesting that we did look like this is one of the fixtures from last year.

EMzkbxfWkAEkUU1
I can definitely see some small overlap. I think analyzing the major difference requires a bit more nuance and is overall more focused on the different profiles involved and their functions in each team. The main constant here is Xhaka and Torreira, and even their roles have been tweaked in a really short space of time. They were pretty basic but effective in the match I thought, kept it quite simple and leaned on their strengths. Some of Xhaka's passes into the frontmen were the kind of passes we needed to see from him.

Also, factor in that the formation for the match itself was a 3-4-3, which is consistent with the shape here.
 

CaseUteinberger

Cazorla (not Cazorla ffs)
This is interesting, however it looks fairly similar to the positioning from last years fixture vs Bournemouth when Emery was in charge. Which I thought was interesting. Because I don't think we've seen anything similar this season however it is interesting that we did look like this is one of the fixtures from last year.

EMzkbxfWkAEkUU1
I think they are quite different to be honest. The one from the weekend is less offensive and weighted to more attack over Saka’s right side. Or am I reading these incorrect?
 
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Garrincha

Wilf Zaha Aficionado
Trusted
Bournemouth did look more than happy for us to have it up to their final third. Lerma would retreat to the same area each time.
 

DJ_Markstar

Established Member
Why can we not keep the tactics thread for discussing tactics and not pro and cons of individual players. We have plenty of threads for that?

Just a thought...

Tactics are actually solely based on the strengths and weaknesses of the players, and necessarily play an intricate part.

I think this is a pretty weak criticism.
 

CaseUteinberger

Cazorla (not Cazorla ffs)
It's a fair point, however tactical discussions will inevitably be coloured by analysis of the players involved.
Agree, but feel that it is a bit of a dead end when it comes to a tactics thread as then we end up discussing each player and where they might best play which we do in all the other threads also. I personally don’t know all that much about tactics other than what I’ve picked up via books recommended here like ‘Inverting the Pyramid’ for example and by listening to TV and podcasts. Unfortunately most isn’t very in-depth.
 

CaseUteinberger

Cazorla (not Cazorla ffs)
Tactics are actually solely based on the strengths and weaknesses of the players, and necessarily play an intricate part.

I think this is a pretty weak criticism.
Wouldn’t agree. Sure players will dictate what tactics you can use, but the various tactics are something different. Think we discuss various players strengths and weaknesses ad nauseam in other threads.

Plus my comment wasn’t criticism but just an observation and request.
 

Football Manager

Copy & Paste Merchant
Why Arteta prefers Xhaka and Torreira until Willock and Guendouzi are well coached and ready:
If you divide the pitch into 5 sections.

One in the middle, two half space, and two flanks.
i281756464732436692._szw1280h1280_.jpg


Arteta wants his central midfielder always position himself in the middle area. And in rare occasions he is allowed to be in the half space. But he should never leave his assigned position to defend or make passes at the flanks.


It does not mean that players can’t make movement at all. But before they reach the final third, they have to move within a specific assigned area, relative to where the ball, and where their opponent and their teammates are.


Arteta require his central midfielder to be intelligent and tactically discipline to be within their zone (he would probably divide the pitch into more sections to train and instruct his player), to provide passing options and cover the defence in transition. This absolute discipline in positioning and movement is what Arteta wants.


Henry on Guardiola‘s training:


“Basically from training to the game, up until the last third, he [Guardiola] used to call it the ‘three Ps’ - play, possession and position. And the most important one was position. You have to stay in your position, trust your team-mates and allow the ball to come to you.


Willock and Guendouzi are almost always in the wrong position. They like to roam around and Arteta would never allow that freedom.


Players Arteta wouldn’t wants are box to box with no tactical discipline, moving freely vertically and horizontally on the pitch, leaving space and gap for the opponent to exploit. Also, no one occupying their original assigned space also means we have less passing options when we want to build possession.

Our midfielders:
For Xhaka replacement, we have to search for a good passer in the midfield, and he has to be defensively good enough to play as a defender as he drops deep. Weigl would be my pick as he has played in both position with strong passing ability.


As for Torreira’s position, we need someone with good passing quality and ability to protect the defensive line. We can either keep him or have Tonali playing in that role. Tonali is a much better passer and unlike most technical midfielders who are less capable in defending, he has more energy in him and actually not bad at defending in the midfield. @OnlyOne suggested Ruben Neves, I think he would be a very good fit for either of the Xhaka or Torreira role.


One advantage of using inverted fullbacks is that the fullbacks are now occupying the midfield position, it means Özil can push further up with less defensive duties (although he still need to help with pressing), which he is closer to the final third and can focus on attacking. Szoboszlai and Aouar should be someone we have to get if we want to move Özil on.

A bit on the general philosophy:
i281756464732436692._szw1280h1280_.jpg

Because the goal is in the middle, so the middle of the pitch is the most dangerous area. But it will also be the most congested area.


That’s why you need width to open it up. But too many players on the flanks are not good, since the wide areas are not the most dangerous areas.


So Guardiola will put a maximum of one wide player as wide as possible, hugging the touch line on each flanks, to provide width and passing options (only one player on each side).


There are two ways that he would achieve that:


1 the wingers stay wide, the wingbacks tuck in as central midfielders, and central midfielders push up to attack the half space. OR


2 the wingers drift inside to occupy the half space, the wingbacks stays wide, moving up and down vertically, and the central midfielders stays as central midfielders.


3 a combination of 1&2


Interesting to see which way Arteta will choose. Which wide players he would pick will depend on that.

On our striker:
Lacazette and Aubameyang are clearly not the type of strikers Arteta likes. He wants a skillful striker with good teamwork, who can drop deep to create overload in the midfield, a false 9. To me, Gouiri is the perfect fit for this role.
Any other good false 9 available in the market?They all seems to be very expensive.
 
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CaseUteinberger

Cazorla (not Cazorla ffs)
Why Arteta prefers Xhaka and Torreira until Willock and Guendouzi are well coached and ready:


Our midfielders:


A bit on the general philosophy:


On our striker:
It will be interesting to see tomorrow if Arteta has been able to implement any of this. Guess a couple of trainings are not nearly enough but hopefully we can see some baby steps and some improvements in overall structure.
 

Divided_Pie

Well-Known Member
In terms of providing proper width and spacing the way Arteta favors things:

I think with this team and current injuries I think it will continue to be a combination of :

a) one winger drifting inside, with the wingback on that side pushing forward and providing width (Auba and Saka left, or Pepe and Bellerin right), and

b) one winger staying wide, with the wingback on that side tucking in to midfield (Nelson and AMN right, or Martinelli and AMN left).
 

albakos

Arséne Wenger: "I will miss you"
Administrator
While reading some Q&A with Rafa at The Athletic, there were some good answers. Obviously he didn't go into revealing his secrets, but it provided for some interesting nuggets, which then compared to our situation in our team, help you understand the issues a bit better.

Hi, Mr. Benitez. Just after you wrote on how to beat Manchester City, Norwich did so. I have a question regarding high lines. Is high line a good option when playing a quick team like Liverpool or is it better to sit deep and counter?

Rafa: It depends on the players that you have. If you have pace in attack, you can wait a little bit deeper. But if you have pace in defence, you can be more aggressive and play higher. There is not just one way to beat these teams – it depends on your players – you have to find the way that works.

It goes to explain the hugely unbalanced team that Emery left us with. While we have plenty of pace in attack, you cannot sit too deep, as our clownish defence are leaking goals like a sieve.

The 4-3-3 was the dominant formation in Premier League football in the not-too-distant past – but now the 5-3-2 (or 3-5-2, however you look at it) appears to have taken over the reins. What do you believe the next tactical innovation to be widely adopted across the league will be?

Rafa:I think that people tried to replicate the 4-3-3 system because the top sides are so strong now. A lot of managers will recognise that one of the best ways to try and stop the top sides is by playing with five at the back because then you have one extra player in defence. The key is the balance. We were playing five in the back at Newcastle, but in attack it is a 3-4-3 formation. That is crucial to find the balance to defend with numbers, and then attack with numbers too.

Hello Rafa. What obstacle that you have faced in your career – for example, a difficult season – do you believe you learned the most from?

Rafa: I think the most difficult time was at Inter Milan. I had 15 players over 30 and they had won the treble the season before so, to convince them to keep going without any help from the board was a difficult challenge. Maybe it helped me in the future because it helped the way I approached other teams I managed.
Something our team needs to address in next year or so.

Rafa in 2009 we had a great chance to win the lge. Why did u sell Robbie Keane, which meant we were left relying on El Zhar. Also the thoughts on chasing Gareth Barry, which led to Xabi Alonso leaving. 2 strange decisions that left us in a bad state. Always loved what u did for us but the timing of the 2 decisions left me confused.

It was clear that the understanding between Keane and Torres was not ideal and we needed to change that quickly because it was a very expensive signing for us that was not working. Torres was a faster striker and Keane used to play around Berbatov, and they were two different kinds of players. We needed to react quickly to something that was not good enough for the team in the end. The Barry story is something that still people don’t understand. Barry had been playing for years at his maximum level and, at this time, he could play in three positions – midfielder, winger and left back. We had Mascherano, Lucas Leiva and Gerrard with experience, and selling Alonso was a way to make some money and balance the team. Barry wasn’t to replace Alonso, he was to give us something different that we didn’t have at this time.
Nice escape by Rafa

Links to Q&A articles

Rafa Benitez Q&A: Liverpool 2005 v 2019, players I’ve coveted, Celtic rumours, a Premier League return?
Rafa Benitez Q&A: Bielsa’s Leeds, Emery’s challenge at Arsenal, Lampard and Gerrard’s managerial potential
 

Tir Na Nog

Changes Opinion Every 5 Minutes
Was very very impressed by what I saw on Sunday, well for the majority of the game, we lost our way a bit but it's to be expected.

So tight, compact and the shape was really good in a defensive sense. The major problem is that we don't have the right profiles in a few positions. Obviously FB's Maitland-Niles is doing quite well these past few games, Saka is doing kinda alright but ideally you want proper FB's. Luiz will make mistakes but I liked his performance vs Chelsea, when you're down to Mustafi tho you're just waiting for him to do something stupid but praying someone will bail him out. Still not convinced about Torreira as the 6 long-term, lacks in both the technical and physical aspects, does alright in what he's good at, anticipating, intercepting, being a real work-horse but you feel he just lacks in two vital aspects. Guendouzi is just nowhere near good enough at this stage, he lacks in so much, Xhaka is miles clear at this stage but either way it highlights the urgency for another player in midfield. You could argue we need another winger tho our options are pretty good, hopefully we can get to a stage where we can put Auba at CF.

But even there I've highlighted several positions we need strengthening in to achieve what Arteta wants us to be because if you have weak areas they'll cost you. At best we'll become a poor version of the 16/17 City side who for all their quality was let down by their poor FB's, mistakes from Stones and the fact that their wingers weren't contributing enough at that stage. It wasn't till the following season which Sterling really exploded for example.

Only thing you can say is that we're actually in a better position in terms of FB's, it's just about getting them fit, tho that seems to be a massive issue to the extent where I'm questioning if Bellerin is worth relying on? With Tierney it's a bit different, his injury vs West Ham was a freak injury and plenty of Celtic fans have assured me he's not injury prone. CB, we need at least one, preferably in this window. We do have to get rid of a couple in saying that but I'm sure there'd be a few suitors for Holding and Mavropanos (I'm sorry lads but they're not good enough, let's stop kidding ourselves here).

Arteta's gonna need to backing tho, if we're in a position where we still have liabilities on the pitch then there's a ceiling to how much we can improve. You can even see that City now, as good as they are all over the pitch they're suffering because of their current options at the back, not having a suitable alternative to Laporte, not preparing for Kompany's departure, not having the best LB options available to them is costing them and has them out of the title race already. And think about how far ahead they are in terms of quality all over the pitch elsewhere.
 

Tir Na Nog

Changes Opinion Every 5 Minutes
This guy makes a good point.


This is the ideal shape for us in order to get numerical advantages in the attacking 3rd. Perhaps why Arteta has even been favouring Auba on the left because when we attack and Saka is making up the extra attacker so we can outnumber the opposition defensive line then Auba will end up relatively central anyways. Attacking like this almost makes Saka an Nelson the wing-backs when we have the ball with AMN coming a bit more central. Of course when we're defending it'll revert back to its normal shape but this idea will help us have more options in the attackin 3rd which I feel is something we lacked.

Perhaps the reason we could replicate this vs Chelsea is because of the threat of Willian, it even forced Auba to come wider and his average position was wider and deeper than that of against Bournemouth who perhaps don't really have the same danger as Chelsea do on the transition. It's also a reason why we could need more athletic CB's and CM's so that when we do attack with Saka being the extra defender there's guys behind him who can cover his position and help stop transitions really impacting us.

This setup could also be part of why Arteta is preferring Nelson, he's essentially playing as a wing-back almost, or at the very least Arteta needs his RW to stay as wide as possible in order to stretch the opposition defence giving space for our more central attackers to exploit. While Pepe is someone who's best coming inside the whole time and if you keep him as wide as possible it doesn't really get the best out of him. Nelson's work-rate also helps but it's possibly not as deciding of a factor as him being a right footer and more natural in terms of maintaining width.
 

ptrcopp

Well-Known Member
It was never the players.

There were moments before Chelsea where it was obvious.

I did think the team was unbalanced.

But if you put the players into a system where you’re playing to their strengths you get sentient performances
 

Lady_Gooner

Posting While Meditating
Trusted
I may be wrong, but didn’t Liverpool under klopp at the beginning used to be really good in the first half then tire? Now they can put it all together. Or was that Rodgers?
Know we are a wayyyyyyy long way off of that but it’s the pace and power era now... hopefully we can build to that
 

yousif_arsenal

King of Twitter Rumours
Moderator
I may be wrong, but didn’t Liverpool under klopp at the beginning used to be really good in the first half then tire? Now they can put it all together. Or was that Rodgers?
Know we are a wayyyyyyy long way off of that but it’s the pace and power era now... hopefully we can build to that
Yes took klopp while to get them to this fitness level also he have players like Fabinho Henderson Gini that can run all day
 

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