Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics


You have to read this description of footedness by Cameron Herbert.

Read the full explanation here. I wanted to highlight this portion:

“By receiving with your back to the touchline as a right-footed center-back, you’re opening yourself to pressure because your set touch is negative, going towards your own goal, or at best neutral. This set touch means that you now need to turn your body and the ball so that it faces the defending team in front of you, then make a decision to pass the ball.

This incorrect way of receiving the ball opens up the attacking team to unnecessary pressure. The only passing options are to send it back across goal to the goalkeeper or the center-back, or hit play a harder pass to the opposite full-back.

The correct way of receiving the ball that leads to the best set touch is to receive with your hips facing the defending team in front of you, slightly towards your own goal, and ready to receive with your left foot. Once you receive the ball you no longer need to waste a second or two turning your body to face the options in front of you — your body is already open.”

This is the more concise and simple explanation of what I was trying to describe in regards to Manuel Akanji at left center-back here.

Figure 1.1 - Akanji takes his first touch with his left foot to switch the ball to his right foot.
Figure 1.2 - Akanji readies the pass but all the passing lanes are blocked off except for the pass to Jack Grealish, who is out of picture.

“The problem is that the right footed left center-back takes more time to get the ball to the right side of the pitch than the left footed center-back because they spend one second turning their body. This turn of the body can be a pressing trigger for the defending team to mark attacking players on the right side of the pitch while using their forwards to force a pass. The left footed center-back can play the pass a second sooner — not giving the defending team the obvious pressing trigger option.”

I think this can also apply to players like Kai Havertz, who rely on passing. He won’t try to dribble past you. They will find space and then combine with others to advance the ball. He needs that positive touch towards the opponent’s goal.

Figure 2.1 - Kai Havertz receives the ball with his back to goal.

As I said, in this post:

“Havertz can use both feet, but he’s better at fending off defenders with his hips facing towards the right, instead of his left. Because of this, when he receives the ball on the left side of the pitch, he will always be pointed backward or towards the wing. He’s not quick, so he relies on shielding the ball. For this reason, he’ll always favor passing backward or be forced into the predictable pass wide.”

I love a good simple explanation of a complex topic.

Back to top Share on Twitter Email this post Copy link