Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Disguised passes

Creating space doesn’t only have to come from carrying or an off-the-ball run; simple deception from the passer is enough. Holding midfielders need to find the least obvious pass, and a disguised pass tricks defenses into opening space for that pass.

Figure 1.1 - Pep Guardiola plays a disguised pass forward with his shoulders pointed sideways.

By angling his shoulders towards a different area of the field, he makes the defenders expect the pass to go somewhere other than where he actually intends to send it. The defenders can’t cover both the pass sideways, where his shoulders are pointing, and the pass forward, where his pass will be played between the lines.

Then the man receiving the ball has a larger amount of space to operate in when they take their first touch. The defender that was marking the man receiving the ball switches off because they’re expecting the pass sideways. Even maybe the back-line is switched off because they aren’t prepared for the line-breaking pass.

Then someone from the next line has to step out to challenge the second touch.

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