Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Antony is missing his signature move

May 23, 2023 — Antony’s signature large touch to the left to open up space has been missing since he joined Manchester United, and he missed two opportunities to relive his Ajax years against Bournemouth.

Figure 1.1 - Antony is shown outside to the corner by Lloyd Kelly. He has the option to cut inside for a shot at this point.

Antony in this moment had the opportunity to cut inside. Large touch to the left, settle the feet and hips, shot far-post either driven on the ground or towards the top left hand corner.

A signature Antony move. One that he passes on for the predictable move to the right.

Figure 1.2 - Lloyd Kelly readies his feet to launch off his back-right foot.
Figure 1.3 - Antony telegraphs his move to the right by raising his right leg.
Figure 1.4 - Lloyd Kelly has enough warning to anticipate the move to the right, and blocks Antony's attempted shot.
  • Point the top of your right foot towards Antony, to protect the inside move.
  • Have the left foot pointed to the left, to ready your stance for the lunge to the left.
  • Wait for Antony to make the first move before committing to one side.
  • Launch off your right heel to quickly lunge at the ball for the block.

Lloyd Kelly does all of this perfectly.

As many other defenders do when marking Antony 1v1, they show him outside. Don’t let Antony cut in on his favored left foot because he won’t use his weak right foot, and when he does it’s normally not accurate.

Figure 2.1 - Antony receives the ball and has the opportunity to cut inside on his left foot.
Figure 2.2 - Antony decides to drive towards Lloyd Kelly, which allows Kelly to ready the lower half of his body for the touch inside.
Figure 2.3 - Lloyd Kelly cuts down the distance between him and Antony, and then blocks the attempted shot.

Not only does Antony ignore Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst; he again makes the mistake of allowing Lloyd Kelly to close down the space.

He had the opportunity to cut left, open up space, and then evaluate whether or not the pass or shot was the best option. An opportunity he would normally take when he played at Ajax, this season and last season.

Figure 3.1 - Antony drives inside, and then takes a large touch inside, to distance himself from his marker.
Figure 3.2 - Antony's touch gives him the room to get off a shot, and scores.

Vintage Antony. He needs this amount of space to be effective, and he is the one to decide whether or not he receives that space based on the weight of his touch.

Drive with the left foot, large touch to the left with his back right heel used as the spring to accelerate, and then shoot. Repeat.

Figure 4.1 - Defender cuts off Antony's path inside, and gives him too much room to drive to the front-post.
Figure 4.2 - Antony takes one step right and then immediately drives a pass across goal for the assist.

When shown inside, he needs to be quick and decisive. Quick jab movement to the right to open up more room, and then low driven cross across goal.

Figure 5.1 - Antony receives the ball and takes a large touch towards the top of the box, outside the box.
Figure 5.2 - Antony's touch creates sufficient space with his marker.

Again, angling his touch to an extreme to create space with his marker.

Figure 5.3 - Pass and move attacking the space behind his marker.
Figure 5.4 - Antony is played the ball in space behind his original marker.

Then he can use that space he generated from the angle of his touch to attack the space behind the opponent’s defense.

It will take time for Antony to adjust to the difference in speed of the Premiere League and gain more confidence. To get the praise from those that value his off-the-ball acumen, he needs to perform better on-the-ball in situations like this.

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