Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

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The space behind PSG's aggressive press in the wide areas

PSG’s full-backs have a tendency to overextend themselves moving wide, leaving space behind between them and the nearest center-back. Teams should look to play wide and then quickly work the ball behind their full-back.

Figure 1.1 - Lucas Hernández reads the pass wide and moves to intercept the ball.
Figure 1.2 - Lucas Hernández wins the ball and heads it forward.
Figure 1.3 - Real Sociedad reclaim the ball and the man behind Lucas Hernández is free.

If Lucas Hernández is going to move wide like this, the ball-side center-back should shift over to attempt to cover up that space.

Figure 2.1 - Three PSG players jump to the wing. Ball is passed right to left to Martin Zubimendi.
Figure 2.2 - Two men are free in space for Martin Zubimendi to play into the box.

PSG are aggressive in the wide areas, committing numbers to pressure the ball carrier. When Real Sociedad worked the ball quickly out of that press, there was at least one, if not two, options free to be played into the box.

You’ve done the hard part when you trap PSG wide, and they commit numbers to the press. The easy part is playing that pass to the free man.

Match: Real Sociedad 1-2 PSG, 5 March 2024

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