Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Jude Bellingham, the world's best interpreter of space

Timing your run to perfectly arrive in the space when the ball arrives is an art form that few perfect. Jude Bellingham makes this look easier than it is. A second striker.

“Ich bin ein Raumdeuter” - Thomas Muller

Which translates roughly as “I am an interpreter of space”, or “I am a space investigator”. This is Bellingham but he has more skill on the ball when compared to Muller.

Figure 1.1 - Barcelona is narrow. Antonio Rudiger passes to Daniel Carvajal.
Figure 1.2 - Daniel Carvajal receives the ball.
Figure 1.3 - Daniel Carvajal attempts a pass to Jude Bellingham or Luka Modric.

The narrowness of Barcelona at the start forces Real Madrid wide, but once the ball goes wide, Real Madrid gains space centrally. Jude Bellingham and Luka Modric take advantage of this space.

The key to this play is the center-forward Joselu pinning center-back Andreas Christensen. With Christensen pinned, it is man-to-man. Bellingham has a free run on goal once he gets past Oriol Romeu.

Figure 1.4 - Luka Modric gets a foot on it and redirects it over Inigo Martinez to Jude Bellingham.
Figure 1.5 - Jude Bellingham kicks the ball mid-air with his right foot on the laces.
Figure 1.6 - The ball goes through Marc-Andre ter Stegen's legs for the goal.

Not only does Bellingham have the timing down; he has the poise in front of goal to direct his shot at the ground rather than in the air. No chance for Ter Stegen to make that save.

He is one of the most balanced footballers in the world and he’s only 20 years old.

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