By: Dan Minutillo - Author of Formation Based Soccer Training
Coaches of great soccer teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Arsenal struggle to find and maintain a balance between game day offense and defense measured by goals for as compared to goals against. Arsene Wenger, longtime coach at Arsenal, said as late as April 2013, over 30 games into the EPL season that Arsenal had only now just found the proper balance between offense and defense during League games--too many goals against, not enough goals for. Numbers up on attack, high in the front third of the pitch but numbers down in the middle third of the pitch when defending on transition.
Offensive balance means that a team has not over committed players high up field going forward on attack during the run of play to expose it to quick transition if it loses the ball. Defensive balance means that a team has held shape and has committed enough players or the right players behind the ball as the team is attacking to slow transition in the event the ball is lost. Defensive balance promotes the freedom of movement of the attacking players during an attack but offensive balance does not likewise influence defensive balance. This will make more sense as the theme of this article is developed.
What is game day offensive and defensive balance and how is it attained by a team?
Game day offensive and defensive balance is a tactical maneuver, no matter what formation is used, to ensure