Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics


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Girona need more patience in defense

In the second phase of possession, Eric Garcia and Daily Blind both jump out to pressure the ball carrier. When Athletic Club worked past one of the two, they had the numerical advantage and an easy run in on goal.

Figure 1.1 - Daily Blind moves out wide to challenge the ball, leaving a massive space behind him.
Figure 1.2 - Daily Blind remains attracted to the ball.

Daily Blind was more a culprit of this. He often chased the ball, an instinct he carries over from playing full-back for most of his career.

Figure 2.1 - Girona's middle three defenders step out, towards the ball, while the full-backs stay still. This leaves space open in the half-space for the pass.
Figure 2.2 - Another view of Figure 2.1
Figure 2.3 - Pass is received and Athletic Club are in on goal.

I don’t want to put the blame only on Blind though. This seems like a tactic the entire team as a whole look to employ. They are either super relaxed, almost allowing Athletic Club to take a shot, or they chase the carrier. There was no in-between.

When it works they win the ball back quickly, but when it doesn’t they gift high-quality shots in the box to the other team. It is a high risk high reward strategy that didn’t pay off today.

Overall, I would say Girona are very well organized though apart from this. They know when to push and when to sit back. They know how to allocate the correct amount of players to a challenge. Arnau Martinez did a good job containing Nico Williams wide, with the help of Viktor Tsigankov and Iván Martin joining in to double team him.

Girona move at the perfect pace on-and-off the ball. They hardly break a sweat.

Figure 3.1 - Girona remain compact central, man-marking.
Figure 3.2 - Eric Garcia overcommits to the challenge and Athletic Club has the entire left side of the box free.

But they need to work on being more patient in defense to not get caught out central, overcommitting to challenges, leaving space in-behind.

If they were more patient, staying on their feet, not jumping as far forward, Athletic Club would have had trouble advancing into their box or even the final third.

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