Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics


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Kai Havertz Finds Space

Kai Havertz is sought after by every coach he plays for because of the rare instinct that allows him to read a play and arrive in an open space at the correct time.

Figure 1.1 - Bukayo Saka kicks the ball high into the air, towards the edge of the box.

He immediately makes the run forward as Bukayo Saka kicks the ball high into the air.

Figure 1.2 - Kai Havertz immediately makes his run as Saka kicks the ball.
Figure 1.3 - As the ball drops to the ground, Kai Havertz stops to time his run so that he arrives in the box when Gabriel Jesus passes the ball.

This moment when he pauses his run is a gift that few have. Get that timing wrong, go too soon, and the defender, Gabriel Osho, will mark him tighter.

Right here, Osho is in no-man’s land. He has to stay back in case Gabriel Jesus gets past his marker, and he also has to defend the space in front of Havertz. He can’t jump towards Havertz because then he risks allowing too much space behind him for Havertz to run into.

Figure 1.4 - Gabriel Jesus passes to Kai Havertz.
Figure 1.5 - Kai Havertz runs onto the ball.

Osho reacted a bit too slowly to the play. By now, he should be committing to tightly marking Havertz, but he leaves too much space behind.

Figure 1.6 - Kai Havertz jumps to tap the ball into the goal.

They can look past the end product if the player possesses an instinctual talent few have because, chances are, with confidence, the end product will eventually be there.

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