By Danny Carvalho
Question - “Our team plays with two strikers. One is really good with his back to goal and the other is pretty quick and makes great runs into space. How can I best utilize both strikers?"
Many teams throughout history made the best out of playing with two men forward. Digging up my memories the ones who come first to mind are Romario and Bebeto (1994 Brasil WC Champions), Henry and Bergkamp (2003/2004 Arsenal EPL unbeaten Champions), Ronaldo and Benzema (Real Madrid’s many titles in the 2010s).
Usually this arrangement is formed by a skillful creative speedster with freedom to move + a striker staying more in and around the box.
Main game situations where having two strikers is an advantage
Situation 1 – Long balls
Quite common and traditional situation. The taller and stronger striker challenges for the ball as the faster striker runs around and tries to get the ball headed from their teammate. Work these situations at practice.
Situation 2 – Combination play on counter attacks
Two strikers who work well by combining on counter attacks surely cause damages on opponents defensive line. Create these situations at practice with 2v2s or even 2v3s where one or two defenders are running late.
Situation 3 – Position interchange
It works greatly to have strikers interchange positions because it plants questions on opponents minds: “Do I chase him? Do I stick to my position?”
This way attackers can manipulate the space, time and opponents.
In the first diagram you’ll see a 3v3 situation where one striker comes from the left to the middle as the more centralized striker makes a diagonal run, which makes both his direct marker and the right defender chase him.
With this, the left striker who ran into the middle gets wide open to receive a pass from the midfielder.
As one striker is caught up in a 1v2 situation, he helped creating a 2v1 situation on the right side of the box as shown below.
Hopefully these three major game situations will give you an idea of how to take advantage of playing with two strikers on matches as well as develop activities to potentialize them working together.
By Danny Carvalho, DOC at Corinthians Campinas Youth Club, Brasil