Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Brighton Score

Joao Pedro anticipates this passing sequence, moves back, and makes the run forward before Pascal Gross receives the ball. This proactiveness is a consequence of Brighton’s practiced passing patterns that are predictable.

Figure 1.1 - Jan Paul van Hecke passes to Billy Gilmour.
Figure 1.2 - Billy Gilmour passes to Adam Lallana. Joao Pedro moves back. A defender from the back-line is drawn towards Lallana.

Joao Pedro can see the final pass coming as the ball is passed to Lallana, so he moves back. That pins the full-back back, as a defender is drawn forward towards Lallana.

Figure 1.3 - Adam Lallana one-touch passes to Pascal Gross. Joao Pedro begins his run into space.
Figure 1.4 - Pascal Gross one-touch passes to Joao Pedro.

When Lallana passes to Gross, that is when Pedro makes the run into the space behind that defender that jumped forward. The pinning of the full-back to the outside of Pedro, paired with the jump from the defender, and the run 5 yards behind Marseille’s back-line gives Gross a large window to ping the first-pass into Pedro.

Figure 1.5 - Joao Pedro receives the ball.
Figure 1.6 - Joao Pedro shifts around to his right foot to get on the other side of the defender, shoots, and scores.

Then Joao Pedro has the composure to calmly switch to his right foot and plant the ball firmly into the back of the net.

This level of organization to anticipate play and move before the play develops can only be achieved by a team. This is not an appreciation post for just Joao Pedro; this is appreciation for Brighton.

When Brighton scores, it does not feel like one player scored; the entire team scored. More so than other teams; it feels like I’m watching synchronized swimming.

Those five players had that pattern drilled into them, and they can anticipate play because it’s predictable. ‘When X number of players are in this part of the pitch, the likelihood that X will happen is high, so I’ll make this move.’

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