Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Bayern Munich's clever positioning to pin Arsenal's stronger right side

Bayern Munich used clever positioning to pin Jorginho and Ben White high on the left, opening space for Guerreiro to drop into. The position high from Kimmich pinned Martinelli wide, which disrupted Arsenal’s press.

Figure 1.1 - Eric Dier has the ball.
Figure 1.2 - Illustration of Figure 1.1

There is a lot going on in this image.

De Ligt is by himself, and it looks vulnerable. If Arsenal win back the ball, they have Havertz, Martinelli, Rice, Ødegaard, and Saka there to counter ahead of Goretzka, Laimer, and Kimmich versus Dier and De Ligt. 5v2.

Kimmich high pins Martinelli wide. That forces Rice to mark Goretzka instead of Martinelli. Then there’s a domino effect. Ødegaard marks Laimer, instead of Musiala or Dier. That then means Saka has to stay high to press Dier. He could back off but that would make passing out too easy.

Because all of that happening ahead, White can’t follow Guerreiro. He wants to but “he can’t”. I put that in quotes because he technically coule leave him with Saliba, but leaving Saliba with Mazraoui would be a mistake. Guerreiro essentially has free reign of that space behind Saka. Jorginho can’t follow him because he’s pinned to Musiala.

Figure 1.3 - Eric Dier passes to Raphaël Guerreiro. 3v2 overload with Jorginho and Ben White pinned.

Bayern Munich shift over Laimer, and Dier moves to the touch-line. All the passing lanes are open for Guerreiro.

Notice how Kimmich drops out of frame. He’s now helping De Ligt because Dier moves wide.

Figure 1.4 - Bayern Munich play out of the overload to Leroy Sané.
Figure 1.5 - Leroy Sané isolated 1v1 versus Takehiro Tomiyasu.

And the end goal is to overload to isolate. Isolate Leroy Sané.

Bayern Munich have successfully found a way to play through Arsenal’s stronger side to isolate their weaker side, this week, and found a way to play straight through their weak side, last week.

Playing through the stronger side forces them back to defend, which makes it harder for Arsenal to counter because Bukayo Saka is back chasing Guerreiro.

Match: Bayern Munich 1-0 (3-2) Arsenal, 17 April 2024

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