Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Calafiori continues his run

Bologna is overwhelming because they allow their players to use their natural instincts to continue their run forward, especially the center-backs. Riccardo Calafori wins the ball, continues forward, and then he’s in on goal unmarked.

Figure 1.1: Riccardo Calafiori jumps forward to tackle from behind and wins Bologna the ball.
Figure 1.2: Riccardo Calafiori continues moving forward after he wins the ball.
Figure 1.3: The ball is passed to an unmarked Riccardo Calafiori, in on goal.
Figure 1.4: Riccardo Calafiori calmly chips the goalkeeper to score Bologna's third goal.

This is not an isolated incident. This happens all the time when you watch Bologna. Each player is prepared to play in every position on the pitch.

For the majority of the teams Juventus faces, very few will allow their center-backs to venture forward like this, nor will the center-backs have the ability to recognize where the space is and execute when they receive the ball.

The natural thing for a football player to do, without any instruction, is to be threatening. They want to attack the box, they want to contribute to the attack.

Players are trained to stick to their positions, occupy space unnaturally because the team has a strategy. Do not create chaos because no one else on your own team is prepared for it. But Bologna knows how to rotate; they are prepared for it.

Because of this, this movement from Calafiori is unexpected. Bologna expects it; they cover for him, but Juventus are caught off guard. Therefore, Juventus do not mark him.

If he doesn’t make that run, no one is there to score, and no one is there to constantly help overwhelm the defense. It was a beautifully composed chip from Calafiori; that of a number nine not a center-back.

Match: Bologna 3-3 Juventus, 20 May 2024

Players: Riccardo Calafiori

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