Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Matheus Nunes' strengths in one play

September 24, 2023 — Matheus Nunes showcases his awareness to cover for Manuel Akanji and intercept a counter, his De Bruyne like qualities attacking the half-space, and then a pinpoint cross into Erling Haaland for this Manchester City goal.

Figure 1.1 - Matheus Nunes drops back into the area Manuel Akanji would normally operate, at right center-back, and intercepts the ball.

This is the role John Stones normally takes up, responsible for covering for either Manuel Akanji or Kyle Walker when they get forward. Someone has to protect that space to the right of Ruben Dias, or it’s an easy counter.

Figure 1.2 - Matheus Nunes passes to Julian Alvarez
Figure 1.3 - Matheus Nunes continues his run into the right half-space as Julian Alvarez drives forward

Immediately attacking the space is key. Pass and then move. No one from Nottingham Forest effectively tracks him, so a 3v2 is created with both Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez marked.

Figure 1.4 - Matheus Nunes lets the ball run to Phil Foden from Julian Alvarez, as he continues his run

Smart from Nunes to let the ball run to Foden so he can continue attacking the space at full speed. Had he taken the ball in stride, Foden’s marker would have been able to stick out a leg and stop the play.

Figure 1.5 - Phil Foden passes to Matheus Nunes behind the back-line. Erling Haaland will make his run to the back-post
Figure 1.6 - Matheus Nunes crosses to Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland always favors attacking the back-post. That is his default. And Nunes puts this ball exactly where he needed to.

Figure 1.7 - Erling Haaland heads the ball into the goal

This play perfectly showcased all of Matheus Nunes’ qualities. He recognized where the deficiency was, dropped, forced the turnover, immediately attacked the space.

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