Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

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Artem Dovybk shows how a center-forward should move

The center-forward should be constantly moving and looking to time the distance of the separation between their marker to either pin or get open, like Artem Dovbyk did in this Girona goal.

Figure 1.1 - Ball is with the man on the touchline. Artem Dovbyk waits.
Figure 1.2 - Pass is played down the wing. Artem Dovbyk tightens the space between him and his marker.
Figure 1.3 - As the ball carrier dribbles down the wing, Artem Dovybk pushes his marker back.

This closing of the separation and push from Dovybk is used in anticipation of the pass from the wing. It both opens up space behind his marker for Viktor Tsigankov to run onto, distracts his marker from watching the ball, and prepares his marker’s body for the next movement.

Figure 1.4 - Artem Dovybk moves away from his marker, anticipating the pass inside and creating space in the six-yard box.

Now that the marker has been pushed back, and off-balance, Dovybk can push off into space to open himself up as an option to receive the ball.

Figure 1.5 - Artem Dovybk pins his marker to maintain the space Cristian Portu has when he is played the ball.

Once he sees the pass will be played to Cristian Portu, he stands still, forcing his marker to stay with him. He’s pinned. They can’t go to challenge Portu because if they do, they’ll leave Dovybk free as a bird.

Figure 1.6 - Artem Dovybk moves further away from his marker as Cristian Portu carries towards the six-yard box.
Figure 1.7 - Artem Dovybk's marker dismarks and challenges Cristian Portu, leaving Dovybk free.
Figure 1.8 - Artem Dovybk is free but Cristian Portu shoots, and scores.
Figure 1.9 - The space Artem Dovybk has when Cristian Portu shoots.

And then finally Dovybk opens himself up when his marker dismarks to challenge Portu.

Girona have won the positional chess match, 3v2. They have the advantage, checkmate. Impeccable timing from Artem Dovybk. This is how a center-forward should move and think.

Match: Celta Vigo 0-1 Girona, 28 January 2024

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