Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

One example of patience by Nicolas Jackson

August 31, 2023 — Chelsea is on the counter with Nicolas Jackson running forward with the ball. He waits for the two defenders to run towards Enzo Fernandez before making the killer final pass into the box.

Figure 1.1 - Chelsea on the break with Nicolas Jackson on the ball. Enzo Fernandez is making the run wide.
Figure 1.2 - The two AFC Wimbledon defenders follow Enzo Fernandez.
Figure 1.3 - Nicolas Jackson waits until the two defenders fully commit to one side.

Like a fisherman waiting for the hook to set, Nicolas Jackson perfectly times this pass and picks out the most dangerous run by Noni Madueke.

Most would panic and play the ball wide to Enzo Fernandez, trapping Enzo in the corner with two defenders. He could have passed sooner to one of the Chelsea attackers on the far side, but by waiting, he gives Noni Madueke a clear run on goal in the center of the box.

The patience to wait for the space is the difference that creates the chance for an uncontested shot like the one by Madueke.

Figure 1.4 - Noni Madueke's shot is saved.

Madueke is the most dangerous option because he is running onto the ball into the center of the box. It is easier to score when you’re in the center of the box rather than on either side of the goalkeeper.

When you’re on the left, you should only be aiming right, and when you’re on the right, you should be aiming left. It’s hard to score near-post because goalkeepers force forwards to shoot at the far-post by covering the near-post.

When you’re in the center of the box, you have both the left and right to aim at, making it a harder shot for the goalkeeper to save.

Nicolas Jackson often makes these mazy long runs with the ball and he has a great understanding of timing when to play that final ball to maximize the chance for success for those receiving the ball.

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