Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Long ball with runners versus Real Madrid when Carvajal gets forward

Daniel Carvajal likes to get further forward and help out on the far-side in the box. When Osasuna kick the ball long, Real Madrid have a tendency to gravitate towards the ball, leaving men open on the counter for the flick on.

Figure 1.1 - Daniel Carvajal gets forward into the box as Real Madrid overload the left-wing.
Figure 1.2 - Ball is chipped to Daniel Carvajal for the goal.

Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior, Bellingham, and Kroos with freedom have the quality to ping the ball around in the corner for long periods of time.

When they do that, that allows someone like Brahim Diaz or Federico Valverde to drift over to the center of the box, to preoccupy the opposition’s left back and center backs. Then Daniel Carvajal can creep in on the back post, and he’s free.

Figure 2.1 - Osasuna kick the ball long. Daniel Carvajal is higher up the pitch.
Figure 2.2 - Antonio Rudiger and Aurélien Tchouaméni go for the ball, leaving two Osasuna players free for the flick on 2v1 versus Ferland Mendy.

Osasuna showed us that you can take advantage of Carvajal’s position up the pitch by kicking the ball long immediately on the counter. Then place your runners in front of the midfield and Mendy.

Manchester City should try this with Haaland. Ping the ball long when Real Madrid attempt to pressure them high, especially immediately after winning back possession, and then attack the center of the pitch with runners. Kevin De Bruyne up the middle and someone like Phil Foden, Oscar Bobb, or Jérémy Doku in front of Mendy.

And watch that back post for Carvajal when they’re aggressive in attack.

Match: Osasuna 2-4 Real Madrid, 16 March 2024

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